lately….

–          Working, lots (still at EY)

–          Biking to work more (it’s about a 10km ride)

–          Climbing, dancing, cooking, reading

This past weekend, we did some sport climbing at Transmitter Crag in the Port Hills on Sunday. It’s only a 20-25 minute drive and decently tall! Unfortunately the crag goes from easy to pretty hard really fast, so I didn’t have a lot to climb this time. The entire bottom of the cliff is cut away so it’s quite overhung. We also saw Monsters University (movies come out a lot later here!) and watched Warm Bodies (ZOMBIES!!!).

And the weekend before, we went for two days to Otepatotu near Akoroa (about an hour and fifteen minute drive) where we attempted to do some trad climbing. The crag was quite nice, but at quite a high elevation. On Saturday, the clouds were too low so we were actually above the clouds, making it too wet for most of the day. And then Sunday I felt sick so we drove home. Though it was a bit of a waste of time, there were beautiful views and we got to watch the Crusaders (Christchurch rugby) slaughter the Reds (Queensland).

I’m hoping I can stay at EY for a bit longer (a little half over my original contract), but I should know a bit better in the next couple of weeks. I’d like to get out skiing at some point, but the weather has been too warm on the hills.

fiji, in conclusion

I did not expect my exchange in Fiji to be like it was. But when I think about it, I really didn’t have any expectations. I spent a lot of time deciding where to go for a year, and I have absolutely no regrets about choosing to spend that year in Suva. I had an amazing time at the University of the South Pacific.

I’m really glad that I went for two semesters. It gave me enough time to experience and embrace the culture, make friends with locals and internationals, see the country, get better at sailing, hiking and diving, AND learn in my classes.

Being able to share my experience with my dad, Kate, Katrina, Mary Ellen, Paul, Helenka and Lauren was great too. It’s nice to have what feels like two different lives fuse together.

The classes I took were really varied. I took 3 direct transfer courses, Human Resource Management, Marketing and Managerial Accounting. Human Resources was far worse than I would have gotten at SFU, but Accounting was a lot better. Marketing was about the same. I took two political science classes (Managing Change and Ethics & Professionalism) which were useful – I really got to learn about current issues in the public sector in the South Pacific and it made me really interested in foreign aid and international development. Working for the UN might be a goal in the near future! My Health Psychology lecturer, in terms of teaching ability, was the best professor I have ever had. And to finish up, I did both of my Science credits, Earth Science (not a fan) and Marine Biology (very interesting, learned a lot, but a difficult class for me).

There were great moments: Playing cards at the top of Mt Korobaba. Getting befriended at my first paddling practise. Getting yelled at by my hobie coach. Falling on every single hike. Diving for the first time. Meeting people in my lab classes. Diving in reefs that look better than pictures in the National Geographic. Drinking kava with my Marine Science class. Eating pizza every Tuesday night. Learning how to make palusami. Knowing everyone in the dance club on Thursday nights. Watching every possible movie. Watching rugby 7s with my entire hall. Eating curry for breakfast. Camping on the beach footsteps away from an expensive resort. Colo-I-Suva, every time. Menz from Bureta visiting in Suva. Night, shark and manta snorkelling in the Yasawas. Watching and screaming at any show, social or sports event. Celebrating Diwali for a month. Hanging out with the expats in Suva. Taking the bus by myself from Buca Bay to Savusavu. Standing on top of a sand dune. The incredible food and missing the incredible food back home. Giving up on umbrellas and raincoats.

I really look forward to seeing everyone I met again.

fiji map

 

nz mountain film festival – christchurch edition

Last night 5 of us went to the NZ Mountain Film Festival night in Christchurch. The actual festival is held in Wanaka and Queenstown, but they held a one night best-of festival as a fundraiser. It was my first time going to an outdoor-themed film festival despite Vancouver holding lots of them. We saw 5 movies.

The first one, WHY, was a short American film about a kayaker, a mountain biker and Alex Honnold, a rock climber. You might have heard of Alex because he’s the one who free solos giant cliffs. Scary bananas. Every time his foot slipped I had a heart attack.

One Step Beyond was about a French snowboarder and base-jumper. This movie mainly convinced me to never jump off a cliff ever. …well maybe sometime. Those squirrel jumping suits look awesome!

Rockin’ Cuba was about a group of climbers who travel to Cuba to bolt some new climbs. It looked a lot like how I remember Cuba! I liked seeing all the old cars again, and the whole film was clips of music strung together.

Then we watched Flow Hunters, which was really different than the other four movies. This one was about a group of kayakers who were sponsored by Red Bull to do some really dodgy kayaks around New Zealand. In the 24 days they paddled, TWO people literally almost died (all caught on film). It looked dumb. Also, they would get helicoptered everywhere and when they did an overnight trip, they had dinner supplies helicoptered into them. Riiight.

And the last film, The Shark’s Fin, was about Conrad Anker’s (famous alpinist) two attempts at getting to the top of Mt Meru (6,310 meters). It took them 12 days, and one of his partners had a stroke on the first night. So they kept going. (????)

I think I liked Rockin’ Cuba the best. It was very silly and entertaining. I looked at the entire list of films from the festival and I hope I can watch more! Wolverine is about the hardest ice climb in Canada and Down the Line is about canyoneering really close to Vancouver. I didn’t even know that there was canyoneering in Canada! And I think I’ll pass on Focal Point (yet another video about mountain unicycling in British Columbia… why??).

cabbage week

This week is cabbage week. Lauren bought a giant cabbage and then left 2 days later for a trip and I’ve been stuck with this cabbage!!! Cabbage everywhere! I think the cabbage is having cabbage babies in the refridgerator ahhh drowning in cabbage!!!!!!!!

This week I’ve made (all featuring cabbage): thai tofu stirfry, mu shu rice paper wraps, beef dumplings (was going to buy pork, then decided on lamb, accidentally bought beef), and chicken yakisoba. There is still half a cabbage left!!!! I am seriously considering just chucking the whole thing down the food garborator.

I checked my Aeroplan account this week and realized that I hadn’t used my card in over 12 months and all my points are lost, noooo!!!!!!!!! Bye bye 18 thousand points. 😦 😦 😦 😦 Only took 16 years to accumulate you. Dang.

I’ve been exercising a lot! I’ve figured out that, other than driving, biking or a bike/bus combo is the fastest way to get to and from work. It’s about a 10km ride, or a 3km ride to the nearest bus stop. I look like a giant dweeb when I bike though because I wear Lauren’s thermals (that are ultra baggy on me) and giant wool socks. I have also been climbing at the gym a lot with my friend Natalie (Kiwi and studies at University of Canterbury). This weekend looks like good weather so I think it is time go outside! Pull out the van! And yesterday I went to a dance lesson by the uni dance club where we learned Bachata and Modern Jive. It was fun! I went with my friend Kota (who just recently finished his PHD at the uni).

Work is good. Most of what I do is pretty easy… get files off the shelf that people request, make new files, put in orders to get files/put back files from offsite, file papers, split files, change files and generally anything file related. EY is definitely a nice place to work!! Everyone is really chatty, nice and pretty laidback (as most Kiwis are!!).

ernst & young

The past two weeks have been busy! Last week I signed up with two office temp agencies to hopefully find work. I was very happy because after I sent in my application, I got a call an hour later from one (Hudson) saying they wanted me in asap for a role that they thought would fit really well. It did! It was a three month Project Co-ordinator role for the Ministry of Education. Too good to be true apparently – they sent me in as the preferred candidate, but the Ministry changed their mind and said they wanted someone for 6 months. I’m only here for 5 months. Bah!

Anyway, I just finished a week working at Ernst & Young in their records department at the Christchurch office. Their Records Services Officer is leaving for another job and they haven’t hired a new one yet, so I’ll be there until they hire a new one (about 5 more weeks). The work is easy but hopefully nothing goes wrong because I am working solo.

I don’t think I will have a problem finding work after this because the other agency called me after I started this position saying they had a job for me as well. Christchurch has a lot of temporary work because all the companies here are still making so many changes because of the earthquakes.

This past week has been busy setting up the flat and sorting things out. Lauren left on a two week long winter climbing trip this past Friday so I am all alone-y on my own-y!

Christine (from SFU who was at USP this past semester) is flying out of Christchurch tomorrow, so we spent some of this weekend together. She came up on Friday from Cromwell, and we met up with some friends for drinks, and then today we went on a trek to find some hot springs. There is a spa place nearby at Hamner Springs where you can soak in pools that are filled with hot spring water but we wanted to find the REAL DEAL. (Lauren and I went to Hamner Springs last year). We drove up towards Lewis Pass in hopes of finding the (unmarked) Sylvia Flat hot spring. When we were close to the spot we thought it was, we got really excited because we saw lots of steam. After turning off, we realized that the “steam” was coming from a motor home with a fire place. Doh!! After about an hour of driving around (in scenic places though) we drove back to the same place and realized that it WAS where the hot spring was, and you could see it across the river. After a chillllyyyyyyy hop and skip across the rushing river, we got to soak our legs in a nice and warm sulphur-y totally natural hot pool. Awesome!!

otorohanga

Ok I have some Internet time so I will post more about my visit with Pam!

Pam and her partner Sonny live in Otorohanga which is about half an hour south of Hamilton (which is about 45 minutes south of Auckland). Their house is beautiful and just only 7 years old. It borders a golf course which they frequent often. They run the golf pro shop at the same time as Sonny delivers firewood and Pam rents out four units that connect on the side of the house.

Pam showed me around the gardens in Hamilton, the walk near the Waitomo caves, and we went to the Kiwi House. Kiwis are nocturnal so they have them in special houses where they can control the light so that they are awake at some point for tourists to see. If you were a kiwi, would you rather be on the morning or afternoon shift? I didn’t go into the caves this time, despite there being every possible tour you would ever imagine involving abseiling/rafting/swimming/etc. It sounds cold. And expensive. And cold!!!!

We are a lot of delicious food and one day I made them spicy szechuan pork and eggplant.

And I have figured it out: Pam & Collen are my first cousins twice removed, and Pam’s and Colleen’s children would be my second cousins once removed. I think. My source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin. Verdict: Cousins 🙂

Back in Auckland, I stayed with my friend Anna who I met last year at Hang Dog and stayed with her and Sandy at the end of my trip. It was nice seeing her again!