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!
Flights are cheaper than taking the bus/ferry to Auckland, so I took a flight the day before I flew back to Fiji to Auckland. Best part, other than the view, was the Lord of the Rings safety trailer!!!
I also got to see some of the North Island. Parts that I missed.. next time!
I met up with two friends that I met at HangDog. They were going to Big Gay Out (Auckland’s PRIDE festival) so I went with them and we got food afterwards. There was live music which was nice. I crashed on Sandy’s couch which was very nice of her. The next day I met up with Sd (a Fiji friend) and then flew back to Nadi!
It’s been pretty good being back! It’s been nuts busy, because I volunteered with Orientation and been very busy catching up with everyone. I’ve been getting along reallllly well with some of the new international students which is awesome. Kate’s and my flat is totally awesome and super close to campus (though you have to high jump over 800 rabid dogs to get in or out). It should be a lot easier to adapt the second time, which it was, but I’ve been feeling pretty sick a lot of the time. I’m not sure what upsets my stomach here but it really does, and stopped while I was abroad. The weather is also insane, it rotates between our driveway melting and dripping down the hill or torrential downpour x2. I’ve been getting super dehydrated but I’m not sure if it’s possible to drink more water!!! Kate and I had a big housewarming party last weekend and it was tons and tons of fun, and I’ve got to go swimming every day at least once which has been great.
I picked my classes too! I am taking Marine Biology, Ethics and Professionalism in the Public Service, Marketing and Individual and Community Health Psychology. It’s a pretty hard semester actually, a lot more than last semester. The bio and psych class I think will be challenging because it isn’t my major and they are final year classes… but I’d rather take something interesting here where my marks don’t matter, then Bio 101 and Psych 101 back home. I think I’ll get a lot more out of these classes. I’ve met a lot of my classmates and it’s been nice being back somewhere familiar-ish.
I’ve been doing a lot of slacklining too, which is like a loose tight rope, and I’ve been getting better!
This weekend I am going on a hiking trip. I am a bit nervous.
I spent four days in Auckland before I flew to Melbourne to meet up with Scott and his family. Auckland is a really nice city! I could see myself living there for a bit for sure.
It was a bit overwhelming to go from a small town on the west of Fiji (Namaka) to mass-consumerism and a city that has 1.5 times the number of people in the entirety of Fiji. I kept thinking that Auckland was really orderly and empty.. a big difference from crazy Suva!
As soon as I got off the airport shuttle, my friend Stef picked me up (I met her in the Yasawas) and she took me back to her house. Her house was having a moustache party that night and it was a lot of fun! (and cooooldddd) I got to see Kaula as well, Stef’s friend I also met in Fiji. I bought some wine at the duty free and it was lovely.
I planned to climb the next day at the local gym, but the trains weren’t running that weekend and I was a bit nervous about going into the boonies by bus with no map so I decided to explore Auckland instead and get some errand-y type things done. Rock climbing gyms are always in the weirdest areas. That evening I hung out with Stef and her flatmates and slept on their couch (thanks, Stef!).
Going to a grocery store was quite exciting.. hummus! grapes! strawberries! cashews! milk (urghh)!
The next day I checked into a backpacker place downtown and then met up with Sd (friend from USP) and we walked up Mt Eden (good views) and ate sushi (yum!). In the afternoon I headed to the Extreme Edge climbing gym. I was hoping to find a partner to climb with but couldn’t so I just bouldered. That was still okay with me! My muscles still hurt.
On the last day, I left on an ultra early flight to Melbourne so I had to wake up at 3:20am to catch the shuttle. It was early!! I’m sorry dormmates.