Week 1 of Uni n Stuff
Did you know a dust pan is called a shovel in NZ?
A broom and shovel.
Howabout a cooler? A chilly bin.
Brah, you puttin the brews in the chilly bin?
Yee mate, packed in the car next to my togs and jandals.
A couple Canadians and I saw a World Cup cricket game! It was surprisingly cheap for gen admish, so we snagged some and ended up sitting on a grassy knoll. It was really weird because we have no emotional attachment to the players of either team, yet there were tons of little kids standing on the sidelines waiting to get an autograph from their heroes. Those guys on the field are actually considered the best in the world, and we had no idea who they were. We compared it to hockey and figured we’d be down there if Sidney Crosby was willingly signing objects between bowls too.
The game was England vs. Scotland, and it was a pretty solid game. Unfortunately, it was nothing like Braveheart. No patriotic drawing of enemy blood or dirty cursing and fighting. (I reckon that’s rugby, my next sport to involve myself with). It was pretty cool though, they had flames when people hit a 6 or 4 runner and one bowler actually bowled at 150 kph.
Boy do overs take a long time to accumulate though (that’s a cricket word that I can use now because I’ve been to an actual game, suckas).
The game started at 11am and we left at 1pm for class with a LOT left in the game. People were double fisting beers at 11am with no shame.
Oh yeah, beer:
Beer and wine here is sold in supermarkets along with your other groceries. You need your passport to buy it though.
In fact, you need your passport to get into bars too.
They have great beer though! I haven’t felt my way around the brews yet since a pint is usually about $9.50, even for the kind that tastes like a piss, but I hope I get to.
On the flip side, cheese is inexpensive! You can buy a massive Costco block for $8. Scoooore.
So, New Zealand has very few species nowadays that are actually native.
[Be warned: This won’t be the last time I rant about it, since I’m mostly studying Bio while I’m here and it’s only week one]
When European settlers arrived, they brought tons of stuff with them, including hedgehogs, hummingbirds, and of course large game animals. Apparently there are moose roaming around the South Island and hunters are frothing to find them.
It’s like Bigfoot, but Down Under style.
I still haven’t seen a hedgehog or possum alive, only as roadkill.
In fact I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing my first wild hedgehog flap away in the breeze, tumbleweed-style, on the side of the road….
(I’m laughing as I type,
They could write a morbid children’s book:
Henry the Hedgehog Has a Bad Day)
That’s how most Kiwi’s prefer them actually – roadkill.
Possums specifcally, are the WORST here.
People loathe them.
I have never met a possum, and I’m sure they’re really lovely creatures, but I’ve heard some pretty startling rumours that they eat anything, especially beloved endemic bird babies, which are pretttyyyyy important here (I’m learning that in my pop. ecol. class)
Anyway, I’ll post a pic of what you’ll commonly see in the bush around here.
They have poison sitting at the base of tree trunks in little containers to kill the possums and their ‘nasty’ families.
The most ironic and hilarious thing is, they came from Australia,
AND in Australia, they are a PROTECTED species.
How could two cousin countries be so opposite on the topic of possums?
People pay good money to go visit possums in little protected areas over in Aus, but here, they lay out poison and laugh when they see a pancake possum on the side of the road.
(Morbid children’s book sequel: Henry the Hedgehog Sees Peter the Possum’s Poisonous Struggle and Realizes He Could Have Lost a Few Pounds Anyway )
I’m starting to realize that some of the moments I’m most stoked about aren’t even about NZ, it’s just the pure joy of experiencing summer. Man, she is sweet. And fleeting! It’s turning Autumn here.
On the flip side, there are many monotonous moments, which kind of kicks my expectation of exchange in the butt.
Life still has slow times and exchange isn’t GO GO GO all the time!
I still have to go to school and go to bed.
(Please don’t judge me too harshly for saying I’m sometimes bored in NZ, I know there are FAR FAR FAR worse things).
Christchurch is a town that likes to go out early and go to bed early.
Unlike Brasil, people don’t stay out til 5 or 6am.
I’ve seen cafes and restaurants close at 2:30pm or 4pm, which is pretty weird actually.
Stores around the local mall close at 8pm.
-I just signed up for heaps of clubs including surf club, CUBA (Motto: Ride, Party, Repeat), yoga soc, Navs (Christian club) and some dope environmental ones.
-Still considering joining a climbing club and tramping club, but every club has a fee so I gotta hold back a bit until I make some coin.
-Love my classes! I’ll splurge on details when I feel passionate, as per usual.
My forestry class is my fav so far. I’m the token Canadian and today he called on me to explain the effects and cause of the Mountain Pine Beetle. Hell yeahhh we talk about my home in NZ lectures!
The prof right now is Chilean and has the heaviest accent, but unlike my Kiwi friends, I can understand him pretty easily. I reckon the flock of weird accented French immersion teachers we’ve had over the years helps.
I swear he’s easier to understand than some of the Kiwis.
-Confident on Mr. Skateboard finally! He’s still a scheissty beast though (someone find me a wrench).
I accumulated some battle wounds in the process of taming him. The massive tear on my elbow is healing up nicely, but the road burn on my knee is a disgusting colour. On my first two days of classes I ended up bleeding – I had to explain to my flatmates that, literally, ‘classic.‘
-I tried Marmite for kicks. They told me it was different than Vegemite.. it’s not. Still salty and molasses-y. That is all I have to say about that but pics are worth a thousand words, right?
Current ‘chune’, as they say here (instead of tune):
Scroggin is what they call trail mix and I am so excited about it
On Sunday I went for a day tramp Northwest of Chch to a town called Hamner Springs. There’s a hot spring in town there but it’s super urban and touristy. The mountain was called Isobel Mountain and was about 1324m high – pretty small but the trails were long and convoluted so it took about 5/6 hours return.
I’m seriously learning how competitive I am and how I value sweat..
My Canadian friend, Maya, and I pressed forward at the front of the group up the mountain. We summitted in about 3 hours and jogged a lot of the way down. We agreed that the last time we were that sweaty was in hot yoga. It was hella hot out.
Here are some pics! My first summit of NZ! It felt so good, even though the mountain wasn’t that tall.
I also experienced feeling my first earthquake the other night.
To Cantabrians, earthquakes are like when a Vancouverite steps out the front door and sees rain, it’s nothing to get upset about.
But for me, even though I’ve lived along the San Andreas Fault in Vancity, it had me shaken up. <–lols
It was a 3.4 magnitude, so it wasn’t that big but also wasn’t that small. I downloaded this app call Geoquake Net and it tells you when there’s been an earthquake all over New Zealand, and there’s gotta be at least ten a day – which makes sense, it’s pretty geologically active.
I’ve realized that the massive 2011 quake wasn’t really a surprise. People have been hiding under door frames long before the aftershock that left the city in shambles (yes, it was an aftershock that hit Chch, meaning there was a bigger one somewhere else).
I was even told that children here have been so well trained to get under tables and door frames during earthquakes, that when the 2011 quake hit, children that were playing outside in school yards actually ran back inside to get under desks.
Anyway, now everytime I feel the ground move a tiny bit, or hear an airplane overhead, I think it’s an earthquake.
Here’s a few more things I’ve discovered.
See captions for details: