Murder Mystery Night and Dunedin
My apologies to everyone for my failure to update! Since I haven’t travelled since break, you’d think I’d have more time to update on things, but time slips away quite quickly here to begin with, and when you couple that with the inevitable research essays of an English major, weeks have passed before you’ve even blinked. I’m already becoming depressed about leaving and I still have about 7 weeks left in the country. But, anyway, onto the more interesting stuff!
Coming back from break was actually an unusual process in itself. Toward the end of the trip, I was getting really sick of being in the car and on a schedule, and was rather inordinately excited to return back to Dunedin. Once back there, I kind of needed to recharge my batteries, so I spent the next couple days in isolation. My room was dirty, I was out of food and essential toiletries, so I relished the time spent doing nothing. However, that contentment soon wore off. As soon as classes resumed, I wished I was still on the road travelling. Don’t we always want what we can’t have?? But, that weird sort of disenchantment didn’t last, and I was soon happily chugging along to daily life in Dunedin. But, there are peaks and valleys with everything, and breaks at home always make me feel a bit strange to begin with. Actually, at home, breaks are usually even weirder. Because I’m always really excited to go home, but then I get home and I miss my friends at school. You’re always missing someone and it’s hard to reconcile those conflicting feelings. I’m assuming that reverse culture shock will end up being an even more exaggerated version of those mini-adjustment periods. I miss everyone at home so much, but it will be hard to leave this place that I’ve been calling home and the people that I’ve been seeing on a daily basis for the past five months. But, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. That’s still weeks away, and I will stay in denial about that for as long as possible.
Let’s see…my family keeps asking me what I do on a day-to-day basis, but it’s not really all that different from what I do in Valpo. The weather has become less conducive to long hikes without bundling up and protecting yourself from rain, but Doubtful Sound this weekend should make up for my lack of exciting outdoor activities of late. I did start running again, which has been really nice. The Botanical Gardens are lovely all the time, but particularly so when you go early in the morning and have them nearly to yourself. I’ve included a few pictures of the garden, but it’s not really enough to do them any justice because my camera battery died before I’d gone through much of them. One of these days, I’ll go back there (with the battery fully charged) and try to capture some of the beauty. I probably missed the ideal time, since we are now in late autumn and the flowers aren’t looking quite as good as they were a few weeks ago. I also have been to the gym a couple times recently with Jenny and Mike (how lucky I am to have flatmates/personal trainers?) which was a rude awakening after how long it had been since I lifted weights. I also may have embarrassed myself (even more than usual) when the first time we went I walked in the opposite direction of the fitness centre when we were out of the car. I’m never going to live that one down.
I’ve been losing interest in classes the longer I’ve been here. Which I know is a bad thing to say, but the lecture style is really not something that I’m suited to. It makes me so happy that I chose Valpo, and I will be much more appreciative of the opportunities for class discussion and the relationships that you can build with professors when you’re more than just a number. That being said, most of the professors I have are very approachable, if you have time in your schedule to go to office hours.
After a long time, our IFSA-Butler group was reunited for a murder mystery themed dinner at the “haunted” and historic Carey Bay hotel. It’s since been turned into a restaurant, but they’ve kept the upstairs so that you still know that it was once a hotel. It was a really fun evening, more so than I was expecting. It was good to see everyone again and run amok in the old hotel. I was Rita Angus, a New Zealand painter, and essentially a filler character, but the event was still a nice change of pace from an ordinary evening. Plus, the food was delicious. I can cook okay, but I’m usually too lazy to make anything that requires more effort than stir-fry. And the chocolate mud cake dessert was probably the best cake I’ve ever had in my life. However, I probably shouldn’t have eaten my entire piece because I felt a bit sick afterwards. Totally worth it though.
Anyway, since I can’t think of much more recent excitement, I thought I’d just share some random tidbits of life in NZ:
-Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and any other toiletries are significantly pricier than in the states. If you’re like me, and have no room to include those items in your checked bag, just know you’ll be paying more unless you buy the really low-quality washes from dollar stores. Also, know that they basically only have rub-on or spray-on deodorant so if you’re like me and that’s not your thing, really try to leave room in your bags for the other kind.
-Garbage bags are also expensive. The city won’t collect your trash unless you buy special bags and those run at roughly $2 per bag. So recycle. A lot. Some flats even started compost piles, but we’re not that intense.
-Other weird kiwi phrases:
·”Fuss/fussy” does not have the same connotation as it does for us. Rather than saying, “I don’t care” about something, they’ll say they’re “not fussed.” I always associate “fuss” with being negative, but it’s not that way here.
·Band-aids are called plasters. Don’t know where they got that one from.
·Cilantro is called coriander. This is probably only of interest to people who really love it or really hate it. I really hate it and was almost fooled into eating it.
Anyway, my apologies for this being so brief after such a long break, but I promise my next one should be SPECTACULAR after our visit to Doubtful Sound!!