Saturday, February 27, 2010

DAY ELEVEN: Christchurch - DAY TWENTY: Invercargill

 Going to church in Christchurch haha. Funny. Put on make-up and staightened my hair today. Went to church. The church is the same all over the world. After church went to the Botanical Gardens for a few hours. Listened to a band "The Unfaithful Ways." How Sabbath appropriate ha. Alex put on her Zentai suit when we got back to camp and ran around. It was hilarious. Watched Nacho Libre in the van. It was a good day. Happy Birthday Robert..

DAY TWELVE: Christchurch to Greymouth
Driving through beautiful land, as usual. We lost some bags out the back of the cheap trailer. Driving around looking for them listening to Weezer and Jack's Mannequin.
Didn't find the bags :( Made it to the Top Ten Holiday Park. It's RIGHT on the beach. Sun bathed, swam, played a beach rugby game. Went to the jade store and saw some amazing jewelry. Went to the beach for the sunset. Experimented using other senses to remember where I am. Closed my eyes, felt the moon on my face, the wave breeze in my nose, the rocks under my hands and feet. It smells good here.

DAY THIRTEEN: Greymouth to Cromwell
Great day today. Nine hour drive in store but my van was able to hit Franz Josef glacier AND Fox glacier. Only hiked to the first one but that's ok. Fox was pretty much the same...amazing. Worked on making an anklet in the van but got car sick. Spent the rest of the BEAUTIFUL drive with my head out the window, camera ready, music on, smile wide, drool flying, cheeks flapping. Drove by some hay fields and I kept my eyes open for some cribs because I saw a haying tractor that I've driven in Wyoming. Didn't see any cribs but saw a bunch of other cool stuff. Most beautiful drive EVER.

Woke up to Julianne coming INTO the tent. She opened the flap and I told her she smelled good. She hadn't showered or put lotion was the outside air! It smells like tropical, flowery goodness.
FINALLY AT INVERCARGILL! We're here in our "sleep-out." Yes, we have our own little apartment detached from the main house. Our own bathroom and everything. Our host parents are young and have three adorable kids, 6 1/2, 5, and 3 1/2. They are adorable.

DAY 15: January 28, 2010
I think it's clinically proven you drool a million times more during a nap then during the night. It's a quarter to 6 and I just woke from a nap. We went to a friends of Anna's and James' (host parents) for lunch. We drove out of town through unnamed streets to a farm. I walked into the old, mismatched house and had to pause for a sec. I was sure I was at the ranch. It was wonderful :)
Got our bikes today! Rode to the beach, stayed for a few minutes, rode back. Ate a wonderful dinner, observed Anna. She is such a great mom and I'm trying to soak in her mannerisms.
We all met up at a park and played some rugby. Bought some chocolate on the way home. YUMMY!

DAY 16: January 29, 2010 Friday
Just rode our bikes around town today, getting to know the little town of Invercargill. We went to Queen's Park and it was fantastic! I have a feeling we'll be spending most of our free time here. We saw an ostrich, llamas, and reindeer,  (all caged in, of course.) Came home and played "New Zealand Monopoly" with the kids. It was awesome! Same game but the places on the board are places in New Zealand. "Waitomo Caves," "Picton Ferry," "Mount Maunganui," and the pieces were flip flops, a laptop, a cell phone, a dog, a SHEEP, a plane, a jar of VEGEMITE, haha. I was on Isaac's team (6 1/2 year old) and we dominated. Jumped on the trampoline a little bit. I love it here. *smile and sigh.

DAY 17: January 30, 2010 Saturday
It's been a good long day. Got up at like 8, got ready for the day, rode 40 mins to Donevan park for a branch bbq that started at 11...but we were the first ones there. It was scheduled from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. We didn't even eat until 2:00. Welcome to Maori culture I guess. We had plenty of games of volleyball and cricket in the mean time ha. After that, I went to a park and lost my all-time favorite article of clothing; my black quarter zip polyester jacket. :( Oh well.
At 6 some people met to get Fish n' Chips at a Takeaway. Yes, they give it to you in newspaper...well, the same type of paper. Just no print. I have hated fish my entire life but I'm determined to learn to like it here. I'll do it.
Went to a park with a ZIPLINE! It was so cool. The parks here are a lot cooler than the ones in the states because no one sues anyone here.

DAY 18: January 31, 2010 Sunday
Anna and james drove us to church today! We were a little ahead of schedule so we stopped by the sunday Farmer's market. It was so fun! Church was rough. Sacrament consisted of a lot of cliches and mormon parables that circulated the U.S. a year or so ago. BUT, it also consisted of the sacrament, blessed and passed the same way it is blessed and passed throughout the world. The Lord's way.
After church, Alex and I went to Bluff with the family and ate at a friend's. We had smoked flounder and I didn't mind it at all! I would almost say I liked it! Then we went  around to the touristy stuff and it was fun. Pictures on facebook. Skyped with the fam and saw little Charlotte. I miss her :) Alex and I stayed up and talked about the group drama going on. Another wonderful day ha.

DAY 19: February 1, 2010 Monday
First day of school! It was a joke. Went to the beach with a ton of people. Hard first day ;) Met the fam's next door neighbor, Kathrena! Cutest little old lady ever. She was awesome. Watched a movie at Carly, Ariel's, and Sarah's. Just a chill day.

DAY 20: February 2, 2019 Tuesday
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are our SIT (Southern Institute of Technology) courses. Those are the kayaking, rock climbing, tramping, surfing classes. Then Wednesday night and Thursday are our BYU classes. You are in two of the three BYU classes (Wednesday night from 7-9:30, Thursday morning from 8-11:30, or Thursday from 1 to 4:30). I'm in the Wednesday night and Thursday morning classes; History of the church in NZ, and SFL. Today, Tuesday, is an SIT class. For the SIT classes, they split the 35 BYU student populous into Group A and Group B. Group A is doing something today and my group, Group B, has a "self directed learning day," aka do nothing.
A bunch of us went to Queen's park and Isaac set up his slackline. It's like walking on a loose tight rope. It was really hard but it comes quickly. Alex and I came home and found the kids on the trampoline with a sprinkler. Without missing a beat we hoped on. Another tough day at school :) Ate dinner then headed BACK to Queen's for a birthday party for Ann. Cake and games. Another great day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Yes, it's true. I'm super behind on my posts. Here's the thing; I have nearly all my photos up to this day posted on my facebook page. I do want to continue to update this blog but for now I don't have time to update facebook and a blog. Pictures upload a lot faster on facebook...sorry.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

DAY TEN: Kiakoura to Christchurch

My group was clean up for breakfast! So we were in charge of Thursday’s dinner, yesterday’s breakfast, lunch, and was clean-up crew for dinner. Plus we shopped twice and are cleanup today. Blah.

Got to camp in Christchurch, set up camp, and headed to the Institute building where a brother and sister Bourne (yes, as in my secret crush, Jason Bourne) had a lunch for us. I had three HUGE pieces of cake after a bunch of steak. Delish. Also, during this lunch through a series of events, I realized I didn’t want to be part of the only “clique” on the trip even though I was invited. I turned it down. It was a big learning experience.

After lunch we went to town and walked around. There was a carnival type thing going on called the Buskers Festival and there were street performers everywhere. It was here I learned another big life lesson. There is honor in succumbing to “The Man” and getting a real job. These street performers kept saying, “We CHOSE to do this as our living,” and proceed to shamelessly beg for money. I left with that sick, empty, sympathetic feeling you get when you see a beaten dog or something. So much for making people laugh. Bleh.

After that, history repeated itself and I found myself at yet another CRAPPY place for dinner. It wasn’t quite as bad as all you can eat Chinese buffet but it was a close second. Next time, I’m going somewhere nice.

We headed to a park where people split up to play rugby or soccer. I’m horrible at soccer but I figured I had more of a chance there than rugby. I ended up playing goalie, aka doing push ups and ab circuits at one end of the field so I felt like I was working off my 3 pieces of cake. When I wasn’t doing lunges I was drooling over the view. We were on a very large, very bright green field. The sky was a beautiful color as well with the spots of blue sky, the yellow sun, pink clouds, and orange mist. It was too gorgeous. Everyone got warm running around and took their sweaters off, so the bright green was dotted with bright coloured shirts of pretty much every color. It was so cute!

DAY NINE: Picton to Kaikoura

My group made breakfast today and I found myself at the grill yet again, making French toast and eggs. I didn’t do a very good job but whatever. Our fruit salad was amazing.

I love fields with bails or rolls of yellow hay, and the three dimensional dance they play on your eyes when you drive by. MMM love it. There are a lot of low lying clouds that move fast and make cool wave-like shadows on the golden fields. Ten minutes later we’re driving along a beautiful coast with black sand.

Ten minutes after that we got pulled over! Haha, apparently people had been complaining about us for miles because 4 big vans pulling trailers were caravanning and driving too close together, making passing really difficult. When the cop pulled us over, about 12 cars waiting to pass zoomed by.

Got into camp and my group made lunch. Tuna or chicken wraps. Good choice. We were going to go to the beach but it’s cold and rainy. We got a group together to take a van into town and see the sights. We ended up driving to possibly the most beautiful lookout point I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera.

We stood on top of a water tower on top of a hill on a peninsula and the beautiful view was looking back inland, with a bay at my left and right. The bay to my left was crisp and clear, dark blue water lined with deep green pine trees. It looked like I was up in the Uintas at home. The bay to my right had sun beams breaking through a storm and bouncing off the turquoise water. It looked more tropical than Midwestern. Both were so majestic and so different. I couldn’t take it all in.

Jasmyn and I both felt like we should have had some personal epiphany or at least should have been crying. I would have cried if I were there by myself but we had some loud, distracting people in our group, bless their rambuctious souls.

We headed to the beach which looked like just a bunch of sharp rocks from the parking lot. We walked out there and ended up spending hours exploring the coast. The rocks formed little pools that we scavenged for star fish, crabs, and any other little treasure we could find. I felt like a mix between a 5 year old kid (wonder, excitement, unfamiliarity) and a 60 year old seaman (damp hair, rain coat, rolled up pants, seaweed covered hands). 

Eventually the feelings of the 5 year old kid took over because I slipped and fell into the kinda nasty stagnant water. Eww. We headed into town after my little accident and to another beach with smooth, round, black rocks, the kind that look like they belong in an expensive spa to rejuvenate your chi or something.

DAY EIGHT: North Island to South Island

Woke up to rain, showered (yay), ate breakfast, was cleanup for breakfast, went to a free museum that was so cool, saw a giant squid there, hopped on the ferry and explored for a while, then had more than a barrel of monkeys. It was so windy on the ferry that if you opened up your rain jacket on deck, it would nearly blow you over! So of course half a dozen BYU students were making fools of themselves for a good two hours up on deck. It was memorable, to say the least.

Journal entry from the time we stopped playing on deck to getting into the harbor:
“The air blowing toward us was warm for a minute and then became cooler as we headed on. The air smells like pine trees and I’ve never seen Alaska but this is what I imagine it would look like. It’s so beautiful.  It looks like a country full to the brim with adventures! Haha Just made a bunch of British guys laugh really hard. We’re pulling in, and the fact that I’m in New Zealand has never felt so real. I’ve never felt so far from my family or so a part of New Zealand as I do on the ferry right now, but I’m not afraid or sad. I’m really here. I’m really doing this!”

We arrived at the top ten park in Picton. I went to the store for a few more things for dinner then slaved over a grill making like a bajillion hamburgers and grilled corn on the cob. It was a hit, and I felt pretty cool :) Ok, the hamburgers were questionable but the corn was delicious.

Jeff and I hoped in the pool and played with a couple of kiwi kids named Kyle and Shaquille…like Shaquille O’Neal. Literally. His dad was sitting right there. Jeff was in there first and when I hoped in Kyle said, “Me and Shaquille are on a team and you and your wife are on a team” haha. After killing at noodle basketball in the pool, Jeff and I were on our way out and I fell back into the pool by accident. Kyle yelled from over the fence, “Oy! Christina, there’s a pool there!” But with the accent it was more like, “Oy! Christaina, days a pooo deh!”

Finally broke down and bought one hour of Internet. It was 10 p.m. my time which meant it was 2 a.m. in Utah. Luckily my dad was out of town so of course mom was online, and we skyped for 6 minutes! It was heaven.

DAY SEVEN: Tongariro to Wellington

It’s summertime here, and what a summer it’s been for the past week. A lot of our time is spent in the vans but I would almost say it is my favorite part. My life is a music video. White v-neck tee, messy hair, no make up. The vans are very thin and open. The ceilings are so high I can nearly stand straight up and the sides are made almost entirely out of windows. The feeling I get on our road trips is the same feeling you have when you’re in a convertible. The combination of wind in your face, music, laughter, sunshine, peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, St. Ives Oatmeal & Shea Butter lotion, journal writing.

This is kind of how I feel: Summer 2009

We got to Wellington and were given $20 to fend for ourselves for dinner. We were allotted three hours to walk around town and enjoy.

A small group of us stuck together and went to a food court for the cheaper prices where we ended up eating at a sick nasty Chinese buffet. You’d think I would have learned my lesson last year when Mel, Kevin, Allison, Herb, myself stopped at a $6 chinese buffet after the Festival of Colors at the Hare Krishna temple. I can’t think of a time in relatively normal circumstances when a cheap Chinese buffet is ever a good choice.

People are a little tired and grumpy today from the hike and from being together for a week. There was some murmuring tonight at dinner and a few snarls and tears since then. Nothing too awful but people’s real colors are beginning to show. Buck up, everyone! We’ll make it through :)