March 3, 2013
For the majority of today I did nothing of interest to write about: went food shopping, did laundry, attempted to go to the library, etc. But for dinner we started a weekly potluck family dinner in Uni Lodge. This weeks’ theme was Mexican food and I was in charge of tortillas. Everyone brought something and then we prepared dinner together. There were about 20 of us and it was so nice to have Sunday dinner with everyone. Ryan went above and beyond and made a very caloric and delicious corn dip. Caroline also made a yummy bean dip. We had rice, homemade guacamole, salsa, beef, chips and so much more. We all ate so fast and were each stuffed after our one very large burrito.
We all hung out around the dinner table for a while and had a lot of laughs. When we agreed it was time to talk about our travel plans we all pitched in and cleaned the kitchen area in no time, which is a big success after cooking and feeding 20 people.
We then headed up to Caroline and Megan’s room and discussed our Coromandel trip for this weekend. We just about straightened out all of the details out and I am really looking forward to the trip. Once everyone left, Caroline, Meg, Lyssa, Jess, Dan and I talked more about our trip to the South Island and made the big move to purchase our plane tickets. So Christchurch, here I come! This trip is going to be absolutely epic and I although I do not want to rush the semester, I am really stoked to explore, hike, and “just wing it” throughout the entire South Island.
March 2, 2013
Today was Beach Day for the Uni and all of the residence halls met across from the quad and were bused to Mission Bay. A field across from the beach was set up with a rock climbing wall, volleyball, Frisbee and other fun inflatable games. Of course, there was also a sausage sizzle and the line was so long it deterred most people from eating.
Photo Taken by Meghan Cheek
Jessica surprised the group by bringing the supplies and her creative talent to teach us all how to make dream catchers. The perfectionist that I am, I did not get passed the first step, but I am excited to keep working on mine. It was not a sunny day out so it was great that we had an activity to entertain us. Joe played the ukulele while we were crafting and as I said that day, I really felt like I was “one with nature.”
After the beach we were on a mission to get supplies so we could win the best toga at the Toga party this evening. We all got very carried away in the party store. I became overwhelmed with hunger that I treated myself to a hokey pokey chocolate bar. There was a 2 for 5 deal, how could I not?! Hokey pokey is a very popular flavor in New Zealand and consists of small solid lumps of honeycomb toffee. Hokey Pokey Ice Cream is especially popular and every ice cream store has it; I have not tried it yet but will soon.
The Toga party was a lot of fun and for the first time ever I felt like I was at a stereotypical college party. There were thousands of students in togas and each one I saw was more creative than the next. The party was on campus in the quad and there was music roaring and everyone was dancing. As the night progressed more and more people filled the quad until the point where it was hard to move through the sea of people.
March 1, 2013
Today Caroline, Dan and I hiked Mount Eden. Mt. Eden is Auckland’s highest natural point at 196 meters high and last erupted 15,000 years ago. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the base from the Domain and was another 20 minute hike up. The views from the top were spectacular and overlooked all of Auckland. The crater on top was beautifully defined and there were caution signs everywhere warning hikers not to enter the crater.
When we were on top the weather felt like it dropped 30°; we took our pictures, enjoyed the view and hurried down. We worked up a serious appetite on our strenuous journey and wanted to reward ourselves with Burger Fuel. Burger Fuel is phenomenal and I am very happy that it is so close to where I live. It was the most satisfying meal I have had in New Zealand thus far, and is very reasonably priced. We sat outside, each enjoying a different burger, and people watched the pedestrians as they went about their daily lives on Parnell Road.
After a nice afternoon nap, Parnell Student Village was having a BBQ for all of the residents. My hamburger (yes, the second one of the day) was raw and I had to settle for a sausage. First of all, in New Zealand they put sausages on white bread instead of a bun. Second, the sausages are disgusting and I am unsure why I have subjected myself to eating so many of them in the time I have been here. I guess I just make poor decisions when a free meal is at stake. I got to meet a lot of new people at the BBQ and that was very exciting. PSV is becoming more of a community every day and it is comforting to feel more and more at home.
After the BBQ, my flat mate Jin had some friends over for her birthday. I completely forgot that she was having a party in our flat and excused myself to get ready. Flat 12 (my flat) was the first flat to have a registered party in PSV and it was a huge success. A lot of PSV residents came and again I continue to meet new people at each gathering. I am enjoying how diverse PSV is and that I have met people from all over the world. PSV is both undergrad and post grad living, so it is interesting hearing from older residents about their work experience and the career paths they are pursuing.
My Flatmates at Jin’s Birthday Party
We then all headed down to Queen Street and I had the opportunity to introduce my PSV and Arcadia friends to one another.
February 28, 2013
After a long and stressful night of not accomplishing much planning, I managed not to get a whole lot of sleep either. My mind was preoccupied thinking about the shark attack in New Zealand and how close it was to where I was planning on having a surf lesson in a couple of weeks. If you didn’t know, sharks are just about my biggest fear in the world and this is why I very rarely go in the water at the beach. I was hoping to face this fear while I was here, but I am not sure I am ready for that yet.
Once it reached 8am, I finally forced myself to get up from my bed and get ready for the long day of Orientation information sessions ahead. I realized after the first session that I absolutely did not need to be there, but I stuck it out until 1:30pm and then called it quits. The information sessions where geared towards first year students entering the business school and college life for the first time and as I began to meet my classmates, I realized I was the oldest one in the room.
At 2pm I met up with Caroline and Lyssa at Slurp, a campus restaurant/bar, to actually plan our mid-semester break. We successfully planned out the entire week and all we need to do now is get everyone else on board and begin booking the events we penciled in. The trip looks great and I do not want to spoil the surprise yet, so everyone reading will have to wait until April to hear about it!
This evening I went to a New Zealand Breakers game. It was a lot of fun! I did not know anyone who was going but I met a couple of very interesting international and kiwi students who live in PSV and it was great to get to know more of my neighbors.
The stadium could not even come close to comparing to Madison Square Garden, but there was still a lot of hype by the crowd. All of the University of Auckland Residence Halls attended the game so there was a lot of young enthusiasm. The Breakers won against Australia’s Adelaide 36ers 104 to 79; it was a very exciting night. The stadium was in the heart of the city and very easy to get to and from. This was the first of many sporting events here and I am especially looking forward to attending an All Blacks Rugby game!
February 27, 2013
Today we got up bright and early for a bike ride. The whole Arcadia crew got together and met Kate down by the Ferry Station. I was a little hesitant getting on my bike because I have not biked outdoors since I was 10 years old. At first I stayed back to get the hang of things, and in no time I was flying. We biked along the bays in Auckland until we reached Mission Bay, which has a lovely beach area. Jessica and I were in agreement that we wanted to explore some more so we kept on going while the majority of the group decided to enjoy the beach and peaceful water.
Photo Taken by Jessica Giacobbe
In total we probably biked 9 miles but it did not feel that long because the scenery was breathtaking and the cooling breeze was just enough to make the entire trip very comfortable. Mission Bay was a very nice beach and I am excited to know that it is close to Parnell, and very easy to get too with my new HOP card. For lunch Kate got us chips, we were thrown when she came back with a large box filled with fries and we all attacked like seagulls. Needless to say, we finished the 4 pounds of chips in no more than ten minutes.
After the bike ride I knew I needed to get some little things done before classes start on Monday. First, I went to the AT Transport station to apply for the student discount on my Hop Card. I was told this would take up to 15 days to be in effect; I am amazed by how long everything takes to get done here. Lyssa, Caroline, Meghan and I then went to set up our Gym Memberships at the Recreation Center on campus. I am very excited for this gym because it offers classes 7 days a week, has a climbing wall and a women’s only circuit style section. Once our memberships were set up, Lyssa and I set off to iSpace to clarify the very unorganized and contradicting information that was given to us during orientation. After bouncing from office to office, having to wait 15 minutes in each and never receiving an answer, I realized how much I take Babson for granted and how nice it is to go to a small school; but hey, it is all part of the experience! We then went to buy our books. Anxiety overcame me when I was forced to search through the book store with no direction or sense to find my books. The books were not organized alphabetically, by class or in any way. There is just a sea of books that need to be sorted and none of the bookstore employees were able to help me find my books either, so how long will the book store continue this unreal method before they realized that there are about 100 ways to make the process more efficient? It was really overwhelming and I needed to call it a day after this madness.
As I was walking out of the bookstore I realized my bus was at the station and with a poor goodbye I left Lyssa and was back on my way to Parnell. The bus driver was very unfriendly and scared me away from asking any questions. Riding the bus for the first time, I was unsure of my closes drop off so I got off at the first Parnell stop, little did I realize that there would be 6 more on Parnell Road and I was still left to walk a mile until I reached home.
Tonight the gang is coming over to do some semester travel planning. I am very excited to map out our trips on the calendar and start booking flights and rental cars!
February 26, 2013
Today was a very lazy day and for the majority of it I slept in. The most productive thing I did all day was upload pictures to facebook and skype my mom and sister. At night Parnell Student Village (PSV) organized a pub quiz (trivia night) at McCarthy’s on Parnell Road. Trivia was a lot of fun and our team was pretty great. Lyssa, Marjie, Kimberly (our PSV RA), Mark (a kiwi from up north), Rob (a man from Texas) and myself came together to get the highest score out of all of the other PSV teams. Sadly, we came in 5th place because the locals were too good for us. It was very nice to meet new people and we had a lot of laughs trying to guess the answers to questions we were stumped on. I sure hope to make this a weekly event because it will be fun getting to know new people each week. While our team was hard at work, Kimberly surprised us with Kumara chips as a table snack. They are GOOD! I tried Kumara, which is similar to a sweet potato, a few nights ago during the Maori dinner and I enjoyed them much more in chip form. They were served with mayo and what would be similar to a tangy sweet and sour sauce. I was very excited because one of the questions was “what is an Italian dessert made of egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine” and I was very excited that I knew the answer was zabaglione— we were the only team to get it right! After the quiz ended, Marjie and I walked Lyssa out of Parnell and then turned around and hiked up the long and steep hill home to bed.
Our Trivia Team
February 25, 2013
Today was a pretty boring day because I spent four hours in Orientation Information sessions being fed information I had already been told, and not getting information that I was looking for. I spent most of the information sessions on my iPad because for the first time in a week I had access to wifi. After the information session ended, we all ran around tackling necessary errands. Our first stop was to get our passport pictures taken in the campus center; it was outrageous that four passport pictures (when we only needed one each) were $15. After we all got our pictures we headed down to Queen Street to the PostShop to mail our 18+ cards. It is nerve-wracking always carrying my passport on me, so getting this card will put me at ease. After we sent our mail we headed to ANZ Bank to open a student bank account. This will make life much easier because I did not realize that for every time I swiped my card I was getting charged a $7 + 20% of my purchase international service fee. We then made a quick run across the street to get my HOP pass which is my bus ticket to travel throughout the city. I then headed back to Parnell with Lyssa and we took a trip to two supermarkets to gather the ingredients for our quesadillas that we were making for dinner. I was very happy I had her to make the trip with me because now I learned of two great dairies that are very close to my house.
When we got back we started by chopping onion, tomato and pepper. Our quesadillas tasted very fresh but definitely could have used some salsa or sour cream. We pour a glass of wine and ate dinner on my balcony overlooking the volleyball court. After dinner I walked back to Unilodge with Lyssa and we got ready to go to Globe Bar for the first time.