Thursday, November 3, 2011


So, my laptop has died (just the computer and not the hard drive, fortunately), and with it all my plans of uploading photos, catching up on blogging, and getting homework done.  Right now Nora is kindly letting me use her computer, but I feel bad taking it from her to often, so I probably won't be getting nearly as much done as I intended.  On the plus side, I won't be staying up late online, either.  Anyway, all that to say that my posting schedule is not going to be as promised the other day.  Maybe I'll write some retrospective posts once I'm home, if anyone's interested in that?  (If you are, let me know...)

But for now, here's a little more on where I am now and what's been going on: Nora and I are staying with a family who live in a suburb of Auckland.  The dad is from New Zealand and the mom is American (from Michigan); she moved here with him after they got married less than 10 years ago.  They have three children, ages 2, 4, and 6.  The kids are all quite high-energy, and the youngest, especially, has been playing with us a lot.  She likes to make me pretend to go to sleep and then sing, yell, or hit me with a pillow to wake me up.  She's super cute; they all are.  We've been eating great home-cooked meals with them and we watched NCIS (an American crime show that I'd never heard of before we came here) with the mom the other night.  So it's been fun so far.

For the past two weeks we've had Gary Baxter, a Houghton art professor, with us to teach the Art and Film courses.  So for the past three days our classes have consisted of watching New Zealand films, which is fun.  The movies are, in case anyone's curious, Once Were Warriors, Whale Rider, and Boy.  All quite good, all dealing with some hard issues--Once Were Warriors is especially dark, very disturbing.  Boy had a good amount of humor in it, so that balance was good.

Today we visited a super nice public school and heard about it from one of the teachers and chatted with some of the students and then had a wonderful afternoon tea there (here and in AU they eat so many times in one day; breakfast, then morning tea, then lunch, then afternoon tea, then dinner [which they call tea--so many teas!  But it never means just tea, there's always food too], and sometimes supper, which is a light snack before bed).  Tomorrow we have a guest lecturer in the morning, and then we have a free afternoon.  Not sure what I'll do; maybe try to get into the city by ferry if it's not too expensive and if I can figure out the bus system to get there.

So yeah, I guess that's a pretty good overview of things right now.  Not sure when I'll post again, but I'll try to at least once or twice before I come back on the 18th!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A post!

Wow, my last post was September 9th--I lost my momentum early!  But here's a quick update on what's going on with me now (I just copied and pasted from an email... :P).  I definitely have more free time this week than I've had for ages, so there will be more posts--both on NZ and the past weeks in AU--soon!

NZ feels very different from AU.  Much quieter and less busy--you can tell the population is smaller.  We were in Auckland yesterday and today, and the city just feels so empty compared to Australian cities.  The countryside, what we've seen of it, is beautiful--the shoreline is cliffs, and there are lots of rivers and sand flats.  So it's a nice place, and I hope we get to see more of it.  The area where we've mainly been--we have classes at the church where most of the host families go--is kind of ugly, all developed with stores everywhere.  And the suburb where I'm staying is just packed with houses; you look out the window and just see tons of them, as if they're piled on top of each other (it's really hilly here, so it's kind of a funny perspective.  Driving in Auckland was scary because the hills were so steep).

We went to the Auckland Art Gallery on Monday and the Natural History Museum today.  Who knows what we'll do tomorrow!