Day 11: Cheekiness wins! With the graduation parade canceled, a lot of grads were just milling about – so I asked a Commerce grad whether I could borrow her outfit for a reenactment of the graduation I never got… 🙂
Half-way through my trip as well as half-way through my two weeks in Wellington. Although I’m taking things easy, time just seems to fly by. As you can see from my tweets, I’m feeling very happy here and having a marvelous time. I guess a part of me will always consider Wellington my second home…
When I left New Plymouth yesterday morning, it was beautiful weather and I got to see the mountain (Mt. Taranaki, that is) in its full glory for the first time since my arrival.
I had such a great time with Denise, Ross & co. but honestly, I had butterflies in my stomach when the bus finally got to Wellington (it’s a 7 hour trip that took almost 8). First you get to see the city from the bay, and the bus stop is right at the train station, where the railway campus of Victoria University is, where I had most my classes. I ended up taking a taxi to my accommodation, a student hall that rents out its rooms during the summer trimester – I get to pay by the week for my very own room (very basic, with shared facilities but my own and with 4 gigs of free wifi to boot), which ends up being quite a bit cheaper than even a dorm room in the YHA would be.
Visiting my oldest kiwi friends Denise & Ross (we met in California in 1999!) and their four kids is almost like coming home every time – when my bus arrived Monday night, they were waiting for me, the kids jumping up and down, screaming my name. It was so cool, especially considering that the youngest was only about a year old when I last saw her, but they’ve all completely embraced me as a family member that they just happen to see very rarely. A great way to start my time here!
Denise also took the time out of her busy days to go for some lovely walks with me, allowing me to revel in the beauties of both New Zeland forest and sea. This country is simply so stunning, it takes my breath away…
I’ll be here until Monday morning, when I’ll catch the bus to Wellington. As much as I love it here in New Plymouth and with my friends, going to Wellington feels like going home…
It’s 7am – I managed to sleep until about 5:30, which isn’t too bad, I guess, considering the 12 hour time difference.
Right now no actual photos from NZ, because I spent most of yesterday on the bus where motion sickness makes me wary of snapping pics (not that the landscape wouldn’t have warranted it – the journey from Auckland to New Plymouth has lots of turns and bends, but is also rather stunning). This is the only one so far, taken after I finally arrived at the airport hotel:
I’ll be spending the week with my friends Denise, Ross & their four kids near New Plymouth, so I have lovely wireless access. This gave me the opportunity to find a new Twitter plugin, so we’re rid of those annoying single line posts and should get a daily digest of all my tweets instead.
I promise the next post will actually be an update about the trip! 🙂
- Short stop in Singapore to change planes. I love Changi airport, but it's slightly surreal with its fake trees & birdsong… 12:47:59, 2013-11-24
- Kia ora, Aotearoa, I made it! Am in the airport hotel, freshly showered – bliss. 1:30am & jetlagged, will try to unwind w/ a ginger beer. 🙂 14:29:33, 2013-11-24
At the airport, just said goodbye to my mom. Now on my way to the gate. Guess who managed to bang up her knee (again) last night?
What was I thinking w/ this huge suitcase? It’s not too heavy but terribly awkward & doesn’t roll smoothly. Good thing I’m not going far. :p
Italy 2012, a set on Flickr.
In May, Märrie and I met up with our friend Amy from Singapore and we spent an amazing week in Italy: One (rainy) day in Rome, 3 days in (crazy) Naples & 3 days in pretty Sorrento, with daytrips to amazing Pompeii, Positano (on the Amalfi coast) and a spa in Ischia.
“Jacmel for life”… that’s how it feels, at least. Haiti and Jacmel and the people I met there are still in my thoughts every day. I suspect they’ll be in my heart forever. Why am I mentioning this?
Several of my fellow GVN volunteers will be going back to Port-au-Prince to join GrassRoots United, a disaster relief organisation that is running some awesome long-term sustainable projects. If you still want to help Haiti, do check them out!
I have also heard from Blake, another former volunteer who just returned from two months with GRU – they worked on a couple of projects in Jacmel, and it seems “our” camps are cholera-free, which is great news! Because the land owners want to close the camps, people are slowly moving away, but hopefully this is a good thing and they find more permanent homes. I will give the rest of my donations to returning GVN friend Debra, so she can use it to help those people who were our neighbours.