Wednesday, July 1, 2009

*Welcome Home, You*

The first thing I did in LA was... try to walk UP the down escalator... why did America switch sides on me?! :-P


I'm HOME!!!!!!! Back to the humidity and heat of Mid-Missouri. *sigh* It's a nice feeling, I must say. :-) It was super fantastic to meet my parents and sister at STL Lambert International! Hooray! Then headed straight to Steak'N'Shake for some tasty cheese fries, as per usual. Again, quite nice. Then home home!! Hung out with the crazy dogs and cats for a bit!!! AMAZING!!! I think they may have missed me a bit, aye?!

So here I sit, at home on my computer, in my room. Just had El Jimador and Sno Biz. Classic Jefferson City. :-D

To bed now, as I'm quite tired! Also... drove on the RIGHT side of the road today, although I turned on the windshield wipers three times in an attempt to turn on my blinker... yikes!

No more for now! Best wishes for a lovely day, wherever you may be. :-) <3

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Here comes the sun.

Headed home in approximately 49.5 hours. WHOA. :-) / :-(

It's been an utter dream this past semester. Incredible. Certainly beginning to digest the events, the people, the experience as a whole. It's a wonderful contradicition that I feel at present.

My friend and I had a farewell party yesterday evening. Quite lovely, heaps of laughter, photography fun, and swapping stories and memories! What a beautiful thing, this life. :-)

Have also been travelling excessively the past three weeks!! HEAPS of flights, hostels, and bizzare encounters!! Oh, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Sydney, and Tasmania. :-) Such randomosity and adventure.

Just at Bondi Beach with a fellow Mizzou friend! Aliens are coming, apparently...

Oh, Tasmania... :-D

Oh, Sydney...

Welcome to Melbourne.

So... for now... a few closing thoughts.

The NZ = amazing experiences and growth, a second home, OCF, and sweet accents. And so much more!

Home = family, friends, dogs, The Rock, and comfort. <3

See you state-side, dear friends. <3

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Whoa. So much has happened since my last update!

So... we went on the Pinnacles hike nearly 3 weeks ago! Crazy times! Then... had a final week of classes! They were quite nice, actually. We even had a Pacific Music and Dance performance/concert on the last day!! Hooray for fun times!! Here is a picture...

With Andrea and Yuka at our concert!

Then... that Friday night, I headed SOUTH!! After one last OCF, that is... :-( Going to miss that crew! They're lovely.

So... heading south... quite an adventure! My first solely planned journey, setting off alone, only to enjoy a splendid reunion!! Flew to Wellington (NZ's capital city) that night, arriving to an awaiting airport shuttle around 10:30 PM. Take note, my luggage/backpack arrived about 3 minutes after arriving at the baggage claim. Glorious.

Shuttled to MIZZOU friends, Hannah and Sarah, who awaited at The Cube Apartments. :-D Happy times!! We laughed for a bit, then went to wander about the city briefly. Ended up at Burgerfuel, classic NZ burg-ahs and chups. :-) Then headed about a bit more, arriving at a Sports Bar, just making the last call, and enjoying girl talk amidst a fairly empty Sports Bar. It was nice. Then off to spend the night at a friend of a friends, the apartment complex.

Me and Hannah, sporting MIZZOU shirts!
Next day: Chill. Coffee time, walking along the harbor, and visiting Te Papa, New Zealan's Museum. Really enjoyed seeing the world's largest giant squid, preserved in a large glass case! Hung out there for a while, then had a nice lunch (salmon and cream cheese sandwich, mmm...) and headed back to the apartment. Hannah and Sarah headed back to Lincoln and I ventured to the YHA Wellington; classic! Made a visit to New World for dinner supplies, enjoyed spaghetti, and then met up with one of my roommates for the night and went to "Downstage Theater" for a show! Othello Polynesia. Very nice, actually! Then to sleep!!
Next day... early morning, caught the shuttle to the ferry terminal. :-) What a day ahead! Ferried across to the South Island (Picton) beginning at 8 AM. Met two sweet girls from Europe (Germany and the Netherlands), so we hung out, swapped adventure stories, got sea sick, and took pictures together! Arrived at Picton, had about an hour, so I went with one of the girls to check into her hostel and then we met this other guy from Mexico. He joined us for lunch at... SUBWAY! First truely "American" meal in quite a while! I tried to order a 6 inch... strange looks... :-( And the mayo tasted funny!!

On the ferry between Wellington and Picton (North and South Island).

Regardless, we split ways after taking pictures at the train and climbed aboard! Tranzscenic down through Kaikoura to Christchurch!!! What a beautiful ride it was! Met a Scottish friend, who was also at the YHA Wellington, and turns out we chatted about medicine, politics, and everything under the sun for quite a while! Had a nice and relaxing travel day, clearly.

Fun pictures before boarding the train.

Scenes from the Tranzscenic journey.

Arrived to Christchurch just after dark, caught a shuttle to the bus station, and parted ways. Caught a bus about 45 minutes ride to Lincoln Uni and met up with Hannah!! Had a blast, watching Lion King with a sweet crew, including Rachel B and Julia H (also Mizzou girls!!). :-D Hooray for friends from home!

Then... overnight at Lincoln. The Monday was spent wandering around Christchurch after a relaxing breakfast and such. Hannah and I enjoyed singing, laughing, coffee-ing, studying, and being tourists! (We even got a free NZ pen with purchase!) *Time after time*


Then had dinner at Winnie Bagoes!!! Wonderful, epic pizza! And the whole Mizzou crew plus a few of their friends!! :-) Joyous. I enjoyed a chicken, cranberry, and brie half-pizza. It was delicious.

Winnie Bagoes!
Then we headed back to Lincoln, ran to get free hot chocolate, and then hit up the library! They even have a gum boot box outside!! Hehehe. Laughed at pictures, printed out itineraries, and Hannah wrote/drew directions for me regarding catching the bus the following day!
Next day... tooooo DUUUUNNNNEEEEDDDDIIINNNNN!!!!!!! :-D Yay!! Too much to say about it just now, but for starters... met up with Andrea (from Illinois) and her boyfriend and went to the Otago Museum. Saw some nice Antarctica photos, which was sweet. Then... tried to find dinner!! Ended up walking from place to place in search of something called the "ale house" or such... and we eventually found it! Along with the All Blacks (National Rugby Team = AMAZING). RIDICULOUS!! That's another story in itself!!! :-D Yes, we got pictures (after realizing it was actually them...). One of them had on a Kansas jersey... WHAT?! Haha, good times.
Next day (Wednesday) we toured Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (also known as the Cadbury Factory), saw a five-story chocolate fall, ate a bit of chocolate, then went for lunch at "The Feast" or some such little cafe. Then... headed to our Elm Wildlife Tour! The city itself, of which I am quite a fan, was enhanced by the Otago Peninsula adventure! Fur seals, sea lions, royal albatross, and yellow-eyed penguins!! :-) Splendid. Then back along the Maine-in-appearance coastline. Up to Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world!! We tried to run up to the top! Good memories, even though it was already dark!

Andrea and I just relaxing on Baldwin Street.

Then to Signal Hill, with views of Dunedin. Quite chilly, I must say. Then to dinner at "The Cook Tavern", classic Dunedin, apparently. Consumed a $4.90 burger with chips! Then home to get some rest!
The following day we packed up and ventured to Larnach Castle, New Zealand's ONLY castle. :-) Not quite as legit as Europe, I must say... regardless, Andrea, Jack, and I enjoyed wandering around, taking pictures (and even "Senior Pics" hehehe), and having some "free" tea! Headed back along the penninsula with absolutely stunning views and arrived back in the city in time for lunch (Subway again!! This time I ordered a 6 inch and it was quite alright.) and for me to catch the bus back to Christchurch.
I did so, arrived at Hornby, caught a shuttle to the airport, grabbed a muffin for dinner, and then had a relatively rough flight back to the AKL. A bit ill by that time, and with turbulence and such, my ears were driving me up the wall! All was well by the end of the flight, picked up baggage, and caught the shuttle back to the city with a connecting 645 bus back to Remuera Road! Home by 11:20 PM after a grand adventure!!! Success!!
So... then I began to study for my first exam (over one week after the end of classes. Wow.), which went quite nicely this past Monday! No more on the Geology of NZ over the past Half a Million Years. :-( Sad day. 15 pages of essay answers for an exam was a nice ending, I would say. And I even got to draw an Alpine Parrot (kea) for one of my answers!! :-) Not sure if I was supposed to, but no worries, aye?!
Last night the girls enjoyed Cock n Bull, an English Pub down the street! A nice reunion of sorts after traveling adventures and studying "stress" (which is totally different, and easier, than Mizzou!).

Cock'n'Bull Pub, Sarah and Andrea.

Today... Andrea and I booked flights to Sydney and ... TASMANIA. Bizzarrrreee, but can't wait!!!! What craziness, aye? Even meeting a friend from Mizzou in Sydney, perhaps touring the Opera House, and more!
Tomorrow, leaving for Wellington to see the All Blacks take on France in the Iveco Series. They lost last week (22-27) to the same team, in Dunedin. Hopefully the tides will turn for this match! :-)
That's all for now! Off to study for Biopsychology and then pack after a dinner of chicken-something! :-)

PS. 13 Days. :-) Whoa.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


A glimpse of the weekend.

We had a complete blast on the tramp this past weekend!!! Even celebrated June 1st/Queen's Birthday at the hut!! And... it started legit S*n*o*w*i*n*g just after we arrived at the hut!!! :-D Hooray!! And they say it never snows in the Coromandel... ha.

We decided to go (after deciding NOT to go due to flooding of the track and danger...) around 8:30 AM on Sunday, leaving by 10:30 or 11:00 AM, and arriving in Thames/the carpark area by 1:00 PM. We paid our hut fee of $15 NZ, checked out the resulting splendid weather, and drove the pot-hole-filled road to the trail head. Began the hike with wonderful weather!! Swing bridges, uphill, and scenic overlooks (including a waterfall!!). Arrived to our 1-hour-from-hut mark and it began to drizzle.... Danni (my friend from the states) "birthed" Wilhelm, my emergency heat blanket, in order to cover my backpack!! We had great times! :-) Arrived at the hut around 4:30 or so and began to get chilly... Enter snow, icy rain, and wind! Thankfully we were in the largest DOC hut in NZ (80 people, and it was FULL!).

Swing bridge fun!

The just-minutes-old Wilhelm.

Regardless, we ate noodles, took pictures, laughed a ton, met up with two other friends, and then enjoyed a "logging of the Kauri forest" slideshow!! I wore 4 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of socks, 1 hat, and a pair of gloves to sleep... :-) It was beautiful.
The following morning (after attempting to sleep in below freezing temperatures, amongst 40-odd snoring folk...), we awoke at 6:15, bundled up, and headed to the summit: The Pinnacles!! What a wonderful sunrise it was!! :-D Beauty, pure and simple.

The Pinnacles!

Headed back down, enjoyed... black ice everywhere, coating the rock steps. Not the most effective way to descend, but it provided for a few laughs and a few slips. Down after another swing bridge and a journey through the jungle. Arrived back to our cars by 1:15 PM or so! :-D What a great feeling. Then into Thames for a nice hot cocoa and lunch!! I quite enjoyed a mince and potato pie. Mmmm...

Departed Coromandel and arrived home by 5:00 PM. What a nice little get-away from the city!! :-D
Pictures galore, memories made, and one my top "things to do while in NZ" checked off!

Our crew for the sunrise hike!

That's all for this one!
Love you all.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


We are finally going tramping today!!! :-) To the Pinnacles, southern part of the Coromandel Penninsula. Should be nice. Even staying in a hut overnight!! The largest DOC hut in NZ. :-D Exciting! It's sunny for a while, which is very nice as well! I will post pictures and an update of the adventure upon return.

That's all for now!

G'day, friends.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh man.

I'm going to miss this place, ya know? The people, especially. You all are lovely. :-)

One month, 3.8 days or so.


(The picture is totally random, haha!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Week at a Glance

Sooo... Just a short note as an update for the week!

Top activities/events of this past week, beginning Friday, 15 May 2009.

*Singing as part of the worship team for OCF (Overseas Christian Fellowship).

We're a band. :-)

*Watching SALSA at the Mexican Cafe!!

*Checking out Victoria Park Markets (and the surrounding children's park with a frog!!).

*Going to a (relatively boring, but awesome) Blues vs. Crusaders Rugby Game!!

*Hamilton Gardens and random adventures south of Auckland.

Who knew there were giant pumpkins around in May?!


*WAITOMO CAVES!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh goodness, how lovely! :-) (Pictures and a better description available on Facebook, if you're interested. I would suggest checking it out online as well!)

Something was hillarious! Perhaps the fact that we just got dumped over in the river...

*Being challenged, learning from new experiences such as Waitomo (and working on my fear of heights)!

*J's Backpackers and new international friends in Hamilton.

*Lunch in Albert Park because it was a sunny day!! (They are getting fewer and fewer as winter closes in...)

*Writing a paper... (Ok, maybe that's not too exciting, but it was about surgery!!)

*Flamenco fiesta with cheese, crackers, wine, and... nachos!! And of course dressing up and dancing!!

*Giving a presentation in class for the first time since arrival in Auckland.

*Sweet Impact Group (small group) with OCF on Tuesday evening; dinner at "Angie's Cafe", a Malaysian spot, afterwards!

*STOMP!!!!!! The show was held at the Civic Center here in AKL and was amazing!! Also had dinner at the Viaduct, which was lovely.

*Japanese dinner and "Little Miss Sunshine" with the girls! (Oh, and cookie baking!) :-)

Being unicorns with our chopsticks, clearly!
That's all for now!! Turned out to be a bit more than just merely "highlights", but it's been a nice week. Time to finish my history document analysis and begin the next one! Finals (finals MONTH, to be precise...) are a few weeks away, though there are only two full weeks of class remaining! Crazy!!!!!! Going on a bushwalk/tramp this Saturday with OCF friends and such; should be quite wonderful! The rest of the weekend will be spent studying, researching, and writing. Fun times!

Update again soon! I would love to hear from you if you are reading this. Please feel free to shoot me an e-mail, facebook message, or comment on the blog. :-) Miss you, friends!

Auckland Town Hall as a sand castle. I'm not really sure why...

G'night! <3>

Saturday, May 16, 2009

When Pigs Fly.

So I was walking to class yesterday (or perhaps two days ago... not exactly sure) I spotted a super awesome t-shirt upon a classmate. It was simply stated, black in color, and rather amusing. It said...

"Pigs don't Fly.
They Flu."


And that was all. I had a nice little chuckle to myself. And yes, the "Swine Flu/H1-N1" did come to Auckland, but it appears as though it's not a concern... No worries.

On a different note, a few friends and I went to the Blues (Auckland) vs. Crusaders (Canterberry) Rugby Game this evening. It was lovely weather, quite mild. We lost by 2 points, which were scored in the last 7 minutes or so of the game... Bummer! On a happy note, we were able to manage the following pictures post-game:

That is all for now! More to follow. Headed to Waitomo Caves tomorrow and will be Black Water Rafting. We shall see how that goes!! :-)

G'night and love you all!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


So... I realize that it has been over a month since my last post... don't get too excited yet, as this is not going to be a long post... YET... :-)

Just wanted to share some immediate excitement with friends back home.

As I was waiting at the bus stop near Uni after an incredible Graduation Gala Orchestra Concert/Competition, I took time to people watch. This is my usual routine, and usually provides a fair amount of entertainment, for a common bus stop, that is. This evening, however, I watched a guy come to the stop where I was waiting. I looked at his bag because it said "National Geographic Society." Then saw his "All Blacks" jacket. Kiwi. Thenn.... I saw a TIGER. No joke. THE MIZZOU TIGER! On his baseball cap. :-D Oh goodness, I was excited. I evaluated the situation, checked out the hat, and indeed saw an "M" with our lovely tiger resting upon.

So I commented... "Sir, is that a Mizzou hat that you have?"... "Umm... no, sorry, it's not... eh... wait, OH! Missouri, yes!"

Turns out he has been there for 6 months, not sure how recently, but he mentioned Kansas within the first few words... then followed by apologizing and saying it was actually "Kansas City, the Missouri side."

I laughed.

So yeah, basically that's the story, he knows MISSOURI!! The first TRUE TIGER that I've spotted since arrival on February 16th here in good ole' Auckland, NZ.

Made my night.

Made my day, actually!

That's all for now. Much love and will post again soon. :-)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just an extra hour at Piha

We went camping! :-) As a result, I am now a bit sandy and sunburnt... and my knee... don't think I was supposed to slide down Lion Rock... But it provided an absolutely stunning view of Piha! Since camping was something that was on my list for the "summer in NZ" or such, it was a joy to actually have a plan come together. Five of us headed out a bit later than expected on Saturday to the western beaches of the Auckland area. They are known for wicked surf and sometimes quite strong currents.

First stop: Foodtown to pick up some groceries. Let the fun begin. Was a nice drive down; quite a curvy road through some dense bush. Nice views awaited from a stop-off just above Piha! Soo exciting!! (Note: There is a large, obtrusive rock called Lion Rock in the middle of the beach at Piha. This is in a few films, so may look familiar.) Once we arrived, we had a "nice" (*cough notnice cough*)chat with this lady who presumed we were up to no good... Quite an unfortunate assumption on her part, I do believe. Regardless, we found a campsite in a small field-ish area and set up camp! Then we headed to the beach!

What a beautiful surf. Huge waves galore.

Needless to say, we enjoyed a bit of the water, though it was very chilly. Relaxed for the afternoon and loved taking in the view of PIHA!! Returned to the campsite after enjoying a beautiful sunset. There was also a couple in wedding attire on the beach! Gorgeous. Dinner (cheese sausages) was fixed in the kitchen after a few 3-minute showers and then we retired back to our site. Sat outside in the chilly air, relaxed on the air mattress, and looked at the stars for quite some time. The sky was completely scattered with stars and absent of clouds for a while, which was nice. Then...

There was a noise around our campsite.

It sounded like an animal (and to be honest, my instincts told me "Run! Bear!"... Of course I wasn't thinking, "There can't be bears, we are in New Zealand...")...

Sooo... we began to investigate and found...
HEDGEHOG! Eating our chocolate cupcakes and sitting amongst the feijoas!! Oh goodness... Soo... we took too many pictures, laughed for a while, and then sent the hedgehog on its way.

Needless to say, I slept in the tent from this point on.

Day two: More of the beach!! :-) Once we finally cleaned up, had breakfast, played on the playground, and packed out the cars, we headed to catch some surf. I actually tried SURFING for the first time in my life!! :-D It was super super exciting, even though I was not successful... Regardless, I enjoyed the mini-lesson and think it would be nice if we lived near a beach back home so that I could potentially practice! Either way, my half hour of surfing was totally worth while and sweet as! :-) Tuna and bread for lunch on the beach, with a few Oreos for "pudding." For the rest of the afternoon, I took a nice walk up Lion Rock, nearly slid down into the grass, and managed to enjoy even more wonderful views of the surf and such. What a splendid spot.

It was a bit stressful getting everything settled, but nothing that would distort my impression of a wonderful weekend at the beach. Camping and all! :-) I'm still suprised that it actually happened.

Quite tired now. Back to Remuera Road, packed, and ready to leave tomorrow for the Cook Islands! We shall see when I find time to do my papers, but hopefully all will be well for the remainder of break!!

Ready to try out surfing.

I found this road sign to be rather obvious. Lion Rock.

Relaxing along the shore.

Ahhh... Piha.

Our visitor!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ahhh, sweet break.

Mid-semester break has begun! I am quite quite QUITE excited about the upcoming two weeks!! Today begins with an adventure to Piha Beach. We are going camping!!! :-) Something that I've been hoping to do since arrival. Should be nice. Then coming home to finalize packing and such for the Cook Islands! Stoked about visiting Rarotonga!! Dancing, swimming, markets, embracing the island, and an Easter celebration!! :-D Yay! Then... to the South Island. Oh goodness, I hear it is absolutely wonderful. Also, am excited that my parents will be there for a while!! Sweet as! :-)

For now, I must be going to finish packing, baking, and preparing for the two incredible weeks ahead! Adios for now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Your jumper is really quite nice."

My first Flat White... (basically I couldn't drink it because, although it was supposedly "quite weak", it was full of caffeine and coffee-flavored...). But it certainly looks nice! I'll take an Iced Chocolate, please. :-)

I am really enjoying the Kiwi language. It makes me smile to hear even the youngest of children speaking in "proper English." For instance, Honey and Ivan's grandson, around age 7, was asking me about my proper jumper. He is so proper and utilizes quite an odd vocabulary in comparison to most American seven-year-olds. Several other words came about over the course of this past weekend... "flash" refers to something that is modern, something that is fresh. "That city is certainly flash! Perfect for the tourists!" "Fringe", not bangs, for the hairstyle (note: utilized for both guys and girls). "Jumpers" are worn by most; meaning a sweatshirt or hoodie. Not the typical American dress of sorts. (I know this is standard in most other English speaking countries, but still struck me as a bit odd.) And... as mentioned in the title, it is very common to refer to an event, food, or other object as "quite nice" rather than "good, tasty, cool."

On the other hand... I walked up Mount Hobson this evening! Quite lovely once again! And what's not to love about nature, sunset, and a sweet city overlook?! I mean, honestly... I have included a few pictures below regarding my evening.

I experienced my first U of A exam yesterday evening!! Everyone was super serious... rather ridiculous if I may say so... :-) Regardless, it was a nice exam, and I trust I did rather alright. Biopsychology, so much of the information is not new at this point.

Here is a random tid-bit from my day. My friend Eliza and I went to the Warehouse (an all-puropose, wholesale, everything-store) and found Easter candy. I found this one to be a bit disturbing...

Casket? Really?


And now I am beginning to set out clothes for the upcoming two weeks of incredible chaos!!! Very excited for mid-semester break!!! :-) (My internal clock tells me that I should be preparing for Spring, flowers, and pastel colors. Clearly that's what is associated with April, Easter, and such! But no... the leaves are turning and there is a chilly breeze lingering on a more regular basis. Strange. Anyway, I will continue to wear pastel colors because it is Spring to me.) :-) Leaving for Rarotonga in the Cook Islands on Monday!! Soo soon!! And then it will be 23-28 degrees C (mid-70's and such). Nice. Then to the SOUTH ISLAND!!! Meeting my parents at the airport in Christchurch and cannot wait to see what the week holds!! Yay!

But for now, I must focus on looking into my research papers (all 5 of them...). Yikes.

Have a lovely night/morning/day! Miss you all!

My home is in the lower left corner. You will see a series of connected dark grey roofs; I live in one of those!

Mount Hobson, looking towards Mount Eden.

The Clocktower from Albert Park, Uni.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mmmm... Sulfur!

Yay!! I finally got my camera to load pictures onto the computer! It was a bit questionable for a bit there, but luckily the problem has been avoided at this point. Soooo... this weekend was INCREDIBLE!!! Yes, I have a test tomorrow, so this update will be short and followed in about a days time by a longer, more accurate description of the past few days.

Keeping it short, I visited family friends in the Bay of Plenty for (supposedly) Saturday and Sunday, returning once again a day later than expected, on Monday morning! :-) Had an absolutely LOVELY time!! Rotorua was included as well, with awesome kids along for the day! We had a blast, and I even rolled down a giant hill in a rather giant plastic ball. Sounds ridiculous, which it is! Wonderful Kiwi inventions, I tell you! And that was after watching a sheep show (with pictures of the sheering and such), wandering around Mount Manganui, and enjoying the thermal wonderlands of Te Puia Village. A Maori cultural show was enjoyed as well.

Below are a few picutres of the whorlwind tour of the glorious bay and sulfur-drenched tourist attractions.

The Rotorua Museum.

Baa baa Black Sheep...

The Bay and Mount Manganui.

Dinner at Harbourside with friends!

At the Bay of Plenty.

The village of Matamata, also known as Hobbiton!

Now that's hot mud.


Pohutu Geyser.


Goodnight, amigos.