25 July 2008

Life After a Studio Room

Hip hip hooray! I am thrilled to say that after a month of waiting, someone (a couple, actually) has finally agreed to sublet my room. It all happened so fast it's a little hard to believe. Last Wednesday I got a text from a young man asking to see the place, and by five o'clock that night he called me back saying he'd take it and could I be out by tomorrow. Rather short notice, but I was so thrilled someone with cash in hand wanted it how could I say no?

So I called up Graham, my super-awesome Rotary host counselor, and humbly requested the aid of he and his vehicle to move my hastily packed stuff, and by 1 p.m. the next day I was the newest resident of 15 Howe St. So far, I'm incredibly happy with the move. My 4 new flatmates are not only Kiwi (yay for more exposure to authentic Kiwi culture), but they actually TALK and INTERACT and hang out with each other (unlike the 8 people in my old flat where I could go a whole month without seeing anyone). that, and the two girls, Jess and Hannah are awesome cooks/bakers and have thus far kept me quite well-fed. So any future weight gain I wholly blame on them.

Other than that, things have been fairly low-key here. Naturally as soon as I got in the flat I developed a yucky cold/sinus infection that has been hanging on for about a week. It's pretty sweet how I get to be like "Hi, I'm your new flatmate. I come complete with tons of snot and germs, I'll be sure to share them equally with everyone." I'm doing my best to kick this bug, but so far it's been an uphill battle. Hopefully I'll prevail soon, as it's putting me waaaay behind in my marathon training.

I did have the chance to experience a classic NZ cultural experience, however. A couple weekends ago I attended the All Blacks rugby game played at the Dunedin stadium. It was definitely a bit more subdued than a USC football game--probably because the stadium only holds about a third the amount of spectators. But there was a streaker that attempted to give his boy goods their 3 minutes of fame by running onto the field. He didn't make it very far though, as he got clotheslined pretty quickly by security.

Another...hmm...interesting aspect of the rugby game was, well, just take a look at the video below. Supposedly this performance is a tradition, put on every year by the residents of one of the freshman dorms. Yes, these are ALL GUYS doing their interpretation of Swan Lake. Overall I must admit their sychronization is certainly on point, and what they lack in technique they make up for in dedication. Perhaps the streaker was inspired by the boys in booty shorts.

Other than the afore mentioned attention grabbers, I must confess the rest of my attention was hardly spent actually watching the rugby carnage. Call me unsport-y, but all in all I'd say I only watched about ten minutes of the actual game. I spent the rest of the time playing with 6-year-old Temika and 4-year-old Jayden, the niece and nephew of one of the crew--an activity I found to be infinitely more entertaining than watching the All Blacks lose to South Africa for the first time in 20 years or something.Anyways that's enough from me; as it's actually NOT raining for the first time in four days, I'm going to head outside and live it up while I still can. Cheers!

04 July 2008

Sarah the Explorer

I can't believe I'm about to start my second semester of classes at Otago in only two days! It feels like just yesterday that I was be driven around in the pouring rain on the hunt for accommodation, completely disoriented from the combination of being on the wrong side of the road and lingering jet lag. Funny how things come full circle--which I will elaborate upon in a moment.

A lot has happened over the break; I finally got a job at a store called Wild South, which sells high-end outdoor wear (yay for paychecks) only to be told by NZ Immigration I was missing the appropriate permit I need in order to work. The frustrating part is, I did have the appropriate permit on my original visa; however in the confusing process of moving back home from my passport was misplaced and I was forced to get a new one and a rush visa the DAY before my flight over here. And unfortunately the new one does not have the appropriate language, so I'm currently $120 NZD poorer and waiting on the paperwork to go through (seems unfair doesn't it, having to pay money to work and make money...).

I'm also in the process of looking for someone to sublet my room. As much as I love the place, it is simply too great a drain on my limited finances (hence the job). It's been a little stressful, as I found a room I like but can't move into it until someone takes this place over--and I'm not sure how much longer it's current resident is willing to wait. I thought I had found a taker last week, and went so far as to cancel a scheduled trip to Wellington so that I could move. Only the person suddenly changed their mind, putting me out about $100 and back at the drawing board. (If you haven't guessed by now, it's been a bit stressful here...)

I do not like to let things like this get me down if I can possibly help it though, and I refused to have gone the entire 3+ weeks of my vacation without doing anything cool, so I planned and organized a trip up to the mountain lake town of Wanaka in about one day--my first solo travel excursion. It was really nice to be able to get away and be on my own and really take some me time, especially in an area as beautiful as Wanaka. The land surrounding the small town is absolutely breathtaking, with it's snow-capped mountains, ice blue lake, and lush valleys. In fact I'll even go so far as to say it was, as of yet, the most incredible scenery I've seen yet (sorry Milford Sound). I hiked through the Rob Roy Valley, a four-hour trek alongside a river that leads to the Rob Roy glacier, and was incredibly proud of the fact that despite being inadequately waterproofed and tromping through plenty of snow, I never once noticed how cold my feet were!

Unfortunately the second day didn't quite live up to the first; freezing wind and pounding rain relegated me to fire-warmed cafes, after I was forced to abandon an attempt at another scenic walk halfway through due to general soakage and fear of hypothermia. But so it goes. And despite the bus ride home being equally frigid, I managed to make it back to Dunedin in time to assist the free Salsa lesson at Taqueria Poblano, and dance the night away as usual.

So all in all, things worked out ok. I'll be glad to be back in class once again; as much as I love free time, I love learning even more. And hopefully soon I'll be cleared to work and find a taker for my room. Oh, and before I forget, Happy Independence Day, USA!