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!

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