05 September 2008

Spring is Springing (or at least trying to)

Hello all you folks out there in cyberspace. I wish I could give a good excuse for my general slackness in generating new posts, but alas, I have none. To my credit though, for awhile life was just schoolwork, running, and salsa, and I can only make that so interesting. But now that mid-semester break has come and gone, I actually have something to write about. So hold on to your hats, 'cause here we go!

A lot of things have happened within the past few weeks. Not only did I celebrate my 24th birthday, I got to share it with my MOMMY :) She flew all the way over here from the States for an eleven-day whirlwind tour of New Zealand, jam-packed with Rotary activities. Thanks to our killer planning skills, Abbie (the other ambassadorial scholar here) and I organized a Rotary travel extravaganza in which we hit up three different clubs throughout Central Otago and gave our presentations. It actually all worked out really well, as we were given lodging, some help with gas money, and lots of free food. Plus, mom got to experience a bit of my relationship with Rotary, meet a lot of locals, and listen to me crack the same jokes over and over. And I actually drove for the first time since I've been here, on the wrong side of the road and everything. It was surprisingly easy actually; I didn't jeopardize our lives or the lives of anyone else at all. Go me! (It probably helped that I had done virtually no driving for the past two years, so I wasn't having to do any major mental shifting...).

When we weren't speaking at the clubs, we filled our days with all sorts of activities: touring wineries, enjoying pinot noir, mini-hikes, driving past snow-capped mountains and crystal blue lakes, enjoying more pinot noir, flying in a two-seater mini plane over Wanaka (courtesy of a very generous Rotarian), drinking even more pinot noir...For my actual birthday on the 27th, I revisited my personal heaven, the Canyon Swing at Queenstown. It was just as AWESOME as I remembered it from Easter break, and this time I got a free jump since it was my b-day. And my mom once again proved her own awesomeness, as she actually took the plunge and did the swing too. How many people can say their mom has the guts to free fall 109m off a ledge over a water-filled canyon, I ask you?! She was definitely scared, but she came up laughing with a big smile on her face. After the adrenaline rush subsided, we stuffed ourselves with birthday ice cream and super-tasty Indian food, and then headed back to Cromwell for more pinot noir :) All in all the week-long tour was a great success and tons of fun!

Mom and I spent the last days of her trip enjoying the sites of Dunedin, which actually had really great weather the entire time. I was thrilled, as prior to her arrival it had been raining continuously for about a month. But it was sunshine-y and warm the whole time, so Mom got to see exactly why I love it here. The grand tour included the Cadbury factory, Speights brewery, Larnach Castle, a drive through the penninsula, and of course, souvenir shopping. Mom also had her first salsa lesson at the Taq; I don't know if she'll be hitting the latin dance scene any time soon back in South Carolina, but she gave it a good college try and seemed to enjoy it well enough.

So all in all it's been a pretty awesome two weeks. Mom survived the flight home, and I've got my bed all to myself once again. Coming up on my schedule is the Moro half-marathon around the penninsula, which I'm super-excited about, as well as a salsa competition in Christchurch. While I'm not competing I've got a few good friends who are, so I'll tag along as moral support and to enjoy the sure-to-be-rocking after party. Somewhere in there I should probably try to get some homework done...but we'll just have to see how that goes :). And I'll try to keep more on top of the whole posting thing, too. But for now, I'm off to enjoy the beautiful sunshine.

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