Oppression, Kangaroo Balls, and the Opera House

It’s officially been a week and a half since I’ve been home from Australia and this is the first time I’ve been even slightly motivated to post about it. This might have something to do with the fact that blogging means I’m not studying. It also might have something to do with the fact that leaving New Zealand in 5 days, and I’m freaking out. So instead of thinking about it, I’m going to relive the best 10 days of my life.

Apologies in advance for the picture overload! 

Getting to Sydney involved a Nakedbus, a city bus, two airplanes, and one square of oppression. Our flight left at 6 am on the 1st, but we got into Christchurch around 9 pm on the 31st, so we decided to stay over at the airport. Now, the last time I stayed over at the Christchurch airport (coming back from my Spring Break trip), there were people sprawled out all over the floor sleeping in their sleeping bags or spread out across 3 or 4 of the designated “sleeping area” chairs. Well apparently sometime in the last 2 odd months, the Christchurch airport decided to switch up their policies in order to make those staying overnight as miserable as humanely possible. Anything I could possibly write about the situation would not even come close to doing it justice, but just know that it was probably the longest, coldest, most sleepless night of our lives. They even claimed us as oppressed people by making us wear wristbands, which I can only assume are comparable to the numbers tattooed on the Jewish during the Holocaust. I did manage to get a $5 spaghetti dinner and a window seat in an exit row on the way to Sydney though (extra leg room, hollaaa!) so that helped to ease the pain a little bit.ImageAfter that little adventure, we finally arrived in Sydney running on literally no sleep. Breakfast and espresso were in order. ImageIn case you’re wondering, those are pancakes with honeycomb butter, fresh strawberries, and maple syrup and I loved them more than I can ever imagine loving another human. #pancakesaremyboyfriend

 Our first day in Sydney was dedicated to squeezing in as many touristy activities as we possibly could. Aka I took pictures of every cool building I saw regardless of whether I knew what they actually were. ImageImage

We decided to keep with the obnoxious tourist theme and head to Paddy’s Market, which is a giant indoor flea market basically. They have all different kinds of vendors, from people selling clothes and jewelry, to souvenirs (hardest word in the entire English language to spell, by the way), iPad cases, animal onesies, and real kangaroo balls repurposed as bottle openers. They also had an intense food market with all kinds of unique and crazy cheap fruits. ImageImage

ImageFrom Paddy’s, we walked over to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I probably took about 7,000 identical pictures of the Opera House but I just couldn’t help myself. This was when it really hit me that we were actually in Australia, since that’s kind of the quintessential image I had in my brain. It’s even cooler in person. ImageImageImageImageImageImageOne of the great things about Sydney (among millions of other great things) is that they have fireworks over Darling Harbour EVERY. SINGLE. SATURDAY. Aka my dream come true. We decided to eat dinner by the water where we would be able to see the show from the restaurant. We decided on some Chinese place where we were told we had to leave within an hour, were screamed at for asking about the fried rice, and reprimanded for all ordering separate meals instead of sharing. Great choice. But it was fine because the fireworks more than made up for the mean service. 

After dinner we headed back to the hostel (which was TERRIBLE– but that’s a story for another day) and crashed hard. Successful first day, check!

 

In other unrelated news, tonight we’re getting all the Americans together for our last supper of free pancakes and then Hell’s Pizza. And of course it wouldn’t be our last Wednesday in New Zealand if we didn’t hit up karaoke at Shooters and continue to disgrace make America proud. I’m ridiculously excited and also really sad that this is our last shebang all together. But I am going to try not to cry (or sing another awful rendition of “Born in the USA”). Have a great rest of your day!! 

 

 

 

Wine and the Ocean: Not the Worst Monday I’ve Ever Had

Since yesterday was technically Memorial Day (NZ is one day ahead of America), we decided that it was only fair to take the day off of classes and go explore Hawke’s Bay. We aren’t being bad students, we’re just honoring our country! I’m going to write a full post on this later this week, but since I slacked off all last week yesterday, I have heaps of school work to get done today! So I will leave you with these.

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Sami's Shenanigans

7 More Sleeps Until Australia!

Hoooooly crap, I will be in Australia in exactly ONE WEEK from today!! I am freaking out. Like, pee my pants excited. (Except that I have to finish three huge assignments before I leave on the 31st…but we’ll just ignore that little detail for now.) We are going to be staying in Sydney for ten whole days and I’ve been basically nonstop Googling things fun free cheap things to do while we’re there. So far, we’ve scheduled most of our days out really loosely so that we have have a plan, but there’s still lots of wiggle room. The top eight things I’m most excited about are, in no uncertain order:

1) Going to see the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge and possibly the Royal Gardens. Basically all the typical touristy things aka great selfie photo ops. Get ready for an Instagram overload. I will not apologize.

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2) Sydney Tower! The tower is the second tallest free-standing structure in Australia. This reminds me of the Sears Tower in Chicago! It’s basically a really high lookout where you can see the whole city. There was an option to go out on a glass platform, but I decided I want to try not to puke on this trip.

3) Walking along Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, and Darling Harbor even though it will probably pretty cold out. I keep forgetting that the seasons here are backwards from seasons in the US, and then I get really sad that I can’t go swimming. But I’m still determined to play on the beach regardless of the temperature.

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4) Featherdale Wildlife Reserve!! One of my sorority sisters studied abroad in Sydney for a semester and recommended this to me, and as soon as I saw their website I knew I needed to go. It’s a typical zoo with all sorts of Australian animals, except that you get to play with them!! You can hand feed kangaroos, pet wallabies, and get your picture taken with koalas (you can’t touch koalas because apparently they’re vicious??). I refuse to leave Australia without petting a ‘roo. I also really want to eat one while I’m there, talk about a cruel irony. (Emperor’s New Groove reference anyone?)

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5) Moving on to things I’m more passionate about, there is supposed to be an awesome bar in Sydney called Scubar that has hermit crab races on Monday nights. I’m not sure how this works or if they will let me play, but I’m definitely intrigued. Sydney nightlife is supposed to be awesome and I can’t wait to drink goon and see if it lives up to my Wisconsin expectations ;)

6) We clearly chose a great week to go to Sydney, because we’re going to be there during “Vivid Sydney” which is an interactive light show all throughout the city. Every night, the city has live music, interactive exhibits, and lights literally all over. We found a great deal on a 2 hour cruise around the harbor during the light show one night, and I am SO excited. Also because there is dinner included and I’m sure I will be sick of my broke girl diet of PB&J for every meal by then.

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7) We are hopefully going to make it out to the Blue Mountains to go hiking! It’s a few hours outside of Sydney, so it kind of depends on train times and prices, but hopefully it works out because its supposed to be gorgeous. I am willing to put aside my hatred for the outdoors in order to hike these, so that in itself should tell you its legit. Image

8) The last Saturday we’re there, we have plans to get dinner at a restaurant in Darling Harbor and watch the fireworks which they do EVERY SATURDAY. Sydney might be my perfect city. It is hard to beat seafood and fireworks in my book.

SO SO SO excited! Definitely the perfect “last shebang” before finals and then heading back to America :( This is just a tiny lists of the things we have planned, but my attention span is short and my brain is tired. If anyone has any recommendations for other things to do, let me know!!

Linking up!

From Grandma With Love

How To Get Wild In New Zealand

First things first, I want to publicly apologize to my parents for this post. I promise I’m going to class over here too sometimes.

Now, I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart. Going out in Palmy. There’s not too much to do in Palmerston North on the weekends other than drink. We have bravely accepted this challenge and developed an almost foolproof way to make sure the weekend doesn’t suck. It was a lot of hard work, but what can I say. That’s just my cross to bear.

This is a timeline of how a typical Thursday or Saturday night (and occasionally a Sunday morning) plays out.

–Complain about how tired you are at dinner. Overcompensate with 7 cups of coffee in preparation.

–Go home and shower. Struggle to wash your hair because your hands are shaking from all of the caffeine.

–Try to pick out something to wear. Remember that you suck at being a girl.

–Pack a bag to bring to Totara for getting ready/pre-gaming. This bag will include, but is not limited to: Scrumpy, temporary tattoos, poofing comb, and at least 5 different outfit choices (even though you will end up wearing what you already have on)

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–Get to Totara. Play Buttons by the Pussycat Dolls. Just do it and thank me later.

 –Put on the aforementioned temporary tattoos. Location is up to you, but if you want my expert advice a pirate tat on your upper back never looks bad.

–Snapchat everyone you know. This is to continue all night long. Also take really pretty pictures on every camera you can find.

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–Decide to take the bus into town. 5 minutes before it leaves, remember that you can’t take alcohol with you on the bus. Obviously you’re not done drinking, it’s only 10pm. Decide to walk and scrump instead.

–Take advantage of NZ’s lack of open container laws and drink Scrumpy while you walk into town. Decide it’s a good idea to wear pants on your head because it is cold out and pants are almost sweaters.

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Unfortunately this isn’t me. I’m not this funny.

–Stop at the gas station right before the liquor ban and chug the rest of your Scrumpy. Bonus points for heart to hearts on the bench.

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Gas station heart to hearts are the best kind of heart to hearts. Scrumpy in hand, always.

 –If it’s after 11, go to Beer Barrel. Try your best to not fall down so that they will let you inside. If it’s before 11, go to Shooters until then. Beer Barrel is not fun until it’s so packed that it’s impossible to not be stepped on.ImageImage–If for some reason you aren’t allowed into Beer Barrel, go to EV instead. This should only ever be a second choice. Realize there are only 2 other people there besides you. Immediately take a shot of Jim Beam. 

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–Dance. This is crucial. Bars in New Zealand are not conducive to standing around, talking and drinking. Tomorrow, you should be able to tell if you had a good night by whether or not your legs are sore.

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 –Put a pirate sticker on the bathroom wall to mark your territory. While in the bathroom (with a girlfriend of course), make sure to take secret shots, promise to be each others bridesmaids, and take embarrassing pictures.

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–Stay at the bar until you find someone to drive you home or you decide you’re too hungry to be in public.

–Get food from The Naked Pie Man (or the free food cart if you’re really lucky). Walk home. Complain about how far away from campus you are. Go back to Totara and eat cheese and/or scrambled eggs with your hands.

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–Fall asleep to an episode of Cupcake Wars.

There you have it, 5 easy steps to a real real good time in New Zealand. If you have any questions or want The Naked Pie Man’s phone number feel free to email me.

Weekend Shenanigans: Saturday in Palmy

This weekend, all of my friends decided to desert me go away for the weekend to hike Mount Tongariro. Call me crazy, but spending $100+ to go on a 8 hour hike isn’t exactly my cup of tea, so I decided to stay in Palmerston North for the weekend. It was a really nice excuse to be lazy and get some homework done, as well as explore Palmy a little more!

Here’s what my Saturday in Palmy looked like, as told by my iPhone.

I started off with an early breakfast at the dining hall. It’s nothing special, but since I’m paying for it I try to go every day. Some of the things New Zealanders eat for breakfast are would definitely be considered “strange” by American standards. For example, they serve spaghetti and baked beans on toast. I feel like I should try both because when in Rome…but I haven’t been able to convince myself yet. First of all, I hate baked beans. And secondly I have a hard time eating non-breakfast foods first thing in the morning. Maybe one day before I leave…stay tuned. ImageAfter breakfast, I headed to the gym for a 9:15 Body Pump class. I am only mentioning the time of the class so that everyone at home will be proud of me for waking up before 2pm on a weekend.ImageReally exciting visual, I know. You’re welcome. I also ran 3 miles but the visual of me sweaty was even worse than this one, so you’ll have to just use your imagination on this one.

I went back to my dorm to shower and get some reading for school done before meeting up with Shennel (the only other person who decided to stay in Palmy for the weekend) to go into town for lunch and groceries.

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Pretending to do homework but actually painting my nails, as usual.

We had big plans to try out a place called “Burger Fuel.” The first day I got to New Zealand, before we had even gotten to campus, one of the students who picked us up told us that we needed to try Burger Fuel before we left, as they’re supposed to have some of the best burgers in NZ. You don’t have to do much to convince me to eat a burger. I ordered the “Third Pounder with Cheese” at the recommendation of the cashier. It came with NZ grass fed beef, melted cheddar, bread and butter pickles, dijon mustard, relish, and aioli sauce. It was SO good. Way better than Ferg Burger in my (probably unpopular) opinion. We also had a coupon for free fries that we obviously took advantage of. Try telling me that you’d rather be doing a 8 hour hike in the freezing cold. ImageImageImageNZ “relish” is actually a ketchup-y kind of tomato sauce, but it tastes nothing like American ketchup. I had complained to my mom in an email about how I hated the ketchup here and because she’s perfect she sent me some good ole Heinz! You better believe I brought it in my purse and put it on my burger because I’m as classy as they come. Hit. the. spot. After our perfect lunch, we went to Pak N Sav for groceries. Clearly I only shop for the necessities, $2 oatmeal, fruit, and chocolate. #cleaneating #justkiddingImageOnce I got home I watched about 3 hours of Harry Potter, went to dinner at the dining hall, came home to watch 3 more hours of Harry Potter and went to bed around 9:30 pm. Party animal, I know.

So there you have it. A weekend alone and I’m still alive. Moral of the story, give me lots of naps, Harry Potter, and ridiculously unhealthy food and I will be a happy girl.

Zorbing!

Almost two weeks later, and I’m finally getting around to writing about Zorbing…oops. But sometimes really important things come up, like drinking tequila by the river school work.

So before I even knew if I had been accepted to come to New Zealand, I saw Zorbing on Pinterest and immediately added it to my NZ Bucket List. We were actually able to find a Groupon-type deal and ended up only paying around $22 (it’s usually around $45) so we were extra excited.

 We went to Ogo instead of Zorb–same concept and everything, just a different company– and loved it. The staff was super friendly and they had a hot tub for us to jump in after our ride, so naturally it was love at first sight. ImageImageImage

After signing in and changing into our swim suits, the six of us divided up into three groups of two. I’m really glad we decided to go down in doubles instead of singles, it was super fun to have someone to laugh and roll around with. The track we went down was 200 meters long and completely straight. Basically just down a long hill. There were two tracks right next to each other, which was perfect because that meant we got to race. Paxton, Carolyn, Rachel and I went up first. Sidenote: I have no idea what to call the actual zorbing-device. Zorb? Ogo? Hamster wheel? I’m going to keep it simple and stick to “ball” from this point forward.

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Before you get in, they put a little less than a foot of warm water (that is a complete estimate, I actually have absolutely no idea) into the bottom of the ball. Then, to get in you literally swan dive through this tiny little hole on one side of the ball. Once you’re inside, they give you a Go Pro camera so that you can record all the shenanigans on the way down. Once you’re inside the ball, you can’t see anything outside, which was not what I expected but it ended up making it a lot more fun. You tumble around so much there’s no way you could see anything outside anyway.

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In case you’re wondering, yes, that is a pirate temporary tattoo on my bicep. No one should be surprised by this.ImageImage

You’re supposed to stand up in the beginning and run to get the ball to start down the hill, but it was so slippery that Pax and I tried to stand up but couldn’t and basically flopped into the front of the ball. Once it started rolling it was impossible to get up. I thought it would feel like being inside of a hamster ball and that you would basically be spinning around a lot, but I was totally wrong. You’re pretty much just sliding around and trying not to kick the other person in the face. We were worried that the track we picked would be too short, but once we were actually rolling down the hill it seemed a lot longer than it looked. ImageImageImageImage

I realize this does not really sound fun at all, and it actually seems a little painful, but I promise it was SO cool! Definitley worth the twenty big ones.

To get out of the ball, you come feet first. Yes, this did oddly resemble water birth and yes, it was somewhat awkward.

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We had a quick photo sesh once we hopped out and then beelined it straight for the hot tub. It was so funny to watch everyone else go down because you could see them flopping around everywhere and hear them screaming. Hysterical.

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Bottom line: GO ZORBING. It’s super fun and you get crazy good bragging rights.

Here’s a link to the Go Pro footage of us inside the Zorb if you want to check it out!!

https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10151364745637443

So there ya have it! Better late than pregnant never! Enjoy the rest of your day! :)