I've just come home from a free outdoor concert in the Botanical Gardens, which marks the start of free concerts every day for three weeks. Tonight was a Brazilian band that one of the profs from CACR (cross cultural centre) is in. I went on my own and made friends along the way with a couple that were lost just like me. He was from Canada (Saskatchewan) and she was from the States (New York) and got here in December too, and they live just a few houses down from me. So I'm watching the concert with the prof in it that I know with these very new friends of mine and all of a sudden Nicky Chan walks past me! Nicky Chan, who went to elementary school and high school with me. Seriously! I don't know his back story, other than hearing one time from Maija that he had come here (NZ, not Wellington) a few years ago. I haven't seen him or had any contact with him in... 9 years? I gave him my cell number so hopefully we will get together at some point. Holy crap, what a small world.
And all of this was on the heels of a very boring week where I turned myself into a hermit. The hills are kicking my ass, and my lungs' ass, so instead of retaliating, I barely left the house... except to go to work. Since that's just a "little" hill.
Other than the hills, asthma and the worst allergies I've ever had, things are still going amazingly. I am almost done with the report I am doing for CACR. I wasn't sure what I was going to do for the few weeks in the interim before I start work for the other prof, but true to form, new work landed in my lap on Friday. I met with Jim on Friday--the prof that made me decide to come here in the first place--about the report and he asked me if I had any more work. I said no. He said, here have some. I said okay. It's boring, but it's research related, which is a hell of a lot better than admin related. I will be transcribing an interview that is an hour and a half long. I just have to type word for word what was said. Not as easy as it sounds, what with the Kiwi accent and all.
The great thing is that Jim said I could work whenever I wanted from wherever I wanted, just to keep track of hours. So I can travel around if I want. I may do just that.
I am actually planning a trip to Brisbane, Australia for 5 or 6 days the first week of February. Ani is doing an Aussie tour and I know someone there, so really it's a no brainer. Ani! In Australia! I just asked my new boss if she would mind if I took a couple of days off the week after I started working for her, and she said "no, why don't you just start when you get back". Okay, works for me. So where else should I go I wonder?
My trip to Nelson and the top of the South Island was fabulous. It was a wonderful respite from my obviously stressful life. I went for a day trip to Abel Tasman national park and otherwise lounged around the hostel and went to the beach a few times. I also made a British friend and we went to the movies (where ice cream cones seem to be their popcorn) and watched a bunch of movies together at the hostel.
The holidays were great too. I went to my flatmate Kylee's family Christmas do and it was just like any Canadian do I've been to, minus the crappy weather. Same food and everything. The only difference (and this should be implemented in Canada!) was that they get a bowl for their dessert and pile all of the desserts on top of each other. And there were seven! Really was the best thing ever.
Then New Years was a lot of fun. I went to a party in a really nice penthouse apartment downtown and then went to a DJ gig that I scored a ticket to because someone at the party bailed last minute. I ended out the night at a playground with my flatmate Caleb and didn't get to sleep until 7am. Pictures are posted of all of this.
Soon I plan to write about all the weird things that they do here. There are no huge differences, so I am slowly uncovering them. Like tonight, I found out that most elementary schools (and even high schools) are same sex, not co-ed. Which apparently accounts for a high rate of teen pregnancy. Uh, you think?