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Jon’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 22 Mar 2006

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

MapToday was a very productive day as I played catch up from all the school work that I was trying to run away from. I don't know why but you can never out run school work, it's the same with the kiwi girls. The school work seems more difficult here as they expect you to do more independent learning and give you way more assignments in each paper (class). I think it just comes with being on an exchange though. For example, the lab I had to write up for my exercise metabolism course I started out by figuring the calculations all out on a calculator which after an hour of punching digits I decided that I must not be doing something right as this was going to take me months to do all the calculations. I later on come to discover that I just need to punch the numbers into the computer and work out the formulas on Microsoft excel and all the calculations will be done by the computer. So second problem I run into is that they expect you to know how to plug in all these numbers, formulas, figure out graphs, and then make charts out of all this data. Anyway I asked a few mates in the class to help me out and luckily they agreed to my offer but there would have been no way I would have figured the lab out without them. Just one example of missing a major step, knowing how to work excel, I didn't have a clue.
Something I learned though about the KIWI culture is that 21st birthday's are the big thing around here. So big that they fly people in for the party, rent a hall, big gifts (sometimes their parents buy them a car or something really expensive), family comes over, and the tradition is the birthday person has to either drink 4L of beer all in one tip of the bottle, or 21 shots. It is a huge deal.
I also might have an opportunity to work on a sheep farm when I am done here at uni. I road the bus home and started chatting up this girl that lives in the North Island (Hawks Bay) and has a farm of 1500 acres, 4000 sheep and 50 cows. She told me that I looked overly qualified physically and that all I had to do was give her dad a shout. If I would work their I would start the second week into July for two weeks, having free room and board and a little extra cash on the side.
I have found a high school near bye that I can do some volunteer teaching at which is a fantastic opportunity. This will be a very good lesson on different teaching styles and learn some new ways of going about physical education. The teacher that I will be shadowing is a well built Maori. Great guy! Stepped into his class yesterday and he was teaching volleyball. I briefly talked to him before I came in to see him and he introduced me as "The professional under 21 volleyball player all the way from Canada" (which is way over the top) and then told me to demonstrate on some technique in the sport. I thought it was so great how he just through me in front of his class, trusting that I knew my stuff. Anyway I will be going there every Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon, should be a hoot!
Today after finishing up my school work, Oz, taka, and I grabbed some fish and chips ($2.40 what a deal) and drove to signal hill (which is on the top of a mountain overlooking Dunedin) to have afternoon tea. It really hit me today how fast time is passing bye. I have been here already 6 weeks. I really have to be taking advantage of the days because soon I will be leaving this place behind thinking, 'Did I get to do everything I wanted to do' because really I could only see this place once in my life time. Anyway afternoon tea after a hard days work, watching the sun go down, with some good mates, eating some tasty fish and chips take out, was a pretty flash way to end the day!
A few weeks ago I was really feeling the effects that they told us we would go through (home sickness). But know I think I've come to terms that I'm going to be away for 4 more months and then I'm homeward bound. Which is fantastic and I really look forward to that day, but until then I'm happy where I am, and I'll enjoy it to the fullest.
I hope you all back home are having some good laughs and I miss you lodes.