Sunday, February 26, 2012

books, a bay & beer

Goodness! This past week was a good one. I definitely confirmed that I love being a biol/chem major. I was so happy to be in Ecology class!  I also attended the memorial service held on the 1 year anniversary of the major earthquake that took the lives of 185 people. It was held in Hagely Park, and there were thousands and thousands of people. I really enjoyed the opportunity to be surrounded by this resilient bunch, and I'm so glad to be here for the next couple months. I really think this city is wonderful, and I can only imagine what it was before and what it will become. Other than attending a few classes and the service, I joined the Ultimate Frisbee club, The Student Volunteer Army, and the Kayak and Canoe club. Tomorrow I actually have my first ultimate scrimmage. lets just hope I don't make too much of a fool of myself…. TOO LATE. I already mistakenly sent an email to the entire team distribution list (~100 people) because I didn't know what "to post to this list" meant…. it doesn't mean to sign up for this list if you're wondering… on the positive side, they probably all know my name. By Friday, I was ready for some more exploring. About 5 of us headed downtown to the Antigua boat sheds to hire a few kayaks to paddle around on the Avon. The Avon is like the lazy river, but slower. It runs through a park, and has weeping willows and all sorts of other beautiful trees and shruburry along the shore. It was perfect weather, and so relaxing besides the fact that after an hour on this extremely mild river, my arms were burning…. and i just joined the kayak/canoe club… I hope there are some patient instructors and maybe I should stick to 2 person boats. in fact, what about strictly canoe, where I can sit and marvel at this beautiful country while someone else works on their biceps.  That's more of what I have in mind. 
The rest of the evening was uneventful other than the fact that I had delicious fish and kumara chips form the joint around the corner from my house. OH, & the Christchurch Crusaders rugby team won by 1 point. 

Saturday, I met 6 other study abroad students to catch the bus to Lyttelton. Lyttelton is right on the coast, just outside of Christchurch. When we arrived, we made our way to the market. What we found was slightly disappointing. I've been on this quest for some homemade jam and local honey since I arrived, and have yet to succeed. So when we got off the bus, and found a decent sized garage sale, I was a bit deflated. Thinking this surely couldn't be what I heard was the best farmer's market around, I asked a local who so kindly pointed us down the street a couple blocks to a perfect market with everything i've been looking for. I don't know what it is about fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, jam, pies(savory), fresh baked bread, and the staple chocolate station that really makes me happy. Funny thing is, I kept thinking… MAN! if only my mom was here, she would know just what to do with all this stuff. I seriously made about seven laps before I could figure out what to buy. Thankfully, I had decided honey and jam was a nonnegotiable purchase. That gave me some direction. I bought local clover honey, and blackboy peach jam. Both are DELICIOUS. I also picked up some sun-dried tomato & kalamata olive spread along with some kalamata olives. Naturally, I needed something to put all this on, so I bought a small loaf of sourdough bread. and because I hadn't eaten breakfast, I added in a bacon and egg pie. NO regrets. everything tasted great, and it was nice to have snacks the rest of day. 
After the market, we wandered around town a bit, and then finally found our way to the ferry. We took the Diamond Harbor Ferry across the most beautiful water I've seen. There were sailboats racing in the distance, the port hills surrounding this bay, and I could see the open water to the Pacific. When we arrived, we marveled at the scene for a bit, and then took off to explore. Our fearless scouts found a trail that seemed to follow the water line, which is never a bad plan. The view just kept getting better. I honestly am running out of words to describe this place. I  cannot believe how beautiful this area is. The people that live over there, and wake up to that every morning are doing something right!!!! I spotted a beach across the bay we found, and i'm determined to figure out how to get there. There were tons of sailboats in that area, and even a motorboat pulling some happy folks on a biscuit (tube). After an hour or so tramping around, we hit up the country general store for some ice cream and smoothies and went back down to the dock. There were kids jumping off into the perfectly blue water. All I could think about was how much Katy would LOVE to swim around, and swing off the rope there. We rode the ferry back, and caught the bus back to uni. After printing off our tickets, we headed down to Hagely Park for The Great Kiwi Beer Festival. First of all, what a great idea right!? There were about 40 breweries all set up in these tents, live music, and lots of food. It was PACKED full of people. We arrived sometime around 4, and they had run out of the mini steins we were promised. This may have worked in our favor though because instead we got 2 plastic cups. I didn't recognize a single one of the companies, so it was really fun wandering around trying to figure out which ones to try. Don't ask me which was my favorite, because I tried a lot of beer and I don't remember. I liked them all, and it got really confusing because most places I would ask for each cup to have a different kind. I tried to keep the brewery and beer type straight, but it was an uphill battle. While there, Erin and I ran into Lauren & James, my "second" host family, and then a couple other guys from our UC. It was really cool to find people we knew at such a huge festival. In addition to the beer tasting, there was some great live music, and my friend Erin and I split a Fritz's Bavarian Style Sausage. I was one happy camper with a beer in one hand, Fritz's in the other, the sun shinning, and music playing!!! :) On the way out, Erin and I found some unprotected/ neglected mini steins that clearly wanted to be taken home, so our admission cost was not for nothing. It was a well spent 22 dollars!!! After the festival, we met some friends who hadn't bought beer festival tickets at a bar just outside the park. They compensated just fine for missing out on the event. We all walked back to campus, and hung out playing cards for the rest of the evening. Apparently, when I was on the way home on the bus there was a 4.3 earthquake, but neither I, nor the bus driver noticed it. 
Today, James was nice enough to come over and help me fix up the bike Tess's coworker has loaned me for the semester. Now I just need to take it down to the gas station to fill up the tires and i'm ready to go!! I also got to call my friend Denise back home. It was so good to catch up! I sure miss my TCU family. This evening, Tess and I went over to her friend Carol's house for dinner. She was so hospitable and her husband prepared us delicious steaks. Afterward we all came back home and watched the final X-Factor Australia. Apparently, it finished in october, but it didn't play in NZ until now, so everybody knew who was going to win. No suspense. Anyways, tomorrow is another school day, and one day closer to when my family arrives!!! I can't wait to see them :) 

Funny phrase:
good on you= good for you or well done

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