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Monday, March 23, 2009

Last week...(beware: this is long!)

So I have had a cough for the last two weeks and it will not go away! It is pretty frustrating to be tramping through a dark and muddy cave and having to cough. Tomorrow I'm going to the doctors because I'm sick of being sick. It doesn't really hurt, it's just super annoying! I haven't been posting because I've been so busy, but I'm going to give you a quick rundown of my last week.

Tuesday 3/17: Happy St. Patrick's Day! Jalayne, Alicia and I went to an Irish Pub for dinner and a drink (non-alcoholic of course). Then we walked around town, had the best brownie I've ever eaten at another bar and then headed home. It was a faboulous night!

Wednesday 3/18: Went to camp with the senior classes (year 5/6 students). It was so fun to see them all at camp. This age group actually goes away to camp for 4 days to learn outside the classroom. It is an amazing experience for them, especially because most of these kids will never have another experience like it--it's too expensive for their families. During my day there, we started off on a quick bus ride and a tramp up a hill. Then we went absailing a.k.a. rapelling. I was one of the last to go--I wanted the kids to have a turn first, but I was so scared! It ended up being fabulous and I'd love to go again. Then we went rock climbing. Another fun and adventurous things for the kids and teachers. Finally we went caving. You wouldn't think this would be too hard core becuase of the kids, but it was insane! The adults got in a pair of coveralls and we all had helmets with lights on them. I felt like I was in a movie about mining. We jumped into a hold and started crawling through the cave. Literally CRAWLING! We ended up having to squeeze between crevices, pull ourselves up rock faces and we even swam through mud. By the time I got out, I was covered in mud up to my chest and was wet all the way through. However, it was the best experience. I was cold and tired, but it was a once in a lifetime experience. Then I came home, showered and made enchiladas for Darnie and Nga--they'd never had them before! They turned out great and they loved it.

Thursday 3/19- Regular teaching day other than the kids counting all the bruises on my legs from caving. Then I went with Jalayne and Brooke to an enrichment night. It was great fun! It's fabulous to know that the church is true wherever you go. :)

Friday 3/20- Jalayne, McKell, Candace, Alicia and I went to the Stake Country Ball and then to a YSA dance. It was a little flashback to age 14, but it was fun all the same. The YSA dance was pink themed and I had to dress up for that and the country ball, so I look a little crazy, but that's half the fun. :)

Saturday 3/21- I joined the girls at the bush station and we headed to Waitomo caves. We wanted to go black water rafting and we found a place that would take us for only $99 a piece! We signed up and headed out. First we got decked out in a thick wet-suit, helmet with a light and gum boots and then we loaded up in a van. They took us to the entrance of the cave where we grabbed a tube and we headed down 106 stairs and down a bunch of rocks in the cave. We ended up sitting in the tube with our legs on the person in front of us tube and holding on to the legs of the person behind us as we trailed down the river. We turned our lights out and got to see GLOW WORMS! They dotted the ceiling of the cave like stars. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. At one point, we had to turn around and fall off a small waterfall! I did a BACKFLIP! Not on purpose of course, but the guide said I was the first to ever do that. The next waterfall had a slide, and that was easier and more fun. After trudging up the 106 stairs and getting showered and re-dressed, we went to a different cave for a more low-key tour of a glow worm cave.

After getting back to Hamilton, I got ready and Darnie and I headed to the Chiefs Game. They are the rugby team for Hamilton. They played the Auckland Blues and kicked their trash! I love rugby. On the way out of the parking lot, I got hit on! This guy asked for my number and I froze. So I didn't give it to him, but it sure was a boost of confidence. He was super hot and I felt special. :) Next time, no freezing and I'm getting a hot date!

Those were the highlights of last week and not anything crazy has happened this week. I'm planning on going to the beach Saturday, and then Saturday night is the night-glow where a bunch of hot air balloons light up in the sky! I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This is me with my first stamp in my passport-YAY!
This is my group for the river walk field trip. They were so cute. :)

More differences about New Zealand and Utah.

Te ne koto tamariki ma! (Rough translation:hello to you all)

1- There are so many bugs in NZ. Last night, I killed 3 spiders and 2 moths. Ugh.
2- They call corner stores 'dairies.' Odd, huh?
3- Erasers are called rubbers. When a student asks for a rubber, I cringe a little.
4- Math is pronounces more like mass and they write it as maths. Very different.
5- All the Maori boys have rat-tails. Not cool in the states. Other boys have mowhaks or mullets.
6- The H-word and the D-word are not swear words and I have honestly heard them uttered in church.
7- medicines don't usually have flavors. I ahve a cough right now, and the cough medicine is absolutely disgusting.
8-Mexican food isn't popular--SAD!
9- All candy is called lollies, unless it's chocolate, then it's called chocolate.
10- I love morning tea. We get 20 minutes in the morning for drinks and snacks. And then we get an hour for lunch! So much time compared to the states.

So just a few updates about what I have been up to. I'm teaching a lot more and I love it! I'm working really hard with the solar system unit, and I did a writing lesson today. I drove to church on Sunday and to the supermarket last night--I'm getting good at driving on the left side of the road! There is a ball for the stake on the 20th, and Darnie si trying to find someone to take me-- hopefully a cute Maori boy--it's true, I'm starting to think they're cute. Bring on the brown boys! I'm going to Rotorua for a Maori celebration and for shopping this Saturday. I'm trying lots of new foods and loving all of it. I'm making some "American dishes" next week for my family.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I have arrived!

I have been in New Zealand for 3 days and I am loving every minute of it! We arrived in Auckland at 6 am, local time. I only slept about 4 hours on the plane, but I was so excited I couldn't have slept for anything. We took a bus to Hamilton and stopped in a cemetery along the way. It was so cool because it was the location of a battle between the Europeans and the Maori's. When we arrived in Hamilton, my host mom, Darnie picked me up as her husband, Nga, was teaching primary. Darnie's cousin and her parent's American student were visiting and after a quick shower I joined them at the singles ward. It was so much smaller that a Logan singles ward, but the spirit was the same. We walked up to the Hamilton Temple and it was lovely. We had lamb roast for dinner, it was my first time having lamb, and I don't know how I'll definetely be having it again soon! It was delicious!

The next day I started school and we had the opportunity to participate in a real Maori welcome called a Pauwhiri (powfiry). The students sang to us and we sang the national anthem back to them and it was fabulous. We then learned about the culture and language and I've started working on my Maori. We had morning tea, which is a daily tradition at the schools, with all the teachers. I spent the afternoon in my classroom and went to a planning meeting. Then I spent time at home with Darnie and Nga in the evening.

Today was my first full day in the classroom and it was so much fun. This week is Camp Week at school so we started the day off on a river walk. We walked along the Waikato River with all the students in Level 3/4. Even though we had a few scraped knees, it was a wonderful trip. After the walk was swimming. Students have swimming lessons at school during the summer/fall months--isn't that cool?! In the afternoon, I taught a lesson on constellations and the students made their own constellations by making holes with tacks in black paper. They turned out wondrful!

Some of the things that are different between the U.S. and N.Z. include:
1-Students don't have to wear shoes to school. Interesting isn't it?
2-We spell words differently at times, which isn't the best thing for teachers! color/colour, recognize/recognise. It can be messy.
3-People don't go to the restroom. They go to the toilet. In the U.S., that would be almost crude, but not here.
4-There if fruit everywhere and I LOVE IT!
5-When you are immersed in a place that speaks differently than you, you start to pick it up. Honestly, the students understand you more when you speak with their accent. We'll see if it sticks when I get home.

I know I'll pick up on more things as time goes by, I'll keep you posted! Oh, and I'll post pictures soon too!

I love you all and miss you! I'm going to the beach this weekend, and I'll let everyone kjnow how it goes--I'm starting surfing lessons--YAY!