Monday, July 26, 2010

The most Kiwi weekend you could ask for

This is to document my last weekend in Taupo. I was to relax for the remainder of my days in Taupo after this - pity I didn't factor in the mandatory Relaxation Sunday Session, the traditional Taupo Mid-week Drink, and of course the Night Before you Leave Family Occasion.

Ah well. The weekend happened anyway.

Friday began with the crate day.

As you can see I settled on DB, the epitome of class and heartiest of the heart. (Also, the cheapest available)

We were to be crating up Mt. Tauhara but alas a lack of a sober driver and any sort of group fitness showed us settling for backyard (daylight) possum - a popular NZ pastime.

Onwards to the next planned activity - Beer pong. My team retired reigning champions but this is because I have had two years in Palmy to hone my skills.

An early dinner, a wee mosh, a sled down the stairs into the wall, and we can consider crate day a varied and Kiwianic success.


Saturday was to be a day of reflection. Unfortunately I was bullied and prodded into getting up and going to the market. Then I was taken out to see some lovely countryside and do some shooting. I have only ever shot one gun in my life but it is my full intention to make out like I live off the land whilst in Japan. For this reason today was filled with land, and guns.



My first kill

After a gruelling NZ day I go home for a sleep in order to prepare for my last night in town. So many of my close friends were there it was impossible to have a bad night and every second was fantastic, apart from the cold I somehow picked up but successfully exorcised over the course of the evening.

Highlights included getting a lovely shout-out from the DJ (after somehow attracting his notice - can't think how)

Also: Saying goodbye to my favourite bouncer, being repeatedly hugged, picked up and generally thrown around, dancing my sparkly blue shoes off, and having a laugh with some of the most hilarious people I know.

A collective hug from me to all of you!


The weekend doesn't end there.

Sarah and Tom made me a fantastic cake

And I got to have a glass of wine with my favourite little puppy!

A successful blend of Kiwis tryna have a good time means I have some beautiful memories for any quiet moments overseas.

Again, words cannot express the gratitude I have for the people who make my life awesome.

And it is awesome.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Goodbye work and Palmerston North

Well. Finished up work which means no more cleaning motel room surprises. Also, I no longer get to wear this fetching little number.

Said my last goodbye (for awhile) to Palmerston North yesterday after spending the weekend there. Palmy has been my student home for the last two years and I will always think on it fondly. It was good to see while I was there that things were continuing in the vein I associate Palmy with. Thursday began with the party van journey with Taupo kids, the huge flat party (215 Ferg you will go down in history), the silhouetted photos against the light wall in the square, the time spent in town when you have no business being there...

After a lengthy recovery period on Friday we have the traditional Marist support session, in which we go and cheer on my personal favourite team in any sport ever, the 3rd div. men's hockey team. Of course we must factor in the Taupo kids which means eventual, inevitable, streaking.

Saturday I get to catch up with my old neighbours which is always time very well spent. The heart swells. Onwards to Tamsin's birthday, at my old flat the 2/494 Ferg. So many happy memories from that place and this is no different. I will forever remember the slip 'n' slide in the kitchen every weekend, the dressups, the cleanups, the stair surfing. 80's costumes abound we head to town for a dance of the most epic leotarded nature. Only the best and most outrageous. Always there is the after town chill session with great people and conversation that makes the night feel a hundred years long in the best kind of way.

Well. Goodbye Palmy, goodbye goodbye goodbye, I will miss your beer bottles on toilet windowsills, your slippery tiles, your track pant days and outdoor couches, picking around broken glass on campus, the road, the deck, the shower. I will miss everyone who shared these things with me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sore face and Bryson if you asked for my hand I would consider it at length

I currently have a pouch of swollen flesh on either side of my face and a bruise down one side of my jaw. You may assume I have been marking my departure from Taupo by aggressively carving up the locals, but you would be mistaken. I just had my wisdom teeth out, one of many physical preparations before leaving for Japan. A special thanks to my dentist David O'Brien who made what could have been a traumatising experience into a somewhat comfortable, slightly entertaining one.

Who says jaw wrenching extraction can't be fun?

Other than battling through a sea of drowsiness I have been studying Japanese, saying goodbyes, and eating roughly double what I'm used to. I figure I will need a couple kilos extra to draw on in my first month or so in Japan. I have learnt a bit more about my school, namely that it is highly academic and that I will be pretty much responsible for planning lessons. Terrifying, but strangely elating. I'm interested to see if I can make a difference.

Speaking of making a difference, I have just found possibly the most interesting book I have ever (begun to) read. It is called Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson. (Author of A Short History of Nearly Everything.) It is in much the same style as the more widely known book in that it is concise, enthusiastic and hilarious. Rather than being about science it is about the history of the English language and naturally is being slavered over by my nerdy eye. There are so many beautiful passages to share but in the interests of poor Bryson's fabulous wit remaining his own and this blog remaining somewhat my own I will keep it focused on the Japanese related pieces.

I think it is somewhat common knowledge that Japanese has many levels of language, depending on situation and hierarchy of participants. Consider this then, that to express appreciation I can at one end of the scale say the casual "domo" meaning thanks, or, "makotoni go shinsetsu do gozaimasu, which means 'what you have done or propose to do is a truly and genuinely kind and honourable deed.'" (Bryson, 1990). I can't wait to try this on my supervisor when he shows me how to work a Japanese washing machine or on someone who lets me onto the train.