Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Travel Haze

Well, it’s June 26 (again) and I am currently sitting in LAX waiting for my final flight home.  Some of you may not know, but there is a Chilean volcano in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain that has created an ash cloud over the Pacific.  This volcano began erupting over a week ago.  Since it was unsure what this ash could do to airplanes, most flights in Australia and New Zealand were cancelled, particularly international ones.  However, the cloud passed by and everything shortly returned to normal.  Not for long, however, as the volcano continued to erupt and spew more ash into the atmosphere.  

For my trip home I was scheduled to fly Air New Zealand from Palmy to Auckland on the morning of June 25.  That went without a hitch.  The next leg of the journey, Auckland to LA, was through Qantas.  Well, Qantas decided that they weren’t flying on the 25 due to the ash cloud.  Everyone else was flying, so what’s up, Qantas?!   Anyways, Kristen, my travel partner, and I were not able to depart New Zealand on the 25th.  Let’s just say that we were more upset at having to leave Palmy and being stuck in Auckland than being stuck in the country.  We happened to have a very emotional departure from Palmy and we just wanted to finish our journey.  But no.  At least Qantas was kind enough to offer complimentary accommodation and meals while we were stuck in Auckland.  

We were extremely lucky in that we were re-booked within two hours for a next day flight to LA via Papeete, Tahiti.  We had brief discussions with people who had been dealing with Qantas for over a week, trying to depart NZ.  Our new schedule was to leave the country around 2pm on the 26th, arrive in Tahiti around 9pm on the 26th (international date line and all) leave again around 11pm on the 25th, and finally arrive in the U.S. around 11am on the 26th.  Luckily we made it, even with dear Kristen, the problem child of our trip.  So we arrived in LA this morning after two days of travel and disruption.  We were quite surprised at the speed at which we were able to make it through customs which involved two security points and luggage retrieval.  I would say it only took about 30 mins.  Awesome!  We then meandered our way out of the international terminal and over to terminal 4 for our domestic flights home.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Dad, The Scary Teddy Bear

Soooo tomorrow is Father's Day.  Happy Father's Day!!  I am again shouting out to one of my parental units for the assigned parental unit holiday.  However, this blog will sadly not be quite as in depth and emotional (sorry dad).  I love my dad.  There's not too much else to say about it.  It's pretty simple actually.  Let's face it, I'm a daddy's girl.

I've been told by a couple of friends that upon meeting my dad, Mr. Michael P. Kenney, they thought he was kinda scary.  My response to this?  "WHAAAAAAAAAAT?"  In my opinion there's nothing farther from the truth.  He can be scary when he gets really mad, but the chances of that are pretty few and far between.  Kind of like me.  I like to think that I'm intimidating when I get really angry.  Luckily it doesn't happen too often.  Back to dad... So yeah, I don't view him as scary.  I mean, look at him-

I Blabber, You Read

Well people we're down to 6 days.  Six days until I'm home again.  There are definitely some mixed emotions going on here.  1- "Yay! I can see my family and friends!"  2- "NO!  I won't see my New Zealand friends for a long time I'm sure... and my American friends!  Why do we all live so far apart?!"  That fact is actually quite amusing.  I have a group of friends here, many of whom you have already seen, from the States (and Canada).  The funny thing about it it that none of us live anywhere near each other.  I will post you a map...

Kristen- Texas                                                               Travis- Texas
Tony- Louisiana                                                              Tifah- Ohio
Nora- Maryland                                                               Kaleb- South Dakota
Stephanie- Alberta, Canada/ New Zealand                     Myself- Pennsylvania

See what I mean?  A large circle around the Eastern side of the country.  The only odd one out is Steph, all the way over in western Canada.  These people have become some of my closest new friends in the past couple of years and now we're all going our separate ways.  We won't be 10 minutes across campus from each other, or upstairs or neighbors or across the hall or a couple flats down.  Nope, we'll be hours away.  It's going to be strange.  One thing is for sure though, I will not let these friendships fade.  Well, I'll try not to anyways.

Moving on from the sad, however...  Upon reaching home I will once again be able to see my adoring family, yay!  In addition to my blood family I will also get to see my drum corps family upon my return exactly one day after arriving home.  My parents are not that excited about that but really, it's been five months.  I think they can deal with another week before total re-immersion in the glory that is me (cough cough).

As it is I am leaving tomorrow (Sunday) to visit Nic's family's bach on the South Island until Wednesday.  That's a beach house by the way.  It's not exactly beach weather but whatever.  You only live once right?  Might as well make it awesome!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pavlova: A National Dish at it's Finest

As per request, this here blog is about the lovely group dinner we had... two weeks ago?!  Holy moly time is flying.  Anyways, this request was put through by Nic, my lovely boyfriend.  I'm not really sure what he wants me to say about it.  How delicious the food was, how awesome the hot tub was, how fun it was to get everyone together?  Because it was all that.  I guess I'll just give a little run down and let the pictures do the talking...

So, Nic lives about 20 minutes away from Palmerston North in the tiny town of Ashhurst.  He lives on a small sheep farm with his parents and brothers (when they're home).  So our first obvious stop, for carload one anyways, was the pasture so we could say hello to the sheep.  There were three main sheep we were looking for, Chop, Scarface, and Pippa.  Chop is a lamb from this past season who was raised in the house and is thus not afraid of people and is utterly amusing.  He wasn't hard to find.  As soon as he saw people coming he was at the fence baa-ing his little heart out. It was love at first sight for Kristen...

Our next conquests were Scarface and Pippa.  Scarface is a really old sheep and Pippa is a ewe who was raised inside a couple years ago and is only slightly skittish.  Here's Scarface-

Interestingly enough, he lost his eye after he got his name. From there we moved back inside where it was time to prep dinner.  We beasted some potatoes and kumara (a sort of sweet potato) while Nic prepped the lamb (sorry no pictures).  Just after we finished that task the second carload made it in.  It was the whole crew now, all nine of us.  Of course plenty of goofing around and talking ensued, along with some wine drinking and plenty of snack munching.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

There's Platinum in These Hills!

My oh my.  How the time is speeding by.  It’s June!!  It’s just surreal to me.  What do you mean I’ve been here for four months?  What kind of joke is that?  *sigh*  As you can probably tell I’m just a little frazzled by the complete lack of time I have left here.  22 days.  The past 31 have gone by in the blink of an eye!  And I can tell you already that this next month is going to do the same. 
Tomorrow is the last day of classes here at Massey Palmerston North.  Next week is a full week dedicated to studying and the two weeks following belong to exams.  You know what that means?  I have exactly three days within the next three weeks that I have plans.  June 14, June 16, and June 18.  The last two on which I have two exams a piece.  This free time would be absolutely awesome except for my complete and utter lack of money.  That’s alright though; it just means spontaneous activities are more plausible now.  Oh!  And I need to pack.  I guess I’ll devote my last two days here to that.
To steer away from that depressing (at least to me) topic, I will tell you about my most recent weekend.  On Saturday May 28 I went with a portion of MUAC (Massey University Alpine Club) and did a tramp into the nearby wilderness.  If you can call it wilderness…  Anyways, we walked the Sledge Track, about 20 minutes from campus. 
I don’t have a whole lot to say about the whole trip.  I can tell you there were around 700 stairs one way (yes I counted), it was super muddy, and it took us around 6 hours to complete the circuit.  The first stopping point of the trek was at a river.  There were some really nice boulders there, which I decided to climb.  I was doing well until I slipped and bashed my knee on the top of it.  That would have lasting effects throughout the day.  I had a nice view of the river, though.