Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Arthur's Pass

My latest trip was north to Arthur's Pass National Park. We only saw a little of what it has to offer...
The sunrise in Arthur's Pass National Park was incredible. 

We started our tramp early that day in hopes that the weather would be in our favor so we could summit avalanche peak. 

The clouds are spectacular here in New Zealand... Or I just appreciate them more. 
We all have something in common... Unplanned believe it or not. 
Claiming ridges 
We were swallowed by a cloud during the descent. 
The walk down felt like we were in wonderland 
This is the post office...
Devils punch bowl
Treat yourself once in a while. Like I did with this passion fruit cheesecake. 
This cozy place was perfect to wait out the rain that night
Our free campsite
Stopped at castle hill on the way home. Does it look familiar?
It should if you've seen the chronicles of narnia: the lion the witch and the wardrobe
This is where they filmed the great battle scene 
This is how I train my self control 
I told you that the royals were coming to NZ. I'm not sure if you caught this photo but it is one of my favorites. I appreciate what Maori is doing and I am starting to understand  more and more of their culture. 
Some signs are better than others
I'm basically famous
William handing out medals to the young athletes. 
Tomorrow I start my mid semester break trip and I've done some preparation. This trail mix will hopefully last three of us! (Gallon size bag)
I also tried making home made granola bars for the first time and they turned out pretty great actually! The first ones were too crumbly and needed to be rolled but the second were perfect. 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I can find flavored tuna in the states. I've fell in love with this stuff especially for camping trips.

I'm off now for the biggest journey of the semester! Wish me luck and I can't wait to tell you all about it! 



Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Beginning of April...day light savings is over...mid-term examinations... mid-semester break... Easter...

All these things are happening so quickly I feel like it's hard to keep up. I received a letter the other day from a great friend in Mount Pleasant that made my day! I can't believe I have been away for so long already. This is the experience I've been planning since freshman year and it's halfway over. Hard to imagine that it's also the last semester of my undergraduate degree. After this is over, I need to move out and move on. The real world is a scary thing, but I know I'm ready for it. My time here is amazing, yet it reassures me that I'm going down the right path in life. I want to take a second to thank everyone who has gotten me to where I am now. If you know me personally, I can be a "handful of emotions". But thank you, seriously :) 

Enough with my emotional hiccup and onto more exciting things New Zealand is throwing at me. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be in Dunedin this week, which is exciting. I have a ticket to attend the ball! I'm just kidding... you know I don't attend balls. But, they are putting on a "free day" which is right up my alley! I'm not quite sure what will happen but I will keep you posted. 

I'm still doing well in school. I just finished a mid-term exam tonight, which was at a strange time (6:30-8pm). Apparently, it is not uncommon for an exam to be held late at night or even on Saturday. It was a basic scan-tron multiple choice test. For all you CMU anatomy student's, it was just like Dr. Salt's tests (a/b/c+d/a,c, not d/ all the above). So, good thing I was prepared! I have actually been enjoying the amount of research reviews I've been doing. Since the professors don't require textbooks, they assign research articles. Most of them are relevant and interesting to my career, a very different approach than the US. 

Next week I will begin my mid-semester break trip, that I am very excited about! Eight of us are planning a fun-filled 10 day trip. Wednesday we will be taking a bus to Christchurch and flying to Wellington. From Wellington, we will take the ferry back down to the South Island and stay on a farm for a night. I'm really hoping to get some "hands on experience" with some sheep. We are going to hike Abel Tasman, another Great Walk, and also sea-kayak in the north. From there, we are going to travel down the west coast, which is known for the remarkably untouched landscapes, stopping where ever we want for a few days. We will end in Queenstown where our program will provide us with "free" accommodation (I'm sure my program fees cover this), including all you can eat buffet, a cruise through Milford Sound, and a luging experience. That's the gist of the mid-semester break and I can't wait to tell you all about it. 

I know I've mentioned before that the Cadbury Factory is located in Dunedin. With Easter right around the corner, I am in shock with the abundance of chocolate treats. We only see a handful of chocolate eggs and bunnies back home, but here... there is SO MUCH MORE. I have been craving chocolate more than I ever have before and I think it is because I'm exposed to it at all times and I think it tastes t

hat much better. You can tell I'm having a craving right now.

I'm in the middle of organizing all of my photos thus far, so I hope to post some by this weekend. 

Thanks for reading my photo-lacking post! ... Okay just one of Tunnel Beach in Dunedin



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kepler and MORE

I have learned so much since I have been in New Zealand. Every day I understand something newabout this culture or about myself. I've learned I am more independent than I ever thought before, making choices to better myself in many aspects of my life. From reading my blog it may seem like I'm going on adventures every day, that's because I am. Every day that I am abroad is a whole new adventure in itself, filled with opportunities. I don't have to leave Dunedin to experience new and exciting things, although I do go on weekend trips quite often. I'm not even half way done with the semester, but I can say if you every have an opportunity like this--take it with both hands.

The semester is approaching the halfway mark and everything seems to be due at the same time. My first lab report supplied me with a big wake-up call. I have always been a bright student and excelling in my science labs, but things a wee bit different here. One of the biggest differences I have noticed is the amount of writing expected in health science courses here is considerably more than in the states. My major has not prepared me for the type of academic writing that is expected here, but I’m learning. The kiwi accent is one of my favourites, but some of the words are hard to get over. In the states we call the smallest blood vessel in the body a CAPillary but here it is called capILLary. Also, ischemia is iSHemia which cracks me up every time. I probably sound ridiculous when I speak medical terminology in class, but that’s okay I’m the American girl who forgets her height in centimeters anyways. Classes have been going pretty well, I have to develop an exercise program and present a case study for my final projects in two of my classes. These are both things I have done in previous classes but it is wonderful how a new perspective can teach you so much. 

After being here for a while I realized that New Zealand doesn't really have a specific "cuisine", everything is pretty westernized. There is however a ton of seafood, given our location. I tried squid for the first time--actually pretty delicious! 

There is also this... That I will not be trying. Marmite is New Zealand's Vegemite. 

I attended my first rugby game recently, Go Highlanders! It was pretty awesome to experience this here in New Zealand. 
The student section is called "the zoo" and people will dress up as animals. 
As for my most recent trip, I have now completed one of nine Great Walks in New Zealand! Melissa, Noelle and I finished a 60km track around the Te Anau area. It was much more physically demanding than I had anticipated, but oh so worth it! We backpacked the entire thing and I have never felt a bigger sense of accomplishment. Here is our experience...
And so the journey begins!

I met a sheep farmer on the way to Broad Bay. He told me all about his 10,000 sheep, I also had a lot of questions!

Campsite at Broad Bay

Broad Bay
We left camp at 6:30 a.m. the next day to start our 10 hour hike to Iris Burn Campsite
Couldn't see much until there was a break in the trees, and we realized we were above the clouds.
Finally made it to tree line!
The Fiordlands (where this track is located) get a lot of rain and have fragile flora, so we saw a lot of these walk ways throughout out journey.
They don't call this the walk above the clouds for nothing...

Luxmore Hut, you can sleep here for around $50/night but we just stopped for a quick break.
This bee was gigantic, I was terrified.
This helicopter dropped two people off at the hut and then took off.
This leads down to Luxmore Cave, a really sweet side trail

You can look, but don't touch. These were similar to the caves I went repelling in up in Rotorua.
Noelle and Melissa checking out the cave     

And the journey continues...

You can't beat this lunch spot with these people! Yes, that is a toilet as well.
Have you experienced serenity?
That's me, and I did THAT!
We passed two of these emergency shelters along the way.
Weather can get gnarly out here, especially in the winter.

Up and back down in one day
These trees were just the darnedest things
Little bit of a landslide
The Big Slip

So many ferns
So much green...
This is the back-country hut we stayed at for our third and final night

Inside of the hut we stayed in on our last night

Shallow Bay
Water like glass
This swing bridge was just what I needed
The last bridge to civilization
We made it, some how..some way, all 60km
Kepler (check)