Well, it's Spring Break! They don't call it that here, though; it's the mid-semester break to the Kiwis, as it's not yet warm enough to be called spring. We'll be going to Wanaka and Queenstown after the weekend for a stay at our Kiwi host Katya's house, as well as an extreme sport exploration. Most of us plan on doing the Nevis Bungee jump, which is the third largest in the world. We planned to go on a tramp (hike/camp) this weekend, but our group was unable to rent a van, so we are re-formulating our plan...
We were, however, able to go camping in the Catlins a few weeks ago with about 20 people. This is one of the more wild areas of New Zealand, complete with sea lions, yellow-eyed penguins (the rarest penguin species in the world), and beautiful scenery.
One of the highlights was a park-like area containing the mechanical art pieces of a local craftswoman. The park was closed due to it being off-season, but we did see an undulating whale sculpture and a sheep skeleton pedaling a bicycle.
We also made it to Moeraki Boulders, a beach with some unusually shaped rocks. These rock formations are almost perfectly round. I don't fully understand the geology, but as I was told the central particle attracts other particles equally on all sides, resulting in round rocks of all sizes. Unfortunately, all of the small ones have long since been taken as souvenirs, but the large ones are still a popular tourist attraction.
One of the best parts of being here in New Zealand is having the time and freedom to explore new interests. I am only taking three classes, and while challenging, they do not offer the same workload as Willamette classes. This allows time for things like camping, taking salsa dance lessons, going to shows, and exploring New Zealand. I also discovered that I like to draw and have been doing that quite a bit. It all reminds me that a liberal arts education teaches you about things, not how to do things. I didn't realize it, but I was missing this aspect of education, and I've rediscovered it here.
I hope that this post finds you all well. Enjoy beginning school, Willamette Students!