New Zealand Adventures

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Last Day in New Zealand

Sky Tower by night

Gotta love that a street is named after me :)

The Sky Tower

Rainbow nearby my house

I got caught in a rainstorm on Tuesday during my run, but there was this beautiful rainbow to cheer me up.

Well guys, this is it. The end is today. This last week has been relaxing: visiting Auckland city to say goodbye to a friend from the ward, getting last minute souvenirs, making more snickerdoodles, having fun with the family, and attending a Kapa Haka practice. It's also really sad as I've been packing and thinking about the reality that I am leaving. I would be lying if I didn't say that I'm not afraid for the future, but like all these girls have said, we need to choose faith over fear. Faith in myself, in the future, and in Christ. I've learned a lot here, conquered many fears, but still have unfinished goals for home, so that I can keep on improving. Thank you BYU and Dr. Jacobs for this amazing opportunity. Dr. Jacobs told us that those girls he picked to come for the 2011 group were those that he knew would need NZ and who NZ would need. I certainly needed NZ and I hope that NZ gained something from me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pahiha, Good News, and Nearing the End

Here are some pictures of my adventures

The water not only looked beautiful it was warm and lovely to swim in

Steering the boat!

It was such a great day

Sailing, sailing, what do we do, we sail, sail...

A view from Maramaque-the town where we went to church on Sunday

Sunset one night

Another boat sailing alongside our little boat

I love dolphins!

The little bay we stopped at for a bit of kayak, lunch, and snorkeling fun-this is a view from a hill nearby

Success!! I made it down the sand dunes!

Trudging up the hill to go down the sand dunes

Wonderful beach, warm water, and a great place to relax

This is Ian Milne's view of the beach from his summer home

This is not zoomed in...we really were driving on 90 mile beach!

A you Mommy

So much ocean! So much beauty!

All of us BYU princesses got 5 plants and in little groups we got to plant our own trees on Cape Reinga

While driving along 90 mile beach I got some pictures, and one of them was of the hole in the rock

After running with Becca we saw the beautiful sunrise and had to take a photo. I found my sunrise for you Jillian!

A front view of our motel

We visited the northernmost tip of NZ!

Where the Tasman and Pacific meet...

Cape Reinga view

A view of the beach near our motel

I just loved how the clouds looked in the Northland

The trunk of a Kaui tree!

James bought all of us a lava lava, so we posed for a picture ;) We are such a great group!

This is a monument at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds-where Europeans and Maori came together for the signing of a treaty that granted the Maori independence in their land

Chief Jim, Kara, James, Allie, and Linda

The mighty Kaui Tree!!
Wow, it really is coming to the end guys-I only have 3 days left in New Zealand! The time has flown by, but I am grateful for all it all, even the hard days when all I wanted was to fly back to America. I’m glad though that I got to have another great 5 days traveling with the group to another exotic place in New Zealand: Northland. While there we visited some amazing sites, even the northernmost tip of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. To start the journey 8 of us were picked up by James and the other 8 were picked up by Jim and Linda in our trusty vans around 9 am on Thursday. It was a long 3 hour drive but reading Anne of Green Gables and listening to music passed the time off nicely. Soon after we arrived and set our bags down in the motel we headed to the Waitangi treaty grounds and walked around the site where the famous Waitangi Treaty was signed between the Europeans and the Maori. Dr. Jacobs said that it is the Philadelphia of New Zealand and I agree. Thursday night was spent buying food for each apartment so that we could eat our own cooking, and boy, it was good to cook again. Omelets, soup, salad, Hawaiian Haystacks, and chicken made the weekend tasty.
Friday was full of driving (literally, we drove all day) up to Cape Reinga and driving along 90 mile beach. It was amazing seeing how the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collided and became one--so breathtaking. I can’t really describe how it looked or what I felt and the pictures don’t do it justice, but it was amazing. Nature never ceases to amaze me. Oh, also I was feeling great because that morning some of us went to the internet cafĂ© in town and looked at our emails to check if we got internships and I found out that I did!! I’m going to be a teacher this fall for Mapleton Elementary!! Yay!! My emotions were jumbled as I read my acceptance email, because some of the girls hadn’t found out yet, and I was excited but nervous and didn’t want to brag to those who didn’t know yet or got accepted. Nervous and wondering what grade I would get, I was glad to go to a calm place like Cape Reinga and just look out at the vast ocean and sea and lose my thoughts in beauty for a while. After, James and Jim took the big vans and drove us to eat near the sand dunes by 90 mile beach and some of us surfed down the sand. It was scary to think about, but I am glad I did it and faced yet another fear. The best sand dune surf was given by Becca when she biffed it at the end and landed in the river and mud: she is my hero for sure! Poor girl though, she had to sit wet and cold in the car while we drove along 90 mile beach (which is only 55 miles long). Man, it was awesome riding so close to the water, but we had to be careful not to get too close to the water. Actually, at one time James stopped to ask for directions and he got stuck in the sand so the 10 of us in his car had to get out and push. Together we achieved more and got the car free! The day was fun, but I was tired after being in a car all day. Not even amazing fish n chips could keep me alert that long. James was still wide awake that night though, because he came to our apartment (Whitney, Diana, Janet, Kara’s and mine) to play a few rounds of scum, speed, and integrity. We, the young ones, actually kicked him out so we could go to bed.
Saturday was a beach day in Russell, where we visited Ian and Lesley Milne at their large beach house. Ian was our science lecturer in January and was kind enough to open up his home to loud BYU princesses. And oh, how lovely his house was! The sun just came through the glass windows and you could see the glistening beach perfectly! The warmth of the sun reminded me of being home in Riverside on Promenade Circle lying in the sun spots on the living room carpet waiting for Daddy to come home. It was nice just to relax on the beach too, which was literally across the street from the Milne’s house and I even touched a fish as we saved some from the little rocky wharf they were caught in. Sunday was great too, the church members were so friendly and charitable and willing to let us participate in their Relief Society lesson. I love the people of New Zealand!
Monday was by far the best day because Kara and I got to go sailing on a boat with 6 other people and the captain. We went kayaking, ate lunch on the beach, went swimming, snorkeled (I tried but didn’t like it), and hiked up to a peak to look out on the various islands of Pahiha. Then, going back to the wharf we were allowed to help steer the boat, and it was awesome! So much power, but at the same time, nerve wracking because you worried that other people’s stomachs were going to hurl since you were swaying the boat back and forth as you tried to get the boat in the right direction. Yes, that would have been me who was worried and learning how to steer straight instead of swaying like a fish. My favorite part though-when the dolphins swam alongside our boat and jumped around in the water just smiling and making their little dolphin noises. It was incredible! That night we all met together for a final New Zealand FHE and it was emotional, just like testimony meeting at Girls Camp. Katie gave a wonderful lesson on faith and how we should live with faith for the rest of our lives, and not just leave it here in New Zealand. We all reflected on how faith, faith in the future, and living with faith, has been the theme of our 2011 trip, and it’s all thanks to the one lesson Dr. Jacobs gave when we read Faith versus Fear for homework (an amazing BYU devotional address by Gregory Clark). Girls shared experiences that fortified their faith, and I realized how grateful I am that other people like me have insecurities. That’s been a hard thing for me to understand, that all people have trials, and I really am not alone. Perhaps it’s me being selfish, but I loved the idea that I was suffering and everyone else had perfect lives that were so easy, so that's way I could be pitied. But that’s stupid and not Christlike. No matter how pretty, popular, fun, boy wanted, teaching talented, or smart a girl is, they each have sorrows and insecurities. Heavenly Father taught me the hard way that I need to stop being so selfish and instead of think the whole world is doing so much better than me, that we are all perfecting at our own pace. As I go home, I need to keep that insight with me, and as Katie challenged all 16 of us, to live with faith and not fear.
Goodbye’s happened this morning before we left to head back to our homestays in Auckland, and most everyone cried as we sang “Lean on Me” and “Te Aroha” for James, Jim, and Linda. I wasn’t one of them, and I think it’s because I don’t cry when saying goodbye and also, my major bonds I made in New Zealand didn’t happen with many of the girls. Half of us are going to say our goodbyes Friday night when we fly back to America, and those are the ones I feel closer too, but the others who are going off to Australia or staying in New Zealand with their parents, and who I said goodbye to for real I didn’t feel as close to, so the tears didn’t flow. My worry is that I didn’t gain the most from these girls or my experiences with them. I’ve loved New Zealand and Kara so much, and I do care about the girls, and there will always be a special place in my heart for them, but the unity Dr. Jacobs testifies of among all of us is hard for me to feel. It must be my fault for not feeling that unity. Looking back, I did care too much if they liked me, and I thought little of what would be best for the 15 girls surrounding me. It’s a mistake I need to learn from. Looking back now, I was paranoid and really, the girls did love me; it was my fear that kept them at bay. Next time when I am around people who I don’t feel like me or that I have little in common with and don’t click with them, I just need to let it roll off my back like a duck as my friend Danielle says, and think less of myself.
Sorry for the long blog post and my confessions, but I know those who read this love me and will understand. I wanted to thank all of you for taking them time to read this blog. I love you all!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rotoura and Waitamo Bay

Allie, Diana, Kara getting ready for a sweet as adventure black water rafting through one of Waitamo's many caves.

Paddle Paddle

Some of us took a paddle boat out on the lake. I have to admit, my calves burned :)

Rotorua Museum in the center of the Old English town

Monday was our busiest and we explored for an hour around the Old English town and waterfront of Rotoura city. Here I am posing like a Kiwi with my tongue out and looking very ferocious

Posing on a deck that's situated on the 3rd lake we visited (I put my feet in this water and it was really cold, just like the Columbia river around April)

After visiting Te Puia and eating a quick lunch (we had roast beef, cheese, and lettuce on bread everyday) we took a drive to 3 great lakes. The first two were the Blue and Green Lake (can't remember the third). What's special about the Green Lake is that nobody is allowed to swim there since the Maori look at it as a sacred water source because of the minerals that make the lake green. Both lakes were gorgeous and even at one overlook you could look out and see both lakes (sadly I couldn't maneuver my camera right to get a picture)

As part of the Maori culture some make their food underground with hot stones-also known as a Hangi.

The stick game as part of the cultural performance we went to

Rubbing a jade rock for good luck

You can't tell but my eyes are closed in this picture

This is what the national park looks like around the geysers, it's amazing how fauna thrives with the sulfur. According to our tour guide Te Puia is way prettier than Yellowstone: I think I have to agree.

Chief Jacobs. As part of our visit to Te Puia we went to a marae (sacred gathering place) and a powhiri to be welcomed by the this Maori tribe and we needed a male to come forth and be a chief so that we would be welcomed into the marae peacefully. Dr. Jacobs was volunteered by 16 eager girls

Te Puia Maori Cultural Center and home of Rotorua's national geyser park that we visited on Monday

Walkway along Lake Taupo (before it rained) on Sunday after church (and yes, later on you'll see pictures of our flat tire we got the same day)

Baa, I'm cold!

What are you going to do on an early Saturday morning? Oh, you know, shear a sheep.

Okay so another funny story along with this picture...some of the girls were talking about the internship and I didn't really want to get too involved in the drama with that so I went on a little run just around the house we were by. Well, you don't get too far without smelling the sulfur in Rotorua and believe it or not there was a little geyser park right by the Bronson's house. So I thought it would be fun to go explore in that park, and it was until a rock and I collided. I was almost done and just running by some of the stinky foamy geysers when I noticed a cute boy walking past and of course I was checking him out and not looking at the ground, and then wham, I stumbled and crashed right on my right knee on the hard-packed gravel. I was so embarrassed, and the guy was going to help me up, but I bounced right up and sprinted off to find a way out of the park and back home. It wasn't until I got home that I really started to feel a bruise and swelling coming on, but man, my knee was bloody! This is a photo a day after it happened so the swelling went down a tiny bit, but it felt like a water balloon for a few days. Pretty gross. Moral of story: when running don't check out cute boys :)

Baby lamb! I love his face

Black sheep and Bessie-a cute sheep that took right to me

After the sheep show (Saturday) we all got on stage for a picture with the stars themselves!

Our excitement continued as some of us prepared dinner Sunday night for 18 hungry people. Sunday night was potato bar, Saturday was hamburgers, and Friday night was taco salad. It was a lot of cleaning up and cooking to do, but luckily each of the girls took turns and we all had a night where we cooked and cleaned. Well, Kara and I cleaned a lot, especially Friday and Saturday, but on Monday we took a break and let some other girls clean (also, Dr. Jacobs told everyone that the girls who clean constantly can't clean up dirty dishes for Monday or Tuesday morning). In this picture, Anna and I are stabbing potatoes.

After church on Sunday we took a drive to Lake Taupo to walk around and explore. It was rainy and cold, but the walk was nice. Well, we had a lot of adventures on the way home. First, it was rainy really hard and Jim hydroplaned the 13 seater van and after saying "Oh my gosh" 5 times and holding on to the seat in front of me for dear life, we got back on all 4 wheels. There was a moment when I really thought we were going to tip over. It was a little scary. Then, not even 20 minutes later we hear a huge pop and Kara noticed a hubcap fly down the road from our car. We stop and yes, our worries were right, we got a flat tire. James was ahead of us and didn't see it, so after calling him on the cell, he rushed back and for a good hour we got all the supplies and watched Jim, James, and Kara fix the tire. I was glad I got to see the action of changing a tire because now I know. One girl even asked me if I was scared to drive because I don't know how to change a tire, and I told her no, but at least I got to learn now. Kara was amazing during this trip and such a trooper! Even changing a tire in her dress! It was an exciting Sunday :)

Front row seats at the sheep show on Saturday!

Everyone at the dinner theater and the stage in the background

Our table at the dinner theater

Me, Heidi, Christine, and Jessica during the dinner theater we enjoyed Monday night. It was hosted by James's best friend's wife-Sister Bronson. The play was all about one of the villages in Rotoura that was buried after the 1867 volcanic eruption. Dinner was really fancy with muscles (didn't eat one because I've already tried one and they are disgusting), peas, carrots, salad, chicken, ham, potatoes, and Kumeri. Yum!

Us after zorbing...with the 3 guys who pushed us down the hill (good Saturday activity). Even though it was rainy and cold, the ride was awesome!

Zorbing-Kara and I went in one ball, and Katie and Hannah went in the other. It was awesome! We jumped superman style into the ball and then slid and rolled down the hill in freezing cold water :)

Our group that went on the Black Water Rafting experience in Waitamo Bay. I was nervous because I thought we were going to have to repel and do some crazy caving stuff that I have never done before, but it really wasn't that bad once I relaxed and listened to our guides. The hardest part was jumping backwards over waterfalls, but it got easier as time went on. It was so awesome to go into the caves and paddle and jump over little waterfalls and then look above you and see the lights from the glowworms. Funny fact: the glowworms aren't actually the worms, it's their poop. So really we paid money to see glowing poop :) I'm so glad I got to go and see all the lights inside this amazing cave.

All of us right before we went into the Hamilton, New Zealand temple one Friday afternoon. We got picked up at 6:30 am Friday and made it a little late to the 9:30 am baptism time. It was cold and rainy, but the temple was wonderful inside and the visitor's center was really cool to. We got to learn about Matthew Cowley, one of New Zealand's most influential LDS missionaries. It was gorgeous inside and it was only us with James and Jim in the baptismal font (and all the temple workers as well) so it was nice and cozy. I loved going to the temple again after not going for 3 months-the spirit was very strong there and I felt peaceful. Something I definitely need right now before the interns are decided for the upcoming school year.

Hello!! It's only 10 more days left for this lass and then she goes back to America! It's crazy how fast the time goes. This past weekend all 16 of us went with JJ and James to Rotorua and Hamilton for a temple trip and some fun. I found myself looking at the scenery more than the last trip to Hot Water Beach because I realized how soon this land is going to be part of my past. It really is so beautiful here, but home is gorgeous too, as long as I do my part to make it so. Soon, I'll find out if I was accepted for an internship in Nebo district for the 2011-2012 school year, and while I am waiting we are all going to head up North for a little trip to Northland: our final trip before it's goodbye New Zealand.

Sorry the pictures are all out of order.

Enjoy the video of Dr. Jacobs doing the Haka :)