New Zealand Adventures

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Mama Told Me So

Hello Everybody!
Another great day at Pomaria, and I just love those kiddies of mine even more as the days go by. I am sad when I think that after this week I will only be with them for 3 more weeks, so I won't think about it and then I'll be happy :) The reason for this blog post is mostly for my loving Mama. At the staff meeting after school today we had an IT guy come in and give a lecture on how important it is to use visuals such as pictures and videos from youtube and online sites to supplement out teaching. Of course, all the teachers at Pomaria have the updated MacBook Pro, the 10.66, so there are a lot of gadgets such as iMovie and screen snapshot and an updated Quicktime player so that downloading movies and pictures are so much easier. Also, with the MacBook Pro teachers can share their findings by making an album in iMovie and iPhoto and then just a click, and BAM, they are sharing with their fellow teachers on a network. That way teachers can have access to lots of supplementary visuals for their students, and the best part is, they don't have to do all the work alone. Teachers really do beg, borrow, and steal. Don't judge us...we do so much for the children of the world, so we should get a little break, right ;)
So Mom, yes, I am pretty much converted to the Mac, but I still love my PC, it's been a great computer, but I think as a teacher, I should invest in a Mac. You are going to love that aren't you :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fun in the Sun

Enjoying the chilly waterfall in our matching swimsuits :)

Kara and I swimming back to shore with a duck as a friend (Steph, I thought you would appreciate this, he he)

Beautiful waterfall!

Aww, what a pair of matching beauties

One of the views from a top of a hill by Honeymoon Cove

Honeymoon Cove!

James helping me across (I was very nervous about the rocks and the unequal footing, so it was hard to trust anybody, but I learned that when I put my trust in those who have a firmer foot and clearer judgment not based on fear, I will be safer)

Some of the girls

We hiked from the tipy-top of that hill all the way down to the cars at the base of Piha beach. Definitely the wilderness adventure

Running away from the water that was coming through the opening-I shouldn't have though because 10 minutes later my capris were soaked to the knee :)

Nature's glory! Beware of the undertones-luckily I didn't get caught this time

Today was a great day: went with JJ, Linda, James, and the girls to Piha beach to hike to Honeymoon cove, went rock climbing up to the top of some of the scenic lookouts, then went to a beach near Piha (I can't remember the name), got wet and swam in the strong current which was really fun but tasted so salty :), and then went on a short hike to a waterfall and took some beautiful pictures. After that was some shopping with Emily, Nicole, Nancy, and Linda and we all got some jewelry and other souvenirs. I got a cute silver ring and a beautiful green glass necklace, that I will wear in future times and show pictures of. Little did Nicole though that we had more surprises for her and we all surprised her with a birthday party in honor of her 21st. Anna and Nancy also had their 21st birthdays in February too, so it was a celebration of triplets in the Talamaivaos (Nicole and Neeley's parents here in New Zealand). The reason for the huge celebration of a large pink fluffy cake, lots of food, and presents was because in New Zealand the 21st birthday is a rite of passage for the child to become a grown up. The child is given a key to the house so they can come and go whenever they want, and it really is the start of their independence. Really cool! As guests, we all got goody bags, and I was given the cutest sheep figurine I can't wait to take home :) It was a fun Saturday full of adventure and it was hard for me on the uneven ground (for all those who know me, you know how I am with uneven surfaces and what timidity I have with them), but with the patience of the girls, James's help across the rocks to get to Honeymoon Cove, and sheer determination, I made it through the wilderness :) (Literally, there were some wilderness trails around Piha that were so cool to walk through).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

One of the buildings hit the hardest-in downtown Christchurch

Below-the front of the Cathedral-only a week and a half ago, I took a picture of the same building and look what an earthquake can do

Today near 1 pm in New Zealand, Christchurch had another massive earthquake, and though it was only 6.8 magnitude versus the 7.2 magnitude in September, the epicenter was much closer to the surface (5 k versus 36 k), and the damage was much more severe. Buildings are collapsed, 65 casualties have been recorded, and hundreds more are missing. As I came home
from school today in the pouring rain feel sorry for myself, I realized how selfish I was to not care about the hundreds and thousands of people affected by the earthquakes effects. Watching the news at home helped me realize my selfishness and I pray that those who are scared or worried about loved ones will be comforted.

My mum, Monique told us that the things that are happening on the earth are crazy, and I agreed, we are in the last days. She replied with a positive comment: it's great to know that they are coming to pass as prophesied, but at the same time, how devastating these events are. I am just in shock because a week and a half ago, 16 BYU girls, myself included were walking happily down the streets of downtown Christchurch, visiting the beautiful cathedral, eating their yummy fudge, and running around their parks. Today, the cathedral is heavily damaged, shops are destroyed, people are trapped, and areas where I walked and felt safe on, are now littered with glass, broken parts of buildings, and mud. How devastating to see a place that I remembered as one with hope and an effort to rebuild after the September earthquake suffer a tragedy so soon. Also, I contemplated how lucky I am that I was not near the quake, because aftershocks can happen anytime. Life can be so unfair.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One of those magic days...

Today was a great day at Pomaria Primary School. I don't know, but it was just one of those golden days that don't come very often, but they are honestly one of the reasons why I love being with the children and teaching. Dr. Jacobs (JJ) told us that we need to have a vision for why we are teachers, and I really believe that mine is my love for children and how I want them to believe in their abilities like Mrs. Erwin helped me see mine. My vision is this: I teach because I want children to realize their potential and do all they can to live up to that potential in all aspects of their life. I don't know how I am going to do that, whether I use words, actions, or both, but I would love to make one child's life better just from the 6 weeks I spend in this amazing school with these talented learners.

Today was great because so many students were on task and we had fun dancing together (our axis dance), learning together (the students taught me today how they pronounce their "e" because American vowels and New Zealand vowels are very different), and laughing together as we worked on our daily tasks. These students try their hardest and some of them have great strategies to figure out how to spell words, but I need to get those who rely on me all the time for spelling to work more independently, because it is just exhausting to help each one spell 3-4 words. Tomorrow my goal is to encourage more independence and sounding out, and then when they show me their work, I'll write the correct way to spell the word. Also, more of them are talking to me, like Salvanni who can be disrespectful at times, but I think it is because he is used to being labeled as the bad kid, or the dumb kid. Today I noticed how on-task he was and I praised him for it, talked with him, and let him take some leadership on, and I really think it helped our relationship and he seemed a lot happier today. When I show these kids, and especially Salvanni that I love them, I think they'll respond.

A second reason why today was so wonderful: I feel today that I helped a child see her potential as we played paddle tennis together. Taniya is a sweet, bright, and loving girl with Down Syndrome, and in the morning she has an aid helping her with writing and other concepts, but in the afternoon Mrs. Scott and I are in charge of her learning. She does really well usually and we praise her often for the goals she does meet, like when she finds a vowel in the daily reading we do. Today though, Taniya and I had a special moment as we practiced paddle tennis for PE today. While everyone else was working alone or with a partner, Taniya and I hit and scooted the ball to each other. She was so observant and when I tried to show her how to hit it, she eventually did. At first we were just rolling it back and forth to each other, but as she got more confident in her abilities, I challenged her to hit it with the paddle racket, and she did! Her enthusiasm and willingness to try made my day. It was so wonderful to see her working so hard and taking risks. I feel that Heavenly Father feels the same way about us as his children: we have our fears and inadequacies but as he is patient with us and lets us work up to taking risks, that is when he shows us a better way to do something, and then we are confident enough to try the new thing. As we continue to improve and work hard, we feel even better with ourselves and our Heavenly Father is so pleased. Taniya was wonderful today and I loved the time I spent with her.

Finally, I helped a portion of the class learn about teamwork as we played a version of baseball. These kids are still learning about sharing and waiting for a turn with playing, and as we had our huddles and did our best to be a team and pass the ball I just felt so great that I was seeing these kids be active and work together. They are all on different levels, but when they do their best, it is just amazing. I can't really be proud of myself because it's not about me, but I am sure proud of these kids for listening so well, doing their best, and just learning everyday. How lucky I am to witness their progress.

Dinner at the Tikenmano's

Today during church Sal and Leon Tikenmano, the YSA spiritual parents, invited us over for dinner. They have 4 children, one just a 3 week old newborn named Abigail. The moment we walked through their gate at 5:30 pm, one of their sons told his sister to look at us and how funny we looked (probably because we are Pakeha/White and not Kiwi). Then we walked through the door to Sal and Leon getting ready for dinner, and immediately, three of their kids, ran up to us, told us who they were, and wanted us to play. Their oldest, Hiona, took to me quickly and kept asking me to go to her room, so of course I obliged. As we get to her room, her brothers Ethan and Sheldon come in to, but Sheldon, this cute 2-year-old loved Kara and just kept cuddling with her, so I was entertained by Ethan and Hiona.

As soon as we got into Hiona's room she wanted to play with my hair. Payback time Miss Allie-all the times I bugged my babysitter's to let me play with their pretty hair is coming back to haunt me. I think it's fun though, but after a while, Hiona was just fiddling and my hunger was almost to breaking point, so I told her just to pull it back. Also, little Ethan kept on talking to me, so I was trying to juggle talking to two energetic kids who want their individual attention. Ethan was a hoot-talking so loudly and using the best articulation (he used all the sounds perfectly in ship for example, and for a 4-year-old that was impressive). Hiona was a natural beautician: she did mine and Kara's hair pretty well, and she even painted my fingernails and got them perfectly-I could never do what she does and so well on the nails at 6! What a great talent-I was so proud of her.

Dinner was yummy with noodles, steak, potatoes and hard boiled eggs, chicken legs, and yummy juice. And dessert was divine! I will have to make it when I get home for summer because it is a popular Kiwi summer fruit and marshmellowy delicacy. I'll have to make it for my family, and maybe one lucky boy :), if there are any around ha ha. After dinner was more play and dancing and swinging around with Ethan, Hiona, and a little bit with Sheldon. I'll say-kids can go forever! It was fun but I got so sweaty-it was a hot Sunday and New Zealand heat is more intense than the states due to the lack of the ozone layer. Sunblock has really become a constant companion, especially for my halo spot.

Kara and I ended the night with prayers and goodnight kisses to the darlings, and then talking with Sal and Leon and their friend. It was such a joy to be there, see their newest daughter and watch them interact with their children. Just seeing a beautiful, gospel-centered family was amazing and it made me want to be a mother and wife so badly. No matter how hard it will get and the times that I won't feel prepared or good at being a mother, the moments I saw at the Tikenmano's house inspire me to fight and work harder towards creating an eternal home, once I find that amazing eternal companion. I know he is out there, and that he is wonderful. I really needed the time at our neighbor's house because I was concentrating too much on how everyone it seems back in Provo is dating and getting engaged or pregnant (which of course, most aren't), and how lame I am without any of that in New Zealand. Then after being with the Tikenmano's I thought, "Allie, you are in New Zealand, what could be better?!" This is my last time to really be a child and explore on my own before I head out into the professional world of teaching, so I best be enjoying it.

How glad I am that I was able to have this experience-it really has been one of the best weekends.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rangitoto and Chinese Lantern Festival

Overall this was a great Saturday-full of lights, sweat, natural beauty, laughter from 16 girls, yummy food (I got a Turkish wrap that was spicy, and full of meaty flavor-I love lamb-, and of course the pineapple ice cream, which combines the goodness of fruit and the delicacy of ice cream), heaps of people, successful bus maneuvering, and finding the cutest swimsuit (stay tuned for other blog posts) and some souvenirs for my classroom and friends. Hands under ground, one of the best Saturdays of my life-which is what makes them so precious, because they don't happen often, but when they do, it is worth the wait for the next good one. I'll remember this day for a long time. And, I'm excited to be sore, because it means I walked and persevered. Isn't that what makes a day wonderful?

My favorite lantern-a simple vase of flowers

The ugly duckling has hope :D

Sheep lanterns...Guardians of the festival

Kara and I enjoying the festival

The crowd at one part of the festival-this is on the farther area of Albert park where thousands gathered to celebrate Chinese New Year. Booths, shops, food, lanterns, concerts, and dances were performed throughout the night.

For this Chinese New Year the Year of the Rabbit was celebrated.

Cool dragon lantern. I found out that I was born in the year of the horse and that my best match is with someone in the year of the tiger. It was cool to read my Chinese zodiac and find out about how the 12 animals were picked by Buddha to be the representatives of the different years. Those animals that went to visit him before he died were given the honor of being the animals of certain years. The first animal to visit him was the rat so he got the first year. then in chronological order, Buddha honored the other 11 animals and they were given years to represent as well.

Lotus Flower-I was shocked by the swastika sign too

Pineapple Ice Cream!! YUM!

Chinese New Year Festival

Pretty view of the warf

Christine and I at Wilson Bay

Mom, you'll love this one-a beautiful lighthouse at the bay-I took it with you in mind. Here was my thought process: "Ohh, a pretty lighthouse! Oh my goodness, I have to take a picture of it, so that my mom can see it and smile. Sweet, got a great picture to post on my blog and show my mommy."

Entrance to one of the lava cave openings-I went in the other one that was longer, and it was super dark, but thanks to Hannah for being prepared with a flashlight (torch as it is called in New Zealand), I made it through and didn't get really dirty. It was cool just holding onto the walls and walking/crawling slowly through the narrow cave. I haven't really climbed in a cave before, so it was an experience. I will say that I was so happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel :) A friend took a picture of me actually walking, but I'll see if I can get it in the new few days.

Just a pretty overlook on the way to the lava caves

This was the view of Auckland that I got from the Summit-it was really easy to hike for half of it, and then near the top, the hill was straight up and so I put on a smile, thought of McBee hill in Benton City, and just was grateful I didn't have to run it. Man, was I sweaty though after that 2 km walk-but then again, I booked it for walking speed. Supposedly it was supposed to take us an hour, and Emily, Jessica, Nicole, Kara, and I got it done in 40 minutes! Dang, are we awesome or what.

Me in the cooled lava rocks

Rangitoto Island-the beginning before we got all sweaty :) This is part of our group-we had 14 of us all there, so it was loud and fun to all walk and sweat together. We had no idea how much walking we were going to do, and I couldn't believe we actually walked for near 5 hours, with maybe an hour break at the Wilson Bay area-we even had to hike there! It was gorgeous though-so many beautiful igneous rocks, large willow trees, green fauna, and great hiking trails.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Kia Ora! Today at Pomaria Primary Kara, Rebecca, Katie, and I were lucky enough to be welcomed into the school by a celebration called a Powhiri (sounded out like Pofiri). The assembly started at 9:30 am and all the new students, new staff (there was about 4) and us student teachers from BYU, University of Auckland, and Mandarin helpers were welcomed in by the school. First, we all filed into the hall (the PE room) and were greeted by around 40 students and 2 teachers performing the haka. My eyes just popped open as I saw the students yelling, pounding their feet and sticking out their tongues out like they do with the haka. This was all part of the ritual of the people of the land welcoming us in as strangers-they were challenging us to see if we were friend or foe.

After we were all seated as guests, the principal, Mr. Chronomanski welcomed us and spoke a few words on moving to New Zealand from South Africa and then keeping the culture alive of New Zealand. It was very cool and inspiring to hear him speak about keeping the culture and language of New Zealand alive. Then one of the 1st year teachers was our advocate to those already at Pomaria, and he spoke of where he came from, what new teachers love about teaching, and how grateful we all are to be at Pomaria teaching. Then the Haka group performed another dance and song and we all lined up as friends and did the hangi. It is a traditional welcome performed since the olden times where the new people are welcomed as friends by the people of the land and we hug and touch noses, so that we breath the same air (symbolic of becoming one). It was a spiritual and very wonderful experience to be a part of. It was great to see the students getting into the haka and powhiri. Enjoy the video and I'll keep you posted on the fun times I am having.

Great few days because I am getting to know the children, talking with them during lunch (teachers and students eat together for the first 10 minutes), and getting to know their strengths and weaknesses and positively praising their good work. We dance a lot and sing songs, and yesterday we "digged for d's" and I showed them on a globe where I lived and how far that was from New Zealand and how the seasons are different because of the rotation of the axis. We learned a new song, and it goes like this: "The reasons for the seasons is the angle of the axis." Of course, I had to dance funny to and the kids loved that-it was so fun to see us all dancing and laughing together. Mrs. Scott was proud of me too, so I'm really learning a lot and dancing like no one is watching :)

Monday, February 14, 2011


Room 9 during math centers (this is only a portion of the class)

Hello friends! Today was my 2nd day in Room 9-with Mrs. Scott and her lovely year 2 and 3 class. There are 28 students in the class and lots of names and faces to remember. The title of my post is actually the team name of several of the rooms at Pomaria, and it means standing for character. I love the theme and how the teacher's incorporate it throughout the day, as they also do with the school-wide theme of respect. Mrs. Scott is still getting organized and doing testing for setting the students up in groups, which is a great blessing for me to see because as a first-year teacher I need to know how to do the testing and grouping that teachers are expected to master. In my first practicum I only saw the teaching and the routines being used perfectly, but here in New Zealand I came into the classroom in the 3rd week of school, so testing, grouping, and routines are still being set up.

Mrs. Scott is so helpful and willing to answer all my questions-she's taught for 37 years and has a load of experience and told me that if I ever want to teach, just to let her know. I'm going to give my first lesson tomorrow-practicing writing the letter 'd.' I might ask to read a story to the children too just so we can get more of a bond. I'm already getting to know some of the students and their interests as well-I made a goal to get to know 5 kids a day a little better-just talk to them and ask them questions about their likes. This goal came from reading another girl's blog who is in New Zealand and wrote about how she gave attention to a misbehaving boy and he responded so well. I noticed today that even just by listening to the student's share their stories of the movies they watched, and what spiders or bugs they killed, gave me a stronger bond with the children.

Today was a bit longer because for me, even without the after school faculty meeting, but I still learned a lot and saw how the students are collaborating well in their play groups. Right now there aren't any math centers, so the students just take out the math blocks and frogs and such and make rows together or build block buildings. Even though it doesn't seem like they are learning, Mrs. Scott told me that they are naturally learning how to cooperate with each other and make inferences on how to build the blocks. It was also wonderful to see them get to excited about the numbers when I asked them to count how many objects they were playing with.

One boy, Lathan is so adorable, he has no front teeth and he just smiles at me all day and loves to show me his work. He is just a joy to be around because he is so sweet and willing to please. There are a few children who I can tell don't like me, like Salvannia, but I am going to work on making a relationship with him and talking to him about art, which is something he likes. I can't reach them all, but I do want to get to know them. There is one down-syndrome girl in our class, Taniya, and she is a joy to be around. I am learning how to talk with a child who is downs and ESL, and even though she is smart, I can't understand her a lot of the time, but I feel that we have a bond and she gives me multiple hugs a day. Normally there is a teacher aid in the morning, but in the afternoon Mrs. Scott and I work with her. Today I took away the crayons so that she could do a little writing, but she hated that and started to cry, which made me feel awful, but being the super forgiving girl that she is, we were friends again. It's so great to see the rest of the class respond positively to her and play with her. I think of all the friends my brother has and how grateful I am that they were better than me and showed Jason how much they loved him. That is something I can work on-showing Jason how I do care for him.

The girls always give me hugs, and on Monday I was told how pretty I was and how they loved my eye make-up. I could definitely get used to that treatment! Overall, it's a challenge but a joy to be around them and I am excited to get to know them well enough that I can put a name to the face, but after day 2 I am doing pretty well. Just got to say their names with confidence. It'll be a long day tomorrow, with school from 8:30-3 pm, and then a team meeting at 4, and meet the teacher night at 6, put it's all worth it. I actually like how Mr. Choronmanski (the principal) is treating us like real teachers and requiring us to go to the meetings and such-it prepares us for the very near future of our lives as teachers.

Love from Ms. Mills

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence

I was reading and came across this wonderful quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland from his talk entitled, "Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence."
"Opposition turns up almost anyplace something good has happened. It can happen when you are trying to get an education. It can hit you after your first month in your new mission field. Itcertainly happens in matters of love and marriage. . . . There are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. . . . Face your doubts. Master your fears. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’ Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.”

I love this quote especially as I am about to embark on another practicum in less than 12 hours from now. It is so true that the doubts and fear (which I realized is a form of pride) come when we have just started our education or any worthy thing, and then get an answer about the education, person, or thing. I know that teaching is a good thing for me and I have felt the need to pursue it as a career, and that I should do the internship. Yes, the internship will be more demanding and a lot more work than student teaching, but once I have got the illumination as it says in this quote, I can't let the doubts overtake me. Truly, I must master my fears and keep a hold of this good thing.

For those of you who are interested here is the full talk's address by Elder Holland:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oh the beauty of small and simple things

This is Mini's portrait of my face-she made sure to put my white spot that surrounds one of my moles-I honestly laughed so hard and made sure to take a picture because it was so priceless.

I woke up not in such a great mood and being at the Otara market was okay but I just knew what I really needed to feel a little bit better was a good short run in the sun. So when I got home I did just that. Running felt so great and then helping with the house cleaning was such a relaxing event and it felt great just to be joking with Mosiah and serving the family that does so much for me. Afterwards I did some homework and then Monique went out and Kara, Mini, and I were the only ones home, so after a while I realized that I should spend some time with Mini, and I am so glad I did. At first we just watched TV but I started to think about how childhood should be full of active engagement with life, and not just mindless time in front of the TV, so I suggested we play a game. Mini wanted us to try out her new card game, Pictureka, which asks the players to match up pictures with statements. For example, if a statement said 'hands' then a picture picked would have to have hands in it for the statement and picture to match. At the same time Mini practiced reading. She is a fantastic reader and what also is so wonderful is that when she came to a word like "North Pole" she came up with an example of something that lives in the North Pole, like Santa Claus. It was so adorable and I loved how she could give examples for different words, such as with "water" and "ice"-she knew those all related to something cold. It amazes me how smart children really are. The fun continued as we went into the sleep-out (Kara's and mine room) to draw pictures on her whiteboard. We started out drawing ourselves, but then we drew each other. As you see above, Mini is a great artist and she got me perfectly, even my hal0 spot ;)

I have been very blessed today to spend time with such an imaginative child, even though I started to get tired and couldn't wait for Monique to come home with food before the adult session of stake conference. I almost didn't take the opportunity to spend time with Mini, but as I was pondering on some questions from my scripture reading, I just got this feeling that I needed to spend time with this amazing child, so I listened. My questions haven't been answered, and frankly I don't know how to ask for help, but as it talks about in the Ensign about finding answers to life's questions on our own, David McKay has said, "That's his (her) problem." If a prophet believes and expects us to find answers to our own problems instead of constantly asking for help, I am sure that Heavenly Father expects that too. My questions right now are very much the same that they have been for the past year: should I do the internship and then teach for a few years? Will I even be an effective, motivated teacher? What about a mission? Could I even handle a mission? Is my testimony strong enough? Will I conquer my fears and start to live with confidence like I should? What about marriage and meeting the right person? Today I was wondering about the mission question and I really don't know what I should do or what questions would be right to ask to my Heavenly Father. I know He lives and loves me and all of His children, but there are so many doubts as to my ability to really give up of my time for 18 months in service for the Lord. Frankly, I am a selfish girl and so used to being helped and doing things for me. I wish I would have had a job in high school and that I started saving for a mission, but I didn't. However, I am more determined to seriously think about serving a mission and how I can start now to save up for such a noble calling. Deep down all I really want and I am sure most people want is to do the right thing.

Thank you for letting me put my questions out there and the thoughts of my heart. It's been a wonderful ending to a rough start, and even with lots of questions still on my mind, I have confidence that as I do my part, the Lord will take care of the rest.


Sharing is Caring

All of us right before we went on the aeroplane!

Getting strapped up to go jump off a plane! I wasn't really nervous actually, maybe because only a day before I made the decision to jump, so I didn't have enough time to get scared. It worked-I really didn't get nervous til we went off in the air and then my professional jumper gave me high-fives and rubbed my shoulders and I just went and felt great! My favorite line from that adventure was when we were being trained on how to position our bodies before the jump. As one man said, "Think banana when you jump, the bigger the banana, the better the sky dive." I looked like a banana because my legs were pulled back and my face was pointed upward with my back arched, like a banana looks like before it is devoured by me :)

Murphy and I at the end of our journey

This is all of the girls plus James and JJ before we went on the shotover jet-very much like tubing but we were in a raft, not a tube. It was amazing!

After 2 hours of 16 girls sitting in a large circle with laptops, cameras, and cords, and sharing pictures with each other, I successfully got more pictures and some of them are of the skydiving expedition. Unfortunately there is none of me actually doing it because I didn't buy the video, but I promise I did it! Here are some of those pictures and a few other fun things for your pleasure :)

Skydiving-the before

Bunch of us girls doing the hoe-down throw down from Hannah Montana the Movie: yeah we are cool!

Oh man it has been a day, and it was good, but very long. I did visit the school I will be teaching at, Pomaria Primary school, and I found out from the principal, Kevin Choromanski, that we are expected to act as full time teachers, so I will be in the classroom every day except for Fridays, which we have off as a group, from 8:20 am to 3:15 pm, unless there are meetings, and then I'll be at school longer. It's going to be tiring, but I want this job right? I signed up for this and I am going to gain so much from being involved with the other teachers and the students, and the more I put in the more I'll get out. One thing I am excited for is that unlike Provo, we are expected to visit other classrooms and gain insight into how to teach ESL, music, or other grades. I don't have to just stay with my classroom, I can walk around and learn from other teachers. Good news, my students are 1st and 2nd graders, year 2/3 in New Zealand. I'm excited-I had a feeling I would be with the younger grades, so it's good. I'll keep you updated-next week I start. Adventure begin!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Holiday: Queenstown and Christchurch

This was our last meal on our holiday! It was so great to go to Denny's!!! And we got REAL ketchup!!! Yum!!!

Flowers are amazing! I love the botanical gardens and am so grateful for the beauty of this earth.

Steps leading up to the Cathedral tower-very narrow, but worth it to see the view

Daddy I know you'll appreciate this one-it's organ pipes!!

Looking down on Christchurch square-and there is a Starbucks!

Though the earthquake that visited this city in September of last year didn't do much damage, it was the aftershocks that really damaged many buildings, including the cathedral and there were lots of parts being redone and one was the stained glass window over the doors. Work is in progress to complete it again.

This is the area of the Cathedral where the choir and priests sit when the service is in session and the sacrament is being presented. This Anglican church calls it communion I think

The first bishop of Christchurch-he's not actually buried here, but this is a memorial for him

Another organ on the side

Glass stained window of Moses, Christ, and Elisas

Honestly my favorite picture that I took in the botanical gardens. I love the drops of dew on the flower-and it's a pretty pink, so how could I not love it?

Brighton Beach-the waves were really small, but dangerous

Allie, Christine, Kara, Heidi, and Hannah just sitting and enjoying the beauty of the botanical gardens

Oh rose, how I adore you!

Take time to smell the roses

At the Christchurch Museum there was one exhibit where we were allowed to walk into a simulation of a house from a New Zealand couple that collected Paua shells. They literally had thousands that decorated their house and it was a tourist attraction for many while they were alive. Now it is all kept in the museum for more tourists to come and visit.

It was raining hard core at Milford Sound, so while we were on our way home the mountains' glaciers started to melt with the rain and lots of waterfalls started to appear down the mountain side. There were literally hundreds as we drove away from the Sound! It was so cool to see how powerful rain can be

Christchurch cathedral-it reminded me a lot of the cathedral I was imagining while reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet-so when I went inside I felt like I was still reading the book even though I finished a day before.

On Sunday James, Johnny, and the Jacob's took us on a tour of Christchurch after church and we all stopped at a little overlook to pose for a photo

Kara and I at Brighton Beach in Christchurch-it was too cold to swim, but I collected seashells and read a lot of Pillars of the Earth under the warm sun. I made the mistake of thinking my back wouldn't get burnt, so I got really sunburned and now my back has weird spots of sunburn and the pain is slowly fading away, thanks to Aloe!

Hydrangea at the botanical gardens

taking a break from our 5 hour walk around downtown Christchurch-it was fun but so long and we were ready for a wonderful dinner that night at...DENNY'S!!!

At Milford Sound the water on top is very dirty since some of the water comes from the ocean and another part of the water comes from the river, which is freshwater, and since freshwater is less dense than salt water, the freshwater sits on top and somehow dirt and junk make the fresh water dirty and fish that normally live many meters below the water in normal waters, come to Milford Sound and live in this not-so deep fiord so people like me can take a picture. It's pretty cool we can see sealife that we would normally have to scubadive way deep to view.

Gotta be honest, I was a little nervous about horseback riding since I have never done it before, but it was such a beautiful and easy ride, hardly any trotting, and Murphy (the horse) and I got used to each other and eventually he realized I wasn't as scared. When I was scared I honestly let him have his way and I didn't show who was the rider, but I eventually got some backbone. Now I just got to get backbone sooner before I am faced with lots of kids who have minds of their own and may not listen to me, ha ha.

More views of Glenorchy! Okay Lord of the Rings fans, was any of this used in this landscape used in the movie :)

Kara and I right before horseback riding

The forest we rode through-there was a tree that we actually went by where one of the guys from the first film sat down in front of and died, so that was really neat to think that we were riding right past a part of the forest where there was actual filming.

Dart River-and the mountains in the back were definitely in the Lord of the Rings sights-it was so great getting commentary on where parts of the movie were filmed such as with the river and where Isengard was. Of course, all the sights that were built were required to be torn down after the filming, but we did see where Isengard was made nad the surrounding areas, which was pretty cool!

Me and Murphy finally getting used to each other

This the the view of the river I would soon jump towards, but not be submerged in (they said the rope couldn't reach that far for some reason). I jumped 43 meters over the Karawke Bridge-the most awesome thrill of my life-I am so serious, I could bungy everyday it was just amazing! Next time, AJ Hackett 134 meters, here I come!

Eating the best burger in the world!!! Totally trumps In & Out-the one and only FERNBURGER!!!! I loved it and the large juicy goodness

Me on a luge! Getting ready to go down the advanced track-I went really slow, but I conquered another fear

Kara and I at the top of the skyline luge area-overlooking Queenstown

There was one room in Puzzling world where you can stand on opposite sides of each other in two different corners and one person looks tiny compared to the other person who looks TALL. This is actually the illusion they used in the Lord of the Rings for the actors who played hobbits versus the normal sized elves and people. Cool huh?

Puzzling World-my least favorite part of Queenstown-I got such a headache

In Puzzling World there was a room where everything was upside down, topsy-turvy, and I had to pull a matrix move :)

Signing my life away ;)

Skydiving!! (More pictures will come from me doing it) This happened on Tuesday morning and there were 8 of us who braved the jump-and it was such a thrill. I loved free-falling but I did get a little queasy when me and my jumper started gliding around as we got closer to the ground, but the view was incredible and I got to see the tallest peak of New Zealand-Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman

Small hobbits behind a bush

Our guide, James, took us all on a trip to Glenoarchy and we drove through the forest and several streams to end at this spot near Dart River, which was used in the Lord of the Rings. We saw so many sites, and James pointed them all out to us. Very cool!

That's a big cow!

A little view of Queenstown-look at the beautiful lake and towering mountains!


During the gold rush in New Zealand, the Chinese workers used to live in huts such as these in Arrowtown-a part of Queenstown. This is actually one of the more spacious ones-it amazes me how some people can live with so little, when I enjoy so much wealth. I really need to be more grateful for all the blessings I have.

Right before riding the shotover jet with the girls and James and Jacobs-it was such a thrilling ride along the river! I was a little nervous, but totally loved it once we started going

A cemetery overlooking part of Queenstown-there are so many tourist attractions in such a small town.

Christine and Nancy walking ahead of the troop while 4 of us went on a mountain bike trail to explore a little bit of the woody side of Queenstown. We didn't get very far on the trail before we turned around because one of the bikers told us that we needed to be on the other trail-the hiking trail, not the mountain bike trail, ha ha. A few days later, Christine, Nancy, Anna, Whitney, Hannah, and I did go on that trail, and it was a lot more steep and strenuous, but absolutely gorgeous.

Welcome to Queenstown!

Hey guys! So I know it's been 12 days, but I didn't have internet for 10 days while I was away on the most amazing, most beautiful trip I have yet taken! Queenstown had the cleanest, most fresh mountain air, and the lake was so blue and clear. Christchurch had the pretties botanical gardens and I realized how much I love flowers and nature :) There is so much to say, but I like what Christine told me she would do with her blog: just put up pictures and then bullet point the major happenings. Thanks to Christine for that wonderful advice! Enjoy the pictures everyone! There are some of me that were taken by other cameras, so I'll put those up soon for sure, in a few days! They are not in order, since I haven't figured out blogger yet, so sorry for that. Live life to the fullest, enjoy the beauties around you, and thank Heavenly Father everyday for the blessings he bestows upon you, something I can constantly improve upon.

Here's the video of me bungy jumping!!! I actually just went right for it when he counted to 3 without even a thought-I totally shocked myself, I was sure I would freak out, but I didn't. It was the best feeling in the world falling and being pulled by that rope :)
Milford Sound Panorama