I know, I know, I know – I am not so great at keeping this updated daily like I was doing before. . . but, in all honesty – so much of my time now is school visits – which are fantastic – but for confidentiality sake, I have to blog about them more in a batch than individually, so I am waiting until I have a few more to share some of my reflections and thoughts – look for a big blog post on that in the next few weeks for sure. That being said – next week I will have some exciting posts for you from Australia, so I don’t want to stay behind. This post will cover my fun exploring Wellington from when I left Nelson on March 23rd, to when I come up north to Auckland on April 5th. Wellington is a city full of fun and surprises. (I swear, even though it is my current home, I am always finding new stuff to do here – it really is the “coolest little capital” in the world.
Weather in Wellington is truly unpredictable, and I have found that my Wellington survival kit always contains sunscreen – (this girl burns!), a rain coat (My Columbia Jacket may be the best thing I brought with me), a sweat shirt, a hairband (the wind!) and a hat. It has become second nature to have that all on me (where in the past, it would have just lived in my car) – No car here though!
This time period is no different – we have had rain, sunshine and my first real feel of an earthquake.
So I flew home from Nelson on the 23rd – a short – less than an hour flight across the Cook Strait, and then I ubered back to the house (buses, luggage, hills and stairs just had no appeal), and started on the fun that was unpacking and laundry after being gone. I also did some administrative work, planning my upcoming travels and blogs, and worked through some lessons for the class I am sitting in (Science for NZ teachers). The Ludbrooks were out for the evening enjoying the ballet, so I wandered down to the House of Dumplings for dinner (YUM!) and then came back to the house, where I was working on planning my South Island trip details – when I heard a sound like a train whooshing through Aro Valley – I thought it was a truck, until, about 5 (or so) minutes later the house began to shake -it shook for a few minutes and stopped – my reaction was -oh that is an earthquake! No damage was done that I have heard of and while unnerving, it wasn’t horrible.
Friday was a big back to Uni day for me. I had several meetings lined up with professors and we had a Cohort Catch-up with the other Fulbright Teachers, so my Friday was quite productive.
Friday night I decided to finally go up to Space Place, even though I knew the sky was going to be too cloudy to look through the telescope, I felt like some Space geekery was in order. I loved it! The guide to the Southern Skies, the Maori legends surrounding the Pleiades, or Matariki, as they call them, the planetarium show focused on the Southern Hemisphere – (That uses the same software I use in the Star Lab with kids, by the way), and even the telescope that wasn’t open for viewing were all fascinating and did my heart good.
I stayed there pretty late (hoping the clouds would clear, but they didn’t (so I will be back on a clear night).
Saturday was Cuba Dupa – one of the many festivals in Wellington – seriously – there is always something going on! Cuba Dupa is this cool festival with all sorts of performers, and an added bonus was that Lavie, one of our Fulbright teachers was performing as well so some of us went out to support him – and he did a great job!
After Lavie’s performance, I wandered around the festival taking in the music, the fun, and a lovely peanut butter gelato (Yum!)!
Midweek – between school visits, Reinhardt work and mundane things like cleaning, paying bills and the like, I took a wander to the Waterfront and the Wellington Museum – It was really quite cool to learn more of Wellington’s history. The museum focused a lot on the Maritime history of Wellington, which of course makes sense, but also had the Bond Store – a replica of the buildings original purpose, to collect taxes on shipped items for the crown.
What you will not see in the pictures is the portion that was the most impactful for me, the section dealing with the Wahine disaster, a great tragedy that occurred in 1967 when a passenger ferry sank in Wellington Harbor.
Days Bay Kayaking – and a bonus Festival to boot!
Saturday I headed out to Days Bay to enjoy the sunshine, and use my Groupon Voucher for my Kayak rental. I was excited to finally use the rental, and to get in a kayak! The sea wasn’t exactly calm, but it wasn’t terribly turbulent either, so I spent a nice hour in the bay enjoying the views.
After Kayaking I wandered across to the pavilion where there was a festival going on – the Local Wild Food Challenge – a cooking competition, tasting and festival – it was very interesting, and I enjoyed the Maori chef who talked about how he prepared a Hangi (a traditional meal cooked over hot rocks underground), then let us taste the food!
Southeast Asian Night Market
Keeping with the tradition that there is always something going on in Wellington, I ventured out to the Southeast Asian Night Market.
Here I watched some cool cultural shows and tasted different foods from across Southeast Asia – I tolerated the cold rain as long as I could, then I headed home and worked on the final touches of my Mid-Point presentation for the following day, April 3rd.
We (the Fulbright Teachers) gathered on April 3rd at Victoria to give our midpoint presentations. It was great to hear what everyone was up to, what their reflections were, and how their projects were progressing.
Thanks to Sue – who came to NZ for spring break from ATL – I have some pictures from my presentation, and some other pictures too:
Next I am off to Auckland!