The Catlins

The Catlins

I went to the Catlins with the Geology Club. The Catlins has so much to offer: waterfalls, petrified forrest, beaches, sea lions, and more! We went to so many places on this short weekend. It was beyond beautiful. The weather … Continue reading

Velvet Burger

Well, O-week has officially ended. Although I can say I made it out alive, I cannot say in full health. Having contact with people from all over the world is a germy business. And having a severe cold the first week of classes is no walk in the park. But, I can no way skip class so early in the semester (hopefully I will make it to every single one). The process of choosing classes flashes back in time as we had to stand in line after line, waiting impatiently for the advisor to quickly sign off the paper (course) on our course approval form. After standing in four lines, one for each class, in three different buildings, I then had to stand in a 25 minute line to obtain my student id. This all occurred towards the end of O-week, and was a brutal process hungover from the previous nights festivities. All in all, I enjoy my classes so far. I came here thinking I would take a collection of random theatre and film classes. Although that is my area of study, I was going in with the intention to just have fun. However, an epiphony hit me. I transformed my timetable to take courses to extend my opportunities for a Fine Arts career path. I decided to take my first ever Marketing class, Marketing Management. I am also taking a Design Communications class in which I will learn the Adobe programs wayyyy better then I did in my DDF class sophomore year. I figured I could learn new things that would allow me to work for a marketing firm using graphic design and marketing techniques to pitch commerical film ideas. Hopefully, no not hopefully, I know I will find a career that utilizes my creative juices!

Anywho, back to Otago after my dream-job rant.. So the way papers work here is that you can indeed have a timetable clash. Aka, you can have classes over lap in time! You can decide which to go to, switching back and forth, or do half and half each class. Most kiwis get away with barely going to class at all and passing, and its the way things work here! No attendance taken, no being called a slacker, its just not a big deal to miss lectures. Many papers also have workshop sections and tutorial sections which are basically recitations. Again, kiwis make things so much more complicated, yet they are laid back about it all!

There is a burger joint a few blocks into town here that has famously delicious large burgers, buy one get one free Tuesdays. As I have said, everything is oober expensive here, so when my flatmate who happens to be in one of my classes asked me to go, I couldn’t turn it down. I have been here a month and have yet to try Velvet Burger! I figured a long week of drinking, and the start of classes, I deserved a treat. We decided to get the traditional burger called Velvet Burger (go figure). After getting a drink and my flatmate getting fried, we ending up paying the same price for the full burger each. Rookie Americans! So much for the save on cash. When it came out on its large succulent bun with fried pineapple, Velvet relish, spicy mayo, and lettuce, it looked worth it. After scarfing down half of the burger, I realized the meat was different. I reread the description on the colorful chalkboard, venison…deer meat! I promised Bambi I would never! But how expensive it was, and how good it tasted, I had to munch on. First time trying deer meat, check! I was full for the rest of the night.

I live in a flat that is in a courtyard of 8 other flats. We are a rowdy bunch, and very versatile. We have mostly US citizens, then the 9 kiwi hosts, and a few people from other parts of the world: France, Switzerland, Ireland..and an Aussie who doesn’t technically live there. We have a few adopted internationals as well who always come over and attend out events. Crazy things going on during O-week in the court yard have included but are not limited to plate throwing, bottle smashing, and naked laps around the courtyard. I did not partake in any of these in particular, but they were interesting to watch. Laying in the sun on bean bags drinking scrumpy and wine out of the bottle occurred daily, and will all semester. Last night about 15 of us girls went to see Safe Heaven for a girls night at the movies. It was adorable, many girls cried. And we all fell in love with the main guy character of course.

I already have homework to do that I am behind on. #collegekidproblems. But I am going straight to bed when I get back from classes to kick this colds butt goodbye! I need to be ready for Paradise this weekend!

Ahhhh at least I have Fridays off :).



Couch culture

Ok, so a few things about the University of Otago and Dunedin that are quite obscure but awesome all together. They burn couches here. Yes, couches like from your living room. It’s an odd culture here to bring your couch on the roof, to the fields, side walk, and eventually just setting them on fire for no apparent reason. They are so laid back about it! It permeates through almost everything they do and say. Their language is more lazy then Phillys (as in they don’t pronounce all their syllables). It is so carefree here. Girls wear adorable summer dresses with boots or sneakers. I have never seen so many chuck sneakers in my life! It actually looks adorable, but it would never fly in the city of brotherly love.

Down side is that everything is sooo expensive. Being an island, everything is imported. It’s really upsetting to know I won’t be playing flip cup for the next four and a half months. Red solos cup equate to $1.00 EACH! My neighboring flatmate got her nails done, full set, for $80! However, their minimum wage is like $14. So for kiwis who can work, they’ll be pretty set!

Culture Shock

It is amazing to witness the differences in culture. I have always loved to read about how people live their lives so differently from mine. Studying abroad, I live in a complex with many international students, and of course Kiwis (New Zealanders). Even meeting people from other parts of the states I notice differences in language, dialect, ways of living and more! It is way more fun to sit in a group and “shoot the shit” as they say here and laugh at the differences. So I am trying to compile a list of what I have discovered. So far, I found a number of interesting differences between the Kiwis versus the Americans:

American                               Kiwis

Sandals or flip flops ……………Jandals

camisoles or tank tops…………..singlets

trunk of your car…………the boot of your car



potato chips………..chippies


eggs in refrigerator…….eggs on shelves



sweet/awesome……sweet as

laundry detergent………washing powder

trash can…..rubbish bin

shopping cart…….trolley


guys in shorts……guys in really short shorts

veer to the right/ drive on the right……veer to the left/ drive on the left

ketchup……..tomato sauce (taste way different!)

This is allI got so far, but will keep adding!!!!







Tunnel Beach

My first tramp we had to walk down the cliff through a tunnel under another cliff to the small but magnificent beach. The water was freezing but clear and beautiful. I saw a sea lion swimming only half a mile off shore. Truly amazing site. Still feels unbelievable. The hike back up the mound was extremely difficult, being out of shape and all. Plus I was in flip flops! I made it though. We got the most amazing ice cream from Rob Roy Dairy after, passion fruit ! Mmm I want more!





Jet Lagged

Finally made it to my new home around 330pm Saturday (930pm Friday in Philly time), and all I wanted to do was shower. The 25 minute taxi ride from the airport to Otago’s campus was beautiful. I was dressed for winter, and its clearly summer here with its clear skies, radiant sun, a country side full of green, and plenty of sheep. I was overheated and exhausted, but I stuck it out and went out with two of my roommates to meet new friends. 30 hours without a real slumber, and I was buzzed two sips into the delicious raspberry cider, Scrumpy. It comes in a plastic liter that looks like a soda bottle from the Papi store. They also are big on premixed and canned mixed drinks here, rum and colas, vodka and there version of red bull, and tequila sunrises. We went to another flat’s (communal housing) party. I met a ton of international students and other kiwi hosts (New Zealanders that decided to live with internationals and show them the ropes). The people here are so much more welcoming then in Philly. Walking down the street everyone says hello or some form of welcoming chit-chat. The air is so fresh and so clean clean! As are the streets. I saw some graffiti, but it appears to be done to people’s own property. The university is a city-meets-country feel. I am excited to get started, but as of right now I have no idea what to do with myself. I am going to head out and explore the area, hopefully finding a supermarket and my way back home!

My roommate took me to get some essentials yesterday at the “Warehouse” which is like a Forman Mills meets BJs. Everything is sooo much more expensive here because it is all imported. I did get a All Blacks poster for 10 cents though! They don’t have cents, so they round on receipts for payments. Its interesting how economies are so different. I was in a deep discussion last night about the Maori people (New Zealand’s version of Native Americans) vs the Kiwis (New Zealanders). A current debate is taking place in the country because the government is trying to get out of debt by selling rights of their water power companies. The Maori are arguing that the land, water, and airspace is rightfully theirs since they lived here before the English came and colonized the lands. They want all rights, or a cut of the money from the sale. Its hard to say whose right in this situation. I find it very interesting to see how history seems to repeat itself on both sides of the world.

Peace & Love Y’all


30 Hours Till Paradise

After weeks of vigorous planning to pack five months of wardrobe into one 50 lb bag, I am finally on my way. A long, and I mean long, journey lies ahead of me until I reach destination University of Otago. Four different planes totaling 30 hours of travel! I can’t say I am sad to leave Philadelphia behind for almost half a year, but I can”t say I am ecstatic to arrive in New Zealand either. There are so many emotions that I should have right now, but the reality has not set in. I feel as though I am embraced in a deep dream, everything moment so vivid but gone within seconds. This does not feel real. The moment I have been dreaming of since the days in the school yard at St Martin’s Elementary, is finally here. I know when I step off the plane on the land of the kiwi birds and Maori people, all these emotions I should be feeling are going to stampede over my being, and then I can start my journey on the other side of the world! OOO, just felt excitement a bit!

There are so many things I want to do, which of course I will document every waking moment of. Most importantly, I want this trip to be about me. I know it sounds cliché, but this adventure is going to help me find myself in a way I cannot imagine.

…Reminds me of  John Locke from Lost, hehe…



Imagine what you could do if you weren’t afraid

This quote was once said to me by a customer I had waitressing tables. It really touched me, and it will be lingering in my mind throughout my adventure. 39 days and counting!