Aug. 5th, 2011 01:31 am
discoverylover: (Default)
I know, I've been really slack updating this, it's amazing how boring my life is sometimes! But I've been challenged to a meme (thanks Moem), so here goes:

We are all experts in something.
Even if we think that no one will ever need our expertise, or be interested in the subject we know a lot about... that's most likely not true.
Even if our knowledge seems insignificant, it's pretty much a given that lots of other people don't know the same stuff. So why not share that knowledge, or at least celebrate that we have it?
Below is a list of things I know something, or a lot, about. And I'd like to know about your fields of expertise, too. So please repost, and list them for the world to see!

A word of caution: only post topics that you don't mind people actually asking you about. Because it just might happen. And we just might be able to help each other out.

Ask me about...

* BookCrossing
* Basic knitting
* Markeroni
* Travel in the USA/New Zealand
* Maori language
* Cheesy love songs
* History! If I don't know I'll probably enjoy the research :p
* Finding ridiculous solutions to problems

Please don't ask me about....
* Math
* Sport
* Tidying/Cleaning
* Doing things on time!
discoverylover: (Default)
1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?

3. Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you'll grow out of?

4. Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of people of the same sex?

5. Heterosexuals have histories of failures in gay relationships. Do you think you may have turned to heterosexuality out of fear of rejection?

6. If you've never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn't prefer that?

7. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?

8. Your heterosexuality doesn't offend me as long as you leave me alone, but why do so many heterosexuals try to seduce others into that orientation?

9. If you should choose to bring up children, would you want them to be heterosexual knowing the problems they would face?

10. Most child abusers are heterosexual. Do you consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexuals? Heterosexual teachers particularly?

11. Why must heterosexuals be so blatant, making public spectacle of their heterosexuality?

12. Heterosexuals always assign themselves to such narrowly restricted, stereotyped sex roles. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role-playing?

13. How can you have a fully satisfying, deeply emotional, or sexual experience with an opposite-sex person when obvious physical, biological and temperamental differences are so vast? How can a man possibly understand what pleases a woman and vice-versa?

14. Heterosexual marriages have total societal support yet the divorce rate continues to spiral. Why are there so few stable heterosexual relationships?

15. Since there are so few happy heterosexuals, techniques have been developed to help people change. Have you considered aversion therapy?

16. Why are heterosexuals so promiscuous, always having "affairs", etc.?

17. Finally, a disproportionate number of criminals and other anti-social types are heterosexual. Who in their right mind would ever consider giving them a responsible job?

Healthy Gay LIfe
(Formally known as Boss Project 1999)
Birmingham Specialist Community Health NHS Trust


We have this printed out on a piece of paper in my flat kitchen and it makes me think, so I thought I'd share...
discoverylover: (Default)

having an awesome time!!!
discoverylover: (Default)
I'm sorry - I've even had enough time to write lately, and haven't been...I'm not sure why even! Out of habit I suppose!

So I think last time I wrote I was in Canada (ay :p), which was amazing (be warned, I'm going to be using that word a lot!). SerenityBlue is a kind soul - it was so nice staying with her! One day we went down to Toronto's Chinatown, and had a look around - had lunch. The chicken chow mein was a bit icky, but the sweet and sour pork was nice (I can't believe I got that in TORONTO!) Another day I got to meet up with Jessibud, which was awesome! She brought me TWO Michael Morpurgo books from my wishlist :D <3 Possibly the coolest thing we did was drive down to the Niagara Falls. Now that is AMAZING! Serenity and her friend that drove us had both been on all the tourist attractions, but I got to go on the Maid of the Mist boat that takes you right up to the falls. Wow. I can't imagine what they would be like if all the water going down the river went over the falls (only about 40% I think is going over it right now - the rest gets diverted for power I believe).

After Toronto, I headed to Columbus, Ohio, to visit with Buffra. Getting through the US border control was a lot easier than getting through the Canadian equivalent, somehow! The guy even remarked on how organised I was LOL! I was especially impressed at the bus driver who made sure everyone was back on the bus before leaving! The rest of the bus trip was fairly uneventful, apart from one cop who got on the bus in Cleveland I think, and asking everyone if they were from America. Obviously I said no, and so he asked to see my passport...I showed it to him, and then started to freak out, because he kept looking at my work visa (which of course had expired some time earlier) - he thought I was there illegally (which is ridiculous, even if I didn't have the other visa, I was still in my 30 days grace period to get out of the country!) Luckily another cop got on and pointed out the NEW visa I'd received that day.

Columbus was fun - Buffra had to work most days, but it was nice to get a chance to relax, and hang out on the computer! She took one day off and we went to a nice outside mall and window shopped. My favourite thing was the sparkly coloured sugar in a cooking shop. Seriously cool! We also went and got buckeye sundaes at Graeters - yummy but oh so rich! Friday evening we drove up to her Uncle and Aunt's cabin on a lake and stayed the night there. There was an amazing sunset over the lake as we drove in. We had a fire in the fire pit and then got in the hot tub :D

The next morning we left early so she could drop me at my friend's place in Kent, and then get back to work on time. It was great to see Theresa again (friend from camp) - she'd just got back from a trip to Canada with some other camp friends, so we got to gossip about that. We went to a pet store and cuddled with the kittens (not sure why, she has the most gorgeous cat called Bagheera who is SO cute!). We also hung out with another camp friend, Keira. Oh, and they showed me where the students protesting the invasion of Cambodia in the Vietnam War were killed.

One day we drove in to Cleveland to explore, which was cool. We had lunch at a really nice vegetarian place, and then went to this awesome toy store, which had a range of kids and adults (not those kind of adult toys!) toys. They had one of those photo booths, so all three of us crammed ourselves into one a couple of times to take photos. LOTS of fun! I also bought some mad libs...which I've yet to find in New Zealand :( Then we drove to Little Italy and bought pastries...which were amazingly yummy! Drove back to Kent, and then decided to go have dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse in Akron. Which was delicious :D

The next day I got on a bus to Chicago, which was completely uneventful - apart from it being the FIRST Greyhound bus I'd been on that arrived on time! Tzurriz and JFroebe had been kind enough to say I could stay at their place, and even though it was Labour Day, and they were hosting a party, Jason came to pick me up (for which I'm still grateful!). After a short wait we eventually found each other, and we drove back to their house. There I was greeted by lots of Rebecca's family, including Miriam who was still awake after having been fed orange soda by Jason! They fed me delicious food and by the time I was done, most of the family had left. Once the rest had left, we all headed to bed.

The next day we went to Target (I got much needed socks - at that point I was down to about 3 socks which I have no idea how that happened!) and then we went and got Italian beef sandwiches for lunch. OMG SO good! I made such a huge mess though! I'd definitely be up for that again! Once we got home Miriam and Asher fell asleep, and Rebecca taught me how to knit :D I got started on my very first scarf (which I've now finished!) That night we went to Rebecca's parents for dinner, which was delicious!

Wednesday we decided to head into Chicago city, so we got ourselves organised and caught the train in to the city, Miriam sometimes in the buggy and sometimes out of it, and Asher tied to Rebecca in a really nifty backpack! The train took about an hour, and when we got off we headed up North Michigan Avenue. There's some pretty cool stuff up there! The first cool thing we saw was the Chicago Water tower, which looks kind of like a castle. This was one of the only buildings that didn't burn during the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871.

Eventually we made it up to Water Tower Place, an 8 level mall, and drooled our way through American many dolls, books, and accessories! We browsed the mall a little, then headed next door to the John Hancock Centre where we were going to have lunch at the Signature Lounge. Rebecca had called ahead - the night before her father had given her the card of someone who worked there who he knew, so we got a reservation. Went up the lift to the 95th floor (no way we were taking the stairs!) and got a table, right next to the window even :D Not that they were hugely busy, but still cool! Even though it looked like a fine day outside, there was still a fair bit of cloud below us, so we didn't have as spectacular view as we could have....still fairly amazing though! After lunch (I had a glorified mac and cheese with bacon bits which was yummy) we were offered complimentary desserts :D We decided to get one creme brulee and one cobbler, and share, and they were both delicious :D

After lunch we made our way back down North Michigan Avenue, stopping for me to take photographs (I loved the Chicago Tribune building with it's pieces of stone from lots of different places), and to pick up some maps from the AAA (I'm now pretty sorted with maps of the US!) and then caught the train home. When we got home, and once Jason had got home we went out again to get a legendary rainbow cone, with 5 different flavours stacked on top of each other (the flavours are stacked in such a way to complement the surrounding flavours. Totally delicious again! (Suddenly I'm understanding why I've gained weight this trip!)

Once we'd done with our ice cream, we drove to Panera for Rebecca's 'Stitch and Bitch' group...we ate dinner there and then Jason and the kids left. I had fun! Lots of really nice people there, and I got to work on my scarf a bit more :D Rebecca's mother drove us home.

Thursday I was woken up by Miriam wearing an interesting outfit! She has the coolest sunglasses, kind of like goggles :D We took some photos, she really liked my sunglasses too!! We decided to go to the childrens museum at Navy Pier, so we got ready and drove in to town. Unfortunately when we got there we learned that they are closed the week after Labour Day :( So we had lunch at an 'interesting' Mexican place, and then wandered around Navy Pier for a bit. It was a beautiful day and I got a little sunburned (not nearly as bad as at home though!) Once we'd had enough (read: once Miriam had had enough!) we drove home. Jason had told me earlier in the week how amazing Rebecca's gumbo was, and she had said she'd make it for me :D So I 'helped' make it by entertaining the kids (not exactly hard!) Her Mum and Dad were coming over too (Rebecca seriously has the coolest family!) Once the gumbo was ready, we sat down to eat...OMG SO GOOD! The key lime pie her parents brought was good too!

Once everyone had left, and gone to bed, I got to go upstairs and pack my stuff to head off to Sheboygan, Wisconsin the next day...which will happen another day! (the person I'm staying with just got her full drivers license so we're going out for lunch to celebrate :D WOO GO THERESA!)
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I'm getting better at selective uploading you'll be happy to hear! Only 9 pages this time ;)
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Monday, I slept till about 10.30, and then just hung around CreativeMGE's house, using her internet to catch up on stuff, and then after she finished work, we ate dinner (late), and then decided to go look at the memorials by night. Wow, so amazing. The first one we went to was the FDR memorial, which was my favourite. This memorial takes you through the five stages of his presidency, with each stage as a 'room'. It was amazingly peaceful (as you would imagine at 1am, but still beautiful), and it was nice listening to the night sounds as we wandered through the memorial. Possibly my favourite part of the memorial were the quotes lining the walls - he sounds like the kind of person I'd like to have lunch with!

After walking through the FDR memorial, we stopped and took photos of the Jefferson Memorial, and the Washington Monument, and then walked around the tidal basin, under the cherry trees (unfortunately not in flower right now), toward the Jefferson Memorial. Another beautiful memorial, it looked like it was glowing from where we were taking photos. Inside is a gigantic statue of Thomas Jefferson, and around the edges are quotes (the Americans like quotes!).

We walked back to the car, and drove round to the Washington Monument, where we walked up to it, and I got to feel the stone with my bare hands :D There was a breeze getting up now, which definitely helped with the hot night! And it made the flags all around the monument wave briskly :D

Then we drove to see the World War Two Memorial, which was interesting - there was someone who we think was fishing for change in the pool. After that we made our way round to the Korean war memorial, which for me was the most striking, especially in the dark. We walked up to it, and these eerie statues suddenly start coming in to view, and behind, faces etched in black stone.

When we'd finished looking at all the faces, we walked across to the Vietnam war memorial. Unfortunately my camera battery died while looking at the Korean memorial, so no pics of this one :( Once we'd done, we walked back to the car, and I fell asleep driving home.

Tuesday, I didn't wake up till about midday (oops), and, after lengthy discussions on how we wanted to plan out the rest of the week, we decided to go to the National Arboretum that afternoon. It closed at 5.30, so we raced off, and had just enough time to see three of the gardens. The first thing we visited were the columns originally built for the capitol, but weren't strong enough to hold it up...they looked really funny standing basically alone on the top of a small rise! I really liked the small fountain that went down the steps though...

We then headed to the youth garden, which is a project for children to come and plant vegetables/flowers in the garden - this was my favourite! Tons of flowers, my favourites were the sunflowers, and vegetables in the garden. There were some beautiful butterflies too - and I saw a hummingbird! I didn't realise how small they are - it was beautiful, and I would have thought it was a large insect if CreativeMGE didn't point it out to me.

We just had time to go and look at the Asian Garden, which was gorgeous as well - really quiet and peaceful. These gardens looked down to a lake, and the large trees, mixed with shrubs made it feel a little like home :-)

Once we got home, we decided to have Thai for dinner, so we headed to a Thai restaurant near Maria's house, called Tara Thai. Tara means water (I think), and the restaurant was decorated in a sea theme - lots of blue! I ordered my 'usual', pad thai, which only came with shrimp, which is different, but it was nice! And Maria got a curry, which was HOT!

The next day, we caught the metro in the DC and saw a 3D iMax movie about the deep sea, which was really interesting, although there weren't any dolphins in it :( The movie talked about different parts of the sea, and how they depend on each other to keep each other in check... After the movie, we met my friend Amanda (friend from camp) for lunch at the Corner Bakery. We chatted for ages, and then went to a gift shop I'd been to earlier in the month when some of us went to the White House.

After that we went to the Holocaust museum, and got tickets to see the main exhibit. This is one amazing museum. When you go in, you get a little book with the story of someone who was sent to one of the concentration camps. I got a 12 year old girl who was sent to Auschwitz and was killed shortly after arriving. As you went up in the elevator to the top floor, you watched a video of an American soldier talking about discovering one of the concentration camps. Then, when you got out of the lift, there were pictures and a video of one of the concentration camps. This part, plus the booklet were what got me the most. I think sometimes I get caught up in the statistics, which are horrifying, but when you consider that all those people had family, friends, lives, dreams, hopes of their own, they become so much worse...

I kind of rushed through it a bit, we had a limited amount of time, and I thought the museum closed at 5, not 5.30, plus, I wanted to see the childrens exhibit too, so I was done by just before 5, and had to wait for Amanda and Maria...had a look in the gift shop, which had some interesting books!

After we'd done, Maria realised she'd left her phone at the Corner Bakery, so she went to find it, and Amanda and I went to Borders, where Maria met us. We spent a couple of hours there, looking at ASL books...increasing my knowledge of ASL!

We left borders about 9, and went to a felafel place in Adams Morgan - it was GOOOOD! After dinner, we walked back to the metro, said goodbye to Amanda, and went home.

When we got home, we sat around for a bit, and then decided to go to the beach to look at the we packed up our sleeping bags, food, etc, and drove 3 hours to Ocean City. It was a beautiful night, and you could see heaps more stars there than you could from Kensington! Danged light pollution... still not as many as at home though :( I fell asleep on the beach, listening to the surf, and wrapped up in Maria's sleeping bag, and woke up about 6, when the sun was starting to rise. Gorgeous sunrise! I couldn't be bothered going to get my camera though...

Once the sun had fully risen, we left and drove home, stopping once so Maria could have a nap. Once we got back to her place we slept for a bit longer :D That afternoon, we went to the at&t shop and I got a plan for my cellphone, which is now working :-)

That evening we went to a free outdoor movie - Slumdog Millionaire - which I've seen before, but enjoyed it the second time round too!

The next day we drove out to Baltimore to the aquarium, which I'd heard was really good by some people from camp, who went on one of the sponsored trips. They have an exhibit on Australia there at the moment, so we started there, and I had some fun taking pics of a toy kangaroo I got given (called Crikey and Ocka after the two Australians at camp). No aquatic drop bears sadly, but there were some cool fish there! And apparently the 'wet season' happens every year!

After looking around Australia, we went and had a look at an exhibit on jellyfish, which had some awesome looking jellyfish in it! Photos will be uploaded to flickr at some point :-) They even had some we get at home - moon jellies, whos sting doesn't hurt people.

Then we went to see the dolphin show, which was cool! I <3 dolphins :D

After the dolphin show, we went to look at the main exhibit, which was pretty cool - the sharks/stingrays/turtles/reef fish were my favourite! And we saw some sloths which was pretty cool - a little weird for an aquarium to have sloths though!

Once we'd done looking at the aquarium, we tried to hook up with the person I'm staying with now, but we couldn't get a hold of them, so we went and had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe...uber cool, and the waiter was super funny!

Next day and we had to get up early (well 8.30), to go to the post office, and then meet Amanda for brunch at Poets & Busboys, a cafe/bookshop in DC, which was yummy :D We left Amanda about 1pm, she had to drive home for her job starting today, and we went home so I could pack to leave for Pennsylvania.

We left for PA about 7, and made it here about 8.30, when I realised I'd left my cellphone at Maria's house :( (luckily she drove up today to bring it back!), where we met Cafekat and her partner at the Glen Rock Mills Inn, where her partner was playing. Stayed until about 1am, and then followed Cafekat and her room mate home to her partners house (confused yet!) because she'd locked her keys in her car!

Yesterday I slept super late, and we had pancakes for breakfast (my first home cooked meal!), and Maria left, and we veged until leaving for a pool party at one of Cafekat's friends places. PA is so beautiful, really green, kind of like home, but the hills aren't as big...

Today I just hung out, chatting, updating, playing on facebook etc, Maria came over to deliver my cellphone, and we're off to open mic night tonight :D

Tomorrow I'm off to the dentist (I think my gum is infected), and then Thursday I'm catching the train up to New York for the night, before leaving for Toronto the day after.
discoverylover: (Default)
On my honor I will try
There's a duty to be done and I say aye
There's a reason here for a reason above
My honor is to try and my duty is love

People don't need to know my name
If I do any harm, then I'm to blame
When I help another, I help me
If I've opened up my eyes to see

On my honor I will try
There's a duty to be done and I say aye
There's a reason here for a reason above
My honor is to try and my duty is love

I've tucked away a song or two
If you're feeling low, there's one for you
When you need a friend, then I will come
There are many more where I come from

On my honor I will try
There's a duty to be done and I say aye
There's a reason here for a reason above
My honor is to try and my duty is love

Come with me where a fire burns bright
We can even see better in a candle's light
But we find more meaning in a campfire's glow
Than we'd ever learn in a year or so

On my honor I will try
There's a duty to be done and I say aye
There's a reason here for a reason above
My honor is to try and my duty is love

We've made a promise to always keep
And the day is done before we sleep
We'll be Girl Scouts together and when we're gone
We'll still be trying and singing this song

On my honor I will try
There's a duty to be done and I say aye
There's a reason here for a reason above
My honor is to try and my duty is love
discoverylover: (Default)
I had the best week this week - went so much faster than the previous week, most of which I can't tell you about until after camp! First week was not a lot of fun, although of course there were good bits! This week I was on Jr. Scuba, with 10-12 year olds, and they are such a great age. <3 them!

In honour of the 4th of July, a whole bunch of the international staff made mini flags and pinned them to a sheet, and then stole the American flag on Thursday night (no one really here today), and hid it under my bed :D So much fun - and yes, I did return it this morning! We then flew our internatinal one yesterday :D Oh and I got totally decked out in NZ flag tattoos and pins/badges :D FUN!!!!

I've got 'Dolphins' for the next fortnight, which is grades 1-2 (aged 6-7 I think). I'm a bit apprehensive, but I've got at least one person in my team who I think will be great, so we should be ok! Hopefully I get some pool time with them :D

Tonight most of us are going to Arlington to watch the fireworks for 4th July, which is exciting - I really want to nap and shower before then (haven't showered for a day and a half) - hopefully my bed is more comfy this fortnight (the last one was majorly saggy)....

Last Sat I got to go to Antietam with ResQgeek and his beautiful daughters - I had a lot of fun, and felt like a complete geek too :D Photos will emerge at some point :p After I got back I watched Mamma Mia in the staff house with some other staff - we did the singalong version and it was SO fun - got some awesome videos of people dancing :p

Thoroughly jealous of everyone at the Edinburgh UnCon - hope you are all having HEAPS of fun!


Jun. 19th, 2009 11:19 pm
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Camp training week is over - and I got promoted!!! I'm now a unit leader (or UL) which means I'm in charge of a group of unit counselors (what I was before) and the unit of kids - eek but yay!

The first group of campers arrives on Sunday and I am kind of freaking out, just a she shouldnt be shes fabulous sometimes even amazing but not often we stilll cant take her out in public to eat (quick note from S'mores - a camp friend who's house I'm staying at this weekend)

Last night we went out for ice cream - it was SO much fun! We drove there the long way and it was so nice to listen to music that wasn't camp songs! I got a purple and green flavour with pop thing was camp paid! Was good to get out of camp too :D

Training week was pretty good - I'm so lucky to have such an awesome team - there's no way I would've accepted it if I hadn't liked all the people so far. Only bad bit was the first aid training which was done by Red Cross and was a bit of a joke - to test us they asked us the questions and then anyone yelled out the answer, and if we all agreed we ticked it - I'm so glad I have already been trained, so it was just a refresher, I wouldn't want anyone doing first aid on me if thats all the training they'd had - also we spent basically no time practising any of the skills for first aid - cpr I can do, but don't ask me to put anyone's arm in a sling, because I will need help!

Today we spent heaps of time cleaning out our units ready for the campers, we found two HUGE spiders (slightly smaller than the palm of my hand). I'm leading swimtastic this week and junior scuba next week :D

Swimtastic is 8-11 year olds - although I seem to have a 16 year old in my unit - not sure if that's a typo or if she's just completing the grade - because they do it on what grade you've completed rather than your age...guess I'll find out on Sunday!

Got to move yesterday, and I'm now way closer to the pool (given that I have swimming twice a day for both my units thats a good thing :D, but the bad thing is that we have frogs in the pool and they croak LOUDLY!!!!!! Hopefully I'll be tired enough to not notice them after a bit!

Anyway, here's a camp song for y'all (and yes, some people actually say that!!)

Mmmmmhmmmmmm I want to linger
Mmmmmhmmmmmm a little longer
Mmmmmhmmmmmm a little longer here with you

Mmmmmhmmmmmm it's such a perfect night
Mmmmmhmmmmmm it just don't feel quite right
Mmmmmhmmmmmm that this should be our last with you

Mmmmmhmmmmmm and come September
Mmmmmhmmmmmm we'll all remember
Mmmmmhmmmmmm our camping days and friendships true

Mmmmmhmmmmmm and as the years go by
Mmmmmhmmmmmm I'll think of you and sigh
Mmmmmhmmmmmm it is good night and not goodbye
discoverylover: (Default)
Hey everyone!

Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been SO slack! So exciting to get regular access to the net back :P

We arrived in DC a couple of days ago, and we've been staying with a host family since then - they are SO nice!! Took us to the supermarket yesterday which was exciting - so many new things! And I found out that a cantaloupe is the same as a rock melon :p

Train trip was AMAZING! Saw a LOT of Texas, and it is SO beautiful - went from really dry to getting greener, then once we got to Pennsylvania it was almost like home - but our rivers are a lot cleaner! Would fully recommend to anyone heading across USA - it is SO worth the money, and the not showering for 5 days :p It was a real eye opener - how different the gap between the standards of living is between poor and rich - makes me feel really lucky. Specially going along the border between Mexico and Texas....

We got off in San Antonio - the train stopped there from 11am and left at 7am, so we went and wandered around in the middle of the night! Would never have done it if I wasn't travelling with Megan - she is so great! I think we psych each other up to do stuff sometimes - and we are so similar!! Met some Texas Rangers outside the Alamo, they were really friendly, and gave us little Ranger badges, we got sworn in as Rangers too :D

Today we're off to have another cultural experience - we were going to go sightseeing in DC but we woke up to thunder and rain so figured we'd have plenty of time to do it later, so we're going to the mall :P I'm excited!

I should head off - gotta pack all my stuff up again - I will be glad to be home and be able to put my stuff in drawers again! Not have to unpack everytime I want something!!
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Jay 003
Originally uploaded by discoverylover
Sorry these don't have titles or anything yet, but I will do it at some point!

Hey hey!

Jun. 2nd, 2009 11:15 am
discoverylover: (Grin)
Having the most wonderful time in Santa Monica! We arrived on Saturday, the flight was pretty insane - I watched 3 movies - Inkheart, The Reader, and Wall-E - and two flight of the concords episodes :D Looked at the moon out the window a bit too - amazing being that much closer to it :p Only slept for about 3 hours, and kept waking up cos various body parts would go numb :(

Got off the plane in LA, pretty exciting! Security wasn't as bad as I was expecting, although I was an idiot and put the wrong hand on the fingerprinty thingy :s Guy wasn't too scary though :D

Was expecting to take AGES to get out of the airport, but it was really easy, just grabbed our luggage and walked out, only took us about 2 minutes! Outside a guy showed us where to get the shuttle from, well he told us to take a taxi but we declined, and we had to wait a bit for the shuttle to Santa Monica to arrive. We got in, there was an Australian couple in there who we keep meeting - it's hilarious seeing the same people over and over! Took us about 20 minutes to get to our hostel, and we checked in and went up to our room. Nice enough room, we've only really slept in there though.

Had a bit of a nap while Megan unpacked, we have these HUGE cupboards to store all our stuff in, and Megan's lent me a lock for it. Not that I don't trust our roommates - Sam from Korea who's studying in LA, and also Josie from Italy who's also studying.

After a bit of a nap we headed down to the pier and had a look round...and ended up at Bubba Gumps Shrimp restaurant which was fairly good! Nice waiter :D Cute too!

After dinner we headed back and went to bed.

Sunday morning we went down to breakfast and sat with 3 German people, one Swiss (Swiss Boy is what we call him), and 3 Americans. We've ended up hanging out with them heaps - we went out with them last night and the night before and had a great time both times - well not so much last night when we got really cheap drinks - $6 for 2 rum and cokes = too much for me :( So I came home about 2 and went to bed feeling not so great, fine this morning though :D

Anyway, Sunday, we just hung out at the beach for a bit, I got a little burned, but we met some nice American life guards who invited us out for dinner - holy moly the pizza is huge here! We also went for a run/roller blade (Megan ran) along the waterfront - so much fun!

Yesterday we slept for most of the morning, cos we went out and sat on one of the lifeguard stations until about 3am, then went and played pool till 4 - Megan and I missed breakfast cos we slept in - got some dry cornflakes with yogurt (ick) and then went back to bed and slept a bit more!

In the afternoon we rented some bikes and cycled around to Venice Beach which was SO MUCH FUN! Then came home and went to a $3 cooking class at the hostel! After that we all went out for drinks...see above (yes, I know this is all over the place, I'm in a hurry!)

Today we're off to Hollywood, then gotta do washing and go to the supermarket - our train leaves tomorrow! We're gonna go on the ferris wheel on the end of the pier tonight too :D

Hope you are all well - thanks for all the emails!!! Love to you all :-)
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Thursday morning I had a date at 8.30ish with Megan, who is going to the same camp I am. When I found out she lived in Christchurch, I figured it would be cool if we actually met before going to camp! (And we're now catching the train together as well, which'll be good!). I thought she'd said at the cafe at the art gallery, and had heaps of extra time, so went for a wonder, trying to figure out where the school was, so I wouldn't have to find it the next carrying 90% of my worldly possessions (or so it felt!). I went the wrong way, but figured at least that way I knew which way TO go, and so headed back to the art gallery, releasing a book at the Dyslexia Foundation on the way.

Giving the statue something new to read

Arrived bang on 8.30, the cafe didn't seem to be open, so I waited outside. About 10 minutes later, I re-read the text - I was at the wrong place! I had obviously misread 'the Arts Centre' as 'the Art Gallery'. Luckily they're just down the road from each other, so I briskly walked down, and arrived not *too* late!

Megan was the only one in the cafe, so wasn't too hard to pick out! I sat down, and we started chatting about camp. Figured lots of stuff out, and it was great to get to meet her before travelling together!

After breakfast, Megan offered to give me a lift back to the hostel, via the school so I would know where to go, and I accepted, so she dropped me off. I was scheduled to have lunch with my cousin at some point that day, so I headed up to the computer room at the hostel, and checked facebook to see what time, and how to get there.

Was running a bit late by then, so ran down to the bus exchange, and asked for directions. The guy at the help desk was really helpful - directed me to the right stop, and I only had to wait a couple of minutes for the next bus :D Unfortunately the driver didn't know the street I was looking for, despite it being a main road, so I sat up front to keep an eye out for it. I was surprised when we crossed it, it was a huge road, and I couldn't believe the driver didn't remember it!

Got off, and it took me a while to find the right house, but eventually I did, and found my cousin :-) Was great to catch up with her - she had made some soup and bread which was delicious. After lunch she had plans to go and check out a venue for her 21st (can't believe how organised she is - her birthday isn't until December!) and she invited me along, so we got picked up and drove into town again. Had a look at a place, and then her and her friend were off to get their eyebrows plaited or something like that (I'm up on fashion - really I am :p) so I headed back to the backpackers to dump some stuff and pick up some more, and then texted Kirsty as we'd planned to meet up some time in the afternoon. While I waited for her, I had a small look around the market in the square.

Eventually she arrived, and we had another look around the market, purchasing friendship bracelets (ok min is around my ankle) for each other, and some other small gifts for the drivers of the road trip. I also released a book, 'Whistle Blowers' outside the cathedral :-)

Out releasin'

I really wanted to have a go on the vertical bungy again, so we did that :D So much fun, and I mastered a front flip! For some reason I find back flips much easier... Once my thighs turned to jelly, we decided to go back to Base and hang out in my room, which we did until about 6.30, and then made our way to Cafe Bleu for dinner.

I thought we were going to be super early, but when we got there it seemed as though there were hundreds of people there already!!

Went and sat down at the end of one of the tables, and chatted with LW for a bit until Moem and Rubberchicken arrived, at which point I ran up the table, crawled under another table, and gave them each a huge hug! TRULY AWESOME!!

They came and sat down at the 'cool' end of the table and we got to chat :D Eventually we all ordered, and the food came. I got 'the usual', which is FC's usual order of a burger, which when it arrived was AMAZING! Actually everyone's food looked fantastic...would definitely go back there again!

The rest of the evening was spent chatting and taking photos...and ended perfectly, when Moem got tea. Although, for some reason, the cafe wouldn't sell her tea for three, and insisted she have three pots, so we were sitting, drinking tea for a while! No complaints from me though :D

Rubberchicken and Moem

Rubberchicken and MikeTroll with a camera


Gizmo and Nuteile


Lyttletonwitch and FutureCat


Rars and Moem

Rars, Moem, and MissMarkey
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view from the backpackers parking lot

Mountains at sunrise

Wednesday morning I woke up about 7.30 when my alarm went off - I'm not used to being around people 24/7 and wanted some alone time, but didn't complain when Alkaline-kiwi crawled out of bed with me - as my BBFF (Bookcrossing Best Friend Forever) I knew she wouldn't mind being quiet together, and we went and found a quiet spot behind the backpackers. Pepper, the hostel cat soon found us, and got the attention he deserved!

Resistance is futile!

I'm still deciding if A-K looks cute or scary here!

and smiling!

After a while I got into the shower, got dressed, and cooked some porridge for myself. We all packed ourselves up, I got a few minutes on the internet to make journal entries for the book I'd released the previous day, and the ones I'd left on the hostel bookshelf.

We left the hostel around 10, somehow managing to forget our bags of food - hopefully some other backpackers found it and enjoyed it, with A-K, and Skyring and i in one car, and Earok, K-j-h, and MissMarkey in the other. LOTR was still in the cd player, so we enjoyed the music for a little bit longer until A-K took it out (slightly to my disappointment!). We stopped a few times on the way down, the South Island is truly magnificent, and I feel totally justified in telling tourists that if they have limited time, they'd do better to see it than the North Island!

again, *sigh*


and from the outside :p

Stopping for photos


Beautiful NZ

Mountains from land


By the time we hit Kaikoura we didn't really have much time for lunch, so we headed straight to the 'Whaleway Station' (yes, it's really called that!) to check in for our 12.45 tour. Luckily we had a bit of time between checking in and our instructional video, so we went and had some lunch at the cafe. Totally over priced and not of the best quality, I guess they rely on people like us to make money! Surely they can't rely on repeat business much :s

After lunch we released a few books, and then crowded into a small annex for the video, describing what to do in an emergency, and some of the things we might see, and then we got on the bus to the boat. Took about 10 minutes to drive around to the marina, where our boat awaited us, and we all piled off, and waited to be able to embark. Unfortunately we were right at the back, and so didn't get seats together, but I sat with a man and his two children who were really nice! It was a bit rough, and he felt a bit sick, so I passed round the barley sugars!

As we were sailing out into the deeper waters, the tour guide told us a bit about why Kaikoura is known for its whales, and other marine mammals (deep trough under the sea that goes down suddenly, really close to land, so you only have to go out a little bit to be over really deep ocean, that sperm whales like). He also told us about the kinds of animals we were likely to see, and how this tour company found them, which was really interesting! They seem to be really dedicated to not using anything that would harm the whales, so they don't use those undersea scanners that you see on boats these days! First thing we saw were some different sea birds (including some a small variety of the albatross!).

A bit later we had a message from another boat that was out that they'd seen a whale, and so we went over to meet it. Amazing! You could just see it's huge back, and when you consider how much of the whale is tail, it made me feel rather small! I took a few pics, but it was kind of hard to make out, so I just enjoyed watching the whale (whose name is Manu, because his tail looks like a flying bird), and trying not to fall over (it was a bit rough!). The tour guy (whose name I've forgotten, but he was really cute :p) gave us a few seconds notice before the Manu was about to go back down for more food, and so I got a video of Manu's tail doing down. Truly magnificent. We all traipsed back into the cabin, and the tour guide told us a bit about Manu, who is apparently a regular!

A fellow whale watching boat

Anyone jealous yet?

Ole Spurty

Amazingly, we then get word that another whale has been sighted, so we moseyed on over to the second whale, Tutu, named after a Maori god! Got some more pics of this one before it dove under the water and it was time for us to head back to shore.

On the way back to shore however, we spotted a HUGE pod of dolphins - mostly dusky, with a few common swimming with them. This was the highlight of the whale watching for me - I love whales, but dolphins just inspire a feeling of joy in my heart! Took LOTS of photos and a couple of videos of these as we were heading back.

I <3 New Zealand

I want a better zoom lol!

More dolphins

Once we got back to shore we disembarked and waited for a few minutes to get onto the bus.

Fresh off the boat

The bus drove us back to the 'Whaleway Station', and we met A-K and Earok there, who had been looking around Kaikoura while we were out whale watching. We all checked out the shop a bit, and our books that we'd released before the tour, and then made our way back to the cars, where we did a bit of shuffling, and took some pics of the group using Skyring's tripod.

'The Road Trippers'

MissMarkey and I ended up in K-j-h's car, so that Skyring could drop A-K and Earok at A-K's aunt and uncles place, and because K-j-h, MissMarkey and I were all staying at Base Backpackers.

Drive wasn't too bad, Kev let me choose the music so I was happy! At some point I got a text from Kirsty saying Libertine101 had been talking to Newk, who had texted Skyring, saying there had been a mistake at the backpackers. I couldn't get any more details, and thoughts that we wouldn't have anywhere to stay for the week floating through my mind :s

Stopping for the sunset

We stopped just out of Christchurch to get petrol and milk (for me), and we got into Christchurch relatively easily. Well, relatively easy for MissMarkey and I anyway. After circling around the backpackers twice, and not finding a car part, Kev dropped us off outside, and went to look for a park. We checked in, found out that the issue was that we weren't all in the same room, as requested. I couldn't be bothered finding somewhere else to stay, so figured I'd stay there, and so we got given keys etc, and went to drop our stuff off up stairs. I was on the 4th flour, and MM was on the second floor. We took the lift up (we both had a quite a collection of stuff), which was an experience in itself. The lift (and building) are REALLY old - you have to open the outer door, and then the inner door of the lift to get in, and then shut them behind you, and its not particularly fast! Problem is if someone forgets to shut both doors when they get out it gets stuck and won't go anywhere...but it was ok this time, and we both got our stuff to our rooms, and I grabbed my camera, wallet and hat to take to dinner at Ginkgo, which Newk had organised.

MM and I met Kev down on the ground floor, he checked in, and we eventually made our way to Ginkgo, after asking directions at reception! Walked the wrong way down one road, but not too far, and we were only a little late for dinner!

I let Pete's table know that they should just order something for him, as he had texted/rang/somehow communicated to me that he was running later than we were!

Was SO cool to meet heaps of new people - Gizmopuddy, Bookworm76, and the Trolls were definite highlights!! And it was great to see all the 'old' faces too!

My table decided to just tell the waitress we wanted so many vegetarian dishes and let her choose something for us, which worked out really well! We got some delicious dishes...the beans were particularly memorable :p

After I finished eating, I went over to the other table to say hi - got to meet the Trolls which was exciting!! A bit later Skyring played a nasty prank on the other table...the table we were at had an extremely spicy chicken, that only a few people had tried - he tried a bit, declared it spicy, so went and took the other tables last jug of water, taking the chicken in return...I didn't hear *too* many squeals!

Once we'd sorted out the bill (I think we were the last people left in the restaurant), we all went outside and chatted for a bit longer. Newk wanted to try on my hat, so we swapped, I got his 'dark side' glasses, and he got my 'light side' hat'! We both looked remarkable good :p

'swapping accessories'

'swapping accessories'

Eventually we got cold and I know I was feeling tired, so those of us staying at Base made our way back, and headed to bed. I felt sorry for my roommates, being kept awake by my comings and goings, late at night and fairly early in the mornings!! I fell asleep pretty quickly I think!
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Tuesday morning we were up bright and early, with the shuttle arriving to pick us up to go to the ferry terminal at about 7am. Early mornings are really not my thing, but I didn't complain too much! Got out of the house without too much drama, and got down to the ferry terminal, where we had agreed to meet Skyring. We waited around for a few minutes, I was assuming that if we all checked our luggage in together we would get all our luggage out together at the other end...unfortunately I was sadly mistaken!

Skyring arrived, and we checked our stuff in, just as boarding commenced, so we boarded the ship, with everyone following me, as I had assured everyone I was absolutely positive I knew where the good seats were. Three levels later, I was starting to doubt myself, but we finally found them, after a bit of laughing at me (well I was laughing too, so technically laughing *with* me!).

Everyone settled down, with the exception of MissMarkey, who left with her camera, and who we barely saw for the rest of the trip (although admitedly I was asleep for part of it), and chatted for a bit until the ship left. Various people left to take photos, but I've done that trip many, many times (I am so lucky to live here), so I stayed where I was and chatted/listened to the tourists across from us talk about their tour/tour food/dozed. Its really hard to find a comfortable position on those seats, so I kept waking up and falling asleep again :( Eventually I made it to the seat behind me, where Skyring and MissMarkey were *supposed* to be sitting, but had gone off adventuring, figuring I might be able to stretch out a bit, but no. The floor it was. Thanking the heavens for bringing my pillow, I got down on the floor, wondered how long it had been since it had been vacuumed, and started drifting off to the loud Australian whisper from across the aisle 'she's on the FLOOR' offence to the Aussies intended :-)

When I woke up we were in the Marlborough Sounds, and it had turned from a cloudy sky to a beautiful sunny day, very calm...actually thinking about it, that was the calmest sailing I've ever had, even in Cook Straight (notoriously rough) I'd barely felt any waves! I lay on the floor for a bit more, unsure of where we were in the Sounds, and thinking I might be able to fall asleep again, but Kirsty came and took my photo, and got me laughing, so I got up!

We docked soon after, and rushed down to collect our luggage, which despite my attempts to keep together, wasn't! Worth a try anyway :-) We then made our way to the hire car company, about 15 metres from the ferry terminal, where Skyring and K-j-h lined up to take possession of our two cars. I ran off to the loo, and then grabbed an apple out of my bag (I remember the most random details!).

Eventually we got our two cars, one was parked right outside, and the other a bit further along, and we divided up into cars. I chose to go with Skyring and MissMarkey, and we drove up to the supermarket, and got some food for lunch, then went back down to the waterfront to eat. It was a beautiful day, and so nice to sit in the sun (no wind!) and eat lunch, with our one knife (who got named Mack that day)!

hungry anyone?

Lunch time in Picton

Once we'd finished eating, we went to find the loo (rule one of road trips right!) and then headed off. We lost track of the other car so weren't sure if they had left Picton or not, but we kept driving and I texted Alkaline-kiwi...which was a bit pointless cos she had no money to reply!

So, we drove along, through the wineries, I got put in charge of music, and selected 'Fly My Pretties', which was nice and mellow, although a little repetitive (how had I not noticed this before?). Stopped every so often to take photos, especially once we got back on to the coast. I think our first stop was 'Half Moon Bay', where I released 'The Mermaid Chair' on a picnic table, and MissMarkey disappeared off to take photos!

'The Mermaid Chair'

Skyring with 'The Mermaid Chair'

stopping for seals

just look at the photo :p

Pete, cracking up :D

A bit further round we spotted some seals, so stopped to take more pictures. We had one seal put a bit of a show on for us...lots of fun with MissMarkey calling things out to it! I went along the road a bit where there was a concrete thing where I could stand, and took a video of a seal just going in to the water.

more seals

Seal on the rocks

seal spotting

seal spotting

A bit later Skyring and I looked up and there was MissMarkey just disappearing over the edge of path going down to the beach, so we went to see where she was going, and discovered her getting closer and closer to a seal - its no wonder she got such good photos :p

Eventually we kept going, and just before we hit Kaikoura I got a message from Kev saying they were in Kaikoura having a coffee. We pulled off the highway, and Wanda (the GPS unit) informed us that she was 'recalculating', in a VERY huffy voice! We drove up the main road, looking for their car, but didn't see it, so eventually kept on going towards Hanmer.

I'd been put in charge of music, and so far had played Fly My Pretties (good NZ stuff!), and a couple of mix cds, but once we got up into the mountains, I knew we had to listen to Lord of the Rings, so I handed MissMarkey the cd, and she put it on. Pure magic. Nothing like driving through the mountains, the sun setting, with amazing company, and a good soundtrack. One of the highlights of the week for me!

After stopping to take photos from a bridge (third time lucky again!) we hit Mouse Point Road (Me: 'why's it called that?' MissMarkey: *pointing* 'ooh look a mouse!' Me: *lol*), and turned towards Hanmer Springs.

What more could you want?

I really liked that bridge!

mmmmm, what more is there to say...

and darker

getting darker

View from 'the bridge' in one direction

A bit later we arrived in Hanmer, and after trying to remember the name of the backpackers, I texted Kev and asked him. Luckily he knew! It was up the main street, so we drove up looking for it, and arrived just after Kev and co.

They had already checked in, so we all went in to do the same, and got to meet the most fantastic hostel owner I've met! Edwin (from the Netherlands), had only owned the place for a few days then, and he was so enthusiastic, helpful, and friendly - I fully recommend Hanmer Backpackers if you are staying in Hanmer!

We got the tour, and then unpacked the cars, before heading to the pools (rhymes with cool :p). Absolute bliss! All we really wanted was about 5 or 6 books each to seal up in plastic bags and let free in the pool!!

After being asked nicely to get out (just after 9), we showered, dressedm, and went to the fish and chip shop across the road for some dinner. Neither MissMarkey or I were that hungry, so we got a scoop of kumara chips to share, which got confused somehow and we ended up with normal...slightly disappointing! But yummy nonetheless :D

We all got our orders, and walked back to the hostel, where we ate, and finished off the French champaigne. Yum!! Talked about using the internet, but it was getting too late, so we decided to do it in the morning. I crawled into bed sometime later :-) (the beds had GREAT duvets on them, really, really warm, which you need there!

The ljers!

May. 7th, 2009 04:07 pm
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The ljers!
Originally uploaded by discoverylover
No one has posted this photo yet! What is wrong people!! (the ljers at the Christchurch Con)
discoverylover: (Grin)
Monday morning had most of us waking at about 8, apart from Skying who had barely slept on my couch and had decided to book into the YHA for the next night so he would be well rested to drive the next day. After showering and eating breakfast (a feat in itself!), we departed for Te Papa, stopping at the YHA so Skyring could drop his luggage off there.

*insert dodgy comment here*

We started off in my favourite part of the museum - Our Space - which is a new collaborative exhibition about identity. There are 5 parts to this exhibition, the two rides (High Ride and Deep Ride which you have to pay for), the map, the wall, and postcards. As you walk into Our Space, you walk directly across a huge satelite picture of New Zealand divided onto square panels. Under some of the panels are sensors, and when you stand on a sensor panel, the region covered by that sensor lights up and a picture or video is shown on a corresponding screen on the wall.

Once you walk across the map, you come to the postcards. This is essentially a screen showing photos floating across, as if they were being blown across it by the wind (and I've since found out it moves with your movement!). I had somehow managed to miss this part of the exhibition every other time I'd come in (only 2 times in my defense) and to my utmost surprise there were pictures of and by me floating all over the thing! Suddenly I realised what that tick box was for when uploading my files to the database!

Picture of me floating around

*short interlude*

How these three parts work is that anyone can go to the website ( and upload pictures and videos that represent New Zealand to them. There are also images/clips from tvnz (TeleVision New Zealand). When you upload pictures etc, you can then choose which part of the exhibition you want them to be available on, and I had just been blindly clicking that it was fine to have my pics on postcard!

*end short interlude*

So, to the third part of Our Space, the wall. All this is is a long, long screen on one side of the room, and touch screen computers on the other side. On the computers, you can search for any terms you like (such as bookcrossers etc) and it will bring up any pics/clips tagged with that phrase. You can choose up to 5 pics/clips etc and then upload them to the larger screen. Then you can put them where ever you want, animate, enlarge, graffiti over, among other things! As you can probably tell, this is my favourite part!

Who can you spot!

Photo time!

The 5 of us had some fun in these areas (minus the rides), littering pictures of ourselves and Ringbear all over the wall, and then headed to Awesome Forces.

In Awesome Forces, our geology themed long term exhibition, we jumped to see how big our earthquake would be, experience an earthquake in the earthquake house, and learned all about the Maori view of how the world was created.

After that we went to Mountains to Sea to learn about New Zealand's flora and fauna, including having a look at the colossal squid. It took us a while but we eventually all got 3D glasses to see the squid movie :D

Geeky Skyring wearing 3D glasses

After seeing the squid, we quickly ducked into NatureSpace, one of the areas I work in based around our natural environment. Had a look at the life sized whale heart, and the microscopes, and then went outside to Bush City.

Probably the major highlight of Bush City (an outside area with trees, a waterfall, glowworm 'caves', and a place for kids to 'dig' up a mosasaur skeleton) was making Skyring go across the swing bridge 3 times - the first time I took a photo, second a video (then realised my camera doesn't like portrait orientated videos), and finally another video.

Alkaline-kiwi and Earok crossing the swing bridge

By this stage we were all getting hungry so I went and picked up my bag and we headed to New World to get some food. Despite Skyring's requests for a lunch location that was sunny, wind free AND had magnificent sea views, I took us into a favourite spot of mine just next to Te Papa. It may not have had magnificent sea views, but it was sunny and windless, and I was happy to gaze upon everyone's happy faces! Especially after the sceptical looks I'd felt on my back as I lead everyone directly into the wild for part of the walk!

Alkaline-kiwi and Earok

Is it a plane! Yes it is!


After lunch, which was eaten with much hilarity with only one sharp knife and no chopping boards, we packed up and made our way back to Te Papa, suffering an enormous queue to check my bag away again. We then made our way up to the third floor, which has another long term exhibit called 'Blood, Earth, Fire', and is about New Zealander's impact on our land.

It didn't take us long to get through this exhibition - I just sorta left everyone to their own devices, and felt a little guilty about it, but everyone seemed happy looking at what they wanted to look at, and I don't have to be embarassed when they realise how little I know about stuff in the museum!

Next up was level 4, which focuses on groups of people in New Zealand. We started off at the Britten bike - a really fast bike :p and I think most of us took photos for Moem, Rubberchicken and Phoenix....

The Britten Bike

We then headed to another of the areas I work in, Inspiration Station, which focuses on art and history (but not so much art history for some reason!). I was determined to get a photo of us all together on the computer - we have this awesome programme where you can take a photo of yourself and then draw over it, so I managed to get everyone together and then they looked around while I edited...I know I had fun!

Can you spot Ringbear on the 'It Monster'?

We then quickly walked through one of our smaller exhibitions about colour, and one with French sketches, and then I signed us up for Golden Days, which is a fabulous 'show' inside a junk shop where things come to life. Kind of like a short history of New Zealand...if you are ever at Te Papa, you MUST go and see it!

The waiting list for this was quite long, so while we waited, we had a look at the Pasifika exhibition...I showed everyone the war memorial inside the exhib! And then we headed to Planet Pasifika...where Skyring and I got dressed up :D

Skyring with some hair!

Skyring and I

When we got sick of Planet Pasifika, we went and sat/looked at the view out.

Guess who!


Eventually it was time to go and see Golden Days, so we went back and lined up for a few minutes, until it was time to go in.

After Golden days, we had all had enough, and it was almost time to go and pick up MissMarkey from the airport, so Alkaline-kiwi and Earok left us to return to Pulsar Max, and Skyring, k-j-h, and I caught the bus to the airport.

We arrived at the airport with heaps of time to spare, so headed to the Qantas lounge where we all got a drink (mine had a free chip of glass in it!) and I checked my email, where I found a pm from MM, telling us she was wearing a bookcrossing polo shirt, which was helpful in finding her!

A few minutes before her plane was due to land, we all headed to the gate, and I held up my sign (ripped out of a notebook, so not that big, but better than nothing right!)

A bit of debate as to whether we were at the right gate, as there wasn't anyone coming out, but soon enough people started streaming past us, and eventually we saw her! Hugs all round and we then went to find her luggage. Didn't take too long, and we were soon in a taxi to Macs, for the planned meetup with Sherlockfan and Edwardstreet (not a man!).

We got to Macs, and saw Alkaline-kiwi and Earok just crossing the road, late as usual :p Inside Macs we found SF and ES, and discovered that Macs was only staying open till 6 (I assume because it was Easter Monday), so we decided to go to one of my favourite restaurants, One Red Dog, which was open!

Earok, Skyring, and Sherlockfan

We ordered, most of us pizza, which is the restaurants speciality, and chatted away! The food arrived after a while, and we ate, swapping slices here and there.

After dinner, we left, SF and ES for home, Skyring for the hostel, and the rest of us with MissMarkey's bags between us to my house. Got to the bus stop about 2 minutes after the bus was due to leave, but luckily it was a bit late, so we didn't have to wait for the next one!

At home everyone blobbed in the lounge, while I ran around packing all my stuff ready for the next day, and taking photos, uploading pics to flickr etc, and then we made our way to bed, as we were being picked up at the crack of dawn the next day by the shuttle to the ferry terminal.

Discoverylover and MissMarkey
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Friday morning should have been my tidy up/sleep in/domestic goddess day - it was the first day off I'd had in 3 weeks, so when work called my cell the first time I ignored it, but after the home phone rang, and then my cell again, I took mercy and answered it - it was time and a half and a day in lieu after all! Apparently someone had called in sick at the last minute for a half day (11-3.30) and they desperately needed someone to cover. I agreed and headed into work. Worked till 4.30 (time and a half and all that :p) then headed to the supermarket to get more supplies. got home about 5.30 or so, watched a bit of tv with Jeannette, and then got stuck into it. Luckily Jeannette volunteered to help, and I of course accepted her offer!

More messy room!

Dirty room!

It took us about an hour or so, but we could finally see the floor AND the bed! We then vacuumed and I put a load of washing on.

Clean room!

I then headed to the kitchen to make dinner for the following night (no idea what I had for dinner that night :s) (tomato soup) and then a banana cake and some muffins - which Jeannette also volunteered to help with. We put the cake and muffins in the oven and went and watched a bit more tv.

Banana muffins!

Once my washing was done I started making the bed and Jeannette pumped up the air mattress Dad lent me.

Next day I just worked. After work I read back of house until the lights went out and then headed to the supermarket again (needed more supplies!). Had a wild panic moment when my eftpos card wouldn't work - not sure what happened but the cash machine let me withdraw money so was resolved relatively quickly :-) After the shopping palaver, I headed to my favourite playground and had a go on the swings for about 10 minutes, before it was time to collect Alkaline-kiwi and Earok. I headed to the railway station where they were waiting. We headed back to my place via taxi and when we arrived I heated up the soup and made some scones. We chatted for a while, I dyed Kirsty's hair and eventually went to bed - A-K and Earok on my bed and me on the air mattress.

Dead Kirsty Two Dead Kirsty One

Next morning we got up and headed to church. Really enjoyed most of the music! After church we hung around and had a drink and easter egg and chatted to some of the locals. About midday we left and made our way to the vege market next to Te Papa. I got some fruit/veges and Erik and Kirsty got us all a frankfurter for lunch. While eating we wandered around the vege market, having a look at the other stalls. Kirsty bought some soap like things and we also got some venison salami for the pizza for dinner that night. We then wandered round the waterfront, looking at some gorgeous puppies and cats in a pet shop, and then headed to Pulsar Max, a geek store with figurines and manga to your hearts content! We spent about 10 mins there before catching the bus to the airport to pick up k-j-h and Skyring.

I got a text when we were about 5 minutes away from the airport saying Kev was through customs and where were we! Obviously should have caught the earlier bus! We got to the airport and found Kev, and about 2 minutes later Pete came through as well. Big hugs and smiles all round as we tried to figure out the best way to get back to my place. Eventually we decided on a shuttle, so we left the airport and found a shuttle willing to take us to my place.

Got to my place and chatted and chatted and chatted! Eventually we ended up in the lounge and laptops, iphones and pda's appeared! I mentally cursed myself for telling everyone the wireless password and considered hawling my computer down the hall so we could all chat online instead :p

Reason one not to invite bookcrossers into your house

Lots more chatting until we got hungry and collectively headed to the kitchen to make pizza. One chopping board, 5 people in a 3.5m square kitchen and 4 fruit knives later, we stood around eating delicious pizza (think tomato paste, garlic, cheese, red & yellow pepper, salami, ham, more garlic, pineapple, onion), and drinking french champaigne out of mugs. What more could you want!

Several thousand puns and a lot of laughter later we were ready for bed :-)
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Hey everyone, I've created a flickr page for the Christchurch convention. Feel free to join!

X posted to all the BC groups I'm in :-)
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As some of you may know, my Mum and Uncle both did Camp America when they were my age, and my Mum just found her article on her camp experience in her files, and as her house is on the market (sob, my longest childhood home :( ) she's given it to I'm gonna write it here so I can chuck the paper out!

"Help, Kiwi [Mums camp name], help! A squirrel's fallen down the latrine."
Half a dozen little girls peered through the flap of my teepee, beckoning me to hurry and rescue the poor creature.

My brain ticked over. How the heck did you get to a frightened animal, stuck at the bottom of a smelly two metre pit? Putrid!

Nothing in my 22 years of existence had prepared me for this. I was in Colorado, up in the Rocky Mountains, a New Zealander working at a summer Girl Scout camp. I was there to teach, among other things, survival techniques in the wilderness. And the squirrel wasn't part of the afternoon programme I'd planned for my girls.

But a Scout is always prepared and as I was sure squirrels didn't know much about survival in toilets, a rescue party was formed. We found a fallen branch, just long enough to reach the bottom of the pit, lowered it and left. Now the squirrel was on his own. We hoped he was not hurt and would be able to climb out.

The group returned to the fire circle, logs arranged around a fire pit where we cooked many of our meals. Douglas fir and aspen trees surrounded our unit, separating us from the rest of the camp which spread over five square kilometres. A narrow beaten trail wound through the trees to our living quarters - three Indian teepees. Further down was the latrine where our unfortunate friend had taken a tumble!

For several hours we stayed away from the "scene of the accident" hoping the squirrel would have the animal cunning to use the escape route we'd prepared for it. When we did check, there was jubilation - the squirrel had gone.

Their unsavoury rescue was typical of the unpredictable camp life at Sky High Ranch, where I worked for three months. The camp catered for 140 girls aged seven to sixteen. They came for one or two-week sessions, to make new friends, learn outdoor skills, gain confidence and have fun.

The camp was in rugged country and provided first-class opportunities for canoeing, horse-riding, overnight bush hikes and a host of other activities.

I was there as part of a foreign exchange scheme, called Camp America, which recruited young people from all over the world to work as camp counsellors in the States. The work was unpaid, although my airfare from London to the ranch was provided by the organization and all participants received some pocket money.

The camp also employed paid counsellors, cooks and administration staff. A ranger and his family live year-round on the camp, maintaining equipment and caring for the horses. Counsellors started work early in June, with a week's orientation course. And then the kids arrived.

My first group was aged seven to nine and for most it was their first time away from home. At the end of the week I was exhausted. The girls giggled, screamed, flashed torches till the early hours, got homesick and wet their beds. One girl knocked her friend breathless when she dropped a torch from the bed above. Another leaned over and was sick on the sleeping girl on the bunk below.

The next camp intake and I was relieved to find I'd be supervising "Frontier Horsewomen", a group of 16 horse-crazy teenagers. I figured we'd be on similar wave lengths.

Not on your life! These girls were interested only in horses and it was all I could do to persuade them to take part in the camp fire, flag-raising and sing-alongs that is the essence of Girl Scout camp life.

They informed me, almost immediately, that they'd come to Sky High to get away from authority. They were not going to take orders from anyone, including a Kiwi.

One little madam was especially defiant. She attempted to set fire to the latrines and threatened to burn down the counsellor's tent while we tried to sleep.

Another neatly stitched her palm with cotton, her way of getting attention.

When "Frontier Horsewomen" finally galloped home I turned a little wearily to see who would be my next charges. They were nine to twelve year olds and were not only enthusiastic, they listened adoringly and cheerfully did as they were told. I was overjoyed!

With this obedient and happy troupe in tow we celebrated July 4 Independence Day eating red, white and blue oatmeal. We spent evenings around campfires and square dancing in the communal hall. We went canoeing, on overnight horse rides, watched bears and deer in the forest.We celebrated Christmas in July - singing of snow and sleighs in mid-summer was a novel experience for the campers, but nothing new for me.

And so the summer passed. Each day was an experience, sometimes unpleasant. For instance the group I took on a two-day hike. It was hot and there was no end to the list of complaints: "My feet hurt." "I have a headache." "Don't walk so fast." Finally we arrived at a beautiful aspen grove, sheltered by boulders and a stream trickled nearby.

We spent an idyllic night there, despite two tents collapsing and the arrival of a mosquito army. Next morning the girls packed their gear as I did a routine check of the site. Behind trees and around the stream I came across something looking like the remains of a carnival. Streamers of toilet paper hung everywhere. The girls hadn't seen the necessity to dig a toilet as we'd shown them. The rest of the morning was spent cleaning up the mess.

One group though, showed initiative. After a particularly bad storm I emerged from my cabin to find every ant hill in sight now boasted a make shift plastic tent. "Why should we be the only ones to stay dry?" the girls asked.

Many of our campers came to Sky High against their will. Their parents regarded us as a baby-sitting service while they rushed off to Europe on vacation. Others had solo-parents, who welcomed the break from child-minding. Understandably, these girls were often disruptive and refused to mix with the others.

The squirrel rescue was one of the many unexpected diversions at camp which helped the campers forget their differences and brought them together in true camp spirit.

And it was usually those girls who went home tearful, promising to return next year.


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August 2011

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