Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Monster of South Island

As I mentioned before, I spent the last two weeks traveling around South Island. For any of you that are as ignorant as my own dear parents (I told them I was going to South Island and my mom responded, "Is that a city?" I'm not sure they actually even know I'm studying abroad...) New Zealand is made up of two islands: North Island and South Island. I live on North Island in West Auckland. So when I say I traveled to South Island I mean I traveled to the island south of North Island. I know, the world is a confusing place. Don't worry, I have provided a map. There's a star on Auckland to show where I live and then all of the places we visited during our South Island excursion are underlined in red.

As you can see, we really did explore just about the whole South Island. There is a common consensus among the locals that we have now seen more of New Zealand than most Kiwis have in their lifetime. Which is pretty cool.

So this, my friends, is a quick overview of what my life was like during those few weeks.

We traveled in style everyday. Only the best for us BYU girls:

Our dear sweet van Helen
And had plenty of room:

Yes, that hot pink wonder near the bottom is mine.
We did a lot of this:

One attractive sleeper, eh?

And a lot of this:

Yep, Helen's seats recline! Told you she was shnazzy.
But mostly we did this:

That's the face I make when I'm begging to get out of the car.
We saw some pretty awesome things. Like a seal colony with some adorable babies running around:

Which I enjoyed from a distance because dem seals stank!

I was more impressed than I look
We found out what a chasm was:

It's a deep pretty hole with a lot of rocks and caves and stuff. Or something like that...

And the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki:

Get it? the rocks look like stacks of pancakes. Clever

We took a lot of awesome tourist pictures:

And the proof of that is in the flock of asians kindly waiting their turn behind us
We even got matching sweatshirts!

totes adorbs
We took some pictures with some of New Zealand's most "iconic" items, like this:

This is a long drop. It is essentially a port-a-potty. For some reason, James would not let us leave until we got a picture with it. "It's iconic!"
and this guy:

You don't have to ask me twice
And we even decided to recreate a few of our own:

hobbits hiding in the roots of the trees
me as Gollum
And that picture leads me to my next point. Something horrible happened on South Island.

How it came to be, I can't be sure. Some say it was a combination of packing for two weeks in half a carry on suitcase. Others argue it was the effect of constant driving to places full of people never to be seen again. I personally believe it was probably a combination of the two, plus the fact that cameras to capture every moment were a-plenty. Alright, I guess I can be sure. That was it.

That is what turned me into the South Island version of myself; a disgusting creature: Earl.

Earl has hair so matted and unruly that no brush would ever be able to manage the tangles:

At least, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make it. Can't say I ever tried.
And that untamed bush has a mind of its own. Also, Earl is a trucker, which explains the hat:

Earl moves in such a disturbing way that strangers feel the need to stop, stare, and document it for themselves:

Yeah, basically I ran down the pier with my back hunched over and my hands flapping behind me. And this old guy thought it was so weird he took a picture of a complete stranger. Rude as. What if that's how I always ran?!
Earl is better able to relate with fellow monsters than with human beings:

Cookie Time monster, my new best friend
When out in the wild, Earl does odd things to attract attention. For instance, one may be able to find Earl limboing under fallen trees:

And failing at it! See why Earl is such a disgrace?
Most of all, Earl has a tendency to look so shockingly disgusting it can be painful to look at. See for yourself:

There are just no words.
The good news is at our last stay on South Island, Earl was caught creeping out of the bedroom:

And hasn't been heard from since.

But yeah I got quite the rep on South Island. I didn't realize it was as bad as it was until one fateful day when I was skyping my mom and my dear friend Sara came to say hello. She then continued to say, "Your daughter is my idol. I try to be just like her. I wear my hair in a bun on top of my head, and I never brush it. I never wear make up and I only shower sometimes. Plus I put crumbs in my hair." (Yeah I found food crumbs in my hair on several occasions. So what?) Also, my Valentine's note from our director Erika included the line, "and I love your philosophy on hygiene (who needs it?!)"

Let us all pray that Earl will remain eternally on South Island. Or at least have the decency to quit being captured on film.

Stay tuned for more adventures from the South Island!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

That's Classy

You may have noticed I have been MIA for the last couple of weeks. Come on, don't deny it, you noticed. I was on a two week road trip through the South Island. It was awesome. And there will be some awesome blog posts as a result. But seeing as I don't have any pictures from said road trip as of yet (because I am a moocher and rely on everyone else to document my life) I will not be blogging about said road trip. Yet. But I know that my public have missed me and so this is for YOU!

As you all know, I came to New Zealand strictly so that I would be able to start a blog. However, it did occur to me that while I was out living a blog-worthy life I may just in fact learn more about different cultures and become a better more well-rounded individual. And it happened folks, I am now officially a cultured, classy broad.

Much like my good friend Jim here.

How did I come across my new-found cultureness? Well, the week before we left for South Island was dubbed "Auckland Week". It was a whole week (really two days) dedicated to learning more about the city and it's history. On Monday we hit up the Auckland Art Gallery (art = classy) and on Tuesday we went to the Auckland War Museum (museum and art gallery = double classy). I loved it.

Classy, well-educated people like myself like to take pity on those that are less so, and since you can't be in New Zealand to become cultured like me, I will bring the culture to you. You're welcome.

Here's what I saw:

Real Art:

Giant inflatable flower chandelier. This is pretty to look at, therefore I deem it art.
Documented historical shut down:

Dude, she's just not that into you.
Courtney and me:

The blonde-haired sister is being forced to read one of the dark-haired sister's many love letters out loud to her.  Story of my life.... ;)
Morgan Freeman as a Maori Chief:

I'd watch that movie
This statue that was bored out of its mind:

I am right there with you sister
Some gay sailors still hiding out in the closet:

Nice try, boys.

And this guy in the corner busting a move:

"Shakira is breathing down my neck... and I just want to DANCE!"
Hugh Grant's girly puppet brother doing a typical FB self-timer selfie:

As I was taking this picture in order to make fun of it on my blog, one of the girls said, "Hey, he looks like my dad!" Thankfully she was joking.
This one's actually pretty cool:

Trippy, eh?
I bet the person that made this thinks they're so clever. Joke's on them because I didn't even read the whole thing, so ha!

"That's not art, but keep trying!"
My niece Scarlet's most recent art project:

She's getting pretty good at scribbling and shapes.
This is the piece I would create if someone told me I had to make something for a gallery:

Brilliant. How long could this have possibly taken to make?
Giant Dead ballerina (with an itch in her nose perhaps?):

Forgive my friend, she's obviously not as cultured as I am yet.
Young Facebookers dream room:

Ultimate Mirror pic!
Oh no, I'm not starting to sound too pretentious, am I? That can happen sometimes...

Alright, alright... in case any of you were expecting real culture out of this blog here it is. We went to a Maori cultural performance and these are some of the pieces they performed at it. They were so good! Enjoy. (and if you're like me and too lazy to ever let videos load, just watch the last one.)

This is the best one. At the end the men start doing a haka, which I'm sure everyone thinks they know how to do because they saw it on Forever Strong. This is better. Way better.

When they finished their performance, one of the men came to give us a tour of the rest of the museum. Dressed like this:

Bold choice

So until next time, I'll just be here in New Zealand keepin' it classy.