A lot has happen since I last posted. I got through finals week, with only one written final, two performances, two papers, and a completed fish hook! All and all not to bad, and even better news is that I did well in all my classes (despite some concern of my parental units who were convinced that I was having too much fun).
This fish hook took a about 65 hours to complete, and I'm really excited about how it turned out. It is fully functional, and I'm sure it could catch a nice grouper, but I would rather not try it out because let's face it that is my blood, sweat, and tears!
In the last few weeks of feverishly working on the muka (the twine), I made a very close friend Kayhan, who was also making a fish hook. I told him that my mother was coming to tour the country with me for three weeks, and that I wanted to take my mother all the way up Northland to Cape Reinga the tip of the north island where the Tasman and Pacific Oceans meet. Kayhan then told me that his mother's side of the family grew up in Northlans, so I went to talk to Sherryn (his mother) about where to take my mother. Sherryn did even better than offer a few suggestions. She took some vacation time, and took myself, Kayhan, and mother all the way around the Northland and showed us the places where she grew up!
We even got all the way up to the lighthouse on the Cape and watched the oceans weave into one another.
This part of our trip together was truly magical, and I think was mother's favorite trip we did while in New Zealand. Kayhan and Sherryn adopted us into their family, and I am so lucky to have met them all!
After our four days of mother/offspring trip, Mom and I left Auckalnd and started our week and a half long drive around New Zealand. We stopped at the Garden's in Hamilton, and spent a night in Rotorua where Mom had her first hangi (traditional way of Maori cooking). We then drove down the middle of the North Island and drove right past Mt Ruapehu, also known as Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings.
After that we continued onto Wellington, where we stayed the night, and took the 8 am three-hour ferry ride to Picton in the South Island. We then spent the next day driving down to Kaikoura where we went whale watching. We had four sightings of sperm whales, several sea lions, some albotross, and a pod of over 300 dolphins!
From there we made our way down to Dunedin and the Otago Penunsilua where we spent the night in the Gold Rush Room at the Larnach Castle. Our bed was an old working horse cart that had beeb convered into a rather comfortable Queen sized bed. I'll let the picture do the talking.
We then moved on from there to Te Anau, where we met up with Kayhan's Aunt and Uncle, Shona and Brain. They cooked us a well appreciated meal and gave us some fresh conversation. Then the next morning we woke up early for a boat tour of the Doubtful Sounds, which was also used in the filming of the Lord of the Rings.
Time had caught up with us, and it was time for us to be making our way back up to the north island. So we spent the next day driving back up to Christchurch because the roads on the Western side of the south island were looking dangerous do to ice and snow. The dirve was beautiful through, and we were able to stop back up in Kaikoura again, and see the colony of baby seals!
We then drove to Picton and took the ferry back to Wellington and stayed the night at the Booklovers B&B, run my a New Zealand author/journalist, who we made quick friends with. We left the next afternoon after looking at the Te Papa Museum, which was a wonderful museum. We then spent the next day driving up to Lake Taupo where we stayed the night. We then continued our trek back to Auckland were we spent the last of our trip hanging out in the city, and driving to some of the North Island's black sand beaches.
Leaving New Zealand was one of the hardest things I've had to do, and I'm already planning to go back next summer after I graduate! I cannot begin to tell you all how much this trip has meant to me. The people I have met, ranging from my American roommates to my adopted Kiwi family, has been such a treat that I can hardly believe my luck! If there was one thing I could tell you all about my trip, it is that I've learned to take the opportunity you are offered because good opportunities are rare, and are not lightly offered. And one last thing, if anyone ever asks you to go to New Zealand, don't hesitate GO! Because it will be incredible!
Thank you all so much for reading, and keeping up on my faboulus adventues. Now that I'm home, we'll have to chatch up in person. Kia Ora!