Bear Down!

Trip Start Aug 05, 2012
Trip End Jan 11, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hello everyone, I thought I should post another entry before I head to The Big Apple this weekend; I don't doubt that that in itself will take up an entire one on its own and there is plenty to catch you up on before then!

Tuesday we had an International Student's dinner- we went for the free food and promise of spot prizes of course. Selina, Ellen and I were the only ones from our group to RSVP in the end, so we chatted to new people and Selina's friends from the surf trip to San Onofre.  The evening's entertainment was to share something about yourself and your country; I told myself that I would get over my fear of singing in public and I did it! (Mum and Dad only heard me sing properly for the first time this year!) I sang Pokarekare Ana in front of about 60 people and they loved it! One of the Germans even approached me as we were leaving to say what a lovely song it was. Afterward, we swapped Ellen for Niall and all of us headed to Ryan's apartment (who Selina met on the surf trip and I met on the way in from the airport on the first day) to have a few by the pool.

The next day was another girl's day- Selina and I hit the gym and I taught her how to squat without falling over.  She works hard at whatever exercise I teach her so I think we'll have good semester at the gym!  After lunch was an excursion to the Tucson Mall (not the only one in Tucson though)!  Wow. It was amazing! We popped into Vans where Selina and I got ourselves a pair each.  Victoria's Secret was next on our list and man oh man was it an experience- there is nothing like it back home.  Two hours and hundreds of dollars later Selina and I emerged laden with beautiful underwear (Ellen left much earlier to get back to uni for a class).  Even though we spent so much money, because everything is pretty much half price of a New Zealand equivalent, we got a very decent amount!  I also bought a 21st present for Miss Alex and the tastiest smelling perfume ever for myself.  I think I said something last time about calming down my spending... that might not happen for a while yet ha ha. 

Thursday was an eventful evening; Selina and I went on a moonlight hike up Mt Wasson (on the King Canyon Trail), which is the highest peak of the Tucson Mountain Range. The 8 mile hike was a fair bit more difficult than we had envisioned (we both thought it was going to be a walk in the park) and was very steep over loose rocks the entire way- worth the mental and physical challenge though!  I'm going to have to steal some photos for evidence of this, but we saw five rattlesnakes, 3 tarantulas and a scorpion. Fun fact: Scorpions glow neon green under a black light!  The first rattlesnake we passed we could hear but not see and half the group got stuck behind the bush we thought it to be in- it was terrifying but I was the first of us that got stuck to cross! Yes, applaud me for being super brave and amazing. Finally we arrived at the top, drenched in sweat (as I'm sure you'll notice in the photos) and stuffed our faces with Oreos and pretzels while enjoying the stunning lights of Tucson under a full moon. The walk down was slightly more bearable, however not having proper hiking shoes did mean that when we got back at midnight we could barely walk ha ha.  Our legs were buzzing from hard work not long after we started the descent.  We chatted with Josh, one of the instructors and Elizabeth about everything and nothing, only once were our conversations interrupted by my sliding onto my bottom (some might call it falling over or bailing) in front of everyone- unfortunately it didn't even bruise a little!

Fast Forward to Saturday: My First American Football Game!
The campus was transformed into a massive tailgating party of Arizona Wildcat fans complete with games, food and RVs (that map with the red rectangle on it from an earlier post? Yeah, that was all tents and cars and people).  After we fuelled up on "SirNoran" or Sonoran dogs (they are so tasty but I can't for the life of me remember what the fillings were!) we headed to the stadium "Zonazoo" (The 10,000 strong student section) gates to line up in one of the longest lines I've ever seen.  The opening ceremony for the game was so typically like the movies, only better! Cheerleaders, a marching band that made shapes whilst playing, big flags and fireworks! The atmosphere was electric and entirely infectious- everyone was screaming and hugging when we scored and booing when a play went against us or the other team scored.  It was quite exhausting I've got to say.  The game went into overtime after the kicker missed a field goal in the last two  seconds of the game, which saw a 10-10 draw to Toledo at final time. Four and a bit hours of game play later and we WON!!!! BEAR DOWN WILDCATS!!! Post game we refuelled with Polar Pops- 44oz. or 1.3L of fizzy drink for 79 cents- before heading to Chris and Stewart's apartment complex to hang out in the pool for a bit.  We got mucked around by the taxi company a bit and didn't manage to get in one until about 4am!

I cleaned the room on Sunday because I thought it would be a nice surprise for Sneha, who had gone home for the long weekend, to return to.  Only thing is, she didn't actually get home til Monday night so my running about last minute needn't have been so stressful! Silly me- all these days off make it very hard to keep track of things ha ha. It does however, mean that I can finally take some photos of our room all kitted up! Labor Day consisted of sleeping in and drinking far too much at Chris and Stuarts pool and my first real Mexican food at La Fuente- we are going back asap because it was delicious and they usually have a Mariachi band!

Of course it's getting far enough into the semester for you all to be curious about how classes are going and I've been asked a fair bit so I thought I'd talk about it on here a little.
The courses seem, so far, to be considerably easier than back home and there are far fewer contact hours per week because we don't have tutorials! My classes are all about 1 hour 15 mins each and my classes are either 30 or 50 people in size, so are quite small.  The lecturers really try to involve the class a lot- they don't like passive attendance, which means actually doing readings and paying attention.  I've had a few online quizzes so far that have all been (and will continue to be) multi-choice or true false, open book and have 24 hour time limits once you have started them. My midterms and finals will be of similar formats, just larger and are also open book, to be done with friends if you so choose! This is all topped off by my getting a grade for this semester that will leave my final grade back home unaffected, as long as I pass everything- hello holiday semester! They seem to have structured everything (in my classes at least) to have lots of work, frequently but in small amounts, throughout the semester (which is 15 weeks with a few days off for Thanksgiving, by the way), to keep everyone involved in the material without too much stress.

Well, I have to go to my roommate agreement meeting now so Ta Ta For Now!  See you after I get acquainted the city that never sleeps.  Bear Down. XX

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