In addition to classes, I got to leave the island for a little bit. Sean and I took a ferry to Waiheke Island, which is not too far off the coast, to go to another 21st birthday party. The island was beautiful and we saw two weddings being held on the beach. The only problem was the massive amount of mosquitoes. I thought I had been able to get away from the pests when I came to NZ (known for their exotic creatures), but they must have followed me here! While I'm now suffering from at least 30 bites that constantly itch, it was worth it to see Waiheke.
I also got to see a super touristy part of Auckland - the souvenir shops. There's a whole street (called Customs St) that is just filled with different souvenir shops. I'll definitely have to go back there before I leave so I bring a piece of NZ back with me!
I went to my first stein last week, as well. Steins are parties put on by different departments on campus; last night there was one that I didn't go to hosted by the law department (it was toga themed). The one I went to last week was through the commerce department and it was seven deadly sins themed. It's a good way to meet people and just have a good time. I didn't have anything to dress up in so Nicole let me borrow her red dress and I went as wrath. Nicole painted herself green and went as envy - she was way more dedicated to it than I was. It was hosted at a club called InkCoherent and it was neat because it was connected to another club right next to it so we could just go back and forth.
Over the weekend, I went to the Pasifika Festival. NZ hosts this annual event and it's known as one of Auckland's biggest cultural events. There's music, food, and vendors from the Pacific Islands that are here over the weekend and attract very large crowds. They estimate that at least 10,000 people visit each year. It was very cool to see all the different foods, listen to different music (I heard a lot of reggae), and even see some dancing.
I have a busy weekend ahead of me, so I won't be blogging for a bit, but when I do it'll be full of adventures!
I am clearly not doing a very good job keeping up with this blog, but most of the week has been uneventful and didn't feel it was worthy of a blog entry. My first week of classes has been exciting, but only in the "I'm in a new place and everything's different" sort of way. The lectures are similar to the ones back home. I'm glad that I'm taking two classes dealing from NZ perspectives (a nutrition course and a NZ education course) because I could never find classes like that back home. I'm learning a lot about NZ history (it's much shorter than US history) and I've even made a few friends along the way. Most of my classes are about the same size as the ones at UWGB, so at least I'm not totally lost in a sea of people. There are a lot of readings, but I don't think it's unreasonable. I am thankful that I'm quickly adapting to the Kiwi dialect so that it's not difficult to understand the lecturers. In addition to my regular lecture classes, my classes have tutorials which are basically review classes. They are in a smaller class setting, with only about 20-25 students in each, and they give us a chance to ask about anything we didn't understand or just discuss things that we found interesting from the lectures. I've really been enjoying those so far; it's always funny when I speak up in class and everyone looks at me funny because of my obvious non-Kiwi voice.