Earthquakes, Swine Flu, and Harry Potter (7/15/09)

Sunset, Wellington Harbour, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand

This week, an earthquake on the South Island that registered 7.8 on the richter scale and both of my american roommates came down with swine flu.

I, however, successfully survived the first week of class.

My classes are good so far and I think I’m going to enjoy them…with the exception of Pacific History. This was unfortunately not what I was hoping it would be and I have replaced it with World Religions. This class looks to be awesome since it has 6 professors teaching it. Each of these professors (or lecturers as they are called here) is an expert on a major religion so I think that this class will be very interesting and a lot easier than Pacific History looked like it was going to be. Speaking of religion, here’s a sweet church I saw downtown last week.

New Zealand Politics is probably my favorite class so far. The professor is British and our biggest project for the semester is going to be actually going to Parliament to watch the action unfold. This should be pretty interesting…I hope 🙂 Speaking of Parliament, here’s a picture of the Beehive, which is the name of NZ’s Parliament Building.

International Relations is great. The professor is an American from Boston who makes a ton of jokes about the States. This gives the class of mostly Kiwis a good laugh, but since most of them are true (albeit quite liberal), I usually laugh right along with them. Sometimes I think they don’t think actually get the joke…but then I don’t understand half of their slang so I guess its a fair tradeoff. I don’t have a picture of anything related to this…so here’s a picture of Victoria University’s campus!

My education class is not what I expected it to be. Instead of a survey of different educational systems in the South Pacific, this class will focus on how education must be altered when dealing with students from impoverished or minority backgrounds. Definitely a class that will come in handy in the future (that is…if my hands-on experience in Newburgh fails me).

Of course, it’s not just been class here. I saw a whole different side of town last week. The business/government district of Wellington have a much more “big city” feel than the downtown section I’m a little more familiar with. More chic shops and expensive restaurants as well as Mrs. Higgin’s Cookies. Hopefully next time I visit this shop I’ll have my camera. They make huge “American style” cookies. Most other cookies, or biscuits, are crunchy and I had been missing warm, melty cookies. I naturally got chocolate chip and also tried a local favorite, the ANZAC. ANZAC stands for the Australian-New Zealand Army Corp. who fought in Turkey in World War I. These soldiers are remembered by a Memorial Day and by this cookie, which was a popular way to feed the troops since they travelled well. The ANZAC Biscuit is a simple cookie similar to an oatmeal cookie, made with coconut. It was so good. Luckily, Mrs. Higgin’s prices weren’t too bad, since I don’t think I’ll be able to help myself when I make my weekly trips to Parliament.

I also passed by the railway station that I (apparently) came into almost two weeks ago. However, I was picked up right at the outdoor platform, so I never saw the building until a few days ago.
The train station also has a small dry cleaners inside known as Platform 9 3/4. With Harry Potter only a few days away, this really got me excited for the sixth film.

With that, I’ll leave you with a link to more photos and a picture of a sweet bird I saw down at the harbour.



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