Wide World of Sports

I know it has been awhile, but there has been a lot going on. I am going to try to catch up on a lot of it now.

In the States, for pro sports, we have football, soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. Here, for pro sports, they have cricket, rugby, netball, soccer, etc. Three of those are very different from any sports that we have in the states. I have explained to me the workings of those sports, and I still don’t fully understand them.

Cricket is probably the most confusing, but I picked it up the easiest. There are 11 players on the pitch at one time. Two bowlers, and nine fielders for one team. for the other team, they simply have two batters. There are wickets, fours, sixes, no ball, leg ball, power plays and many more terms. It is a slow game, but it has the potential to have very fast paced times. I went to the Fill the Basin, which was a charity event to raise money for Christchurch. While there, I got to watch Russel Crowe, PM John Key, the Stig from Top Gear, and many more people play cricket. I also got to meet Sir Ian McKellan. For those of you who don’t know, he plays Gandalf in the LOTR trilogy, and Magneto in X-Men. It was a fun-filled day, full of bonding, playful banter, and sun shine. Besides the relaxed atmosphere of the charity event, I also watched the Cricket World Cup with some of my kiwi friends. New Zealand made it to the semi-finals, and only lost by three runs. India proceeded to win the World Cup.

Another sporting event that I have been to would be one of the Hurricanes home rugby games. The Hurricanes are Wellington’s rugby team. I went with a bunch of people from the IFSA-Butler group. They played the Chiefs, who are from down south (I’m not exactly sure where). Unlike American football, you cannot throw the ball forward. It must be thrown backwards to teammates, and ran forward. The ball can be kicked forward, but on those occasions, it resembles a punt, because the other team now has possession. It is a very fast paced, physical game. The players do not wear pads, and run full force into each other. It is a continuous, non-stop game. There is no play clock to pick a play. To score, you can either kick it through the ‘field goal posts’. Like American football, this counts for three points. To score a try, which is like our touchdown, you must cross the try line, and actually touch the ball to the ground. That counts for six points, then they have an extra point attempt. The Hurricanes won by three, I do believe.

Netball. This one, I have not had explained to me. I just watched it on television, and tried to pick up on the rules and everything. However, that did not go very well. It is almost like a combination of Ultimate Frisbee and basketball. When you get the ball, you can’t move, there is no dribbling, you shoot baskets, and there are five players on the court from each team. Other than that, I was not able to pick up on much more. It is another very fast paced game.

While at Victoria University, I have joined the Ultimate Frisbee club. We get together twice a week and practice. This consists of learning new strategies, running plays, working on defense, working on passing, and playing a game. It is a lot of fun, and I have met a lot of great people. The VUW frisbee team is one of the best in the Pacific. These are some really great players. At the end of April, I will be participating in the Super University Games, held in Auckland this year. Universities from all over New Zealand come together and compete, working as a university, to score points that go towards the winning the University Shield. From what I have heard, it is a lot of fun, and a great chance to meet lots of awesome people. I cannot wait.

Before I left to come to New Zealand, I knew I would get involved in sports, whether it be watching on television, or playing on a team. By hanging out with all of the people I have met, I have learned so much about sports that I never really understood.

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Getting Involved

Things have been going fairly well recently. Besides the earthquake down in Christchurch, which didn’t affect me, things have been going great. -On a side note, the IFSA-Butler students that were in Christchurch are all safe, and they got evacuated to Dunedin.- I have started hanging out with more kiwis, rather than the group of Americans I came with. We are, of course, still hanging out, but not near as much.

By getting more involved with kiwis, I have heard so much slang. Whether it is togs, jandals, papers, I was a little confused at first. I am gradually starting to pick up on the slang. I do not have an accent yet, sadly. (By the way, togs=swimsuit jandals=sandals papers=courses) 

While looking around campus, I heard of the Flying Disc Club. This is the same thing as Ultimate Frisbee, but it is a lot more organised and competitive than I’m used to playing. After participating in one of their practices, it is likely that I will be competing in April at the University Games. These take place once a year around New Zealand, this year they are in Auckland. Around 25 Universities take place, and compete for the University Games Shield. I cannot wait to compete. It is such a fun group to be in.

Classes start this coming Monday, and I will be immersed in a totally different academic culture than I am used to. With classes of at least 400, a lecturer who isn’t super involved with their students, a tutor who leads study groups, and much more, it may take a while to get adjusted. I am enrolled in Pacific Literature, Intro to Italian, and Popular Media Culture. We will see how they go, and hope for the best.

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Speechless :)

Where to start?

I left on Monday the 7th, and arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday the 9th, my birthday. That was the best day I have had in the longest time, and every day has improved over the previous day. In the four days I have been here, I have gone to hot pools, stayed at a Maori village, ran around Shakespear Regional Park, played rugby, gone to a winery, been to a wine tasting, went out in Wellington, met a fantastic group of people, and so much more.

It seems like I have known this group of people for longer than four days. Granted we have spent almost every waking minute together for the past four days, it seems like we have always known each other. I hate that we had to split up to go to our respective schools.

I moved into my flat today, and met two of my four other flatmates. One is a girl from New Zealand, a girl from Germany, a girl from the Caribbean, and another guy from the United States. I have only met Anna (NZ) and Alicia (Germany). So far, I love the place. We all have our owns room, there are two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. It is a four-story building, with all kinds of space.

Everything is better than I could have imagined, and I do not know how to explain it. Words do not do it justice, and pictures only give you a pathetic glimpse at what beauty New Zealand truly holds. That does not stop me from posting pictures, and talking about it as much as I can.

Sunrises over crystal clear water that sparkles at all times. Extinct volcanoes, that loom over everything. Sheep and cows running over all of the many hills. Greener grass than I have ever seen, and streets that are narrow and space conscious. Cliffs and hills galore, that give views like no other in the world. People who are kinder than anybody I have met. The Maori people, who are so proud of their heritage, and they are willing to teach anyone about their culture, including us. And even now, there are fireworks booming 200 feet from my room. Things cannot be more wonderful!!!

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Last Night in Familar Territory

Well, it has finally happened; I am waiting to board my plane, and meet new people upon on epic journey. I do not think I could ask for anything more, than to be packed, ready, and the Packers as Super Bowl Champions! I will not be sleeping much, due to all of the excitement because of these wonderful events. Next post won’t be until the middle of February, unless I get a chance sooner than that. Orientation is supposed to last a week or so however.

I will let you all know how it is going as soon as I can!!!

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One Week

Well, one week from today, and I will be sitting in an airport terminal, surrounded by my fellow travelers, a big majority of which, will be traveling with me. I have started all of my packing, and can I just say that I am efficient. I packed 3 weeks of clothing, including shoes and dress clothes, into one suit case. At first I didn’t use the vaccum sealed bags, and it all fit. I then decided to use the bags, and it didn’t hardly help. That’s skill right there haha. I’m getting everything finalized, including paperwork, and fulfilling subscriptions. I cannot wait to get on my way. Just to get out of this weather, and to a whole new setting. I think that it is near impossible to put my excitement in words, so I will let your imagination do the work for me.

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Less than a month!!!

I’m off to New Zealand in less than a month! It’s kind of unbelievable. I am a second year student, Speech Communications major. This will be my seventh country that I have visited, and it is the one that I have dreamed about visiting. By just looking at pictures of New Zealand, and hearing all about it, how could you not want to go.

 I will be attending Victoria University of Wellington, and I will arrive there on my birthday. You can’t really ask for much more than that. I plan on updating this fairly often, so if you have any questions, feel free to post on here, and I will answer them as soon as possible. :)

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