As the semester winds down to an end I’m taking a short but much-needed breath of relief. I’ve had a test, assignments, and lab reports due every week for the past three weeks and even though it’s still not over (four finals and a bunch of quizzes I have to do), there a little over a week till we start our final examinations. Finally, some time to take a little breather, do my laundry, and actually do some fun things.
Not to say I haven’t had any fun in these past weeks. Last weekend I went to Auckland to see Jane Goodall give a lecture. I booked a hostel for a night so I wouldn’t have to drive back. Got to walk around Auckland for a good while before the lecture so that was fun. If you like to shop, Auckland is definitely the place to go. There were so many shops everywhere and so many cool things to look at. I guess you would probably expect something of the sort in the most bustling city in Aotearoa.
What I was most excited for was the FOOD. I wanted to see all of the restaurants and places to eat and try a bunch of cool food places. The first place I went to was Lord of the Fries. Its a completely vegan fast food place and this place was off the chain. I had a spicy burger with loaded fries that had a bunch of different sauces and plant-based “beef” on it. So yummy. After I had my fill of food I explored all the cities and shops for a little while before heading back to my hostel, then to the lecture.
Jane was nothing short of amazing. It was so inspiring to hear about her life and where she came from to be where she is today. The messages she had about the future of the world and how we could help it was so inspirational as well, and I only almost cried like… 5 times. Out of joy and amazement of course. She told a story about when she was walking in a place where they kept chimpanzees locked up in cages with nothing but concrete floors and an old tire.
Seeing all of this made her so sad and she kneeled down in front of a chimp that was locked in a cage and began weeping. The chimp then stuck its hand out of the cage and wiped her tears away. I lost it. Had to wipe away a few tears of my own. The rest of her lectures consisted of powerful messages about how to save this planet and the urgency that is needed in those matters. We even got a cool performance by a local band in the middle of it which was pretty cool because those guys rocked.
All in all my Auckland trip was pretty cool. I went to the Auckland museum the next day which was so cool. If my feet didn’t hurt from standing up and walking around so much I probably could have spent the whole day there. There was so much to see. Of course me being the biology student that I am, my favorite section was the natural history part. Loved seeing all the ancient birds that used to live on Aotearoa.
Especially all of the species of moa which were giant dinosaur-like birds that used to roam the forests of Aotearoa. The one thing I would say after being there for one weekend though was that I am sure not really a city person. Roaming around was fun but I really didn’t want to shop a lot and besides shopping, there was not a whole lot to do. This was kind of dangerous for me because I just resorted to finding cool places to eat as a fallback, and there’s only so much a girl can eat haha. Although I did end up finding a cat cafe to grab a coffee from which was insanely cute.
One thing that I found myself thinking about a bit this week was the association of my identity as an American and the state of our country right now. I’ve noticed that people here like to talk about America a lot. In all different aspects but especially when it comes to politics. On numerous occasions, I have found myself confronted with someone wondering where I stand on the topic of our president at the moment or wondering how he got into the position that he is in. Its kind of funny because I’ve never been associated with him this much in my life and to be honest it makes me a bit… uncomfortable.
At the same time with someone so… charismatic? it’s probably hard for people not from the country to understand what’s going on in our politics. Heck, I even sometimes wonder what’s going on there haha. So I try to just remind myself that as an individual, I am not a reflection of the leaders of my country, but I do offer a view of my country that other people who don’t live there can learn from and try to understand. I feel like I offer an especially unique view coming from a place that is technically part of America but so separated as well.
Anyways, just little thoughts from my experiences as they happen. This upcoming weekend I’m actually going back to Auckland to have a little fun out on the town with my girlfriends who are leaving soon. It will be kind of a last big hurrah before we all separate our own ways. Bittersweet, but I’m so excited because I feel like I’ve bonded with these girls quite a bit in such a short amount of time. After that its back to the grind! Study central baby!