Little by Little

Wow, so many things can be packed into a week. This week saw a trip to Akaroa, a genetics lab, a tutorial due, a test, and of course, more volunteer work. All in all, a very holistic experience of a student’s life: academics, extracurriculars, and little leisure time.

Sunday was the culmination of the weekend trip to Akaroa and it was so fun! On early morning, our IFSA group kayaked along the coastline of the Pohatu Marine Reserve. Our guide was super cute and cheerful—you could tell that he was just so passionate about the wildlife he was working with. And isn’t it amazing that he gets to work with seals, penguins, and other sea creatures every day?

Look at those adorable faces! These are Flea Bay’s famous white-flippered blue penguins who are the subjects of local conservation efforts

We were lucky to spot some seals and penguins along parts of the bay. It was my first time kayaking, and while I enjoyed it, I think I prefer to raft. My weak arm muscles can’t take kayaking for very long, sadly :/  Still, it was a great experience and the fresh air was amazing.

The beautiful water and sky of the bays of Akaroa–the crystal blue sea water is due to glacial silt.

Afterwards we ate like kings for lunch at Ma Maison. Akaroa’s location affords it some of the freshest seafood, and the French influence makes the town have high standards for its cuisine.

Akaroa’s quaint town by the bay

On Monday, it was back to work at CVOC as I prepped care packages. This week, Ramadan–the religious holiday during which most Muslims follow strict fasting and prayer procedures–began. Our chairperson observes the holiday and, of course, so do the victims and families that our organization helps.

Wednesday was a Genetics day with a 2-hour tutorial in the morning and then a 4-hour lab in the afternoon. Again, I knew what I was doing in lab, and again, it was all thanks to the flowsheet! All in all, it was a good lab but next week is our final one where we go over the results as a class, so…lots of pressure. Good thing I’ve said the wrong answers and messed up so many times in public that I’m not even embarrassed anymore.

The end of the week was a return to CVOC duties such as donations organization, care package deliveries, and housing move-in help. I’m sure I’ve said it before but…this semester has truly been an unforgettable experience. I’ve gained invaluable work experience, insider perspectives to NGOs and government agencies, media navigation skills, realistic compromises on work-life balance, etc. Hopefully 60 years down the line, I can look back and see how this experience fit in with the rest of my life. But in the moment, I’m just getting through the semester day by day, little by little.

What I’ve learned:

  1. To no longer feel embarrassment after getting an answer wrong in front of the entire class
  2.  White-flippered blue penguins date each other by cuddling before the mating period officially begins

What I need to learn:

  1. How to row in synch while in a 2-person kayak.
  2. How to self-advocate