So here’s what balancing a job and school looks like: Sunday was a day off to emotionally and mentally recover; Monday, Thursday, and Friday were spent full time at CVOC; Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday were spent in labs and doing schoolwork. Sounds suuuuuper fun, right?
It is a bit sad that I haven’t been able to enjoy Christchurch as a normal tourist/exchange student that much—how ironic is it that it’s precisely because I’m truly immersing myself in the local community? But at the same time, I do realize how unique this entire experience is and how much access I’ve had to the city’s government and community agencies. So I can’t complain too much!
I fear that this week was one of the most mundane ones in Christchurch so far. But maybe that’s a good thing? It just means that I’ve acclimated to my surroundings so well that nothing seems novel anymore! At CVOC, I’m trying to prep care packages for the last major round of deliveries to victims’ families. The container we’ve been borrowing needs to be returned back to its original owners by the end of the month, so all of the donations must be cleared out and distributed to the families as soon as possible. We managed to clear out and return one room that had been used to house our fresh produce donations, so yay! Progress is a slow but sure thing.
Are you ready for an embarrassing story? This happened at Tuesday’s biodiversity lab; at 12:50 pm I walked into the lab room that our class had been using for the past 1.5 months. I sat down and noticed that my lab partner wasn’t there and that there weren’t many students that day. Hmm, I wonder, maybe a lot of students are sick or are deciding to skip today. The professor starts introducing the lab, and it’s a professor I’ve never seen before. Hmm, I think, maybe this is the new lab professor for our animal diversity module. I’m sitting at the lab station alone, half-listening to this professor discussing how to use a basic microscope. Hmm, I rationalize, maybe he just wants us to review the basics of using a microscope again just to make sure there are no accidents. When the lab starts, a student I don’t recognize comes over and asks if I have a lab partner. We partner up and I go to get a yeast sample for the first exercise. It is 25 minutes well into the lab when I finally glance down at my partner’s lab manual and notice it’s a different one from mine. It finally clicks that I am in the WRONG LAB. I then have a 5-minute anxiety-ridden, internal debate—do I just stay in this lab and complete it out of sheer awkwardness, but receive an absent for my actual lab? Or do I admit how utterly stupid I am to my Kiwi lab partner and leave as inconspicuously as possible? I finally confess my mistake to him, feeling guilty that he has to complete this lab by himself now, and just slip out of the room as quickly as possible! SO embarrassing. My lab partner probably thinks that all Americans are crazy or dumb now, if he didn’t already think that before!
Anyway, I finally got to the new, correct lab room for the animal diversity lab, and thankfully my professor was still introducing this week’s lab when I slipped in. Our class studied animals as simple as a sea anemone to animals as complex as a rat. We mostly interacted with worms though—flatworms and earthworms—studying their movement and their reactions to different stimulations. Wednesday’s genetics lab wasn’t as eventful, although my lab partner fell ill so I had to present our results alone. However I got through it, and it was our last genetics lab, so yayyyy, one less stress to have!
What I’ve learned:
- The changing staircases of Hogwarts are real—weekly classrooms in New Zealand can change on you in a snap, so triple check your timetable!
- All it takes is one American girl and her British roommate to win a $20 gift card at trivia night!
What I need to learn:
- To listen to my gut and get out of unclear situations quicker.
- To take time for myself by going out to be a tourist instead of snuggling in bed and watching Netflix again.