Two weeks ago I returned to New Zealand and hit the ground running. I landed about midnight on Sunday and got bombarded with new assignments in class the very next morning. I’ve moved flats and am now house sitting in a real house with two fantastic flatmates from Christian Union, the campus ministry we’re all a part of (more on that awesome situation and the lack of NZ housing insulation in a future blog post). I’ve hosted an amazing couchsurfer (also deserving of its own post), gone tramping, and returned to UCanDance.
In the last month, there have been 331 earthquakes in the Canterbury region. No worries — most of them aren’t noticeable. Much like California, the threat of earthquakes are a reality one must accept throughout New Zealand. But since I arrived in January, I easily recall four pretty strong ones. The latest – a 4.3 with only a 5 km depth (the shallower it is the more you feel it) – woke up the whole city at 3:30 in the morning this past Sunday…not the best start to the work week. This past Valentine’s Day I was sitting at my desk writing a paper when a 5.7 quaker rumbled through for several seconds. So much for drop, cover, and hold. I just kind of froze, glued to the spot as my mind processed what was happening.
Halfway through our three-hour class one day this past week, my classmates and I sat in a circle on the grass outside during our break. The sun shone brightly and the mood was light. As I looked around, I noticed a pattern in the snacking.
“What’s the deal with the bananas today? Like five of you are eating one.”
Julie laughed at me. “Ban-ayh-nah. You say it so funny, Jess. It’s cute.”
Unlike me, kiwis say “bah-nah-nah.”
My social media feeds may portray weekend tramping adventures, but, just so you’re not fooled, I’m still a full-time grad student. My Master of Teaching and Learning coursework at the University of Canterbury started three weeks ago, and I love that facet of life here too.
I’ve got just as much of an academic-prone mind as I do a mountain soul, and it feels really good to be back in a learning environment. My 22 other classmates and I come from a variety of professional, geographic, and generational backgrounds, but we’re all bright and have landed in this course because we are passionate about helping young people.