michanna: (Default)

Well folks, I’ve put off writing this message for too long but I think I’m finally ready to do it. This will be the last post in my New Zealand journal (unless I get around to putting up my pictures, in which case I’ll post the link). I hope you have all had some fun along the way; I know I have.

My last 2 weeks was full of adventure and shopping for souvenirs. Funny how when you’re in a country for a whole year you can still wait until the last minute to buy souvenirs. My friends and I threw a party before I left and it was a really nice send off.

Now I’m back in Calgary. Come Wednesday, I will have been home for 3 weeks. It’s strange. I feel just like I never left, which means that I’ve been mentally thrown right back into my stress about finding a job. Part of me thought it would be easier this time and I’m still certain I’ll be able to find something soon, but I’m already getting discouraged.

It’s weird being back. It’s not culture shock exactly, so much as clinging to the things I miss and pretending that I am going right back. That continues to improve as my friends here remind me that they’re fun too (and have more claim on me).

Regardless, I am in Canada, I am happy to be back, I am moving forward just as quickly as I can. Give me a call if you’re bored.


Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


Jul. 9th, 2010 03:02 pm
michanna: (Default)

Got around to putting up the pictures of Lori and my trip around the South Island. Go find them here:


Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

Coming home

Jul. 8th, 2010 01:56 pm
michanna: (Tornado)

Hey all,

Not much to report here. I have been catching up on sleep and working to sort out some things that I hadn’t had the chance to from Taiwan and the South Island.

For those who I haven’t informed yet, I will be working in Auckland from July 12 for 3 months. I have booked a plane ride home for October 19th. I will arrive in Calgary on the 20th of October.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

Hey all!

After spending 3 weeks travelling around the north island with Lori, I have returned safe and sound to Auckland.

We had an amazing time driving all over the island, doing amazing hikes through all varieties of south island scenery.

We saw mountains, glaciers, snow-dusted fern forests, spraying ocean, arcing rainbows, plunging waterfalls and all manner of wildlife. It was less wet and cold than we’d feared and there was hardly a soul around.

We rented a car and named it Henry. He valiantly transported us up mountains, down valleys and around the wild roads of New Zealand’s coasts. I already miss him and Lori; we survived and even enjoyed each other’s company :)

There will be pictures posted when I get around to it. I have other chores to attend to first.

Hope you’re all well.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


Jun. 2nd, 2010 03:12 pm
michanna: (Japan)

Hello everybody!

I hope this finds you well!

I’m procrastinating writing a post about Taiwan because three weeks of intense travelling is hard to summarize! I started a written diary since I didn’t have much chance to update on the internet and the trip is 40 pages of that journal!

So, I’ll just start with the highlights:
First of all, the food in Taiwan is amazing in its variety, tastiness and price. I am going to have such a hard time getting back to my NZ travel diet after the last 3 weeks there. In the first 2 days there, I ate more food than in 5 days in NZ.

As a result of spending a lot of time with my friend’s family, I ate a lot of home cooking as well, which exposed me to some food I never would have chosen to eat on my own. Goose intestine and heart meat is really quite good. I still hate those little dried fish and shrimp though.

The shopping is also amazing there. I tried really hard not to buy too much, but I failed. You can buy anything there and it’s usually cheaper. I’ll have to go back when I have more money and suitcase room! The whole culture there feels a little disposable, partly as a result of the consumer culture; when it’s cheap and easy to buy things, you can just throw out what you don’t want and it was easy to fall victim to that while there.

Taiwan is a lot like Singapore, but grungier. It made me understand why Singapore prides itself on cleanliness; I know now what it’s comparing itself to. That being said, Taipei didn’t really give off the feeling of being dirty, just overcrowded with underdevelopped pollution control measures.

The Taoist temples there are all amazing. They’re beautiful and elaborate. I’ll post pictures soon but trust me when I say they won’t do it justice.

Now, the highlights of the trip.
I spent a lot of time visiting my friend’s family because it’s been a while since they’ve seen him. Mostly that involved drinking good tea, eating good food and listening politely to a lot of Chinese.

However, we did get a couple of really good outings in. We went to the south part of Taiwan, called Kenting. It’s hot there. I learned to be afraid of riding motorbikes then got over it. We explored the coast, went to a cool native forest and did some snorkeling.

We went to a national park riht near Taipei and did some mountain climbing in a thermal vent region. It’s quite a bit different there than in Canada because the vegetation goes all the way up.

My friend’s dad took us to an Asian-style hot spring, which was really neat. He also set up a meeting for me with an environmental professional from the Taipei government. He even spoke English! It was really interesting how the issues in Taipei are more or less what you’d expect, but their priorities in which ones to deal with are all reversed compared to Canada. Also, their government is terrified of increasing environmental strictures on industry because they can’t afford to lose the business.

I also got to tour one of the Taipei waste incinerators. It was really cool and space-age-y.

That’s enough for now I think. I’ll respond to comments with more detail if desired or you can find me on skype. I should be available a lot this week as I plan for Lori’s arrival and try to get my things sorted out. I still have a lot of business to take care of with respect to my stolen stuff.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Japan)

Hey all, I’m writing to you from the Hong Kong airport again. This time I don’t have enough battery power for a solid post, but I’m drafting one to post when I get to Christchurch tomorrow.

I’m well, Taiwan is really neat, the Hong Kong airport is really big and I have 2 hours left to kill with no book and no computer ;_;

Lori joins me in New Zealand in just over a week!

I hope everyone’s well and I look forward to being back in touch this week.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

This time I’m in Hong Kong. Their highly civilized airport has free wi-fi. I won’t say I’m home free until I get through customs in Taipei, but I’ve safely made it this far.

The flight was long, Hong Kong doesn’t look anything like I expected from above, though the airport is everything I expected and more (read large and city-like).

The flight was flight-like and I’m exhausted. On the movie side of things, I thought Percy Jackson was actually quite good. The casting was hilarious. The only thing bothering me is how Medusa got her body back after the last demi-god incident.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

After slightly more annoyances involving ferry bookings, I have successfully made it to the Christchurch airport. Now to wait for my flights. I’ll try to get back to you from Taiwan if I get there.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

Alright, so the story as it unfolds.

On Saturday my bag was stolen including all my ID and my passport. I reported it to the police, got my cards cancelled, got new cards to head in the direction of New Zealand, got my insurance started on a claim for the documents and missing items, sent e-mails to the ministry of transportation and the ministry of health about my other missing cards, got my passport cancelled and called the embassy in New Zealand. They told me I’d have to call the Wellington embassy, which isn’t open on the weekend.

On Monday, I called the Wellington embassy. They can issue me a new passport in 3 weeks or they can issue me a temporary passport but only if I show up in person. The people at work are very supportive.

After looking into my options, I took the night bus from Auckland to Wellington and book a flight back for Tuesday night. (I have no idea if my insurance will cover that). I arrived this morning and headed straight to the embassy. They made me run a bunch of errands: getting a court justice to sign the documents, getting photos taken, finding contact information for at least 4 contacts and letting the consulate collect $250 for passing go. This will get me a temporary passport and, in three weeks, a 2-year passport (it would be 5, but we can’t find my birth certificate). Finally I have everything sorted; I’m going to get them to send it to me at the post office in Dunedin when it arrives, I should get it right before I have to leave on Sunday.

Just to check, I head over to the Taiwan embassy. There they tell me that I can’t get into their country without a visa unless I have an official passport, which means not a temporary one. I can get a visa, but not until after the temporary passport is issued. It takes 2 days to get a visa. This means that if I get my temporary passport and $150 to them first thing in the morning on Thursday, they might be able to get me a visitors visa for Taiwan. The girl is really nice and supportive, unlike her counterpart at the Canadian embassy, but it doesn’t change the facts.

Now I’m bawling in earnest. I can’t figure out if I should give up and try to salvage my plans to go to Dunedin or if I should stay in Wellington to personally shuttle my temporary passport from one building to the other in the desperate hope that things might come through so I can fly to Taiwan on Monday. This is compounded by the fact that I only brought a day pack with me to Wellington as I was only supposed to be gone for 24 hours or so.

My parents and friends helped talk me into the staying (because what more do I have to lose?) so here I am, in Wellington, where thank god I have a friend to crash with for a couple days. If everything comes through, I’ll head to Christchurch for Monday morning. If not, I’ll head back to Auckland next week and beg for my job back.

At least now most of the hard decisions are out of my hands. It either works out and I book passage to Christchurch or it doesn’t and I go to Auckland.

Even if it works out, I’ll be down 1 flight from Wellington to Auckland, 1 flight from Auckland to Christchurch, 1 bus from Christchurch to Dunedin, 1 flight from Dunedin to Christchurch, $250 for the passports, $135 for the Taiwan visa, $60 for the bus here, however much it costs Joan to send me my stuff from Auckland to Wellington plus whatever it will cost me to replace my other documents and all because some stupid idiots decided to run off with my bag that contained nothing of any value to them. I’m also still not sure what I owe for the damage to the car.

Dad chastized me in my previous post about my language, and he’s right, but I do not have a synonym quite strong enough for my current condition. I have not stopped shaking since Saturday. I can barely keep down food. I finally reached the point of crying this afternoon having not had time before then. I am tired both because I can’t sleep and because I can’t stop stressing about all the plans I need to change and cancel and who I need to talk to. I feel like I do before going to write a big exam compounded by feeling like I do when I’ve done something horribly wrong and I’ve felt that way for 3 days. if someone wants to come up with an appropriate synonym, be my guest.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

So, the coromandel is a beautiful part of New Zealand. It’s full of gorgeous waterfalls, 1000 year old trees, spectacular beaches and robbers who steal your bags out of your car.

Yeah, I’m a little fucked up right now. Bring wine and chocolate?

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

Well, I’m now back in Auckland. I’ve been learning a lot about how to test rock and a little about how to drive standard. C leaves me to my own devices on Wednesday when she heads to North America for 3 weeks.

I’ll be here until the 5th when I head to Dunedin for an anime convention that I am woefully unprepared for.

Last weekend was delightful (Easter is a 4 day weekend in New Zealand) and we spent a lot of time hanging out and watching movies. Yesterday some of us went skating at the indoor rink in Auckland. It was like roller derby guys. there was a disco ball and coloured lights and pop music. The NZ people were pretty good despite their lack of experience. I suck enough that I wasn’t really skating circles around them at all *sigh*. I now have a belated need to get better at skating.

I’m not sure what to do with myself in June. Currently my flight puts me down in Christchurch, but if Lori’s not joining me it makes more sense to end uo back on the north island unless I decide to go see the south island by myself. There’s potential that I could get other people to go to the south island with me if I wait until a bit later.

I hope you’re all well.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


Mar. 30th, 2010 12:11 pm
michanna: (Tornado)

Some of you nagging people will be thrilled to know that I have started posting some pictures. Enjoy.


Feel free to make requests of specific things you want to see.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

The fields where we’ve been harvesting potatoes are sooo beautiful. I have taken some nice pictures. Unfortunately, the nicest day was the first day when I didn’t have my camera.

There’s a green field of rape with holstiens. Behind that, the mountains rise out of nowhere and they get the most interesting cloud patterns. The first day, it was a crisp, clear morning and the rising sun lit the mountains orange.

Today there were clouds over the mountains and as they moved across the range, they left behind white peaks. There was no snow on the mountains yesterday, but after today there were little white peaks on each one. It was so interesting. Then later on, a thunderstorm rolled in and there was 5 minutes of sleet before there were rainbows and dark clouds with lightning racing through them. It was really awesome.

It’s also dusty as hell and my clothes are getting beyond dirty. I come home from work with my face all brown with dirt. They employers are nice though and give us long breaks. Many of the people I work with have extensive experience with farm work, so they’re interesting to talk to as well. Hopefully we don’t get rained out tomorrow.

Every day when we drive back into Ashburton, I notice a sign that says ‘you’re now in ATS country’ and every time I wonder what ATS stands for. All terrain submarines? Alien terrestrial scientists? Alternative tropical spas? I don’t know. The sign doesn’t say.

I think I’m planning on going to Auckland for the next month. The farmwork does agree with me, but the hours are beyond unreliable (I only got 31 last week) and C’s company has, belatedly, offered me some work. If they’d decided that earlier, maybe they could have had me as long as they need me instead of just until I leave for Taiwan.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


Mar. 18th, 2010 04:46 pm
michanna: (Tornado)

On Monday after I finished talking to you guys, I went to a bar to play their quiz with a group of other couch surfers. One of the questions was who won the most golds during the 2010 Olympics. Some guy across the bar was contesting with the quiz operator (who didn’t know th aanswer) that it was America. So I got all ‘Canada! Yay Canada!’ and the bartender thought this was hilarious. He made both of us stand up and state where we were from. The other guy was from England. Everyone laughed. Then the bartender made us duel it out using rock paper scissors. I, with justice on my side, won and got a free beer. It was exciting.

Today I harvested lots and lots of potatoes! Wait, backtrack.

The bus to Ashburton was a breeze and I found everything I needed within walking distance. I bought groceries, set up my bank account, checked in to my hostel, found the recruitment offic, the pool and the botanical garden (every town in all NZ has one, I swear). After that, I twiddled my thumbs, met my roommates (a couple of Brazilian sisters and a couple from England) and went to bed.

The next day I was supposed to work at noon, but I got a call saying no, delayed so I spent 5 antsy hours wandering aimlessly around the city.

Today I went to the recruitment office at 7, where a bus took me and three others out to a farm. Potato harvesting is fun! All we had to do was stand inside the back of the machine and throw rocks out of the potato conveyor and potatoes out of the rock conveyor. And supervise the unloading of the machine when it was full. It’s pretty good work.

The only problem is that there were technical problems at 2 and they sent us home, so I only got 6 hours of work in. And they only want us for half a day on Saturday too. At this rate, I’m not going to make nearly the money I was anticipating. It’s supposed to pick up, but C’s saying I might be able to come work for her company in Auckland. This both sounds fantastic and like a huge pain in the butt (since I’m on the south island right now and need to be back here in May) so I can’t decide what I should do.

Hope you’re all well. Oh, and for those of you that have heard me speak of her or have met her, I shall pass on the news that Lindsay is engaged! So exciting!

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

On Saturday, C, R and R came to pick me up in Christchurch. From there, we drove through the mountains down to Wanaka where R’s dad lives. The trip was really interesting. We saw glacier fed lakes and Mt. Cook and mountain passes. The area we were travelling through was crazy flat for an area in a mountain range, but it used to be an inland sea, so in that way it makes sense. The mountains are covered in low-lying scrub and tufts rather then trees like I’m used to and most of them have very little snow on them. The lakes were gorgeous but I don’t know how I feel about the elaborate aqueduct system they had for hydro power. On one hand, beautiful and renewable power. On the other hand, I know there are less invasive ways to create hydropower.

We were early arriving to Wanaka, so we decided to check out the agriculture fair that was happening. There was gratuitous horse jumping and rides and fun stalls full of carnival food, which was maddening because we were hungry but didn’t want to spoil dinner.

Then we stopped briefly at the side of the lake to skip some rocks and ogle the view before continuing to the house where we were treated to dinner and chocolate cake. R’s dad has a lot of knowledge about the area and was telling us about the geological formations and the native trees. Also, there cat is the prettiest.

We slept well and woke to a view of lake and mountains in the fall. I can’t remember the last time I had such a good view of the mountains when it wasn’t winter time. We got fed pancakes before we left around 10.

From there we drove back to Christchurch. The day was warmer and the car’s AC was smelly, so it wasn’t as comfortable as the drive there, but we managed. The views of Mt. Cook were really good and I hope some of the pictures turned out (we took enough of them).

The others were going to a Cobra Starship concert. I wanted to go, so I waited to see if there was a spare ticket, only to find out at the end, when I was all disappointed, that the show wasn’t sold out and tickets were still being sold at the box office. Doh. So I went and it was a good decision because it rocked.

Now I’m in the Christchurch library. The others left about an hour ago after a brief tour of Christchurch (which I led since I’ve been here the most lol). It sucks that they’re gone because R’s going home to Calgary and I might not get to see other R again if I’m not able to go to Wellington Armageddon and I don’t know when I’ll see C again either. At least we’re all parting on a high note as this weekend was amazing.

Since they left though, I have made myself feel better by setting up an NZ bank account to get paid into and booking all my trips between here and Taiwan. I’m a little nervous about working 12 hour shifts and living in a hostel for 7 weeks, but I’m pumped to be earning some money and it’s not really very long.

I don’t know how much I’ll be posting from Ashburton since I doubt there will be internet readily available to me, but I’ll try and stay in touch. See y’all on the flip side.

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.

michanna: (Tornado)

Melbourne is a beautiful city; at least the parts of it that I saw. It’s very quaint and full of small shops and twisting alleys. Some of the roads are passable by cars. The ones that aren’t are filled with graffitti art and provide hidden entrances to bars and shops. They have a big building in their main square (Federation Square) that when I first saw it, I thought ‘it looks just like the Jewish War Memorial in Berlin’. Turns out it actually was modelled off of that. While the building is an amazing design, I don’t know how I feel about them using a building specifically designed as a war memorial for their main square building.

I had fun riding the tram and the tourist bus around, taking in the Victoria markets, climbing The Shrine (Melbourne’s war memorial to the first world war) and just generally hanging out. I didn’t really do much that was exciting in Melbourne, but I had a good time just wandering and taking things in including the hail storm that turned the streets into rivers and collapsed parts of the main railway station.

I met so many cool people that I am going to need to make a cheat sheet of who they all were for future reference. Staying with Rae (and her cat) was lovely and I left her with way too many cookies given that she was following me out the door on a month long trip to NZ and North American two days after I left.

For those of you following this, I went to see a doctor about the bite but the doctor’s offices were all closed due to a public holdiay and now the bite is just a red circle on my skin, so I’m probably not going to worry about it further.

Now I’m back in Christchurch, enjoying some time staying with a woman I met the last time I was in town. On Saturday C, R and R are coming to join me and we’re going to drive south and take in some of the sights of the south island for a couple days.

I had an interview with an environmental engineering firm here, and they were really nice but said they didn’t have much. I also almost had a job doing water sampling but at the last minute, the company lost the contract.

I was considering going to work at one or two places where you work for accomodation and food, but then yesterday I got a call from a vegetable picking place in Ashburton that has some work for me, so I’ll head down there. It’s going to be hard work, but I think I can manage.

I feel like I might be making the wrong decision since the work for accomodation places might be a little better for meeting people and seeing the countryside, but there’s always July for that.

In early May, I will head to Dunedin for the anime convention down there. After that, I’m hoping to fly to Taiwan for a few weeks, then return in early June. Lori’s hoping to come visit then and I’d like to take her to some places in New Zealand that I haven’t been yet.

So, that’s me updated. Any questions?

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


Mar. 7th, 2010 02:29 am
michanna: (Tornado)

So something bit me in Australia. Seemed like a normal bite, not even very itchy as far as me and bites go. I scratched it a little, idly, as one does, but in never turned into the inflamed ball of fury that spider bites usually inflict upon me.

However, about 3 days after I first noticed it, it turned into a giant blister. Most annoying, the blister was kind of painful and it STILL ITCHED. It’s still a little blistery, though less angry, and still a little itchy.

My friends told me that I should keep an eye on it for purple rings or for travelling lines on my leg of black or red, all of which would indicate necrosis. None of this has occurred. However, my Australian friends still council that I should get it checked out.

Shall I see how my travel insurance works?

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


Mar. 4th, 2010 03:24 pm
michanna: (Tornado)

Okay! Update!

After spending some wonderful days exploring the streets of Sydney (I took token tourist pics of the opera house and the harbour bridge), we had a wonderful evening with Syndey fangirls.

We then flew to Melbourne, where we explored the streets of Melbourne! Both cities are really interesting. Melbourne has some of the most interesting modern architecture I’ve ever seen, which is interspersed through the CBD with victorian revival. Don’t worry, I’ve taken pictures.

We also met many lovely, lovely people in Melvourne and I had such a lovely time seeing and meeting all the Oz peeps.

Yesterday there was water skiing competitions happening on the river in town.

I was (am?) planning on heading into town today, but I decided I need to assuage some of my stress about what my plans are after March 15th, so I’ve spent the morning looking for work in New Zealand with limited success. I’m still hoping some contacts will pull through for me and have sent them some reminders.

I would like to have plans laid out for then so that I can stop worrying about it and start enjoying my days.

Now I think I will make some cookies to make myself feel better before deciding what to do with the rest of my day.

… there’s a rooster outside

Oh, for anyone who is curious and hasn’t heard anything yet, Con-G was another huge success this year, with the con attracting over 500 people despite (because of?) my absence. The pictures look like it was lots of fun!

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


Feb. 24th, 2010 01:01 pm
michanna: (Tornado)

Well, after a relatively uneventful flight, Rachel and I have safely arrived in Sydney! The shuttle bus we took into town was … interesting but we arrived alright.

We went wandering around Sydney for the afternoon and it was quite delightful. We saw George street and Darling Harbour. It’s not 36 degrees here today like it was yesterday, thank god. We are now sitting in a coffee shop hanging out and talking about The Olympics.

Kangaroo tally: 0

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


Feb. 17th, 2010 08:55 pm
michanna: (Tornado)

Well, today I decided that I would head out and see the beach despite the rain. I left the house with no shoes and few clothes in the misting rain, just started strolling along the beach, not really minding the wet. I got lost in thought and decided to go further than planned, ending up at the far end of the beach. I found some really interesting shells and watched the surfers for a while, but still no Moko.

By this time, I was about an hour away from home. What I didn’t count on was the sun coming out. Now I am lightly roasted. The worst place though is the back of my legs, where I probably wouldn’t have put any sunscreen even if I had carried it with me!

Once I got back, I was sweaty and clammy and my new bathing suit still hadn’t tasted salt, so I set out to the beach with my towel. The beach here is relatively shallow for quite a ways out, but the waves are really interesting. They pull in and pull out with massive force and the water level, if you stand in one spot, will go between chest deep and knee deep depending on the waves. It’s really cool.

I wanted to do a little actual swimming, so I tried to get out past the breakers, but waves taller than you breaking onto the sand are a little intimidating even when you’re standing in knee deep water!

I played around for a little. The sand is very fine and gets churned up a lot by the waves, so I had to clean off a little when I got back, but since the house is so conveniently located, that was no hardship. Then we watched the figure skating back in Canada.

So yeah, good day in the end. My ride to Auckland cancelled on me though and none of my other ride share boards are coming up with anything promising, so I guess I’ll look into buses tomorrow. (People will yell at me if I suggest hitchhiking again.)

Originally published at Teri's NZ Adventures.
You can comment here or there.


michanna: (Default)

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