Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Who's ever heard of America's Cup?: why I'm cheering against my homeland

Something that is making me smile lately is watching all of the excitement, tension, and hype over a boat race taking place right now in San Fransisco--America's Cup. Ever heard of it? I haven't, at least not till I got here to New Zealand. Apparently it's like the sailing Olympics. It happens every four years, and since Auckland is the city of sails and yachting is a national past time, you can guess that it's a pretty big deal around here. As one person who was explaining its importance to me said, "it's the only thing that New Zealand is really good at."

I think there are a whole lot of other things New Zealand is "good at" (peanut slabs, meat pies, nice mountains, cool accents...) but they are definitely very good at sailing, and I have found myself cheering for them against Oracle, the American team, as they've raced over the last ten days or so. Every day, barring any unforeseen weather difficulties, there are two races. Here in New Zealand they happen at 8:10 and 9:10 in the morning, respectively (PS New Zealanders say "ten past eight and ten past nine" and it's very funny to me), which means that, since the whole country is watching it, life doesn't really start till about 9:30 everyday (half past nine :). The teams race around in the ocean following some imaginary lines only sailors can see, and try to be the first team to collect 9 wins. NZ was leading 8-1 over the US recently, then they were 8-3, and now, weirdly (and a bit conspiratorially, according to some), they are tied with the US 8-8. To be honest, I will be disappointed if they lose to Oracle, even though that would be a really incredible comeback story for my own country. I guess it's just the fighter spirit in me. I like cheering for the little guy. :)

PS--I love these commercials. "Lean with Us"


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The City of Sails

Sorry peeps, no personal pictures yet. My friends have a camera they're going to lend me, but I haven't yet remembered to buy batteries for it. Soon though!

Despite the lack of pictures taken/owned by me, I figured I could still give you an update on what's going on down here.

1. I belong to the greatest ward in the world
From my bishop to the Relief Society president to every sweet aunty and brother who has kissed my cheek or shook my hand every week, down to the precious primary kids who already smile deviously at me and yell "hey Kesaia!" when they see me, I could not feel more at home or more welcome. 

2. I love where I live!
New Zealand is like Ireland! Green, green, green everywhere!

3. I love who I live with
I could not be more well taken care of, even living in my mom's house. The family I stay with makes sure I eat, that I am staying warm, and that I have  everything I need. I love them. I love that they care about me.

4. Institute is awesome!
There is a HUGE church institute program in Auckland and it is a great way to meet people and take church-related classes. There's even an institute building only a ten minute walk from my office! It has been WONDERFUL to retreat there some days, and I try to go even if just for a few minutes most days so that I can practice the piano and feel the spirit a little bit.

5. Shivering 60% of the day is a great way to burn calories!
For real. You should try it.

6. Flavored tuna is a delicious invention
Who knew, right??? My favorite lunch at the moment is a generic brand of Tuna with a Thai Sweet Chili flavor and rice crackers. The "sweet" part of the name is kind of misleading--it's super spicy. I love it.

7. Traveling to the south pacific is so much cheaper when you live in it!
Honestly. You can get RT airfare to most of the pacific islands for between $300-$400. And you can go to Australia for $200!!! In case you're wondering, I'm totally going to Australia while I'm here. Maybe early next year...

8. Idahoans are surprising people
They do things like move half way around the world for grad school, meet their spouse, and settle here to stay (I'm not talking about myself. I'm talking about a girl I completely randomly sat next to on a bus who ended up being from BOISE IDAHO. The odds of that are astoundingly, infinitesimally small. It was a crazy experience.) 

9. Being tall is great
Everyone takes it for granted that you're an famous athlete and want to meet you. :) (but instead of asking if I play basketball, here they ask if I play net ball)

10. Seeing the world you live in from a new perspective is good
It's been very interesting to watch the news when the weather comes on and see NZ set in a sea of pacific water with nothing above, nothing below, and nothing around. It's strange to me to remember that I live in the southern hemisphere, and even though it's bigger than Maui, it's still an island, and a very, very small country. It feels like the world is upside down when I look at the map.

11. PhD's are not that big of a deal
Honestly. It's just more school. I've decided to give up being intimidated by people with advanced degrees. All that really means is they've spent a lot more time in cold, dusty libraries reading books with pretentious titles and writing papers that almost no one ever read than you have. It's a sad thought really.  You should never feel inferior because you didn't choose to spend your time that way. But what am I saying? That's how I'm spending my time right now, lol. :)

12. Family is fluid
The more people I meet, the bigger my family becomes. It's that simple.

13. Lamb can taste good
No really, it can. You have to boil it forever and a day, but put some onions in with it and eat it with roast carrots and sweet potato.... yum.

14. The Temple is the house of the Lord
No matter where it is. It is His beautiful house.

15. Everyone loves a good Motown jam
Did you ever meet anyone who didn't start snapping their fingers and tapping their feet when they hear the Jackson 5 come on? I didn't think so. Motown is a leveler. It erases the differences between people.

16. Kiwi's are really friendly
I have been to over a dozen countries and lived in a lot of places, but I can honestly say that I have NEVER met a people so friendly and helpful and genuinely nice. Honestly. Even in the big city. People are overall extremely polite and considerate. I love it. I need to improve myself so I fit in better.

16. A quarter century is old, and moving to a new country right before your birthday will probably make you feel lonely
This is self-explanatory. But yes, I am now 25, and I actually do feel old. Especially thinking that recent RM's are still just 21 or 20. When did I become a grandmother in the dating world????

17. Life is so good
And we all have great reason to rejoice!