I forgot to mention before: this Monday it snowed in Auckland! You may ask, why is that worth mentioning, it’s damn winter in New Zealand! Well… apparently this was the first time in over 70 years that it snowed here :P I didn’t see it myself though… I was in class doing a test -.- But I heard the kiwis totally freaked out ^^ I also heard from a couple of Europeans that it was hardly snowing at all… more like hail or sleet. Nevertheless I can imagine that it has been exciting for the people of Auckland ;)
Shortly after 3am in the WSA: “Good morning, this is a fire alarm. Please stand by. *siren*” (as a side note: friendliest fire alarm I experienced so far)
So we left the building, the staircase filled with half tired and half drunk people (and linear combinations of both). The firefighters had already arrived and were entering the building… using the elevator!
After a while it turned out that someone tried cooking drunk and messed up… stealing my sleep! Big time.
PS: We have a cleaning inspection due tomorrow. I’m curious if it will be as ridiculous as I heard :P
Yesterday Dan and me decided to go to the park for some disc throwing, but we didn’t have a disc :P So we went downtown to buy some kind of Frisbee we can use for casual throwing… which turned out to be harder than we thought. After a while we found a Frisbee-like disc in the warehouse (a department store), but it didn’t seem satisfying, so we decided to look somewhere else. After getting a really tiny, but free disc at some tourist info thing, we found a real 175g ultimate disc in a sports store :)
Today we (4 other people from this residence and me) took a bus to a sports ground a couple of kilometers away from here, where a weekly pickup game takes place. Today there were approximately 16 people, mostly experienced players. Even though I had a lot of fun, I played pretty bad :P In addition to the fact that I’m still new to this sport, the field was more of a swamp than a grass pitch (I don’t have cleats yet) and the weather was really windy.
The location is really nice though, the sports ground is very close to the ocean.
I finally managed to take some nice pictures of the view from our living room (10. floor). You can’t really open the windows around here and I haven’t bought a stand for my camera yet… so I had to improvise.
The window opens a little bit, with the gap at the bottom… big enough for the lens of the camera… and a book made a decent “camera stand” for this situation.
These pictures show the downtown area of Central Auckland and parts of the Albert Park, which is next to the university:
Additionally I got this photo of the downtown/harbor area covered in fog… but this one was unfortunately taken through the dirty window -.-
Yesterday I had four lectures, each for the first time and in four different buildings… but I somehow managed to be in every lecture in time! The first one was a computer science lecture, which was kind of boring, because I already knew everything covered in that lecture.
The second one is called “Communicating for a Knowledge Society” and seems really interesting… but I have to write an essay, do a presentation and design a poster, in addition to the exam!
At the beginning of my third lecture, “English as a Second Language: Writing Research Reports”, I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place… because nearly 90% of the people there were female and wearing a headscarf. But I was in the right place… I’m basically the only European and one of the two males in this course (and the only science guy :P).
The last paper (another computer science lecture) was read by a German guy… I figured that out almost immediately because of his really strong German accent. Also this guy was literally smiling all the time… for one hour straight. I seem to be the only European guy in this lecture, too.
Overall the day was kind of exhausting… so I went to bed soon, after grocery shopping and dinner :P
PS: the second day was also exhausting… I’m not used to be at the university for half the day, because of all the free time I had during the last weeks :P
Because of the really nice weather yesterday, I grabbed my camera and went for a long walk through Auckland (sadly less than two hours before the sunset). To give you a rough idea about the things on the pictures, here is where I went: I started at my apartment, went down Symonds Street (next to the apartments and the university), crossed the campus and went through Albert Park. After that I went downtown (Queens Street) and passed the Skytower.
From that point on I walked down streets I’ve never been before just to see where I end up… and I somehow ended up at the marina. Which was nice, because I wanted to go to the marina ever since I arrived here. After I had seen most parts of the marina, I sat down at the pier and watched the sunset (which I tried to capture in some pictures, with little success). Without the sun it got kind of cold, so I took the shortest way home.
Enjoy the pictures (and don’t judge my photographer skills, I’m a beginner :P)
This Tuesday we had the first official event at the university: an introductory welcome event for the international students. Mostly the usual stuff you can imagine… the Vice-Chancellor telling us that we made a wise decision by choosing Auckland… someone from the International Office introducing a lot more people to us than we can remember… and a group of Maoris performing traditional dances and songs. The last part was actually interesting, but “subtitles” would have been nice. If I remember correctly one of the dances was this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdMCAV6Yd0Y
For all the German soccer fans: try to imagine our national team performing some kind of aggressive dance right before a match :P
The whole thing took place in the “Fisher & Paykel Appliances Auditorium”… apparently sponsoring is not limited to soccer stadiums :P Another thing that came as a surprise for me was, that approximately 90% of the international students are doing a full program in Auckland… not just a study abroad semester like me :P
The only interesting thing at the second day of orientation was a tour through the campus and the faculty. We also had a lecture about how to use different university websites and platforms… but that was more or less pointless in my opinion, because I already had to figure this stuff out weeks ago to do my enrollment :P
At the final day of orientation we received some information about living in Auckland and about traveling in New Zealand. The first part was, again, partly pointless, because I’m living in Auckland for nearly two weeks now and have already figured out most of the stuff on my own. At least I learned some kiwi slang (barbie = BBQ for example) and was told that New Zealands police is the least corrupted police in the world.
The travel thing was a lot more interesting, even so way to much information was provided for remembering all of it.
The final part of the orientation was a pub night at Thursday evening… under the motto “bad taste”. Since I obviously didn’t bring a lot of “bad taste” clothes to New Zealand, the worst taste I could do was wearing my fairytale fights t-shirt (which I normally wouldn’t wear outside of my apartment) and a sports jacket. So no surprise that I didn’t won any prices :P One of the guys who won something was wearing nothing more than underpants and a fishnet body… kind of hurt my eyes :P
The actual party was really nice though… we arrived a little early, but that was rewarded with free pizza :D After all it was a really nice evening with people from all over the world.
Actually their might be a couple of photos, since my roommate took some… but I haven’t seen them yet :P Maybe I will provide them later.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we will attend the “Ambury Farm Trip”, which is about – as you can guess – farm stuff… and free BBQ for lunch :)
And now I’m going to sleep, because the trip will start “early” in the morning (and my sentences are getting shorter and shorter :P).