Sunday, December 07, 2003

amazing things
today has been a day of learning.

have you heard about the guy whose son has cerebral palsy. now past middle age, the father runs in races and other competitions with his son in tow because he likes the feel of running and competing and particpating. they competed in the ironman this year. can you imagine? the father who puts his body through the toughest challenges out of love for his son.

in the same ironman race, a belgian who once came in 6th in an event was soon after paralyzed in an accident. two years later, he completed the race, well over 100 miles, using his arms only.

have you heard about the christmas truce in world war one, when german and british soldiers put the fighting on hold to play soccer using balls of hay tied with string?

how can this world be so full of amazing stories that we never hear of?

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

i am SO out of touch with reality. the matrix: revolutions is opening tonight and i didn't know! it's going to be like ages before i go see it, because i have no friends, whereas once upon a time i used to be on top of the matrix films. wah!

next stop: madison, wisconsin!?!??!!!??!?!?!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

plod plod plod
still teaching taekwondo, still being mad in a scientific way. have now started cashiering on weekends at my rents' club, from 11-5am. good money, bad for my sleep habits and social life. altho' i think i like to use it as an excuse to not have one.

next stop: boston! i'll be there by next fall. and you?

Thursday, October 16, 2003

will it work?
apple launched its itunes for windows today. would you pay 99cents per song? i suppose i would if it meant keeping those evil record execs off my ass, litigiously speaking.

Monday, October 13, 2003

from Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A rejected lover's broken heart may cause as much distress in a pain center of the brain as an actual physical injury,
according to new research.

California researchers have found a physiological basis for social pain by monitoring the brains of people who thought they had been maliciously excluded from a computer game by other players.

Naomi I. Eisenberger, a scientist at the University of California, Los
Angeles and the first author of the study published Friday in the journal Science, said the study suggests that the need for social inclusiveness is a deep-seated part of what it means to be human.

not that this is related to my travels, but it's an interesting thought, so to speak. who hasn't experienced rejection or emotions that cut to your core, as if you were physically hit.

still have no idea what i'm doing with my life. i feel like it'd take a lot of courage to up and go to new zealand or anywhere else for that matter, but i think it would take even more courage to stay and find a real job.

Monday, October 06, 2003

sick again
i have had two colds in two weeks. it's all those dirty, germy little kids i hang out with all the time.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

failed red dot specialist
i quit my job at target. well, not really. i just haven't show up in two days. working 6-2 at target and then 3-8:30 at my other job was killing me. something had to give, and it was target. not only was the work pointless (moving and rearranging shelves, with no apparent reason or pattern) but my coworkers were so...slow! (uh-oh, here i go again badmouthing people...) besides, i found another job (or two) and four jobs at once would have been S-I-L-L-Y!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

the sound hurricane/tropical storm isabel is making outside my window...
...and the sound my brain makes when scanning barcodes all day long.

Friday, September 12, 2003

red polo hell
monday: orientation at target. my life in retail begins. what do i do when i run into an old acquaintance/classmate? say: i'm doing research for a book. life at just above minimum wage.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

mental powers
about half an hour ago, while i was taking a wee, i mentally made myself accept that i had to take this job search seriously. no more applying for jobs like being a cashier at target. the reason? i had just found this job opening that's relatively perfect. exactly one of the 14,000 things i want to do. unfortunately, the job is in boston, but that's a city i'm totally open to living in.

what does this mean and why am i posting this here? because it's the start of my acceptance of the fact that i may not go back to new zealand. despite all the grief and misery and carnage i have wreaked in that country, i loved it there (most of the time) and it was great and most importantly, it's better than living here (here being with my parents and in new jersey and the united states) in so many ways.

but maybe with all this money i'm going to save (as soon as i get my first paycheck), i'll just have a really nice vacation down under instead.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

i'm home, living with my parents in new jersey. god that sounds so pathetic. but the idea is to save money so i can get the rock out, and this is the best place to do it. grin and bear it, baby.

my tentative plan is to return to new zealand, hopefully by the new year. but recent and not-so-recent events have helped me realize that my original expectations for my return were unrealistic and probably unhealthy. if i go back, i can't have what i had. not only because, well, i can't, but because it'd be living in the past and it's not really me in a way. so if i do go back, it's going to be different, but it will still be great.

for the time being, then, i will look for employment, temporary or full-time. i will exercise, train, live, have fun, and start my novel of the great american variety.

oh, and as for the road trip, it was fun but long and arduous. but i have now been to 49 of the 50 united states. maine, here i come. the national parks (yellowstone, petrified forest, arches, etc.) were amazing. visiting friends was great fun. dancing with gay latino men was cool, too, except for how badly my back hurt the next day. graceland was the absolute highlight, however. and for the time being, i'm enjoying being alone and stationary.

Friday, August 01, 2003

have made it to the west coast of the united states, after what seems like an endless amount of days on the road, but was just nine. i really dig seattle. got to catch up with an old friend, who i met when she was 18 and now she's all grown up and shit. got to go out last night, too, and i am really digging this city. for a few minutes this morning started looking for jobs and am feeling very very lost and misguided about my life, but the astrologer said this was ok. so do i take it to heart? i don't know. there are so many different conflicting voices in me. what to do ... well, for now it's time for an oil change (5,000 miles already!) and off to SoCal. yeay!

Monday, July 21, 2003

so what will i do with this godforsaken blog that has wreaked so much havoc and grief? i think i will turn it into my travel blog. for in the morning, i am heading off on a month-long road trip around the us. today just got new tires and brake rotors for my car and spent as much money as i did buying an entire car in new zealand.

on the road again ... broke, but on the road again ...

Friday, July 11, 2003

wow life sucks right now. i've lost nearly all my friends in new zealand in one fell swoop. i crashed the camp van and it caught on fire, though thankfully no one was hurt. and i missed a court hearing that i didn't know i had and for a few days i was a fugitive. there was a warrant out for my arrest and my dad had to go post bail!!! i've been working at camp and couldn't go to the hearing anyways, but that was a shocker of a phone call to get from my parents.

my life sucks right now. please forgive me!

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

shamer on me
i wish i could be there for you to all yell at and kick at and vent your hurt and anger on. and i wish i could be there to apologize in person. but i'm not, and as much as i'd like to, i can't justify the expense of flying out there.

please accept my apologies.

i hate that the last thought you're going to have of me is one where you think i am a judgmental bitch who looked down on you and thought lesser of you. because that is so far from the truth you have no idea. what i wrote here were moments. after a frustrating day, i'd run to the internet cafe and bitch and moan in writing instead of venting at my friends. and if you know me, when i'm emotional, i say really harsh things. and the writer in me wants to write in a shocking way, just as when i'm speaking out loud i try to be as shocking and entertaining as possible. i just fucked up in not considering that this is a public forum. (stupid stupid me.)

the truth is, though, that i have met really amazing people. i don't think you have any idea how amazing i thought you were. my entire experience in new zealand, and the people i met there, the friends i made, have helped me to understand more about the world, instead of being some closed-minded dumbass ethnocentric american. i had intense cultural experiences and i was challenged both by the course and on a personal level. and in the end, i've come to understand better just how different things are, and how different situations create different results. that life is just different for everyone. and when i say different, it's not a judgment. weird is a judgment. different is an acceptance. and it's always good to see and be around things that are different than your comfort zone, or what you're used to. and that's part of what my experience was in new zealand. and it hurts me to think that i've hurt you in some way. the words written here were spontaneous, for my friends in the states to theoretically read, that they were shocking and for maximum impact. and in reality, you who made so much of my experience wonderful hold a very fond place in my heart.

i will apologize as many times as is necessary, and in time i will bend to your will and do what you ask, because i know that you are right and i am wrong. and i am so so so so sorry.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

shame on me
the words on this website were never meant to be read by anybody, really. not even the friends i shared the link with. (a sort of stupid expectation.) and especially not anyone i wrote about. that was my own ignorance and stupidity, and i offer the sincerest and deepest of apologies to anyone i hurt with my words. i don't think i'll ever be able to explain myself sufficiently, especially from 12,000 miles away, but this is going to have to do. i don't think you have any idea how badly i feel.

for what it's worth, though, i'm just an ignorant ass who used this website as a way to vent. my time in new zealand, as much as i miss it and as much as i loved it, was not necessarily easy for me. and it wasn't always fun. i was sometimes frustrated, and i was also sometimes culturally shocked. and instead of ranting and raving in person to persons, i used this to vent. perhaps that was my mistake, but writing is a big outlet for me and a big part of my identity. if i had said these same words out loud, and someone was hurt, i'd usually tell him/her to get hard. but these were not all words meant in that way. my mistake was treating this forum as if it were a journal i lock in my desk instead of as a public space. like i said, i'm just a big time fuck up ignorant ass.

and also like i said, i will never be able to find the right words to convey how badly i feel about this mistake.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

home sweet home
i'm home folks. actually, i'm sitting in the girl scout office in new jersey, but the point is is that i'm not in new zealand. (sigh.) things are pretty good. it's good that i'm busy and my dad is out of the country and it's really really green here, since it's spring and it was winter where i left. but every once in a while, i get these pangs of missing my friends in new zealand.

we moved house right before i left, so i didn't have a room so much as a storage shed. i think it'll be months before i get my room all set up, since i have camp and then the road trip. at least i have a bed. but living in new zealand out of two suitcases these past several months has made me really appreciate the simpler life, one less burdened by stuff. so i'm in the process of giving stuff away, like my clothes to good will.

i don't know what i'm going to do with this website now that i'm back in the united states. but since i'm thinking about going back to new zealand, maybe i'll keep this active and put up the occasional update on what i am going to do. i'm in the us until at least october, though, because i really want to be here for a friend's wedding.

sigh. i can't believe i'm back.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

i must be leaving soon. i've just resorted to outright arguments with the guys in this house. i make obnoxious comments to peter the fob's face. and i argue with nelson for the sake of arguing. maybe i just hate men. nah!

Monday, June 09, 2003

things i forget
did you know that down here, flipping a light switch up is turning it off?

a monkey wrench is called a spanner here. and the expression works the same, to throw a spanner into a situation.

will you hate me if i decide to come back?

i'm really really into the bachelorette. i had to peel myself away from the tv, because i couldn't deal with the suspense and just the sheer number of guys. i think i'll have to tune in after they're whittled down a bit. oh wait, i think the show at home is over. oh poo. damn kiwi tv.

umm, ok that's it. bye.

Friday, June 06, 2003

gratuitous update
my nipple is going through an itchy phase right now. and last night i peeled skin off of it, like the whole thing. i think that was skinn that was burned/killed when the piercing lady sprayed me with this icy-freeze stuff. yowser.

i am sick as a dog right now, and trying my damndest to dive my head off so i can get my DiveCon cert, but it looks like this cold is going to put a damper in my plans. even though my (ex) instructor, andrew, is trying his damndest to get me to 60 dives. i'm currently at 41. UGH. you're not supposed to dive if you feel unwell at all, so i've really been pushing my luck these last few weeks. because that's how long i've been unwell.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

a rebel without a clue
I GOT MY NIPPLE PIERCED! The world must be coming to an end if one of the most mainstream people out there (me) just got her nipple pierced. It hurts. But it's kind of cool.

Less than two weeks until I go home. Just spent the long weekend (Monday was the Queen's Bday) in Hamilton and up North in Whangarei, visiting friends. Got to get on a piss up with some ex-classmates' family. All Maori. Interesting cultural experience. I am so exhausted though. Now I have to dive my ass off.

Friday, May 30, 2003

creepy night
went to see the matrix tonight, and it was an amazing movie. my stomach hurt when i got out of the theatre because i had been so tense throughout the film, i think. now, it's 2am and i'm thoroughly exhausted but i can't sleep. i think it has something to do with the howling wind that's giving me the creeps. add to that my already weird state from seeing the matrix and from getting back from a two-day kayaking trip on lake tarawera, and anxiety from my upcoming departure and some romantic wah i seem to have predictably gotten myself into, and i'm just totally nutty. i REALLY should just slap on my headphones and try and get some sleep.

things are starting to look good for my possible return, if that's what i want to do. but i've decided not to make that decision until i'm standing on american soil. but it's good to know that i have friends and possible work waiting for me if i do come back ... if this wind doesn't just blow this place off the face of the earth. and there's always more "training", i suppose. now, all i have to do is see what my parents say ... for crying out loud, i'm 26 years old and still need the approval of my parents. oy vey. the burden of being chinese.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

i went to see an astrologer last week -- in the pathetic attempt of finding some direction in life -- and one of the things she told me was that when we are happy, we accumulate fat in our bellies. i've had a pretty good time here, so if i come home fatter than when i left, just chalk it up to me having a great time and being happy, and nothing to do with the copious amounts of alcohol finding a home in my tummy.

so the update...

last week i took the written exam for DiveCon and passed! 94%. Not quite what I wanted, but still the highest mark in the class. once i get my 60 dives in, andrew (who has turned into an amazing grump) will sign me off for DiveCon, and I can be done with this godforsaken institution. this week i'm finishing up sea kayaking (which is stupid and boring as hell) and then i'm going to dive my ass off until i leave. only 4 out of the 11 people in my class passed.

speaking of which, the local paper is running a series of articles on local businesses and one of the first was on mark scapens and adventure education, where i'm receiving my training. the lede described our boat, the adventurekoru, pulling up to the dock after a trip to Mayor Island and all these "'second-chance' learners" disembarking. umm, hello, that was my class! holy shit, man, i'm pissed off for so many reasons. i will be the first to admit that some of my classmates may not be the most academically-oriented people, but who the fuck are these stupid newspaper people to judge? and then to use it as a blanket statement. Ooh man, it's been a big controversy here.

but fuck that shit. this past weekend i went to auckland with a few of my classmates and a friend from hamilton. i went for the purpose of fighting at the nz tkd nationals, and my friends came along to show some support and to party. we had a pretty good time, too, but being in the city and drinking a sour-apple martini in a dark, trendy bar only made me miss nyc more. oh, and i did win my fight, but i'm not sure i should have. i didn't fight nearly as well as i have in the past, and that may have something to do with my lack of training, and quality training at that.

as for my future...the astrologer did say that coming back to nz would be a good thing. now is apparently still a good time for training, so i'm thinking of coming back and doing an instructor's course, but probably not with adventure education. good lord, i'd be crazy to let them have a second-chance at my money after they've done nothing but fuck up our course. and i'm overwhelmed by this feeling that if i had done a similar course in the states, i may not have been treated to such great scenery, but it probably would have been run better.

that's it for now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

i have now realized why there are fewer and fewer people on AIM everyday...

CONGRATS to everyone for finishing another academic year! congrats to the grads who are now entering the world with a/another degree under their belts. YIPPEE!!

aww i miss you guys.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

4 weeks of course and 1 week of holiday to go.

things I'm looking forward to:
pizza by the slice
Korean Food
Momma's cooking
Any food with spices
smart people

Thursday, May 08, 2003

airline ticket
i have my plane ticket in hand, so all should be good. it turns out, too, that i'm going to go to nz taekwondo nationals after all. there has been much debate and rescheduling with my classmates and they've all agreed to move the "break-up" at the end of course to another weekend. a few people are even going to come with me to auckland so they can party. with me. and cheer me on. i haven't been training particularly hard, but i'll just have to make up for it with some extra-intense training.

i have resolved to be a complete pain in the ass of adventure education over the next several weeks until my course ends. so far i have managed to help get our course extended two weeks because we've been shafted on the sea kayaking part of our course. most recently, i've managed to help get my class on an overnight boat trip to mayor island, some of the best diving in the region with visibilities up to 50 meters or something like that. one of the biggest problems was scheduling and getting in all the academic time for divecon. the thing that i was fucked about was the fact that me and two of my classmates were the only people not offered a trip to the island, whereas EVERYONE around us was getting it. so that's that.

i still can't wait to come home. but i'm still considering coming back. i have to admit that it is a really idyllic place.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

kim chi
oh god. i bought kimchi yesterday and i'm now in heaven. oh god. mmmmm....nearly orgasmic. i can't wait to come home and eat my momma's cooking. and drink martinis. i kind of want to cry. i'm so tired of being treated like shit by dumbass guys who i'm better than anyways. yes i know that's so stuck-up but fer cryin' out loud it's the godforsaken truth...sigh.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

new words i've learned
pash = make out
stroppy = fiesty
rooted = fucked, as in the act
gutted = sad, let down
bugger = an expletive, kind of like crap
crikey = see above
nicked/pinched = stolen
"numpty" = dumbasses
sweet as = an expression, like "sweet!"; can be used in many ways, such as "dumb as", "drunk as", etc.
reckon = think, believe
PIES = what's making me fat
and 14,000 different ways to say "fuck"

we're almost done with the fourth to last week of our course. Dive Control Specialist. after this cert, i'll be able to work as a professional diver. whoopdeedoo. the classroom/academic stuff isn't too challenging, but i have to admit that the practical stuff i'm not too stellar with. which isn't so bad really when you consider that at the start of diving, just getting underwater made me ill. now i can actually imagine myself working as a "dive professional". so kudos to me. in other news, andrew is back teaching our class after a four-week holiday. but i'm SO over him. as you may know. oh drama. drama drama drama.

still, i'm quite ready to come home. i'm not quitting my wanderlust, but at some point, you just want the familiar, you know? and i can't freaking wait to sit down to a proper meal with my mom. god i miss her cooking. god i miss food that has taste.

in other news, my dad has been in china for a few weeks. thankfully, he's returned home with no symptoms of a flu. it was really good when i got that early morning phone call from him b/c the night before i started having an anxiety attack about him for no reason. this damn sars. that may be one of the few reasons i wouldn't want to come home. nz is a sars-free country, touch wood.

i know i still have a few stories to tell. i'll work on those.

also, b/c it's after easter, i have started to look for jobs. it's a bit slow b/c a lot of the jobs i'm looking at in nyc and stuff are available immediately and i wouldn't be able to start until the fall. but i've applied for a job here with a local paper. if it's meant to be, it's meant to be, eh? but i'm just going to apply for a lot of jobs at a lot of places.

i've also totally started to slack on my tkd training b/c i'm not going to nz nationals, i don't think. i've also started to eat a lot of sweets. i'll hate myself if i come home fatter than when i left. jeez louise.

that's all for now. love yous.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

back to basics
just rafted the wairoa river today. it's only operational on sundays in the summer, and then every other sunday through may. it's a good fun grade five river. it felt good to be back on the river, just enjoying it and using my body, and not worrying so much about alcohol and other crap.

for the second weekend in a row, i've started drinking before the sun went down, the day after a long night out. i've become quite a loose woman.

four weeks left to my course. on the one hand, i can't believe it and don't know what to do. on the other, i'm really looking forward to coming home.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

i'm not ignoring you
for a girl with no life, i sure can't find the time/patience/energy to sit down and let you, my demanding public, know what the hell is going on. so much and yet so little that is different.

my birthday is officially over and i am well enough into 26 for it no longer to be a novelty. besides, my habit is to actually claim my new age a month before it officially occurs, so i've been 26 for a while now. the kegs have been returned, the deposit is in my wallet, and the house and my car are basically clean.

monday night i went and watch a late showing of the pianist. boy what a sad movie. but you know that's what you're going to get when you watch a movie about the holocaust. i'm not saying this to minimize the tragedy of the holocaust. rather, i say it because the holocaust was such a tragedy through and through in every way. but this is getting too serious. my point in mentioning this is that i overslept on tuesday and missed a day of diving on the boat. oops. i have 16 dives and i need 60 to be officially certified a dive con. 50 are included with my tuition. looks like i'll be doing a lot of diving over the next month.

i've been a bit "stroppy", i've been told. i'm not sure what the word really means, but i think it's kind of like fiesty. so says judith. and my instructor today got in the way of my stroppiness. i yelled at him, used the word fuck a lot, and basically ignored him the rest of the day, as necessary. he was being a dick. it was cold today and i was getting cold and i haven't been feeling well and we're sitting in 18 degree water just bobbing about not doing anything and yeah it's true i don't wear a top to my wetsuit, but i in fact do "know how to choose my proper exposure protection". asshole. everyone got cold in the end. showed him. the asshole.

in other news, now that it's post-easter/birthday, it's time to start thinking about my future. one of my goals for tonight, which i don't think i'm going to achieve, was to send my application out for a job at the bay of plenty times, the local paper. they are looking for an "experienced reporter". i hope they'll be satisifed with one straight out of graduate school. but since i'm American, i'm sure it'll be okay. (kidding.) i'm going to apply for some other jobs in LA and NY, but i think that's it. i've decided i want to be where friends are, or where the nature is so overwhelmingly beautiful. that basically leaves baltimore out. i'm tired of being lonely. i'm tired of having to make new friends all the time. i've put enough effort into making the friends in my life now, i don't want to have to put too much more effort. and i'm tired of "losing" people. that's something i realized today. i'm tired of making friends and leaving them somewhere, so i think i'm going to stick to my live-in-one-place-for-a-few-years resolution. i think. i don't know if i can make a strict commitment sitting here in front of this computer in this here internet cafe. but it's something to think about, eh?

sidebar: you know it's a small town here when you keep seeing the very large man who opened your car for you that rainy day, when you locked the keys in the car with the engine running. i keep seeing the same large man driving the same large truck all over town. sheesh.

that's it for now. i think i'm going to go stir some shit. a shit-stirrer. that's what i've been called. i prefer drama queen.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

beer beer and more beer
my birthday party was pretty awesome, i guess. i got four kegs and from 7pm to 6:30am, 3 of them were drunk. the fourth was tapped at 9:30am. there were fireworks, only one kerfuffle (apparently a record low for a kiwi party), i dragged a girl away by the neck and nearly punched her, herbal remedies, and general frivolity and also depressing shit.

i think i'm getting too old for this shit.

didn't stop me from going with the crew to the beach with the last keg when we were kicked out of my house. the last few days i've been very tired and confused and slowly emerging from an alcoholic fog. the long weekend hasn't helped. happy easter everyone. i want to come home.

but maybe that would be running away.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

funny stories
dan's wallet
firewood hunting

to be told in detail at a later date...

global thank yous
i know not all of my friends read this, but i just want to say a very heartfelt and deep thank you to everyone who tried to make me feel loved on my birthday. i decided yesterday to celebrate it for as long as it was april 15 anywhere on this earth, so no wishes were late. it has been great, my friends. thank you all very much. you sure do know how to make me feel homesick.

i wish you could all be here for my 4-keg birthday party tomorrow night, under the full moon. hopefully the weather will keep and it won't rain on our heads or on our campfire.

Monday, April 14, 2003

far from home
the only advantage of celebrating my birthday in this land of strangers is that I can take advantage of the international date line and celebrate it for two days. for when it wraps up here, it should just be picking up in the american time zones. the older i get, the harder it gets, and the bigger of a deal i make of birthdays, it seems. YES IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! i hope you've filed your taxes.

things here are interesting. drama continues to unfold, but it's being received very well. surprisingly well. which makes life both nice and hard.

today we started the stress & rescue section of our dive course. it involved a 1.5 km swim/snorkel. i kicked everyone's asses. it seems that no one is really in the habit of swimming laps, as i once was. it was nice to, once again, establish american dominance over this piddly nation. ;)

it's getting late and i'd really like to go to bed before i turn 26. i love you guys and miss you. knock one back for me, eh?

Friday, April 11, 2003

a funny story
one day a few weeks ago, we were sitting in the smoking area of the school, shooting the shit before we left for murupara. as people were passing their roll-your-own cigarette kits around, one of them mentioned a story of how tobacco was going to be at a premium for a few days because all of it had been taken off the shelves. it seemed that one guy bought a pack and found a packet of a mysterious white substance inside. it was believed the substance was cyanide, and related to some threats made domestically concerning bioterror. letters were sent to the newspaper and the government threatning that cyanide would be dispersed in food and in public places, such as restaurants.

about a week or so after, i was reading the newspaper and it seems that the substance in the tobacco package was flour. some doofus bought the tobacco, used most of it, and then refilled it with flour to make it appear full. he then used a heat sealer to make the package look like it was never opened and brought it back to the supermarket from whence it was purchased for a full refund of $16. the packet was put back on the shelves and purchased again a few days later, setting off the aforementioned alarms. the doofus is now charged with hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the cost to the supermarket -- for lost profits -- the police and fire departments, and some other public services for their duties rendered during this "crisis".

heh heh.

another first
i am definitely suffering from my first ailment here in the southern hemisphere. i've totally got those body aches and pains that are synonymous with the flu. i'm also very run down from the rafting and kayaking. yesterday, we were in the pool for five hours drinking chlorine water. but it paid off because we all basically learned to do our rolls. a first. it usually takes students three or four sessions to learn it, but the four of us were totally onto it. it helped that we had a small group and a lot of one-on-one attention from the instructor. in a small twist of irony, brendan, who can barely swim and is really uncomfortable in the water, had the rolls down pat in under an hour. that was really cool to see.

next week we are back to diving for the final section of our course. i'm glad there will be little traveling and little movement for a while because i gotta beat this cold.

please stop sending mail to me at counter mail. they are not liking that i'm using it for long-term mail delivery and they're cutting me off. email me if you want my proper home address if you haven't received it already.

i guess that's it for now.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

on the piss again
tuesday night i decided i wanted to go out for a few drinks, new york city style. it ended up being an all night affair. after going to the circus, i got totally annoyed and decided to throw caution to the wind and drink drink drink. so we drank in my car at school (totally not allowed) and then drank at the beach, and then went to my house and drank in my room. and i didn't go to sleep until 6:30amish, and woke up an hour later to go to school and go kayaking all day. i did suprisingly well, but crashed around 2pm. went home and slept at 7pm, got up at 3am for an hour, and then back to sleep and up for good at 7:15am. now, it's 6pm and i'm totally fucked. i think i'm coming down with the flu; my whole body aches, and i'm so tired. i don't even feel like eating, which is clearly a sign that something is wrong.

tomorrow is my last day of kayaking. thankfully, we are in the pool practicing rolls. i will feel SOO cool after i learn those.

my life, in typical diana fashion, two months before she leaves a place, also just got 10 times more complicated. i've obviously got a problem and should join a dramatists anonymous club or something.

and i'm so over my instructor andrew. he's also on four weeks holiday (one down three to go), which only makes things easier for me. so stop teasing me kevin.

continuing car saga
the other day, i was driving home and went over a speed bump and the next thing i knew, my car would barely move and there was this constant grating on my wheel. i was pretty sure it had something to do with my brakes. luckily, i was only a block from home because the thing would barely move. it turns out that an old brake pad had fallen loose and the person who had opened up my car at first didn't see it and it was left in there but then was dislodged when i went over the speed bump (at a speed faster than i should have, of course). for a day, i got to drive judith's lada. it's a russian car so i'm sure we don't have many of those in the states. it has a choke. it's full of character. and it was also the first time i drove a manual on public roads.

i'm never driving an old car again. every five years, a new car. ;) just kidding. i really like ladas and have decided, actually, that i really want an old car that's full of character. i'll just be super-vigilant with the service and tuneups and all that. cuz i know jack shit about cars. (although i'm learning a lot lately...)

Saturday, April 05, 2003

search party canceled
it's okay, friends. i'm alive. i'm sorry it's taken me a while to post here, but these have been pretty hectic. my car is dying. well, it may have been temporarily resurrected. last week, i had to buy new front tires and brake pads. this weekend, the brakes full on gave out because the guy who was going to put the new pads in never got off his ass to do them even though he said he would. at one point, i stepped on the brake and after the screeching, metal on metal sound, it went clunk clunk and then the pedal went all the way to the ground and the car kept moving. i was driving with the handbrake and by putting the car in park for a while (like 20 minutes). nucking futs. anyhow, kiwis are turning out to be quite knowledgeable about cars. i mean, the country is full of jalopies. but this also means that i've gotten a lot of work done on my car for free. this guy put in my brake pads today, although i did help, in the pouring rain. i offered to buy him a box of beer, but it seems that he wants to go out for a few beers, to chat, and to play some pool. sheesh i hope he's not getting the wrong idea, but i'm inviting other people along as a safety barrier.

in other news, i went diving yesterday. my first deep and wreck dives in one. one of my friends ended up coming up too fast (10 meters in 10 seconds, oops) and the coast guard was called in and everything. he spent the evening in the hospital but he's totally ok, besides feeling a little stupid. random fact: kiwi hospital gowns have buttons on the side rather than the slit in the back.

also in other news, I'M FUCKING DONE WITH RAFTING AND FUCKING DONE WITH MURUPARA. i passed my assessment, and did pretty well if i do say so myself, and i'm now officially a grade 2/aspirant guide. whoo!

well, i have to go home and put on dry clothes and maybe eat something so i don't get totally drunk after one beer and say/do something i'm going to regret tonight.

cheers. i love you and can't wait to come home!!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2003

two down, one to go
it's sunday. i'm back in sunny tauranga in the familiar confines of cyberzone, my favorite local internet cafe. i spent most of the week in murupara, completing week two of our rafting course. it sucked. one of the instructors, who does not work for adventure education, was a total sexist, nasty, nose-picking ass. and then there were the usual gripes about my classmates being their normal annoying, ass-headed, soft-cock, stuck up selves. next week MIGHT be an improvement because there will be fewer of us, but then my 20-year-old who i have a crush on won't be there ;) so will it really be better? heh.

but in better, less-whingy news, i went to the north island championships in gisborne this weekend. and i won!! i beat two fat maori blue belts (i think one was a red-tip!) to take gold. the tournament was just as disorganized as a state tournament stateside, but with fewer people. it was pretty lame. but it felt good to win. and win pretty solidly.

tuesday i'm off to murupara again. for my last week of it, thank god. i'm sorry this is so short, but i haven't been home in a week and i really want to go and not sit in front of a computer, so that's it for now. still love you tho!

ps when you start thinking of easter and easter eggs, remember me!! my birthday is coming up as well! heh heh.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

ok friends. in the morning i'm off to murupara for week number 2: rescue week. basically this is when we intentionally wrap our rafts around rocks and try to free them using an assortment of ropes and carabiners and pulleys and other gear. umm, did i ever tell you about that time i wrapped a canoe around a rock? i'm a pro already at this! heh.

actually, i'm writing to say goodbye for now. murupara=no internet. then i go straightaway to gisborne for the north island championships, so it'll be a while before i get back in touch. but please don't forget me and keep writing me emails and letters! send to me at my full name:
c/o Counter Mail
Books & More
17 Grey St.
New Zealand

Yes, there is no zip code, because as i've mentioned before, this is a small country.

love yous!

Saturday, March 22, 2003

it's sunday morning and i'm in tauranga, not at ricky's farm hunting feral pigs. the trip was postponed because one member of the party was not able to make it this weekend. that member of the party was andrew. my week in murupara interestingly has helped me get over this crush. actually, my week in murupara has convinced me of the necessity of birth control.

murupara is a hole of a town. it consists of a takeaway shop, a four square (a dairy or small nyc-type deli that sells some groceries and lotto tickets), a school, a fire station, a second hand shop, some abandoned storefronts, and some (not lots) of people who are not making enough money. to be self-centered for a moment, i can't believe i flew 12,000 miles away to live in a dive that i probably could have found in alabama. but to be less self-centered, murupara is probably a quintessential example of all that has gone wrong in the new zealand economic situation as of late. our tutor, ray, told us about how the school vans have been broken into, and gear stolen, and student's rooms broken into. it's just not a good place, and that is both sad and a bit scary.

my first night in murupara, i went for a jog, not out of masochism but because i have a taekwondo tournament this weekend and i want to be sure i'm fit enough to kick some kiwi ass. (the last thing my delicate american ego needs right now is for some kiwis to beat me in the ring.) two minutes in to my jog, i ran through a playground and a group of kids waved and said hello to me. i said hello back, trying to be friendly as kiwis are. then they started to come over to me and talk to me, asking me if i was maori, if i understood japanese, chinese, english, where i was from etc etc. now remember, i'm obviously going for a run here. in the middle of the conversation, after i've already unsuccessfully tried once to extricate myself from the situation, one girl puts her arm around another and says have you met so-and-so? she's my girlfriend. we're lezzies. honest to god that's what she said. honest to god she was 10 years old. at the moment, the thought that went through my minds was that if the so-and-so girl was a "lezzie", then she was bullied into it by the first girl. she hadn't said a word the entire time and there was kind of a look of blank terror on her face. i just kind of laughed, said nice to meet you, and again tried to excuse myself to continue my run. it worked, more or less, as they continued to shout at me as i ran away.

so that was murupara. i have to go back there on tuesday, again for three nights, and then again the following week, for my last three nights. we use the motor camp there as a base for our whitewater rafting. the rafting is going pretty well and i'm starting to get the hang of it. it's kind of like canoeing, but with a large barge instead of a sleek canoe. it's good fun, as well. one part of the river has this rapid called jeff's joy, which is class IV, but downgraded to class III because of easy access points or what not. it is, in essence, a 20-foot waterfall. IT'S FUCKING AWESOME.

i suppose i've gone on long enough without mentioning the war in iraq. i don't really know what to say that others haven't already thought/said/protested for. i'm kind of glad i'm here, although at the same time, i'm getting tired of being picked on solely because i'm an american. and i'm getting tired of being the whipping post for all the kiwi frustrations over this war. i wouldn't mind it if people weren't so freaking ignorant to start with. they don't really understand anything or know anything about news and shit, but all they can say is americans are assholes (perhaps true, but let's not say it out of ignorance). criticism would be a lot more readily accepted if it didn't come out of ignorant heads. and for that, i kind of wish i were at home, because then i could have real discussions with people who know how to think and have a decent thought. but i'm here. trying my best to be a good ambassador for the states and also, in a small way, to verbally defend america, for what it's worth.

an interesting thing i heard but have not substantiated: iraq recently started trading oil in euros, not us dollars. an australian journalist theorizes that this is the reason for the war over oil, why the us wants to fight and germany and france do not. something to think and learn more about.

but i've been here long enough. i miss you guys a lot!!

Sunday, March 16, 2003

happy st. pat's day
it's st. pat's day here. but no green beer for me.

i'm actually in a bit of a funk. and terribly homesick because i got a kickass package from some friends today (thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!). tomorrow, i'm off to murupara to go rafting, and i'll be away until friday, so no emails (or updates) for a while. especially because straightaway when i get back, i should be off to ricky's (see previous post about birthday bash) farm for some pighunting. well, i won't be killing anything.

oh, and we just had the end of daylight savings time, so i think the time difference has been increased by one hour (or decreased, depending on which way you look at it).

Thursday, March 13, 2003

happy friday, to all my friends in thursday land.

last night i went to my friend ricky's 49th birthday celebration. for his birthday, i bought him a bottle of wild turkey bourbon, imported from kentucky! he likes bourbon, that ricky. well, he didn't open the bottle until i got there. and i had one shot, because i was driving, and within an hour, the whole thing was finished. i was amazed. this is not the first time i've seen this happen. i chalk it up to the drinking abilities of these kiwis (they WERE at the bar beforehand for a few hours, drinking pretty heavily), but i think it's also a measure of generosity.

but besides from the decadence and debauchery, last night was really nice. i really missed my classmates this week, even though i did have a fabulous time in tongariro.

tomorrow morning i'm off to the coromandel. i think i'm going to lounge on a beach, if the weather holds, and enjoy what may be one last nice summer weekend. i hope. in fact, i think that's what i'm going to do now!

really there's so much i could write about, and i keep meaning to, but then you wouldn't get emails.

love you!

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

okay, now i'm officially back at my "home" in mount maunganui and i found out that my dive trip this weekend has been canceled. i think this must be the work of god, in all seriousness, because i was picturing bad things happening this weekend. it's a long story, but you should be able to figure it out, if you care, if you have been keeping up. so for universal good, it's probably better that the trip was canceled. but this still leaves me with three days of nothing to do. so i might go off to the coromandel peninsula with this english guy i met on the northern circuit track. he's a nice guy, and i like to say i've picked him up, which i did and then drove him here, but it doesn't mean anything. :)

since i am back tonight, i am going to meet up with some classmates for a birthday celebration. i think it will be nice because he wasn't expecting me. the thing about birthdays is that they're not an excuse to drink, because we're all adults and we don't need excuses. it's just nice to celebrate another person's existence.

but enough about that. the hike was just amazing. my pack was too heavy and by the end of the first day, i made a conscious effort to eat as much food as possible. this meant shoving trail mix (peanuts, raisins etc) down my gullet all day long, and eating more pasta than i needed for dinner, and then waking up and shoving more oatmeal than i wanted down my gullet. i may be the first person to GAIN weight on a three day tramp. and therein lies part of the problem. i planned to do the hike in four days, so brought enough food for five, but then ended up doing it in three. huh?

the walk itself was through some really intensely interesting terrain. much of it was volcanic, and you could see actual real lava flows and craters and explosion lakes, like they were straight out of textbooks. then there were stretches of tussock grass and other sub-alpine features. and even though i was following a group of other hikers (trailing far behind...), i never really saw them. so i had the security of people expecting me at the huts, but the lonesomeness i was looking for. i can't wait to get my pictures developed and share them. one of the things i am realizing that i love about new zealand is that the geology is so young. like i said, it's textbook, because erosion just hasn't had time to wear it away like it has in a lot of the states. and it's just a striking reminder of how awesome nature and all those forces are.

in other news, i went to the counter mail place to get my package that i was expecting, which was supposed to contain my long-awaited ipod. long story, but i broke it right before i left and a friend took care of getting it fixed for me and then sent it to me. instead of the package, i had a letter from the nz post waiting for me, telling me that i had to pay NZ$68 tax on it before they would send it to me. so, in essence, this means that i have to pay MORE tax on something i already owned and paid tax on, only because i had it mailed to me. but if i had brought it in my luggage, i was told, there wouldn't have been a problem. god almighty. and to make matters worse, i was on the phone with them for five minutes, waiting to give them my credit card number, but no one would answer. it just rang and rang and rang. this freaking god forsaken country.

also in other news, i made a decision about my future while i was tramping. and that decision was not to make a decision for a month. until my birthday, let's say, when i'll start looking at jobs, in nyc, baltimore, los angeles, new zealand, and wherever else the spirit moves me. this is really stressful and difficult and i don't want to ruin my time by obsessing about it or making any moves prematurely. so that's that.


Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I'M ALIVE. I'VE MADE IT OUT OF TONGARIRO ALIVE. no need to sound the alarms. i've had a great time. 50km in 3 days, 2 nights. my pack was too heavy. there were definitely times when i felt like giving up, but since i was in the middle of this volcanic landscape with no exit, i didn't. will update more later, and i know i owe a lot of emails. let me bathe first, eh?

however, since i've gotten here, and in the last three weeks, really, i've found out that three of my friends have gotten engaged. you know who you are. the thing is, the rest of the world doesn't necessarily, so suffice to say, congrats to you!! invite me to your weddings, damn it, and yes, i owe you emails and lots of other things i'm sure. if anyone else out there is dating and looking to get engaged, hold your breath, for it seems that once hap (that's me, diana) leaves the country, the diamonds come flying.

i love you guys! but i'm sore and i need to bathe, so off i go. mmmm, beer tonight!

Friday, March 07, 2003

a week's holiday
i'm officially on a week-long study break. i'm leaving tomorrow (sunday) to go south and do a four day hike through tongariro national park. it's supposed to be really cold (as in snow) but i'm looking forward to being alone and in awesome nature. next weekend, i'm going on that overnight diving trip with my instructor. tee hee.

so a momentary good-bye, as they do not have internet in the bush.

love you!

Sunday, March 02, 2003

a recap

here we are, well into my "sabbatical" in new zealand, and i thought i'd recap some things i wrote before i came. see how i've been doing.

my manifesto

i am taking a break from american culture more or less
from the fast life in new york city check
from some friendships check
from my family check
from my baggage more or less
from my screwups check
from my career check
from boys fat chance

i will go and have fun check
sleep plenty check
rejuvenate my spirit and my faith in and relationship with God more or less
i will learn more about this world, about New Zealand, about nature, scuba diving, sea kayaking, whitewater rafting and ropes check
i will live simply for five months more or less
i will communicate with my past solely through email and letters -- and an occasional phone call more phone calls than i anticipated
i will start my novel or memoirs or screenplay or all of the above not yet
i will find out who my real friends are not yet
i will have regular bowel movements CHECK!
i will exercise regularly and hopefully get to do taekwondo check
i will keep abreast of current events not really
i will speak out against war in iraq not really
i will drive at least once check
i will go camping check
i will drink beer but will not puke on myself in the bathtubcheck
i will make new friends check
i will try to let go of anger and bitterness and be filled with compassion and love more or less
i will be honest more or less
i will communicate openly check
i will renew my faith in the goodness of people check
i will make new friends and great memories check
i will make a decision on what i want to do with my life in september 2003 working on it
i will work on summer camp program and fulfill my obligations check

when i return i think i will try to live in one place for three years. i will enjoy mom's cooking. i will be more forgiving and understanding and less self-centered. i will be less frivolous. i will not be afraid of commitment and love and loss of control. i will not frown upon relationships, i will be open to God. i will trust in God and believe He has control and that the promise of good things is true working on it

and maybe, just maybe, i'll give this journalism thing a shot. and maybe i won't be afraid of freelancing. i will pray more. i will love my friends more. i will try to establish a community and go to church. i will act like a grown-up in life and responsibility but i will laugh as a child laughs -- quickly, easily, loudly. i will throw my head back and gawk at the tall buildings again. i will work at camp, be a good program director, leader, and friend. i will drive cross-country, visit friends, have fun, learn to surf, and drive back. i will dream, i will cry, i will scream. i will live. i hope so

and i will stop writing such cheesy shit. good god i hope so

things i'm looking forward to, in no particular order
1.) summer check
2.) being outdoors check
3.) using my hands and my body, instead of my brain and my fingers, typing away at a keyboard check
4.) the new friendships i will make check
5.) the things i will learn check
6.) plastic money check
7.) reading for fun CHECK
8.) reading on the beach not so much
9.) half flush toilets -- for lighter loads; they "just make sense" check, except in older houses
10.) cheap internet cafes more so in australia than here
11.) kiwi accents actually, they're hard to understand

things i'm going to miss, in no particular order
1.) drinking coffee, reading the paper and having the breakfast specials at veselka check
2.) standing at the end of my street and seeing all the lights strung from the stores check
3.) walking down the street with my head flung back and my mouth wide open, looking at the tall buildings and lights check
4.) mcsorley's old ale house and tommy, who always gets me a table CHECK
5.) you check
6.) the subway, even though it smells and never runs right and the workers almost striked check
7.) 24-hour delis, even though my waistline might be better off not so much
8.) the nyu taekwondo team check
9.) my itty bitty car not so much, since i've found a new one ;)
9a.) driving on the right side of the road well, every once in a while i do it here anyways...
9b.) cars with steering wheels on the left side of the car check
9c.) driving not really, since i'm doing it here
10.) being able to call friends at any moment; the time difference will be prohibitive check
11.) 110V current not a big deal
12.) my dsl connection check
13.) mom's cooking check
14.) paquito's burritos check
15.) the new season of the dead zone, a television show check
16.) working check
17.) my apartment, or having an apartment; little miss from short hills is living in a hostel for a few weeks boarding isn't so bad
18.) my cell phone check
19.) being within driving distance of camp glen spey check
20.) the kids i tutor for citysquash, the most kick-ass squash/enrichment program in nyc check
21.) we are scientists shows check
22.) eastern standard time not really ;)
23.) north longitude check
24.) american journalism

things i'm not going to miss, in no particular order
1.) homework and all nighters
2.) american self-righteousness
3.) george w. bush
4.) my baggage, and i mean that in the figurative sense
5.) my family...ok, just my brothers
6.) dog shit on the sidewalks
7.) the lack of view ... i'll be just blocks from the beach
8.) american accents
9.) american guinness
10.) the cost of living in nyc
11.) mice in my apartment
12.) winter
13.) paper money -- money down under is made out of plastic, no joke
14.) crowded subways
15.) pushy crowds
16.) radio stations -- why do they all suck in nyc?
17.) paying the electricity bill
18.) american journalism

monday mayhem
we were supposed to go diving today, but again, we were rained out. another classroom day. third in a row. no wonder everyone was kind of in a bad mood. i know i was. the academic stuff isn't very challenging, and i know i can go in cold and pass the tests. and the physical stuff, while not necessarily challenging, is fun and different and exciting. and most importantly, active. today was also an evaluation day. that was probably kind of bad given that everyone was in a bad mood.

i guess there's not really that much to say. i've got some time to kill and have been catching up on some news, particularly the selection for the world trade center site. i just read fountainhead recently, too, so this is interesting. anyhow, i don't really have anything to say about it, or much in general actually.

oh wait. yesterday, 6:30 am, i get a phone call. freaked out the people i'm boarding with who only expect 6:30 am phone calls when one of their children is in a horrible car accident. but it turns out it's from this guy in my course who we left at a bar the previous night. he was pretty wasted. he was slightly more sober when he called, but he was somehow stranded over in tauranga, his car over by me at the mount, and he needed a ride. that was the excitement for the day.

tomorrow we are doing our night dives. ooh, scary. i'm afraid of the dark and of deep water, so this will be interesting.

and two people in my life, on two different continents, seem to be suffering from a stomach bug, rendering them perpetually bent over a garbage can or similar receptacle, yakking their brains out. interesting. not.

and thus concludes the most boring entry of my life.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

the weekend update
random bits: one day we were joking about driving and i pulled out the old line "where'd you get your license? a cracker jack box?" i didn't think my kiwi classmates would get it, since they don't have cracker jack here, but actually, they have their own version of the joke, and it involves a corn flakes box. similarly, when you make a joke about wheaties (such as, you are strong, you must have eaten your wheaties this morning), the kiwi version involves weet-bix (pronounced "wheat-a-bix"; i know, go figure). believe you me, friends, wheaties are much tastier. weet-bix is like giant shredded wheat but drier.

it's saturday here, the first of march. it has been raining for ten days, but today we have gotten a reprieve. not in time for my hike. gosh, i was soaked to my underwear. i drove 30 minutes to go hiking in the kaimai (pronounced: car-mys) mountains. not five minutes into this hike i wanted to do, i came upon a stream. except that after 10 straight days of rain, it was like a gushing river. and as full of bravado and chutzpah i may be, i was not stupid enough to ford that raging stream by myself. that's how bad movies start. so i turned around and hiked up this hill that led to an outlook over sentinel rock. when i got there, i could barely see 20 feet (i sort of expected it) so i dropped trou and had a wee instead. i wasn't worried that someone would sneak up on me. most kiwis have sense enough to not go hiking, in the rain, after 10 consecutive days of rain.

speaking of bladder issues, we were at the lakes diving on tuesday and i REALLY had to pee. waiting was out of the question, and i've tried to pee in the bush with my wetsuit pulled down but let me tell you, it's not a pretty sight. so i just swam into the lake, with my wetsuit down around my knees, and used the very large toilet that was at my disposal. unfortunately, there were people at the shore, and they knew exactly what i was doing (mostly because i announced it...). one of these people was andrew, my instructor, and i just decided to make fun of myself first and declared that i had indeed scraped the bottom of the barrel of shame. and how could i do this, what kind of girl did my mother raise?

on thursday, when i was out on the piss, we ran into my taekwondo coach at this bar. he works for a security company and was there doing the security thing. he bought me and a friend a shot of tequila each. this is a small fucking town.

thursday was also when two of my classmates discovered my feelings for our scuba instructor. being boys, they had no idea. i actually told one of them because he was offering another guy to me. the second guy found out because the first has a big mouth. anyhow, my point here is that i think classroom dynamics are going to start to change. it's a good thing i start kayaking soon. oh andrew, how i will miss thee. :)

i guess that's it for now.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

last to know
why is it that everyone in my class knew that our instructor has a girlfriend and was on a diet because of her? (the last part is relevant because it was becoming very mysterious how i never saw him eat.) i found this out last night while i was on the piss with some of them and wondering, very innocently, why he never came out with us. well, after a 20 minute bout with depression (or was it just being let down?), i got over it. this is good. well, this is better, because my self-declared exercise in self-control was quickly becoming an exercise in futility.

woke up at 8am this morning (20 minutes ago) in a kid's bed with bob the builder sheets. i hate going to bed with my makeup on and not brushing my teeth, but such is the price you pay. i miss going on the piss in nyc where you don't have to worry about driving.

maybe i'm coming home after all.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

i'm drowning
more rain today, so bad it canceled our dive b/c the guy in charge of the diving was afraid we'd catch colds. poor babies. so we were in class doing our wreck diving classroom stuff. B O R I N G. the only highlight was that my favorite instructor was back in charge. three of us took the test and i got ONE WRONG. ONE. this ruins my 100% streak. i know it's geeky, but you gotta understand that i could probably walk into any of these tests and take them cold and still pass. so i've got to have some sort of a goal.

i shared my story about the locked car with keys inside, engine running story with my instructor. and he was like, oh yeah, when i did that i had to run home and get my spare keys. and then last weekend i locked my keys in the car and had to buy something at a hardware store... this means that one: he is just as much of an airhead as i, and two: WE ARE MEANT TO BE. ;)

because of the weather, diving tomorrow has also been canceled. which sucks. which means i won't be able to gaze longingly....anyhow, this means i have nothing to do for three days. i was going to go camping, but this weather is putting a damper in those plans. so tonight, i think i'm on the piss with my classmates. ahh, when all else fails, drink. i think my liver is making its comeback.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

i am stupid
i locked my keys in my car today. with the engine running. seriously. it's been a very bad day. a very nice man and lady in the shop in front of where i was parked helped me out. he was an electrician or something and tried to get in my car but couldn't, so she called a mechanic for me. and a very fat man with a very large truck showed up and jimmied open the lock. i was 15 minutes late for class as a result, and then the class had a good laugh at me as well. laugh away, friends, for the $50NZ has got to be worth something.

it has been raining for nearly a week straight and i am starting to get depressed. also, we had a different instructor today so i was not able to amuse myself during the very boring class by staring/fantasizing about my instructor. and we were doing very basic stuff (how to use a compass, how to calculate speed given distance and time -- i was a physics major, you know) so i was very very bored. i think our instructor was replaced because several people failed the last test, which is supposed to be the easiest of the lot. and i'm not sure anyone failed today, so i have a feeling there's been a coup. personally, i don't have a problem with our previous instructor's teaching style, but then again, you know...

more diving tomorrow and friday. and i'm hoping to do something fun on saturday, which may actually be more diving, but i'll be paying a company to take me to a volcanic island, (white island). i'm not sure there's much more to talk about.


Saturday, February 22, 2003

i was supposed to go to this fundraiser for the taekwondo team, a garage sale and sausage sizzle. i showed up at 12:45pm and it was over!! the master came out of his house and was like, uhh, they all packed up and left already. see you tomorrow at practice! tee hee.

i rolled my own smokes last night. i know, what the hell am i doing smoking? but the more important point here is i rolled a cigarette for the first time ever. and the second. and the third... ;)

i got two packages today. yippee!! thank you so much!!!

Friday, February 21, 2003

it's friday night. just got back late from whitewater rafting on the rangitake. i have no idea if that's spelled correctly, but that's how it sounds to me. some random observations i've forgotten to tell y'all about.

1.) there are lots of wild animals here, even though this is an island of birds, as they say. back in the olden days when all the land on earth was one piece, new zealand broke off before mammals ruled. so this is a land ruled by birds. but, they also have wild pigs, deer, dogs, and cows. yes, cows. apparently, they are very dangerous. but let's just be ethnocentric for a while and contemplate the thought of wild cows....ok, we can all laugh now.
2.) they breed deer here. yes, i saw deer penned up like sheep and cattle. i was told that it's mostly for the velvet on the buck's antlers. but can you imagine breeding deer at home? we have the opposite. we are discussing shooting them with birth control. someone asked me why it's not just open season to hunt them. well, because we don't usually hunt in the suburbs.
3.) i saw a pen filled with sheep and cows. living side by side, in peace and harmony, sharing the grass. my heart felt warm and tingly. this place is TRULY idyllic. ;)

toodle-ooo. off to have drinks. yippeeeee!

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

the non-A***** update
TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY. why? because i went on two dives AND DIDN'T GET NAUSEOUS AT ALL. i'm not going to get into details, lest SOMEONE out there get annoyed, but i called shotgun three days ago, and got it both ways. and went on two dives and ... well, lake rotoma has less of a current than where we were diving out at motiti island, so i didn't get sick at all. if i stick to driving to my dive sites and diving in lakes, perhaps, i may be able to stick with this scuba thing after all.

tomorrow we go rafting, while the scuba kids have the day off. i'm excited for a change of pace, and i'm excited to go rafting. surprisingly, i've never been.

i'm a bad girl. i'm ditching taekwondo today. the north island championships are over a month away.

judith, the woman i'm boarding with, packed me cookies and chocolates for my lunch. i didn't know what they were because they were wrapped in foil and were just sitting on the counter. and she put a little note inside the package with the chocolates. and she cooked a pasta for me last night for lunch today. this woman loves me and treats me better than my own mother sometimes! i'm never going home.

just kidding! i'm coming home! i know i have obligations. but playing with the world as my playground...well, you can see the excitement and appeal of that, no?

love you!

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

my parents are trapped at home. in fact, yesterday, firefighters had to come get my dad to take him to a doctor's appointment. so one: i now know how bad the blizzard truly was. two: why do i always miss the fun at home? firefighters?! in my house?! damn el nino.

so as you can see, i called home today. my mom's first question when she got on the phone: do you have a boyfriend?! and i said, eew no! it seems like every time she asks, i am just starting to have a crush on someone. mother's know best sometimes. oh, and in all her silliness, she asked me TODAY when my flight gets in. june 16, i said. what time, she asks. umm, I DON'T KNOW, mother. hell, i don't even know if i'll have a flight with the way things are going with United.

on other matters, i have realized that men in uniforms and/or with authority over me are uber-hot. that might explain why i was so damn attracted to my taekwondo instructor in baltimore. because they might look like pajamas, but they're still a uniform! ;)

ropes were good. it was raining. andrew didn't come. but i got to talk to him when we got back. and i got health and auto insurance, all in one day. it has been very productive. and i got some primo compliments on my facilitating skills, so that was really cool. warm fuzzies. how will i ever go home?

Monday, February 17, 2003

i forgot to report that on my way back from hamilton, i stopped in this ho-dunk town called matamata. it doesn't have much, except its claim to fame as "hobbiton". in short, the farm peter jackson used as his set for hobbiton is located in/near matamata. and now for NZ$50, you can ride a van to this private farm and see what's left of the set. which isn't much, because some of it was torn down and the contract between the movie studio and the farm people stipulates they can't rebuild. also, because it's summer, everything is very dry and brown. so there we were, tramping in this brown field full of old and fresh sheep poop, sticking our heads out of wooden holes in the ground. and the tour guide was sooooo geeky. she could recount every shot that was taken, the camera angle and all that, and it wasn't that interesting. it felt like she was recounting every step that Jesus had taken. while trying not to laugh, i did enjoy myself, and it was something i had to do. incidentally, it is the only remaining set from the film. all the others were done digitally or were torn down or were erected on public land.

yesterday, we went out to motiti island for our second dive. the water was calmer, but i still got sick. we did two dives. i was with andrew, sigh, in the remedial class i think, because i was a dive behind everyone else because i was so sick the other day i couldn't do both dives. it is pretty funny trying to do these skills -- like a mask clear -- underwater whilst laughing and mooning over my instructor. i feel so ungraceful. but it's all good.

andrew also gets pretty bad motion sickness. on our second dive yesterday, he said he started to feel nauseous. so i was kind of asking him about how he ended up doing this as a profession and he said, well, it just happened. you kind of build up a tolerance for it. just like that, calm as anything. and how many dives has he done? over 1500. holy mother of god.

so enough about andrew. we are taking two days off of diving to do ropes so everyone can bond and build trust and all that. blah blah blah. i does mean i get to help facilitate on the ropes course, using my newly earned credentials.

and in other news, i found an asian food market in tauranga!! it's run by a very friendly woman named victoria, who's from the phillipines, and who has a daughter in nyc. the store is called the golden wok. whoo hoo!

i really should go. i hate to admit it, but i really don't want to go home and could see myself living here.


Saturday, February 15, 2003

ok, i'm going to do it. i'm just going to sit here and write and update about what has been going on.

like i've said before, i'm in the middle of the scuba section of my course. and like i've said, it's not going that well because i suffer from some very bad motion sickness. i don't know if i want to go all the way and get my dive control specialist certification, but the one thing keeping me in this game is this damn crush i have on my scuba instructor. his name is andrew. he is 23. i know, i know, enough of the younger men. but, i have already decided "NOT TO GO THERE", as one of my friends said. because, well, first of all, if anything were to happen, how miserable would i be when i left. second of all, i've got to stop acting on every impulse and feeling and emotion. it usually just causes a lot of trouble for me, so this is going to be a long-awaited exercise in self-restraint. god help me.

in other news from the homefront, they did take in another boarder. a 22 year old chinese guy named peter. and he's straightup from china, here to study english. he failed his first test. dorkus. i don't think i'm going to like him very well. he chews with his mouth open. god i hate that.

the other thing i've noticed recently is the total acceptance of single parenthood and kids out of wedlock. it just seems like no one gets married here. i can't tell yet if it's a product of the people i've been around. but everyone just has a "partner" (and that doesn't mean homosexual) and they often have kids, starting at a very young age. a friend of a friend, i was told, has three kids, at 23, all with the same guy. hmm.

i guess that's it for now. it's sunday, and i'm heading to the beach, after i have a feed because my tummy is hungry. tomorrow we go on another dive, so it's up at 6am, before the sun!

love yous!

Friday, February 14, 2003

to my dear public, ;)

i have been a bit busy and pooped so i haven't been able to get myself to an internet cafe and put in some serious time recording my activities. and now isn't the greatest time. i'm actually in hamilton, which is about an hour from where i'm living, to visit some girls from the course who are based here. they come to tauranga to do everything but the scuba. anyhow, i essentially financed their drinking last night. oh, poor students. anyhow, i'm about to leave this internet cafe in search of KOREAN FOOD!! Yumm. I'm sure it exists here. i've just been to the museum. it was alright, but it was nice to take in something cultural after boozing and clubbing, which really isn't all that cultural no matter how you try to spin it.

i passed my open water exam. 98%. one wrong. would have been a perfect score but i mixed up meters and feet. stupid metric system. went on my first dive and got HORRIBLY seasick from the boat ride out and from being underwater. and in typical diana fashion, i have a crush on my instructor. oh jeebus.

i think i'm at the top of the hump between homesickness and never wanting to go home. i knew this time would come. but don't worry. i know i have to go home because of camp obligations. but with my september plans so up in the air, who knows. i may just come right back.

happy valentine's day all!
love you! miss you!

Sunday, February 09, 2003

i just haven't been feeling like writing, as of late. i don't know what it is because i certainly don't think any less of what i think. ;) i have had a friend in town. one of my nyu classmates is here with her sister. they have been staying with me for the last two nights, and they leave tomorrow, my tuesday. i will be very sad when they leave, and probably uber-homesick. the couple i'm boarding with have been really neat and generous with the guests. and we've had a great time sitting around at night, after dinner, and just talking about socialism and stuff. but if i keep eating like this and staying up all night talking, it's going to put a big fat damper on my plans. it's all good while my friends are here, though.

in other news, i think i almost died today. i'm really not taking very well to this scuba thing. we put on our gear and did shit on the bottom of this dive pool -- about 12 feet deep. after 20 minutes, this tingling sensation went up my arms and my legs all the way up to my chest. and my hands were cramping up like i was having a siezure. it was very scary and i had to come up to the surface. i don't know if i was getting too much oxygen or too little. all that i know is i'm on the verge of quitting scuba. sometimes, life is worth too much to risk it like this, and sometimes you're just too old to learn certain new tricks. i'm keen to start rafting.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

the beach
the cost of living here, if you take into consderation the exchange rate, is really cheap for me. so i figured that because i could, and this may be the last time i ever get to, i wanted to live by the beach. and i found a place! i'm going to board with this couple that i like to describe to be "hippies" in a house that is a 2 minute walk from the beach. they're even going to cook meals for me, like curries and shit, which i'm really excited about. when i met them we spent ages discussing politics and literature and journalism and free trade and paganism. ok, i'm not keen on paganism, but i think it's going to be great. oh, and all this for about US$300 a month.

we started scuba today. we were in this diving pool snorkeling, actually, and i'm not enjoying it, and i'm not looking forward to the nine weeks of scuba that i'll be doing. i'm going to come out with a dive control specialist certification from SSI when i'm all through, but i think i'd rather just take the nine weeks and travel the country. alas, i can't. but bugger all. i'm afraid of heights, but my brain trusts the equipment on the ropes course. maybe more experience will help me trust the scuba gear, but it's just so scary with all that hyperbaric chamber shit and stuff. eek.

if the scuba doesn't kill me, the driving will. oh, not my driving, because i'm doing pretty well on the wrong side of the road and car. it's all the people who drink and smoke up while they are operating an automobile that worry me. for real.

that's it for now. i ahve to go do homework. dumb fill in the blank bullshit for scuba. ugh. this only makes it all worse.

i'll stop whinging now.


Saturday, February 01, 2003

i went to this book exchange to get a book in exchange for this book I had called House of the Blue Mangoes. i would consider it Literature, as in it would be in the literature section at barnes & noble, like next to victor hugo and shit, except that it was written by some guy davidar, so it wouldn't really be next to hugo. anyhow, the lady at the exchange was like, we have a hard time selling "trade publications" so we can't take that. sorry. and i understood that very clearly to mean that the people who go to this book exchange like trashy romance novels and spy thrillers, like tom clancy the the kiwi versions of tom clancy. for fuck's sake. sheesh. i miss b&n. i did manage to pick up the fountainhead, though. something i figure i should read. i hope i don't get brainwashed.

it's really hard to find good literature here, even at legit book stores. any good books they do have cost NZ$40, and while i'd readily pay that at home if i really wanted to read it, there's something imposing about that number that makes me not want to buy a book. i am supposed to be living simply.

something else i have noticed is how technologified everything here is. every store, even the dinkiest snack shop, is capable of doing eftpos transactions, which is their way of saying debit transactions. you know, swipe your debit card, punch in your pin, and get cash back, if you want. it's really how everyone does things here. (my bank card is not able, however, even though it's from hsbc, and they have branches here, being a supposedly international bank and all.) the other thing that's big here is txting. yeah, like on your cell phone. at home, i txted, but only with three people. here, everyone does it. radio stations and mcdonald's even does contests where you txt a number and maybe win a cruise. interesting, no?

last night i went to my first party. it was cool, and it was nice to socialize with people from my course. i think the thing that impressed them the most and made them realize i wasn't some dopey shy quiet american was when i grabbed a ciggie and lit it up like a pro. yeah, so i have this problem where i like to smoke when i drink, but sometimes the nasty habit comes in handy. but man oh man those boys were dirty and gross. vulgar, more like. and a bit sexist and piggy. i'm starting to realize that american men aren't so bad after all. a good thing to learn; be grateful for what you have, i suppose.

guys here readily and easily drink "girlie drinks". you know, like smirnoff ice. and no one laughs at them. but what i've found my classmates and cohorts like to drink is jim beam and coke. premixed. for NZ$14, you can get four fairly generous bottles of authentic jim beam and cola (pepsi, it turns out) premixed. yes, it saves some effort, but in the end is more expensive. for fuck's sake. and last night, drinking and driving (and "smoking" and driving) was done quite liberally. i think i'll be lucky to get home in one piece.

i went SURFING TODAY! it was great!! i even stood up a few times, and had a pretty neat ride back to shore. my board was very very very very long, which thankfully made it easier, but i really enjoyed it. i'm looking forward to doing it again and hopefully eventually getting good enough where i don't drink half of the bay. i had salt water entering every orifice in my head. after two hours, i felt like a human pickle from the salt and was thoroughly convinced that if i laid out on the beach long enough i'd turn into human jerky.

my first visitor comes next weekend!! YEAY! and if you are really my friend, you will come too. ;)

love, me

Monday, January 27, 2003

start, week 2
things are getting better here. maybe the weekend apart has been good for all of us as i have been more confident and people have been more friendly. and today i got to "facilitate" a few activities and i think it showed people i know what i'm doing, even if i'm quiet. so that was good.

can you just believe i said i was being quiet? i compare myself now to how i have been behaving in the last year and a half and i am surprised that there is quietness in me.

there's this creek/stream that runs right next to the ropes course. we're kind of in this valley and you actually have to cross the stream in the car/van to get to the ropes course. first of all, every tiem the van bottoms out (it's often full with 12 people and gear) someone inevitably talks about fatties in the back. i was flabbergasted the first time someone said that, because the first day you meet someone, you can't go making fat jokes at home. but then obesity is a bigger issue in the states, but it's becoming a bigger problem here as well. second, we can drink out of the creek/stream. it's pretty amazing. on hot days, as we ford the stream back to the road, we'll stop the car in the middle and just lean out the door and fill up water bottles. and there's no issue with ghiardia or pollution or mercury. it's great. it's amazing.


Thursday, January 23, 2003

update, week 1
it's friday, and i've just finished my first week. today was a big day for me as i both climbed up the double dangling duo element, which was pretty freaky but accomplished with much help from the three other people who were climbing with me. i also climbed up a few posts with claws -- these carabiners connected to some webbing that let you climb on your own without a belayer. these were big steps for me to overcome my fear of heights and my accustomed-ness to the belay line and my insecurities that other people won't be able to hold me or support me. anyhow.

it was also a big day because my instructor gave me some very encouraging words that helped a lot as this week has been a bit tough in trying to fit into a group of native kiwis. the group dynamics are really interesting, and i have a hard time, and they're all very aggressive in wanting to be leaders, and when i'm in a situation like that, i clam up and take a back seat. but my instructor was able to see through that, and understand the difficulty in fitting into the group dynamics, and see my potential as a leader/facilitator. well, it also helps that i'm 25 and have nearly a decade of experience working with kids and leading, but whatever. as he put it, i'm paying good money and i should get the most out of the course as i can. umm, given the amount of time i've spent dangling in trees, i'm doing pretty well. the mere thought of heights makes my knees tickly.

in other news, i've met a very nice girl at the hostel. her name is elizabeth and she's canadian, 19 years old, and very energetic and outgoing. we were thinking of getting an apartment together but have decided to get a double room at the hostel for privacy and just some of our OWN space. this way, we can still take advantage of the social setting of the hostel (there's a rugby team coming in tomorrow!) and not have to buy dishes and stuff if we get our own place. we are also thinking of buying a car (there's one that someone in the hostel is selling for NZ$1500 that i plan on driving into the ground before i leave and then donating to on of my classmates who's already asked for it). we are going to travel on weekends and just live it up. elizabeth will probably be leaving in a month or two, but we'll have a pretty great time until then.

we went to see a flat last night, and this really nice guy (robin or robert?) came to pick us up and show us the place. before that, though, he took us to check out the village for the around alone yacht race. ignorant me didn't know that it started in nyc, but who the fuck, besides rich people, keep up with the yachting/sailing scene, for crying out loud?! he knew some maori people who had a very large canoe type thing (like the type used by the first maori settlers to arrive here from polynesia) that is on display. it was just really cool in ways that i can't describe right now because i'm overwhelmed by fatigue and hunger. but this guy, (robin or robert?) was so friendly it was a bit sketch. he kind of compelled us to not leave the hostel, in all honesty. do we really need to know how he got his four kids by accidentally getting someone pregnant, at the first meeting? sheesh.

met some nice blokes from manchester (england) last night. stayed up until 2am (kind of regretted that but it was a short day today) and had my first alcoholic beverage in this country. and since some english blokes gave it to me, needless to say, it was quite warm. i think it would have been better cold.

that's all for now. have been here a while, and the rain has let up, so i'm going to go and take care of this fatigue/hunger situation.

love you guys.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

postal-love me!
I HAVE AN ADDRESS!! ok, it's not an apartment, but now you can love me in that postal way.

My Name (First and Last, real not camp names)
c/o Counter Mail
Books & More
17 Grey Street
New Zealand


and by the way, today went a lot better. between putting on more sunscreen, drinking more water, and just getting along better with folks, i feel good. so yesterday's post will hopefully be the aberrant one. i even got to climb on top of a very tall post and jump for a trapeze. learn by experience. challenge by choice. ain't no way i'm gonna help others do this shit if i don't do it myself. oh and there's the fact that i can't get certified unless i pass one element that's probably worse than standing on top of a very small, wobbly post and jumping for a trapeze. something to do with a rescue, scissors, knots and rapelling yourself and another person, who is connected to you, down from a height at the same time. hmm....

Monday, January 20, 2003

today was my first day of class. after some yapping in the classroom, we headed out into this lush valley where there was a pretty amazing high ropes course set up. man, i haven't been on one of those in ages. it was good fun getting back into it. a lot of the other people i'm in the course with have experience in ropes and outdoor stuff, which is great, but they got a bit impatient and aren't very good at taking direction. it's amazing to think that people like that are going to take other lives in their hands. eh, who am i to be judgmental? i think i'm just feeling a bit down; it seemed that every time i tried to make a suggestion, someone would look at me funny and then ignore me, though sometimes later someone would eventually use my advice. i think they just tuned me out like they do the telly. practically everything on the telly is from the states: er, the sopranos, indiana jones and the last crusade... i'm in sort of a bad mood and i think i have a headache from being outside all day, in the land of no ozone layer, with the glare from the sun. and i'm hungry. poo poo.

but on a happy note, i do want to say that i am enjoying this, and it's good to focus on the fact that i will be trained in all this outdoor stuff. apparently, in japan, they pay their whitewater rafting guides good money, and you can make even more money being an english tutor. who knows, maybe this will lead me to japan one day, or to even something more grand and less far from home.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

and i start class tomorrow at 9:30am. :-D

I've arrived at my temporary home in Tauranga, NZ. They've kindly given me a room with no one else in it right now, which is nice, because I have so much damn luggage and it has quite exploded all over the place. The weather is glorious, the scenery is grand (I can see the bay right through some bushes outside the window in my room), I've got groceries to my name, though i've forgotten how to cook, and i miss you. But maybe I'll go sit ouside for a little while and forget about winter and the northern hemisphere for a while. love yous.

Friday, January 17, 2003

sydney again
same city. same continent. same internet cafe. can you blame me? it's right next door to my hostel. which, by the way, is very large, like a hotel, and OLD people stay there.

and before i forget, i have a funny anecdote. while i was in newcastle and still acclimating myself to this culture, i crossed a street after the little red man stopped blinking. (the little red man being the antipodean counterpart to our red hand/don't walk signs.) as i was running across the street, a guy in a car yelled at me, "c'mon! it already turned red!" the new yorker in me chuckled. the bashful american has decided never to do that again.

the blue mountains are a united nations designated world heritage site, with good reason, too. it is one of the most amazing places i have been. you can stand at the echo point lookout and as far as the eye can see, it's untouched valleys and mountains. it was freaking amazing. i went for a little "walk" through the woods, which included 900 steps down the great staircase. now, i don't know if you've ever climbed or descended 900 steps, but even going down my knees got all wobbly. i was a little unsurefooted for a while afterwards. i then hiked a good three hours or so around the valley, through forests, rainforest, and more typical australian bush (i.e. hot and dry). i had a great time just traipsing through the woods, greeting those around me. the best places were in the middle, far from the easy entries for tourists. that was where i came across more hard core and considerate walkers. i then got to the other side and climbed 1040 steps out. these were easier than climbing the 900 back out b/c they were less steep. but by the top i had run out of water and was talking to myself in a not very humorous fashion. thankfully, the top was also where tourists could watch cheesy big screen movies and ride gondolas and shit like that, so there was a shop where i could purchase a refill for my water bottle. my own oasis. i was pretty beat after the walk and enjoyed the two hour train ride back to sydney, where i had a deserved shower. i think the people around me were grateful too.

that was today. yesterday, i got into town at about 11:30 am and went straightaway into the Katoomba Adventures store, which is right across from the train station. i booked myself on a canyoning tour and had 45 minutes to check into my room at the guesthouse (needed a little personal space instead of the dorm accomodations at the hostel) and get something to eat so i didn't get all sick and hypoglycemic or something on the trip. at 12:15, back at Katoomba Adventures, I got fitted with a wetsuit, a drypack, a backpack, and some shoes. and off we went to pick up four people who did the abseiling (rapelling) morning trip, and then into the canyon. we started off, very auspiciously, with a cliff jump. you could jump anywhere from 5, 12 to 40 feet. i didn't make it any past the 12, which was plenty good for me, little miss petrified of heights. i like my adventures on the ground (except for skydiving...) anyhow, then we went into the canyon.

canyoning is, essentially, hiking through a canyon. canyons are typically carved by water, so there's some swimming, climbing, hiking, wading and sliding involved. we did a little of all of it, through this really cool canyon, which was pretty tight in some parts, like you see out west. but with water. which, by the way, was very cold. if you told me there was a glacier feeding that canyon, i'd believe you. it was freezing and my hands, which were the most unprotected part of my body that was submerged, hurt from the cold. but it was an amazing trek. aah, adventure.

in the morning i'm off to new zealand to really start the adventure. i'm looking forward to using my body, and to be judged on my physical abilities, instead of what my little monkey brain can manage to pound out on a computer keyboard. i love to write and i love writing, but this is a nice change of pace.

speaking of change of pace, i went down to cockle bay and darling harbour, some of the more touristy and famous areas of sydney, and there was a bacardi festival going on. it was crowded down there, full of hoochie mamas in their little halter tops, their midriffs showing, their blonde hairs perfectly in place. the guys, of course, were enjoying the scenery, hootin and hollerin. people bumped into me left and right, nary an excuse me. and i realized i needed to get the hell out of there because that was exactly what i wanted to leave behind in new york city. hell, that was what i wanted to leave behind in freaking baltimore. that area was much more enjoyable in may. yes, the wind had a bit more bite to it then, but it was way less crowded. and besides, i've been to the ORIGINAL bacardi factory in puerto rico and ain't nothing in sydney going to do that justice. ;)

love yous. next time, i'll be in new zealand, land of the long white cloud and 8 times more sheep than people. yee haw!