The Awesome is in the Normalcy

Have you ever noticed how time truly FLIES?? It is truly incredible. Last time I checked in was the first weekend before semester started and I’m already halfway through the semester. We just had our two week mid-semester break, marking only 6 or so more weeks of school.

Classes are classes. I feel I don’t mention them much in my blog so here is a little something dedicated to the time I have spent actually studying. This semester I am taking four classes; Headlines in History, Rewriting Classic Fiction, Gender and Race in the Media, and Media Practice. First off, I am enjoying the semester so far. The majority of my classes I find to be interesting and my lecturers aren’t too bad either. However, I have not read classic literature since high school and I’ve decided I was really ok with that. The hardest part is forcing myself to sit down and read a novel in regardless of my true enjoyment in what I am reading. Thus, I would say that my literature is my toughest classes in context and enjoyment.

But, I would say that if that’s my biggest issue with my classes, I’m doing alright. I really enjoy my gender and race in the media class. It really brings up interesting issues I had not thought of before. Example, we watched Enchanted in class to see the parallels of post feminist female portrayals…COOL! It did not ruin the move for me or anything, just simply put certain characters in a new perspective. Then, looking at the changing male portrayals between feminist and post feminists era media. Very interesting for the media nerd inside me.

My history class looks at overarching historical themes including, disease, sport, war, and economics. I quite enjoy the perspective of looking at the big picture rather than a specific era or place. It engulfs so much more of history and allows the observer to draw bigger conceptual conclusions about world history instead of simply US history or European history, etc. Quite the spin on thinking in my personal opinion. Plus that class has analyzed the US in a very outsider way which has been super interesting, especially in the war unit. It really opened discussion on people’s opinions of the US from a completely different angle than I have ever seen or heard before. A friend of mine in the class had a lot more to say on the US and their war policies than I had ever thought previously. Honestly, that discussion group has been one of my best class experiences in New Zealand since one reason I wanted to study abroad was to hear American history or news discussed from a non-American perspective.

Media Practice also provides a cool experience since it deal with the actual making films. We get to work with the camera and experiment with the real deal media stuff. FUN! I mean who doesn’t like making mini movies and giggling at the amateur-ness of it until something actually comes out pretty awesome. It is a two part class which continues in their second semester here, but unfortunately I must stop at the end of this semester. However, I am excited to work on the next assignment in class which is to reconstruct a commercial that he assigns groups. WOOO!

In other school-like news, I play football(soccer) for the Reserves team here at Massey. I also played last semester but I played for a real social team just for fun. This semester I actually trialed for the better teams. I ended making the team I wanted to make which is awesome. There are four teams and I am on the 2nd hence the Reserves. So I have practice twice a week and then games on Sundays. Our season started this past Sunday and it was very exciting to get back on a field. We looked good but took a little time to get it together as we’re a rather new team and the team we played have been playing together for almost 6 years. They are top of the table at the moment, but we played competitively. Unfortunately we ended up losing 3-2. BUT we have plenty of time to improve and then, we play them again later in the season and next time, I have confidence that we will prevail.

One pretty awesome thing, that you wouldn’t expect to be awesome, about this semester has been the lack of “WOW, THIS IS NEW ZEALAND” mindset. Palmy has really become another home for me. I like knowing where I am and just living. It doesn’t seem like this completely out of this world, unreal place but rather a place I can call home and understand. I feel apart of it in a way. I go to school, go to church regularly, go to football practice, run around the park, do my homework, and hang with my friends. The awesome is in the regular. It is awesome to just be living. How many people can say they’ve lived in New Zealand? This year has been so much more than studying abroad, it has been LIVING abroad. I’ve been able to travel, stay with friends, do what the Kiwis do. I’ve gotten so much more out of this time than being a tourist and just hitting everywhere that looks cool. I’ve done the backdoor random stuff that the locals do like dam dropping and I say funny things like “sweet as” or “chur bro,” I watch the rugby, I markedly make the clarification between football(soccer) and AMERICAN football and I have even gotten used to all the boys walking around in super short rugby shorts called stubbies. One of my favorite moments of New Zealand was walking around Auckland with a Kiwi friend o and an American friend while I was talking about this upcoming American summer when my American friend looked at me all funny. I asked him why he looked so confused to which he responded with a sudden face of comprehension “Oh, you’re talking American summer, I just always think of you as Kiwi.” Best. Moment. Ever. I jumped for joy at the idea of me actually being called Kiwi. If I had to tell someone to study abroad for a year rather than a semester, this would be the number one reason. And with that, I must get back to writing an essay for that history class. Till next time, Chur (a word meaning awesome, all good, see ya later and thanks all together).