Freshwater unagi

Alternate post title: Weekend wetsuits (part 2, déjà vu) Luckily, I didn’t wear wetsuits all weekend like planned, because the Saturday surf-kayaking trip with the Auckland Uni Canoe Club was canceled due to the rain. Though disappointed my opportunity to meet more kiwis was gone, I was somewhat relieved, as I was extremely exhausted from a long week.

On Wednesday I turned in my first essay. A lot of effort, procrastination, and complaining went into it, so I'm glad it's over. I also had a Resource Economics assignment due today. The schoolwork is definitely picking up, especially with only 2 weeks of class before mid-semester break.

As a reward for working hard, I had a lazy Saturday, complemented by the rainy weather. We watched a bootleg version of Toy Story 3 (from Russia, apparently), via the student network (dubbed “The Hub”), containing millions of TV shows, movies, music, and any other files that can be illegally shared. Yes, they do that, even in New Zealand. I also made a more indulgent version of my granola bar, which included a melted chocolate/honey/peanut butter middle layer. (I clearly love talking about food as much as I do eating it.)

I had to go to bed early Saturday night to be fully energized to go canyoning on Sunday...in yet another wetsuit! (I think this is the 3rd time in two weeks, if anyone's counting.) I even came prepared this time, wearing thermal underwear underneath for extra warmth. We headed out to a place hidden behind these flush hills, hiking up some slippery mud to the start of our adventure. (My poor friend Melissa slipped and wiped out 20+ times!) I don't know if where we were was technically a canyon, but we spent the whole day trekking through a rushing river, often encountering steep waterfalls, deep pools, and even eels!

We started off big with two high jumps into a deep pool. I should have down a flip like some of the boys, but I wasn't feeling so gutsy yet. Then we had our first abseiling (in American, "rappeling") experience down a major waterfall. While it was an exciting first experience, I do have complaints--the water was pounding on my face, my contacts were being dislodged, and at the same time, I had to concentrate on not slamming into the rock wall. At the bottom of the waterfall, we met Albert, our first eel, in the pool. After stumbling over some rocks in the river and a few more jumps, I refined my abseiling skills on our last cliff. I went down the wall pretty smoothly, if I do say so myself!

This was probably one of my most memorable and fun experiences in New Zealand. Before even coming to New Zealand, I had Googled all of these outdoors activities that I wanted to pursue here, and canyoning was at the top of the list. It was definitely as amazing as my expectations, and I would love to do it again!

Sometimes I wonder whether I should have gone to a university not in a major city, because that is exactly what I wanted to escape. I can't decide if I like living in a city or not. There are many things I love about it, but also many things I feel that I'm missing. But as long as I keep taking excursions like these, I don't think I will have any regrets.

...at least until I get my grades. Just kidding! I'm actually hoping I won't even care!

Almost half of the academic semester is over. Weird. That's all for now. Be back in a week!

Ashley ChinComment