Living the farm life.

This past week, my friend Melissa and I did a farmstay in Dairy Flat, about 40 minutes outside of central Auckland. In exchange for food and accommodation, we do a few hours of work. Melissa and I stayed with Jackie Plaistowe, a 76-year old Kiwi who lives on a small farm with 2 horses and lots of sheep, ducks, and chickens.


Melissa and I did mainly yardwork, clearing thistles out of her paddocks. Sounds easy, but those things were spiky and put up a good fight!

We also cleaned some of Jackie's house. It was pretty filthy, to say the least. As a completely independent woman with 5 cats, Jackie didn't seem to mind the dust, mildew, and animal traces around the house. The ducks would just waddle outside and tap her glass doors for some bread all day,  leaving poop and all sorts of mess outside. Melissa and I had a few good-natured laughs about it all, but after returning to Auckland, we agreed that it was nice to eat dinner without the fear of each bite being covered in cat hair.

It felt good to get out of the city and get to know a real Kiwi. She was so happy to share her life with us, from her paintings and glass etchings to her assortment of jams and spreads (some outdated, but still tasty!). A very active woman, Jackie is an ambulance volunteer, coaches at the local Pony Club, and also helps a Chinese lady with English.

Jackie cooked us some good meals with eggs from her chickens and even one of her lambs. She also drove us out to the local scenic spots--Orewa beach and Wenderholm Regional Park. It's amazing that these places are not that far from the skyscrapers of Auckland!

One night, Melissa and I decided to dress up in some of her dusty clothes in our bedroom's closet. Below are a select few pictures from our fashion show!

Apologies for the long post. It was a good way to procrastinate studying for exams, which begin Thursday.

Anyway, congrats to the Giants, sympathies to All Blacks fans (such a frustrating game yesterday against the Wallabies!) and a Happy Halloween to all!


Ashley Chin Comment
bbq's and beaches

Hello! Quick blog post, then back to "studying." Got my ear pierced on Wednesday (!!) and had a fun barbecue at a Kiwi's house on Thursday....Classes ended Friday with a big music festival celebration in the student quad called End of Daze. Other than good friends, music, and weather, there wasn't anything too extraordinary!

(Actually, two male students did get completely naked on stage for free Ludacris concert tickets...)

With half my friends scuba diving in Fiji (jealous!) and others making last minute trips, I went to Raglan again for 2 days with two friends. Last time I went with my Arcadia program, and the weather wasn't so great, but this time it couldn't have been better. One of the boys, Jake, has been surfing for awhile now, so I actually got to see what real surfing was like (much like Rocket Power haha)! I just sat on the beach and got my tan on.... :)

In Raglan, we did meet this New Zealand couple from Auckland and had dinner with them Saturday night. It was really great meeting some new people and getting new perspectives!

Anyway, I depart for my farmstay in Albany (suburb of Auckland) tomorrow with Melissa. Manual labor, woohoo!

Only 2 1/2 weeks left.


Ashley Chin Comments
Weekend in Wellington

I had a lovely trip to Wellington this past weekend. Four other girls and myself departed Thursday evening after classes. I still can't get over how easy traveling within New Zealand is: no liquid rules, no clothes-strip-down in security, and hardly any line for security for that matter! It took us probably under a minute to go through security! Anyway, we celebrated Katie's 21st birthday at midnight by buying her drinks at a local bar, and then had a deep sleep in our hostel. On Friday, we went to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. It was really cool but very tiring--we were there for over 3 hours. After a great lunch at Sweet Mother's Kitchen (a restaurant inspired by the American South), we shopped around Cuba Street, which had a lot of character.

On Saturday, we visited the Parliament buildings and then took a cable car up to the Botanic Gardens, which had amazing flowers and plants, though the rose garden wasn't in bloom yet. The city of Wellington is very reminiscent of San Francisco, with buses running on cables, steep streets, and a non-parallel city layout. It had the same small but big city feel, not quite as overwhelming as Auckland (and New York).













We made it back to Auckland on Saturday in time for our No Pants Punk party--you had to dress like a punk (I had some trouble with this) and wear underwear (I went in men's boxers). It was an unusual theme but ended up being pretty successful. I even managed to find a fake lip ring to make myself look a little more punk.



Last week of classes this week, then find the best way to enjoy my last month in New Zealand while preparing for my exams as well. Hope all is well! Cheers!

Ashley ChinComment