Friday, 3 February 2012

Sharks, crabs and seals..

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa! K guys, whazzup, here's some kiwi music again, Always on my mind by Tiki Taane. Luv this song, always on my playlist and on my mind <3
School started on Tuesday, oh lovely school...... Didn't totally feel like going there when I was ironing my uniform and preparing a  packed lunch... For these two terms I still am at this school, I'm taking four subjects: psychology, history, photography and Spanish. FINALLY I can sign in for some sports, too, so I'm taking tennis, considering touch rugby and maybe dragonboating. Later i'll start lacrosse! I joined the student council too. And I also work as a peer supporter for the year 9's. Just to be involved! We had a house BBQ on Thursday and I was helping out there - was fun though - and had all kinda fun competitions between the four houses of the school. Every student belongs to one of the houses.
It's good to start from the beginning, sorta, except now I know quite a few people and it doesn't feel like a new school anymore - it feels like my school! We year 13's are the oldest at the school and we have 'the common room', a room with kitchen and relaxing facilities, just for our year level to hang out. And we can leave the school area at lunch time! Hurray - Sushi lunches at the mall, here I come! I think this half school year that I'm actually gonna be here, is gonna be good. I'll try to work too though and sit some big exams in June!

Today after school had a really cool hanging out with my kiwi friends, had fun, and really thought might miss some people from here... :')

I had a good summer holiday, even though it went amazingly fast!
The last moments of my holiday I spent as a cool long weekend up in Mt.Maunganui with my lovely belgian Cécile. We slept a lot, saw alive SHARK that some fishermen accidentally caught, went floundering ( flounder is a fish ), tried to catch some tohoroa ( sea shells that hide under the sand and you gotta dig sand with your hands to find them ), caught mussels and while doing that saw too many evil-looking crabs hanging around the rocks we were standing ( ! ), walked on the beach, slept on the dunes, took cool shots of a seal that appeared on the beach on its way back to the ocean from a nap, and enjoyed the wilderness and the sound of the ocean. It was a really good get away. lots of time to talk and sleep!

no explanation needed -  this little shark got back to the sea at the end...

My Cécile <3

Great Sunset at Mt.Maunganui, wild west coast of New Zealand

After this first school week it's good to rest a bit, coz well yea, school is hard work, and ive got a history essay about the french revolution due next wednesday so tomorrow my family is going up north to spend the three-day-weekend there on a bach (mökki). Monday is Waitangi Day, sort of a national day. Waitangi treaty was a treaty signed 1840 between the maori chefs and the british people about the colonation of New Zealand.

Hope you guys up there north are not too cold there! -20 something sounds pretty hard now :D

x x Lotta

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Rain and holiday on my birthday - sand and sun at Christmas... What went wrong?

I have experienced a very different December here. December in Finland is special time, at least for me. It's my favourite time of the year. It's christmas time, time for relaxing, family, peace, good food, happiness, winter, snow, birthday, christmas calendars, giving and living.... Christmas here compared to christmas at home is very hollow. It's actually quite stupid and very commercial. No cold. No snow. No advents. Santa comes at night and you can't see him. It's sun, it's warm. The traditional christmas doesn't work here. But - that's why - kiwis have created their own kinda christmas. People have have started to give up on trying to follow english or other that kinda traditions, and made their own ones. English impact is still quite big but this is how kiwis do it:

Sky city's christmas tree had huge decorations

- many christmas cards are not snowy/santa topic, rather season's greetings style kiwiana topics (beach...)
- food is not so rich, energy filled stuff - it is light summer food, good for a hot day
- barbecue is popular christmas food
- christmas is usually celebrated only as a family thing - sometimes i wonder does everybody even know the real roots of christmas?
- many kiwis go on the beach on christmas day and have a huge family picnic there.
- christmas tree is either plastic or a pine tree - they dont have spruces (kuusia) here!
- most of the people celebrate on christmas day and christmas eve is just a normal day without any specialities - however, multicultural country as this is, many people do celebrate on christmas eve!
- in New Zealand all the christmas traditions combine and all together they make it nicely different :)

View on Mairangi Bay on Christmas Day - we had a swim and played cricket.

On christmas eve I went to Muriwai with my lovely brother Jeremy, who is now in lovely land of christmas - in Finland - starting his amazing exchange year. As you can see - almost nobody celebrates then, so we just had a normal, really hot day on this wild surf beach: hung out for couple of hours photographing and talking and eating blueberries and drinking milk (New Zealand milk is quite different btw, I don't like it!). We finished our day with fish and chips on the beach ( this is kiwi as.. ;D ), watching the most amazing sunset - i posted a picture of it in one post. I promised to write a whole post (or was it paragraph) oh no, essay! about Jeremy the brother dearest so I'll do it someday so you'll get some photos of Muriwai too. And Jeremy will be happy. It will be like a lifelinepost of our friendship like the birth and the death but remember I'm not gonna admire you too much then! Miss those times x x

Jeremy's love


On christmas day I had to wake up at 7 am to open Santa sack presents with my host siblings. We had a brunch at my host mum's parents' place with the family. After brunch we went on the beach to play cricket and swim - that was really cool. Later in the afternoon about the same 12 people from the family came over to our place. We had a long session of delivering the presents and opening them one by one. I was really happy to get quite a few lovely presents from people both here and in Finland - it was really nice to be remembered, even far away from home. We played nice board games and talked before the big dinner which was very nice and light and enjoyable. The actual day was over very quickly and I skyped to home to experience some finnish christmas.

Christmas cracker - is broken by pulling from the ends - cracks with a sound, inside usually a joke, small unnecessary gift like a hair clip, and a party hat made from paper

My christmas dinner

My host sister (8) and I under the christmas tree

My b'day on the 15th was really nice. On the 14th i planned to go on the beach with all my friends - that would have been perfect and i shouldnt have had to worry about the place and room etc and could have invited quite a few people. Also the access would have been easier. Anyhow, very magically, the weather forecast promised rain for that day, so I had to use the plan B and invite my friends at my host family's house for a b'day lunch. As having a budget of a student I asked them to bring a plate, which means to bring some food ( not just an empty plate ). I had a really enjoyable day while approx. 20 of my friends were able to come and bring cakes and lovely gifts! I felt really loved. I got quite a few kiwi things, which is good, being able to remember my kiwi b'day forever. I got clothes, DvD, jewellery, chocolate, watch, accesories... Some of the guests disappeared after few hours but few stayed and we went for a walk in Wainoni park in the rain - me wearing my new clothes and accesories - and took some fancy pics.

Ma friends made me these cakes.. amazing eh :)

Birthday speech

Me, Meg and Lize

I couldn't sleep very long on the 15th. Waking up at 8 am I went to the kitchen while my host siblings were greeting me and whispered to each toher 'NOW SHE GOES TO THE KITCHEN!' and found a small gift from my family waiting for me there - i got a rugby world cup shirt. I  made a perfect fruit salad for breakfast and ate it slowly talking at the same time in skype in an empty house, watching rain pour down behind the big glass windows. I had three calls to Finland which was really nice. After a long bath I didn't have anything else to do except to get ready for the evening ( i put some fancy clothes and nice make up and my yellow heels) while answering all the birthday greetings. My counsellor and her husband picked me up in the afternoon and took me to Sky city to see a big christmas tree. It was raining - the whole day. I totally hope it never again RAINS on my b'day. After having our typical coffee, Flat white or Latte, spiced with talks, we finally got to our destination which was a really fine restaurant  - dine by Peter Gordon. It was amazing gourmet food and all the waiters kept greeting me for my b'day! Wow. I went home late and happy and checked mail for more greetings. Such a memorable birthday I say :) It was the first b'day for ages that I've been on holiday on it. Nice eh.

My perfect breakfast

dine by Peter Gordon
New Zealand sauvignon blanc

Happy Birthday surprise :)

Wait for the next post - now I'm going for a walk and then I'll start getting ready for the weekend up in the north in Maunganui! That means... sun & beach ;) Haere ra!

x x Lotta

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Pieces of the fragile land lay in my hands

Hello people. AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I apologize again - It's been over two month since I wrote the last time.. Okay, I've been busy, that's my best excuse, coz, well, I've been lazy too.. And I blame Blogger's slow speed of downloading photos! I hate it! I guess I just gotta start only writing - no photos....  A lot has happend: I was in South Island for the perfect 17 days in November-December. Then I went back to school for a week to hang out and now I've been on holiday since the beginning of December, chillin' and shopping with my homies. one more week of holiday! And it was my birthday too in December! Happy B'day, Lotta. It was a special b'day - not only coz I'll be 17, magical age aye - it's probably going to be my only kiwi birthday. I won't have a birthday in New Zealand ever again. Never again will it hopefully RAIN on my birthday - I prefer snow. Most of my friends came to my house to celebrate and we had such a good time! I felt loved, I wasn't so sad that I couldn't be in Finland celebrating with my friends there...  But of course I miss you guys but I do feel more and more that my life is here now! It's such a strange feeling.
Then it was Christmas. Kiwi Christmas. No snow, no cold - Sun, Sand, Beach, BBQ... On boxing day, 26th Dec, I was off to a paradise island called Great Barrier Island with my next host family. I spent about 3 weeks there with my lovely host brothers (who have now gone to their exchange to Sweden and Germany) without any reception or internet or or except in one part of the island, so it was no worth calling me. Ill tell you more about this holiday later because first I gotta write something about the South Island. I know, i know. I hope I still remember something. So NOW I'll tell you something about the highlight of my exchange year.


WHEN: 18/11/11 - 04/12/11
WHERE: around New Zealand's South Island
HOW: by plane, by bus, by bike, by ferry, by boat, on foot
WHO: 18 Rotary exchange students around the world living on North Island, Auckland and above + two Rotary leaders

Running around & packing things till the last minute
Auckland-Wellington by plane
free time in Wellington: Botanic gardens
Welington cable car
Te Papa (national museum)
WINDY (like wellington always is)
climbed on Mt.Victoria for catching the sunset above the city with a camera ft. Yannik from Germany (my photographer buddy)
I prefer Wellington than Auckland, wish I could spend my exchange year in that cute 'little' city'

Wellington cable car


From Mt.Victoria towards the wharf

Wellington in the night time

Agathe & Catalina <3

Interislander ferry across Cook Strait (between north and south islands) to Picton
kayaking for 4 hrs,
glowworms and shooting stars in the night


4 hrs kayaking
bus to Christchurch
seeing some earthquake marks
spa time with chocolate fishes (we emptied half of the jacuzzi with 10 people)

Buzzy Bee - famous NZ toy

Christchurch sightseeing: Antarctic centre, Canterbury museum
Bus to Timaru - traditional maori evening with dance and singing performances

I took a photo a photo of doing traditional Maori tattoo at Canterbury museum

Traditional Maori food - Hongi - is cooked underground and includes beef, pork, sweet potato (=kumara), potato and carrot, finely steamed. Delicious, I say! And brings my thought to finnish traditional food.

By bus to Dunedin
stopping at Moeraki Boulders (i fell into the water haha was very funny, had to beg for the bus driver to dig my clothes from the bottom of the bus)
University of Otago, climbing up the steepest street in the world- Baldwin street

Visit in Cadbury chocolate factory (free GOOD chocolate)
Shopping - new dress
Museum train for 2 hours on Taieri Gordge Railway to centre of the island
Catalina forgotten at the railway station - turned back to get her


Finland Germany Brazil

First day of biking tour on Otago central rail trail (old railway trail, now used for biking, tramping)
23 km
in the evening teaching useful finnish phrases to Yannik and Romain to go and pickup a girl in Finland ;)

25 km of biking
6 of us did 10 km extra
Horrible wind, hyperventilation because of the wind
Lord of the Rings landscapes
Bus to Wanaka

Really warm day - went for a swim in the lake - freezing
Puzzling world (like heureka in finland)
Met a bus full of other exchange students from district 9940 on their south island trip - had heaps of fun talking to them for couple of hours

Lake Wanaka, +5 C

Feeling good in Wanaka

DAY 10
First day of tramping on Routeburn track approx. 9 kms
Backpacks heavy, weather really warm, uphill
Climb on a small mountain
first at the hut!

Routeburn track landscapes

Water from the pure mountains - pure to drink

DAY 11
Routeburn track part II - 13 kms
Rain, fog, chilly, almost snowy...
1-minute-helicopter ride above avalanche danger (there was snow!)
wet gear wasn't nice but i stayed strong!
first again in the destination
swim in only a few degrees warm lake, like ice swimming

The tramper with the backpack

Mountain lake - that's where we swam

Aotearoa in a wrist

DAY 12
Routeburn finished - 10 kms
Climbing on key summit to get good views
Hot day
Saw a kea parrot
Listened swiss legends and tried to tell some finnish ones
Got a horrible blister
Bus to amazing Milford Sound
On board on Milford Mariner
Saw penguins on a jet boat ride
Played the piano for few hours in the evening while people were singing, felt so good when people were 'impressed' about my playing :')
stayed up till 2:30 am and forgot to wake up to photograph the dawn

DAY 13
Milford Sound and beautiful pictures of this one of the most amazing places in NZ
had the best weather could hope for
Queenstown & shopping, bought new shoes (yellow high heels, still love them!)
Booking for activities for the next day

Perfect day at Milford Sound - one of the most amazing places here

My french girl enjoying famous burger after the action day

Look at us two we're cute - and come from Germany and Austria!

DAY 14
Bungy/Skydiving/jetboating.... I DID BUNGY!
Nevis Bungy, 134 m, highest in New Zealand
bought new shoes (yellow high heels, still love them!)
Skyline & Gondola
Fine, 'last' dining above the city

Nevis Bungy - 134 m - highest in southern hemisphere

My jump wasn't the best but... I did it!

Bungy team Finland Sweden Switzerland

DAY 15
Arrowtown - found Panda licorice in a sweet shop. had to buy and feed people with this lovely finnish treat which tastes even better on the other side of the world
Bus to Mt. Cook - highest mountain of NZ

The first bungy in the world - Kawarau Bridge Bungy

DAY 16
tasman glacier and jet boating on a glacier lake
Sir Edmund Hillary ( first to climb Mt. Everest - he was from NZ! ) arctic centre and few movies
Farewell party

DAY 17
Last day - living in the bus, feeling melancholy, not letting go of these people yet...
Writing at Lake Pukeki, perfect weather
By plane from Christchurch to Auckland
Driving on the harbour bridge and feeling home

On south island I experienced a lot of things I have never experienced before. I fell in love with tramping, gotta do more in Finland though I've always liked it, remembered the enjoyment of kayaking, I got to know new amazing people, some people really grew very close to me and I will never let them slip away from my life. I did unusual things. I learned a lot. I had fun. I laughed, I cried. I talked and talked and talked. I took photos, so many that I could never put them to this blog or this website would be jammed. This programme I wrote is just a draft, something small, because I can't tell every lovely detail - I wrote 39 pages of this trip to my diary..... that maybe tells something?

There was something on the South Island that left my heart there. Something in that wild nature is the thing. and only a few people are living there. I love North Island but if I had to choose, I would choose the windy fields, the wild mountains, the clear lakes and the fascinating atmosphere of South Island. That. is. pure. New. Zealand.

Hope you enjoyed travelling on South Island with me though the places and my explanations must have been all greek for you!
Next post will be about my b'day and christmas. And the next one about Great Barrier Island. Keep on reading! Cheers!

x x Lotta