You stay alive you stupid asshole Because you haven’t been excused… –Tony Hoagland, from “Suicide Song“ Depression is a wildly confusing, exhausting trip to someplace you didn’t actually ever intend to go. Let’s say you set out for Austria, had in mind a little singing on mountaintops like in The Sound of Music, and […]
Since it’s now spring time here in New Zealand, it’s time for a a bit of a vacation. While my host family jetted off to LA, SanFran, and Disney Land, I set off on a bit of a road trip. My goal? See as much of the North Island as I could before it was time to start working again.
Stop #1: New Plymouth.
Ok, well, technically I drove to Hawera, text my host mom and had to ask why I was suppose to stop there again, lol. Turns out it was for the Tawhiti Museum. Little museum that’s set out of the way, but rich in history. A local artists named Nigel Ogle designed and create almost all of the works within the museum. It’s considered one of the best private museums in NZ. If you’re in the area with a couple hours to kill, check it out. It’s not hard to get to.
Then off to New Plymouth for the beginning of my trip. I actually had a place booked and ready here, unlike most places I went to. Ariki Backpackers and it was central to the city. Right next to the Coastal Walkway, Puki Ariki, and Len Lye Centre/Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.
The backpackers was great. Thank you Trish.
The Coastal Walkway was 10km of amazing coastline. Wish I could have stayed there. Because I arrived early evening, it was just perfect with the weather and the sunset.
The next day I visited the Puke Ariki Museum. It’s also a library so don’t get too confused. Enter through the i-Site and go from there. There’s an awesome exhibit on music and sound downstairs, all interactive. A lot of fun for everyone. Then the main floor is dedicated to the local history of Taranaki, Maori wars, and such. The top of floor is pretty awesome with prehistoric and sea creatures, even the volcanoes of the island.
http://www.govettbrewster.com/ I didn’t spend as much time a originally intended in New Plymouth, but I’ll definitely be coming back in the summer for Mount Egmont. Had to get going because I was booked into a place in Waitomo for Monday’s cave excursion.
I drove out of town and up the west coast which has some amazing sites to see along the way. The coast line is beautiful with the black sand.http://www.newzealand.com/us/feature/three-sisters-and-the-elephant/
Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Because why not a duck?
On my way out of Taranaki
OH! Guess what I found when I stopped for gas outside of Waitomo in Piopio?? You’ll have to wait until next time so stay tuned!! Hint: It’s something that I love and why we love NZ so much 😉
Thank you Pchum Ben for coming around only one week after I started working 🙂 That first week really took it out of me. Turns out I have toddlers instead of kindergarteners. My class is Toddler B, half day kids. Then I”m in Toddler A in the afternoon because there are plenty more kids. That might change when the new term comes around on October 1. According to the director, I’ll have 12 kids and two TAs in my classroom. I’m a bit excited because hopefully I can get more supplies and be able to do more with my kids 🙂 Since the kids and TAs are out on this Cambodian holiday, we were asked to come in and rearrange/prepare our rooms for the new term. Whittney’s room took the longest to get together. Pretty sure the last several teachers in her classroom just didn’t care. There was so much junk to go through and throw out. I spent a good half hour going through the puzzles alone. We worked on her room for around 3 hours. My room took maybe 10-15 minutes because it’s small with less in it. Just a bit of rearranging and the shelves and tables, and removing the changing table we never use. All pretty now. Oh and I started to learn a little Khmer already 😀 I’ll update you on that later 🙂
A little bit about Pchum Ben:
Pchum Ben (Khmer: បុណ្យភ្ជុំបិណ្ឌ; “Ancestors’ Day”) is a 15-day Cambodian religious festival, culminating in celebrations on the 15th day of the tenth month in the Khmer calendar, at the end of the Buddhist lent, Vassa.
The day is a time when many Cambodians pay their respects to deceased relatives of up to 7 generations. Monks chant the suttas in Pali language overnight (continuously, without sleeping) in prelude to the gates of hell opening, an event that is presumed to occur once a year, and is linked to the cosmology of King Yama originating in the Pali Canon. During the period of the gates of hell being opened, ghosts of the dead (preta) are presumed to be especially active, and thus food-offerings are made to benefit them, some of these ghosts having the opportunity to end their period of purgation, whereas others are imagined to leave hell temporarily, to then return to endure more suffering; without much explanation, relatives who are not in hell (who are in heaven or otherwise reincarnated) are also generally imagined to benefit from the ceremonies.
In temples adhering to canonical protocol, the offering of food itself is made from the laypeople to the (living) Buddhist monks, thus generating “merit” that indirectly benefits the dead; however, in many temples, this is either accompanied by or superseded by food offerings that are imagined to directly transfer from the living to the dead, such as rice-balls thrown through the air, or rice thrown into an empty field. Anthropologist Satoru Kobayashi observed that these two models of merit-offering to the dead are in competition in rural Cambodia, with some temples preferring the greater canonicity of the former model, and others embracing the popular (if unorthodox) assumption that mortals can “feed” ghosts with physical food.
Pchum Ben is considered unique to Cambodia, however, there are merit-transference ceremonies that can be closely compared to it in Sri Lanka (i.e., benefitting the ghosts of the dead), and, in its broad outlines, it even resembles the Taiwanese Ghost Festival (i.e., especially in its links to the notion of a calendrical opening of the gates of hell, King Yama, and so on).
Or as our teacher that was born in Germany, but raised in Cambodia called it “Cambodian Halloween”. Just a little history/culture lesson to benefit my readers 🙂
A review of the first day after my initial sign up on Miss Travel. Like most dating websites, you have to submit a photo for approval, which mine was of course. No pictures with minors allowed. Then you must fill a section describing what you look like, your personality, and what you’re looking for. What’s different about this site is that it requires you to complete a section choosing locations that you’d most like to visit and another short essay, this one about why you like to travel.
Within 24 hours of signing up, I received:
– 21 views from men ranging ages 27 to 61, heights of 5’4” to 6’1”, and locations of Europe/UK, Asia, and even the US.
– 5 Favorites ages 33 to 49, heights 5’5” to 6’1”, and locations from Europe/UK and Asia.
– 4 winks from men who had viewed my profile.
– 2 messages:
1 from a 46yo, 5’11” gentleman from Bath, England proposing communication through emailing before moving on to skyping, and then maybe him coming to Prague to visit me.
1 from an abrupt guy from the US who will be in NYC in January and would like me to meet him.
Now, to get up with the ‘dating’ part of the website, I did respond to a few winks with winks of my own. I also responded to the English gentleman who sent the message, I told him that I would like to hear more about him. His first communication wants to determine if we are compatible. So far so good with this website. Interesting people. A good deal of the men I have found are Middle Eastern or Indian, though not my type, I’m sure many other women out there would have no problem. I am not discounting them for the sake of my experiment. I have received several reviews from men of all races, sizes, and physical features. All’s fair in this.