Friday, 30 December 2005

Barcelona French Fling

I never dreamed I'd actually get into a fling...much less with a French guy. Those 4 French guys staying in the same room? Well went out with them last night for a drink at a bar and though they didn't speak much English, we did actually manage to communicate. Had lotsa attention coz I was the only girl since Bovy decided she wasn't feeling well enough to go.

I must say that French guys are really something. Definitely way better than Italians. For one thing, they aren't cheap. They bought my drink. Then when we were walking back, all of them were finding some opportunity to hold my hand or put an arm around my waist. It was definitely very flattering for my female ego. Luckily for me, I only really like one of so at least I didn't have to make a choice as to which one I'd go for!! Hahaha

French guys are definitely great kissers...and wonderful for a fling coz of the language barrier. It's a pity I'm leaving today although he did try very hard to get me to extend my stay in Barcelona. I must say that I was sorely tempted, if I hadn't already paid €70 for my bus trip back to Paris and booked my accomodation and bought disneyland tix. Ah well, I suppose at least I'll have some nice memories! 8p Now just where has the conservative me gone?

Wednesday, 28 December 2005


Being sick on a holiday sux. Here I am in Barcelona and I've just wasted the entire day staying in the hostel coz I was sick. I threw up when there was nothing to chuck (which is the worst kinda feeling) and I've still got a headache and I keep getting chills. I'd planned a full itinery for today too, but now I'm gonna have to revamp the entire itinery to make up for lost time.

On the upside, we met some cute French guys who are staying in the same room. They're design students from southern France. The downside is that I'm although they invited us to join them to go out clubbing, I don't feel up to going. Argh! They don't speak much English though, but one of them is really hot... Sigh. They're gonna be around tomorrow though so maybe we can go out with them then.

I might as well have not taken a course in French for all the French I can speak. Everything I wanna say comes out in Italian. On the upside, I can actually understand some Spanish since it's so similar to Italian. Italian is still stuck on me though when I find myself saying 'Sì' instead of 'oui' and 'grazie' instead of 'gracias' and going 'ciao' pretty much all the time. The whole language switching thing as you cross borders really mucks up your brain...

Monday, 26 December 2005


Merry Chirstmas to everyone! Spent Christmas eve at the Eiffel Tower and we walked for 16 hours that day. The Eiffel Tower was real crowded. It seemed everyone wanted to climb the Eiffel Tower that day! It's definitely worth going up though. From the top they tell you in which direction different countries in the world are and how far it's from Paris. Wellington is almost 19 000km away...definitely one of the furthest. The view of Paris at night from the top of the tower is fantastic...a very romantic spot.

I attended the midnight mass at Notre Dame...and yep all of Paris wanted to attend too. It was so crowded and they had to get police control. It was in french though, but the gospel was in English. The choir was it would be for such a grand affair.

We met some of the other backpackers in the same hostel yesterday. They're from Canada...asian Canadians who speak better French and understand more French than Mandarin. We spent the day with them, went to see the Moulin Rouge, which was really disappointing compared to what it looked like in the movie. The one in the movie is more impressive! I'd have liked to watch one of the cabaret shows, but the cheapest tickets for the shows cost more than €80! One would think that with those kinda prices, they could have renovated the exterior...make it more impressive. As it is, it was kinda small.

We ended the night at this fantastic french restaurant with the Canadians which wasn't too expensive I guess. Then went to Place de la Concorde for a ride on the ferris wheel. Bovy was squealing the entire time...she doesn't like moving heights much. She squealed going up the Eiffel Tower as well. One of the guys mentioned he saw a guy propose to his girlfriend at the top of the Eiffel Tower yesterday. Pretty romantic...and of course she said yes. He said he didn't think the tower was romantic until he witness that and now he would like his future wife to propose to him at the top of the tower too! I think a proposal at the top of the tower is kinda romantic I guess, but not too original.

We're leaving for Barcelona tomorrow, to begin phase 2. Time is really flying! It was kinda sad having to say goodbye to the new friends, but we're probably gonna see them in Germany in Cologne coz they're on exchange there. One of them, we're gonna see him again when we get back to Paris coz we're going to Versailles together. Should be interesting, together with the countdown in Disneyland Paris! My sister is gonna be so jealous!

Friday, 23 December 2005


It's phase 1 of the Big Europe Trip. I saw Wouter off at the bus station the morning I left for Paris...and was trying desperately not to cry (without much success). I think the people at the bus station must have thought I was nose, running get the picture. Saying goodbye is always the hardest for the people staying behind.

Anyway, as I was saying, the Big Europe Trip has begun. I can't quite believe I'm in Paris...seeing the Eiffel Tower, and going to the Louvre. It's pretty surreal. the hostel I'm at is kinda awful...they don't have an elevator and we had to carry all our luggage up 3 flights of stairs!! It smelled bad and there wasn't much lighting in the rooms either. Staff isn't very friendly and they lock you out from 10 to 3pm. For those who wish to stay in Paris, my advice is don't stay at Auberge Internationale Jeune (I think that's the name, or something pretty similar). Despite the lousy accomodation, Paris is fantastic. You can really tell the difference between buildings in France and Italy...even though they're almost as old as each other.

Bovy and I paid a visit to the Louvre today...mainly to see the Mona Lisa. It's not very impressive though. was kinda like ok this is the Mona Lisa and that's it. Nothing very 'wow'. There were some really nice paintings though, especially Galerie de vues de la Rome moderne and Galerie de vues de la Rome antique. They were my 2 favourite paintings in the Louvre. The medival section of the Louvre is kinda creepy, being underground and it was especially creepy close to closing time when no one was about. Think dark and chilly and bare. You'd expect to see something floating towards you any minute. I'd hate to get lost down there! The Louvre building itself is really impressive being so long. We never got to see everything and after awhile you get bored...

Gonna scale the Eiffel Tower tomorrow. I can't believe it's almost Christmas!

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

End of Exchange

Another chapter of my life has ended, with exams being over and everyone leaving. Funny how fast time goes. I really hate to leave and to say goodbye, knowing that chances of seeing certain friends you've made again are pretty slim.

Despite all it's shortcomings, I'm gonna miss's nightlife, the great (if non punctual) transport system, aperitivos...and yes, pizza and pasta. There's no pizza anywhere like in Italy. Or mozzarella. Think brick oven, traditionally baked pizzas.

Definitely, what I'll miss most are the people...even returning to Italy in future won't be the same coz the people make the difference. Actually I still can't quite believe I've been in Italy. I think maybe it'll really hit only after I'm gone.

Naturally the people I'll miss most will be Bovy and Wouter. I'm gonna be travelling with Bovy all around Europe over the next month, but we'll only see Wouter some time in January when we go over to the Netherlands. I'm gonna miss seeing him everyday... As Alex, my roommate would say 'Charlie's Angels' is no more. We're going to Simon's tomorrow to hang out and stay up the whole night...and cry over saying goodbyes. Did I mention how I hate saying goodbye?

Friday, 2 December 2005

Turning 20

Gosh time really flies…can’t believe my birthday just came and went like that! Not that I didn’t have a good time of course, I had really good friends to celebrate with and it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. It started off the night before, watching a movie with Wouter and Bovy until midnight when they surprised me by bringing in lighted candles and singing happy birthday. It was so sweet…but then I wouldn’t call them my best friends for nothing would I?

I’d actually intended to just pass my birthday quietly…probably just with Wouter and Bovy, but my room mate objected to that…she’s definitely more of a party girl than I am…so I ended up inviting about 20 people to dinner at this Chinese restaurant where some friends had been too before and said it was great. And so it was…good food, good friends, great birthday. 8) They even ordered a cake thing and asked for a candle to be put in as a substitute birthday cake. They tried to get me drunk though, ordering a glass of grappa which is about 70% alcohol and telling me I had to drink it. They didn’t know it was so strong….and neither did I but we figured since it was served in such a huge portion, it couldn’t have been too bad. I mean, pure vodka is served in shots and this drink came in a portion similar to a full wine glass…which lead me to make the huge mistake of taking a gulp from the glass, because if it was gonna taste bad might as well take it like a shot right? I nearly died….or came close to anyway. It totally burned like drinking liquid fire…and it burned for awhile. Of course I didn’t finish the drink (if I did I’d probably be in hospital right now) and I passed the drink around for them to try the poison they just tried to feed me lol.

Speaking of alcohol, I received a bottle of liquor from Will and a bottle of wine from Ben and Mike (figures it’ll be the guys who give alcohol 8p). How it’s all gonna be consumed by the time I leave beats me. Fiona and co got me this really nice scarf, which would certainly come in useful for when I head to Sweden and Finland! Pietro gave me roses. Wouter and Bovy got me something, but it’s not here yet or not ready yet…and I’m dying of curiosity juz wondering what it is.

Originally I’d intended to go out clubbing after dinner so I gave Will the roses and wine (since he lives 2 doors down from me) to take back. He was being accommodating since it was my birthday, although he looked funny carrying 4 roses and a bottle of wine walking down the street. When I cancelled plans to go clubbing and decided to head home instead, he and Julie disappeared…alone, so I couldn’t relieve him from the task of carrying wine and roses. Must have been a sight though, he had wine, roses and a girl…now all that was missing was the guitar…

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Work & Projects

Finals are around the corner, got projects to complete, really need to study, but somehow can't bring myself to do it. I can't seem to get outta holiday mode!!! The thing is, neither can most of the other exchange students and while we're all ordinarily not like this at home, there's something about going on exchange that makes you not wanna study.

It's been more than 2 months now...of not really studying. I wonder what's gonna happen when I return home to reality. In the meantime, I'm still not studying (but trying hard...well kinda) and when I'm not trying, I'm busy going out or planning my travels. Can't wait till school is over so I start my big 1.5 month Europe tour! Gonna spend Christmas in Paris, then head to Spain and back to France for New Year's then to London and after that Holland, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Ireland before meeting up with Addie in Warwick and going to either Denmark or Norway. I so love how easy it is to travel within Europe!!

Sunday, 20 November 2005

Prague Photos

And here are some of the photos I took in Prague. Era bellisima!

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International travel mates: Wouter (Holland), Me (NZ), Nadia (Singapore), Julie (Canada)

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Prague Castle

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In the Prague Castle courtyard: Nadia, Me, Wouter

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Old Town Square during the day

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Almost magical: Old Town Square at night

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Tyn Church - much like a fairy tale castle aye?

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On Charles Bridge at night

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View from Chrales Bridge

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View of the city

Thursday, 10 November 2005

Mid-Semester Break I: Prague

Prague has gotta be one of the most beautiful cities in the world! I returned to Milan Tuesday night from my way-too-short trip to Prague (Czech Republic), Vienna (Austria) and Bratislava (Slovakia). We (Julie, Nadia, Wouter and me) spent 2 days in Prague, 1 day in Vienna and about ½ a day in Bratislava…that is not counting the time we spent traveling from place to place.

We left Milan 3 November to catch the flight to Bratislava in the evening coz Ryanair doesn’t fly to Prague and landed in Bratislava at around 6.30 in the evening, only to find that we had missed the bus to Prague. That’s one of the problems with flying with a low cost airline…you get flights at inconvenient times and to small places, but hey it’s way cheaper (€40 for a return trip). Anyway, this left us with no option than to catch a train to Prague which was about 4 ½ hours away (5 hours by bus). Getting to the train station from the airport was another story altogether….we ended up taking a cab and got entirely ripped off. My advice to those who wish to travel to Bratislava: Don’t take a cab!! One would expect it not to be so expensive since the Slovakia isn’t exactly a very developed country, but the cab drivers really rip tourists off!

We had to switch trains to get to Prague and it was kinda scary coz they didn’t speak English (only Czech) and for quite a couple of stops we didn’t see the name of the station on the stations so we were quite afraid we would miss our stop. The other worry was that we’d miss our connecting train as our train was late and there were some problems along the way. Julie was pretty worried and kept telling us not to worry; Wouter’s Dutch so he was cool throughout (I never seen him worry before…); Nadia and I were kinda in-between. But as Wouter says, it all works out in the end and we did stop at the right place (nearly got off wrongly though!) and we did make our connection.

Arriving in Prague at midnight, we then faced the problem of getting to town, or rather to our hostel. The train station was kinda dodgy with bums lying around and scary-looking people. I can’t figure out why Wouter said he felt safe there…honestly “safe” didn’t come to mind when Nadia, Julie and I looked at the train station. We ended up taking a cab and getting ripped off again. The Czech Republic is also not a good place to take a cab!!

Day 1 in Prague was spent at the Prague Castle, with its gothic cathedral and numerous museums. The cathedral was definitely impressive…I’d say it was on par with the Duomo here in Milan, but scarier looking…the gargoyles looked quite evil… It was cold in Prague though, which made the grog (hot spiced wine) we had in the afternoon much welcome. Food isn’t too expensive in Prague, although having to convert from euro to Czech crowns to evaluate prices was rather tiring (1 euro = 30 Czech crowns).

Night time found us wandering about Staré Mesto (Old Town), with its cobbled streets and alleys and the stores lining them. The buildings looked gorgeous lit up at night and the view from Charles Bridge was totally breathtaking, with jazz buskers playing at certain points on the bridge. We had dinner at one of the outdoor restaurants which had decent prices and wonderful food. I had pork medallions in port wine sauce with potato purée which was simply divine. Ended the night in a jazz bar recommended by the Lonely Planet but the book gave the totally wrong address…thankfully we found the right place by accident. The band playing that night was good and the saxophonist was female (a nice change from the usual male players!), the bar was warm and the drinks were good….a lethal combination to put you to sleep coz you’re so relaxed. When we got back to the hostel we met these 2 Belgian chicks who were staying in the same room. They assumed we didn't speak French though and were talking about Wouter and whether he was 'dangerous'...probably coz he was the only guy in the room. They kept glancing at him throughout talking to us...and about us. We didn't tell them that Julie, being Canadian, studied French as a 2nd language coz it was compulsory in her school and Wouter, being Dutch, also had to study French among several other languages in school. For me, my French has gotten really rusty so I only managed to pick up certain things. It was funny though.

Day 2 was spent wandering about town and visiting the Jewish part of the city as well as the St Nick's Cathedral and the Child of Prague Church which were really impressive. We also visited the Charles Bridge in the day...and it was awfully cold and rainy. Still, the view from the bridge was great! At night we found ourselves having dinner at the same place since the food was so good there and the prices were decent. Then we headed back to the hostel which had an underground bar for drinks...and an early night since we had to get up at 6.30 the next morning to catch the bus to Vienna.

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Lost Wallet

Ok I've pretty much come to terms with the fact that I'm never gonna actually catch up with my travelling blogs so I've given up writing them...well for most places except when I feel like it. I'll try and post photos, but it's rather annoying to upload them coz I've to resize them first.

Anyway, this is really outdated but on the way to Portofino I lost my wallet on the train and I only realised it was gone when I wanted to pay for ferry tickets and couldn't find my wallet. Chances of me ever getting it back are negative so although I asked the guy at the station to call the staff in the train to see if they could find my wallet, I pretty much expected that they wouldn't find it. I mean it was a Versace wallet and it had quite a sum of cash inside's Italy. Probably if it was another European country, my chances of getting it back are higher but oh well... Thankfully my credit card wasn't in the wallet though as I forgot to put it back into my wallet and had shoved it into my coat pocket in the morning so I guess it wasn't so bad. The worst thing about losing my wallet is losing all the cards I had in it. Sigh...they're a real pain to replace and my pretty Otago student ID is lost forever and can't be replaced coz I get a new card next year and it'll be different. 8( I lost my NZ driver's license too which is also kinda a pain but I can only get that replaced when I return to NZ next year. My insurance company is pretty good though (did I mention I love insurance...especially travel insurance?) so they're compensating me for my wallet and for the cash I lost and are playing for my card replacements.

Filing for the insurance claim was a bit of a hassle though coz I had to submit a police report. In any other country I suppose it wouldn't be so bad, but this is Italy. Since it's Italy, filing a police report was naturally a horrendous experience. Naturally they don't speak any English at all (which I expected and so I asked a friend to come along as a translator) and naturally their computer system had to crash for an hour. Naturally they also gave priority to Italians rather than foreigners so even though this Italian lady came after me she got to go first. Now I'm just waiting to hear from my insurance company as to how much they'd be willing to compensate me coz I couldn't find the price of my wallet online, although I found a similar looking Prada wallet and gave them the link to maybe they'll get me that wallet (it was really nice). 8P

Friday, 28 October 2005

Italian Exams

I just finished my mid term exam (had only 1 for Innovation and Technology Management) and am now blessedly free and will soon be heading to Prague, Vienna and Bratislava for the rest of the break. I've come to understand why Italian students can still afford to party hard when exams are just around the corner...they cheat. I don't mean sneaky cheat, but rather openly take their friend's paper and copy it or discuss the answers or copy from a cheat sheet. They do it right in front of the examiners too! The examiners know that they cheat but they don't do anything about it. In one exam (unfortunately not the one I took), the professor told the class “Just don't cheat too much”!! Or if the professors do anything it would just be to shush the class from time to time. For the “stricter” ones, they'd give students who were cheating too obviously a verbal warning once and if they caught them again, they merely take 1 or 2 points off their grade. Like Hello? This is a university exam counting towards your final grade right? What's 1 or 2 points out of 30 if you can get 30 by cheating?!! Us exchange students are completely astounded by this Italian way of doing things. I mean all of us have discussed the issue several times and the consensus is that never would you find a university where cheating in exams is so widely accepted except in Italy!! It's insane!! Anyhow, people didn’t cheat too much in my exam...coz my professor is Swiss, rather than Italian, so it'll probably be more fair considering that they moderate results according to a Normal curve.

Saturday, 15 October 2005

Note on travelling blogs

For those who have noticed, my travelling blogs tend to be somewhat backdated...unfortunately I've been travelling more frequently than I blog. Lol In my backlog of travel blogs there's still Pisa, Siena & Bologna and later Portofino coz I'm leaving for Portofino tomorrow. I wonder if I'll ever catch up with the travelling...

Friday, 14 October 2005

Intellectual Stimulation

My date was a really nice guy and very different from other Italians…intelligent and philosophical too. While I don’t think anything of romantic nature is gonna happen between us, I think he’d make a great friend. We talked a lot the whole time about different cultures and about food, music, life etc. It turned out to be great despite my initial apprehension, unlike the last Italian guy I went out with (who seemed nice at first but turned out to be real sticky). Perhaps this guy turned out to be decent coz I met him when I was completely sober…lol…the sticky guys I’ve met were after I had a buzz in my head. Or maybe it’s coz he’s older (well 1 year older than the last guy who was 25) and so more mature?

Anyway, it was an intellectually stimulating conversation and we’re gonna meet up again sometime next week or the week after. He suggested cooking for me coz he likes cooking…so well, see how it goes. Got back from the date and I ended up having another intellectually stimulating conversation….very intellectually stimulating (involving poetry and history and politics) with the night-shift security guard for about 2 hours. Honestly, I really don’t get why he’s just working as a security guard because he’s very widely-read and very intelligent. He’s my favourite security guard and we have good conversations every time, although since he doesn’t speak English very well, our conversation is a mix of English and Italian and his dictionary. Still, I’ve learnt much from him and I was really flattered when he said he learnt much from me too…coz he’s really way more knowledgeable than I am (also partly due to the fact that he’s over 50) 8)

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

Settling Down…Am I?

I think I’m probably at the end of my wild phase. I don’t go out much at night anymore (or rather I don’t go out every single night) and I’m drinking less…plus I’m not making out with random guys. Lol Not since the last one I made out with had smoked something disgusting and I nearly puked when he kissed me…had to brush my teeth twice afterwards!! (Yes and he was Italian) Going out at night on weeknights for me is now restricted to aperitivo with a couple of good friends where you go to a nice bar sit down, have a yummy cocktail and help yourself to the free buffet. There’s a really nice one down the Naviglio Grande with a wonderful buffet and their cocktails aren’t so bad either, although all Italian cocktails are pretty strong.

As I said, I’m being a good girl…or maybe I’m looking for more intellectual company rather than some dodgy guy who likely just wants to get laid. I still meet lotsa guys whenever I go out with friends to the club. They just come up to you and start talking to you…but I’ve not met many who are “decent”. Which is pretty reasonable coz how often do you meet a “decent” guy in a club? Last Friday I went with a friend to this club that was located in a rather isolated area (we got lost and walked around for hours trying to find it and we didn’t have a map) and then she hooked up with some Dutch guys and they were all speaking Dutch so I was pretty much on my own…which isn’t so bad really coz there are guys who constantly approach you to talk. So I ended up meeting this whole bunch of Spanish guys on exchange from Barcelona but they were studying at another university in Milano. It was fun talking to them though there was only one guy out of the group who struck me as more of the decent type. Unfortunately, they had to leave early so I didn’t get to talk to him much.

I did meet a decent guy though later when I was sitting in the foyer of the club waiting for my friend who went to the bathroom. Basically this guy comes up to me and says, “You’re too beautiful to be sitting alone.” Nice pick-up line but flattery doesn’t work on me…much lol. Turns out the guy is Italian, but he spoke good English coz he worked in the US for awhile and he’s an engineer but he’s currently doing an MBA. We actually had a good conversation….something you don’t usually get with an Italian guy you meet at a club. He was sober too. What gave him many points in my book was that unlike other Italian guys, he wasn’t sticky. He gave me his number but said he wouldn’t get mine so the choice as to whether we’d meet up again was left to me. Definitely different from other Italian guys and I must admit, I liked it. So I contacted him a few days later (although after the last Italian guy I kinda told myself I’d keep away from Italians) and we’re meeting up tomorrow…although occasionally I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing, but I’m gonna see how it goes tomorrow and reserve further judgement. Lol

Saturday, 24 September 2005

Travelling: Venezia

I’ve always wanted to go to Venezia and I can’t quite believe that I finally have been!!! I went the weekend of 16 September with several of my classmates and friends (12 of us in all). It was a really last minute thing. I mean there had been some talk about maybe heading to Venezia during the weekend, but we hadn’t actually made any final decisions till about 1.30am on Thursday (or should I say Friday), after we had finished watching a French/Spanish movie at one of my classmates’ apartment…which pretty much left us only a couple of hours to do whatever was needed (go home, pack, sleep) before catching the 7am train. All of us probably got about 2 to 3 hours of sleep that night, but there was the long train ride where most of us eventually fell asleep on after the initial chatter. Lol

It seemed everyone was going to Venezia that weekend though coz we met heaps of other exchange students on the same train and when we arrived in Venezia. The first thing you see coming out of the train station is the Grand Canal with the many buildings on the other side and the huge government building.
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Since we couldn’t check into the hostel till 2pm, we decided to hop onto the vaporetto for which we bought a 24hr pass. The vaporetto is basically the equivalent of the public bus coz in Venezia there are no buses and no cars….everyone travels by boat or by walking coz the land area isn’t very large and the streets are more like alleys – way too narrow for a bus or car to pass through. Anyway, the vaporetto took us down the Grand Canal so it was kinda like a sight-seeing trip down, with lotsa stops along the way.
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One thing we noticed on the trip down was that there were hotels and buildings with red penguin statues on the balconies…they were pretty common, but to date we’ve not found out why there are the red penguins there coz it wasn’t written in the guide books and the Italians we asked didn’t have a clue.

We kinda wandered around mostly waiting to check into the hostel and had lunch at some restaurant in the middle of a maze of alleyways. You can quite easily get lost in Venezia coz it’s a maze, plus there are lotsa dead ends at the end of alleys…I wouldn’t like to be running from someone there, you’d just turn left and right and get lost or find yourself at a dead end.
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After checking into the hostel, we went out and wandered around some more, mostly taking it easy. Probably the one place that really stood out was Piazza San Marco…which should probably have been named Pigeon Square instead. There were hundreds and hundreds of pigeons all over the place. You just wanna stomp on them really….think pigeon sea. They wander so close and there are so many of them that if you kicked out, you should probably be able to kick one of those annoying things. As you can see, I bear no love for pigeons…but they’re unhygienic, fat, greedy and ugly. If you hold out a piece of white paper, you’ll find a whole swarm of them flocking to you, flying in your face and perching all over you (and transferring billions of germs to you), thinking that it’s food coz tourists can purchase a paper cone of food (at an exorbitant price of course!) to feed the pigeons (which honestly that should be banned). Now if anyone is into hunting…

Actually Piazza San Marco is where the Basilica is and is just beside the Doge's Palace and it’s really beautiful at night…also partly due to the fact that it’s pigeon free then. The cafes around the perimeter of the piazza would have tables and chairs outdoors and there would be mini stages set up with quintets or quartets playing lively tunes or classical music. It’s definitely a place for lovers then…or a bunch of good friends just chilling 8).
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Dinner was at this nice restaurant with typically huge Italian portions and I enlisted Michael’s help in finishing off my pizza. Between us all we had 4l of wine as well…except that the 2 American chicks and this French/German one got drunk and got kinda embarrassing as we walked around after dinner.

Piazza San Marco is pretty in the early morning as well…coz there are no tourists and NO PIGEONS!! Anyway we spent some time exploring the Doge's palace and visited the Basilica. Getting into the Basilica took quite awhile though coz not only was there a queue to get in, but we also had to queue to move from the entrance of the palace to the Basilica as there were heaps of tourists and it was high tide so you could only walk on the raised platforms they put up. During high tide, the piazza is flooded and they set up raised pathways for walking. Unfortunately, the pathways are narrow and there are few of them…much fewer than the number of tourists, so it ended up being more like a queue just walking along the pathway!!
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Wednesday, 21 September 2005


Actual classes have begun this week and I would still be feeling like I am on holiday (which I kinda am…) if not for the fact that classes are outrageously long!! I’ve never had classes that went straight for 3 hours. I’m taking a Business Strategy class which goes from 2.30 to 5.45pm every Monday. It’s crazy…you tend to find yourself losing concentration after the first hour. The thing is, the lecturer’s are Italian and speak with a strong Italian accent so you’ve actually gotta concentrate hard to figure out what they are saying. Plus their handwriting is completely illegible… I supposed the lecturer for Business Strategy isn’t so bad coz he doesn’t have too strong an Italian accent, plus it’s a pretty interesting class and he’s not boring. He keeps telling us that the real title for the class is “How to Make Money…Legally”.

I’ve gotta say that the worst lecturer I have is the one for International Marketing. His Italian accent is so strong that half the time I wonder if I’m sitting in an Italian class instead. His handwriting is illegible and he mumbles from time to time to make himself even more incomprehensible. Perhaps he’s aiming to bore everyone into dropping the class, especially since there are so many of us taking that class and the lecture theatre assigned is too small to hold everyone.

Speaking of small lecture theatres, the one assigned to us for Management of Fashion Companies is ridiculously tiny considering that they knew how popular the class would be!! Plus the theatre isn’t even the bench type like the others, thereby disallowing fitting of more people on the seats. Rather, it has individual seats which are extremely uncomfortable for sitting in one place for half an hour never mind the fact that the lecture is 3 hours long…

Contrary to my expectations, my class in Technology and Innovation Management has been the best so far. I thought it would be really boring coz it wasn’t a paper I’d have taken by choice, but I didn’t have a choice and it’s the last paper I can get credit for back in Otago so I had to take it even though it totally clashes with my International Marketing class on Wednesdays (I’ll have to attend classes alternate weeks…). Anyway, the lecturer is hilarious and he’s really young…or at least he looks it…he looks like he’s under 25, but he’s a professor. He’s really loud and his English isn’t too bad. He has a funny way of speaking though…rather than dropping his voice inflection at the end of a sentence as people normally do, he maintains it so it sounds really weird as if the sentence is uncompleted but not quite.

As I’ve mentioned he’s hilarious. In today’s lecture, he constantly went on and on about how big companies can’t grow and survive and he kept telling us, “What I’m saying here, ragazzi, is that to survive you must grow! And you must grow in double digits otherwise you’ll die and you won’t have enough pension to pay for a room in a 5 star hotel.” He also loves asking “Giusto?” after making a point and then he’ll answer himself half a second later, exclaiming, “Giustissimo!” At one point in the lecturer, he leaned into one of the guys sitting in front and said, “In 15 years, ragazzi, you should be at the peak of your career otherwise you’ll never survive. Giusto? Giustissimo!” (exclaiming the ‘giustissimo’ of course). The look on the poor guy’s face was priceless…he was pretty much staring at the lecturer as if the lecturer had just sprouted 2 heads. I’m definitely looking forward to the lecture tomorrow.

Note: For the curious, “giusto” means ‘right’ and “giustissimo” implies that something is “more right than right” i.e. extremely right…whoever said Italians were sane?

Travelling: Varenna

One of the places many Italians recommended that we should check out was Lake Como. Lake Como is huge, with many small towns located all around it. Each town is different, with it’s own coat of arms and there was some rivalry in the past between the rulers of the towns to see who could build a better palace etc so there’s definitely plenty to see in terms of palaces and villas in each town. Alex and I took another day trip on our 2nd weekend to Varenna which was reachable by train from Milano (some towns can only be reached by taking the ferry from Varenna or Como).

Since Lago Como is slightly North of Milano, it’s closer to the Swiss border so the Swiss Alps can be seen across the lake.
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There are 2 Villas in Varenna with very famous gardens (everything seems to be famous to the Italians) – Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero. They really have lovely gardens, especially in Villa Monastero, plus because it was still summer, the flowers were still in bloom so there was plenty of colour around!

Image hosted by Photobucket.comVilla Cipressi at the side
Image hosted by Photobucket.comVilla Cipressi grounds
Image hosted by Photobucket.comVilla Monastero
Image hosted by Photobucket.comVilla Monastero gardens

Aside from the villas, whose grounds took hours walking through because we were taking photos and admiring the plants, Varenna also has really old buildings…which of course has gotta be a church coz most of the old buildings in Italia are churches. The Chiesa San Giorgio is 13th Century architecture….impressive stone building with an even older but more impressive interior because of the statues and paintings and carvings.
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It was a pity we didn’t have time to travel to some of the other towns, but I suppose I could go another time. There was this store, Il Pozzo, in Varenna which sold absolutely gorgeous jewelry, which was kinda expensive as well. The earrings were really beautiful…and despite not wanting to spend anything, I ended up buying a pair coz the storeowner gave us a discount when he learnt we were students and well, I really really liked those earrings (and a couple of other pairs as well, but I couldn’t afford that many). Most of the jewelry is handcrafted in Firenze (Florence) though, so I might be able to get cheaper stuff when I go there. I have to make a trip to Firenze for shoes coz I broke both my pairs of heels!! Apparently Firenze has a good selection at reasonable prices and I do need them…lol

Travelling: Stresa

It's great being in a big place that’s so connected. You’ll never run outta places to see. I have no idea how I’m gonna be able to go everywhere in the short time I’m here! I doubt I’d be able to cover all of Italia, never mind the rest of Europa. Anyway I’ve been meaning to blog about my trip to Stresa some 3 weeks ago, but I never really got round to doing it…

I went to Stresa with my roomie, Alexandra (Alex) during my 1st weekend in Italia. Classes hadn’t begun yet and we didn’t know what to do over the weekend, so she picked up her guidebook and flipped through it before suggesting we go to Stresa which is 90km out of Milano, which made it a great day trip.

The train system is great. You can basically get almost anywhere in Italia (and to other countries) by it. It wasn’t too difficult for us to buy tickets at the railway station to Stresa which was about 1 ¼ hours train ride. The seats are pretty ok in the trains and the price was decent, being €4.75…not much to see on the way there but that gave us the opportunity to take a nap. Lol

Stresa is a small beach town, where there are many hotels…the really expensive ones. It’s also famous for the Grand Hotel where Ernest Hemingway once stayed at. They now let out the very same room he stayed in for a princely sum. As can be seen from the photo below, it is a really grand place and people there were dressed in formal wear in the middle of the afternoon…formal wear meaning guys in suits and ladies in designer gowns, much like what one would wear to a ball. It wasn’t just the Grand Hotel though. Guests at the other hotels were also similarly dressed, and no there was no function on.
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To me Stresa was built for tourists, but different…the streets were these paved paths with white street lamps. It seemed like something out of a storybook…and so very English.
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Most ordinary tourist who visit Stresa take the ferry out to the islands on Lake Maggiore – Isola Bella, Isola Pescatore (Superiore) and Isola Madre. Being ordinary tourists, Ale and I did the same although we just visited 2 of the islands, Isola Bella and Isola Pescatore.
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Out of the 3, Isola Pescatore was the only residential island and specialized mainly in fishing (why does that not surprise me?). There wasn’t really much to see there, but they had lotsa seafood restaurants and good beaches to suntan or have a picnic, as many people did. Isola Bella on the other hand is smaller and the Borromeo Palace is located there. The palace is huge with beautiful grounds, built by Count Borromeo for his wife Isobella.
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Stresa was a nice place (wonderful according to Alex who comes from New York where you don’t see nature), with definitely much fresher air than in Milano! I did think it was too commercialized though, which spoiled it somewhat, but it made for a good day trip.

Wednesday, 14 September 2005

Sono a Milano: Partying

Probably one of the great things about being on exchange is the number of parties the student network here organises for us. We had 3 parties in a single week. 1 on Friday when we first went to uni, which was kinda like a get to know everyone welcome party; 1 on Tuesday at this really great club, Casablanca, which was a get to know everyone better still and dance and another 1 on Thursday, which they called a "What's your name again" party.

I've gotta say that Tuesday's party was the best coz the club was big with 2 dance floors and 3 bars and it had good music. Practically everyone was there so I met heaps of people, plus there were italians who weren't from the uni as well (coz the club is still opened to the public but exchange students get in free with a student card) and I met quite a couple of Italian guys...come to think of it, all the italians I know are male... I guess that's coz Italian guys are pretty bold. They pretty much come up to you and pick you they clearly hit on you. They know how to do it pretty well too lol and they're definitely charming in their own way. Like quite a couple of the Italian guys I met, rather than shaking your hand after introductions, they kiss it, look right into your eyes and tell you you're beautiful, but they pretty much tell every chick the same thing so while it's
romantic, I don't suppose it's something that a girl can take too seriously. As I've
mentioned before, italian guys are bold. I was looking for my friend in the club and I met this italian guy and had a short conversation with him in my limited italian (almost all the italian guys I've met only speak italian). Then I told him I had to go coz I was looking for my friend...and I've also mentioned before that italian guys are rather persistent and sticky so naturally he tried to get me to stay but I told him I really needed to leave, so he was like aww and then he kinda grabbed me round the waist and kissed me full on the lips...something I wasn't quite expecting...

I gather that I'm getting influenced by my very typically American room mate and the
alcohol...which would probably explain why Tuesday night I wound up making out with this Moroccan guy on the dance floor. We were just dancing and then somehow it happened... The thing was that he lives in my residence which was bad because I definitely see him around. Even worse was that I couldn't remember his name. I mean I met the guy on Friday and I knew he lived in my residence, just couldn't recall his name and I had to ask my roomie the next day coz he's in her italian class. It was one of the things whereby you come back and lie down and go "What the hell did I just do?" He wasn't too bad a kisser though, although the best kisser I've come across so far was this aussie/kiwi guy I made out with in a club a couple of months back (whose name and face I can't recall...). Anyway I don't suppose the Morrocan guy remembers making out with me...or at least he doesn't seem to, which is good coz it's not awkward when we see each other (in fact he went to Thursday's party with my roomie and I). Of course there were classes the next day and everyone was just really stoned in class although the teachers understood coz they knew we were at the party...they're quite cool really.

Thursday's party was at a small club which wasn't very good coz it was too crowded to dance. Still it was fun coz you meet more people...and collect more phone numbers. Maybe I'm going through a wild phase...but it's good being single at large parties. You're pretty much free to hook up with anyone. Again I'm blaming the alcohol...had 3 drinks that night and italian drinks are waaaay strong. Usually back in NZ, when they make a whiskey and coke (my usual drink), it's 1 part whiskey 3 parts italy it's 3 parts whiskey 1 part coke. Plus I had a vodka redbull and a vodka lemon...on an almost empty stomach, so my head was buzzing happily throughout the night...had some trouble climbing up and down the stairs, but that wasn't too bad and I dun think anyone could tell that I had to concentrate to walk Anyway, towards the end of the night I met this Italian guy whose dad owns a restaurant in Hamilton in least he spoke English pretty ok and well...ended up making out with him. At least he doesn't stay in my residence and I'm gonna go out on a date with him sometime this week so he won't really be just a one-off kissing partner...I think. I can't quite recall his face (oops), but we've been texting each other to make a date except that it's been in italian so I've been flipping through my dictionary to supplement my limited vocab. I have mentioned that italian guys are sticky so I'm still uncertain as to whether it's a good idea to go out with him...but I figure I'll deal with that later. After ignoring the other sticky guy (although I did feel kinda guilty doing so) he's stopped trying to contact me...

But it's been fun so far playing on the wild side and it's good being female in Italy coz if you ask for free drinks you're more likely to get it from a male bartender and drinks here are horribly expensive!If my parents see this, they'll definitely flip...thank goodness they don't even know I've got a blog... I mean it's not really me...I'm not the wild type really. It's just this year and it's I think I've gotta cut back some on the partying though coz I was really tired and stoned on Friday in class which made understanding the class even harder than it usually is. Honestly if they have parties 3 times a week I'm gonna die...I'd probably flunk all my papers. There's a party every Tuesday at Casablanca though. I wonder where my self-discipline has gone?

Sono a Milano: Italian Class

It's been a week since my language classes started and I'm hoping my Italian has improved somewhat by now...actually I'm pretty sure it has, except for my pronunciation which is still lousy coz I still pronounce it the English way. Everyone in my class seems to speak Italian really fluently mainly coz they're super multi-lingual and majority of them speak Espagnole (oops...Spanish) which is very similar to Italian. There are heaps of Portugese in my class and portugese is similar to Italian too. I'm probably the worst in the class coz it takes me way longer than everyone else to understand when the lecturers speak fast. I can read and write it way better than I can speak or hear it. I'm thinking maybe I should have tranferred one class down coz apparently I'm in the highest level of the elementary classes (there are 4 levels of elementary classes). I must have done pretty well in that italian proficiency test they gave us before classes began to be placed in a class higher up, but then again it was a written test...

When they said it was an intensive course, they really meant intensive. We have classes everyday from 11.30am to 4.30pm with only a half hour lunch break in between sometime at 2pm!! It's insane least my teachers are nice and they give us half an hour, some classes only get 15 mins (but everyone just takes 45mins...the 'italian' 15 mins). The other day we had to go for this "special lesson" on the italian economy, whereby it's a mass lecture and we nearly didn't get a lunch break at all coz italian class was supposed to run from 11.30am to 2.30pm so a 5hr lesson was supposed to be condensed into 3hrs and then the special lesson would run from 2.30pm to 4pm thereabouts. Honestly the schedule is insane! Actual classes are gonna begin on Tuesday and then we'll be having the language classes everyday from 6 to 8pm so I'm not quite looking forward to that. I don't even get these kinda hours back home!!

One wouldn't expect these kinda crazy hours from Italians, considering that if you go out every night the bars and clubs are always crowded. Restaurants and pizzerias are opened till 2am every night and clubs open till much later. Just seeing all the people out at night, one would think that Italians never seem to need to work...I mean it's kinda hard going to work in the morning when you've been out partying late aye? Well at least for me...

Friday, 9 September 2005

Sono a Milano: The Italian System

I have never come across such an outrageously inefficient system before. Honestly, everything here is so disorganised and you've gotta wait ages to get anything done. Order something at a restaurant and they take like half an hour before the bring it over; call for the bill and it gets to you an hour later.

I'm supposed to get a foreigner's stay permit to make my stay here legal, even though I have a visa. To apply for a permit, you have to go down to the main police station with 4 passport photos and a couple of documents. The police station does this thing starting 8am in the morning till like 1 or 2pm and then they close. However, in order to actually get inside the building, you've gotta start queuing at 3 or 4am in the morning!!! Like seriously, if you arrive any later than 5am there'll be like 100+ people in front of you and you will be refused admittance because they only issue like 80 permits per day and there are lotsa refugees and all sorts of people, mainly indian and african families who come to get a permit. I've currently yet to get one coz I went once but we only arrived there at like 5am and we queued till it opened at 8am but were refused admittance. I was so totally pissed off and so was my roomie who had been refused entrance twice already. Plus, the staff there non parlano inglese!!! One would think that given that you're working with foreigners, you'd at least employ people who speak english, but no that would just be too easy of course and too organised for Italians... I'm not sure if I actually wanna go again. It's pure torture really and you don't exactly need it unless you're planning on getting into if the police stop you and ask for a permit and you dun have it you'd be in deep trouble, but otherwise...

I dun think I'll ever understand how italians get things done. You definitely have gotta have lotsa patience here, waiting for them to get things done. Like to pay rent we had to queue for about an hour and then class was supposed to start at 11.30am and they asked us to come collect our books at 11am. Naturally there was a mile long queue and naturally they never got around to giving everyone their books on time. In the end they just told everyone to check what class we were assigned to and then they'd give out the books in class...which is what they should have done in the first place!!!! Things are just pretty messy around here really which definitely takes some getting used to!!

Tuesday, 6 September 2005

Sono a Milano: Italians

Milan has fabulous architecture, especially around the city and all the buildings are so old. I've not seen any modern buildings yet! Other than the really old architecture, frankly it's an ugly place, but it has it's charm and especially in the city it's so european.

But I digress and to continue from where I left off the last time, about that Italian guy... It would seem that Italian guys are very persistent and bold. I mentioned before that that guy was becoming somewhat of a pain coz he seems to think that he likes me. Perhaps you're wondering why I used "seems" basically coz I knew him for less than 24 hours and he asked me if I liked him and if I wanted to kiss him. Like hello?!! I don't even know you! Perhaps if he was cute I might have considered it lol but he's not even close...ok I know that's mean but he's really annoying now and everytime I think of him I get annoyed. Anyway he's being a real pain because unfortunately he has my cell phone no (coz he went with me to get it and he took it down) and so he keeps calling and texting me to ask me out. I have completely ignored him, deleted all his messages and still he doesn't seem to get the hint. I'm hoping if I continue ignoring him he'll go away...

From observing people in Milan, Italians pretty much drink a lot, eat a lot and smoke like chimneys!! Practically everyone smokes here...honestly...I think if I were to develop cancer it'll be coz of all the second hand smoke I breathe in here. Regarding drinking, people order drinks in the middle of the it's not surprising to see someone having a cocktail at 1pm in the afternoon. Plus, every night, the clubs and bars are open and there are heaps of people having drinks or dancing...even on a Monday. Milan's party spot would have to be the streets along the 2 canals in town...Navaglio Grande and Navaglio Pavese. There are heaps of restaurants, bars and clubs and there are night markets every night. These streets are dead in the day though.

I've mentioned that Italians eat a heaps!! I went out for dinner one night with my room mate who is American Russian and we went to this restaurant on a boat on the canal and we ordered pizzas. We were told the pizzas were for 1 person so we each ordered one. The "single portion" pizza turned out to be the side of a large pizza from Pizza Hut!!! We could barely finish half of the whole thing. On our left and right were these couples and the chicks ordered pizzas too...but they managed to finish the entire thing! Plus the one on my left not only had a whole pizza, but ate 2 other courses (similar huge portions) as well. The thing is, the chicks were still super thin... I've yet to figure out how they eat so much and still stay so thin...or how they even manage to stomach so much food!!

The night we went out for dinner, was the first day I checked into Capitanio and was also the night I lost my the restaurant where we had dinner. I think I must be the only resident in Capitanio's history to lose my room keys so quickly!!! When I realised I lost my keys I called up the restaurant, but the waiter couldn't speak english! So I was trying to explain that I lost my keys in italian while frantically flipping through my dictionary for the words due to my limited vocabulary. It took me fifteen minutes and mentioning "perduto" and "chiave" like a gazillion times before the waiter finally got it and proceeded to help find my keys, except that he couldn't find them and he was like "no find key, I look but no find." So now I'm gonna have to pay €26 to get a new set of keys. My key problem didn't just end here. The keys I lost included the key to my closet which I had locked coz I had important documents and stuff inside. It took me another hour trying to explain to the receptionist that I couldn't open my closet and to ask if he had a spare key. Of course, given my luck that night, he didn't have one...or rather there was one but he couldn't find it. Luckily the next morning another of the management staff found the key and managed to open the door so I could get my stuff. As of now, my roomie and I are sharing a key which can get rather difficult given that we aren't together all the time (just most of the time).

Ok this is another really long blog and I believe I shall continue the story tomorrow...

Sunday, 4 September 2005

Sono a Milano: Getting There

Ok as anyone can tell I've totally given up ever blogging about my North Island trip so if anyone is actually interested to know, I'd be most willing to talk about it. For now the "hot" topic would have to be my last 3 days in Milan so far...

Ok starting from the beginning, I was totally freaking out before my flight to Milan (and it was fully justified) but nonetheless I got on the plane where I was supposed to make a stopover for 4hrs in Frankfurt. Anyway my seatmate was this German guy who was heading back to Germany to take up a job as brand manager for Unilever after graduating not too long ago from a uni in Australia and he majored in marketing too, so it was really interesting talking to him (and he was kinda cute too, but that's besides the point). Unfortunately, after we landed and we parted in the airport I realised I don't know his name...he asked for my email address though and so I gave it to him and my name, hopefully he'll email some time. The Frankfurt airport is confusing and huge and not very convenient...I ended up missing my flight coz they changed the boarding gate and I didn't hear the announcement coz there was so many gate changes it wasn't funny. So I was waiting at the wrong boarding gate and when I finally realised something was "off" and I asked about it, I'd already missed my much for a good start. I shall blame it on fatigue from the horribly long flight and the fact that it was 5.30 in the morning... Luckily, they managed to get me on another flight, except that it was 4 hours later. Well in any case a much later flight is better than no flight at all. It also saved me the problem of wondering what to do when I arrived in Milan coz with my original flight I would arrive in Milan at about 10am and I could only check into the backpackers at 2pm...although it took me so long to get there it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

Anyway, I got to Milan and I discovered that it's really hard getting around when u only speak sparse italian and understand even less! I think I wandered around the airport for awhile trying to read the signs to find out how I'd get to the city...and I think I annoyed the person at the info counter asking her heaps of questions. I finally managed to get on the right bus though which took me to Station Centrale. Then came the horrible process of lugging my luggage (36kg in total) around the station, looking for the metro! It was awful coz they had no elevators and I had to lug my stuff up the escalators to enquire at the info counter which was on the 2nd floor. If that wasn't bad enough, when I did find the metro, to my horror there were only stairs and no elevators OR escalators!!! I ended up having to carry my stuff down 2 flights of stairs. Thankfully there was this nice italian guy who helped me carry my suitcase down after seeing me struggling with it. Unfortunately he spoke only italian and so he couldn't help me figure out how to buy a ticket for the metro and I ended up having to ask one of the station staff, who thankfully spoke some english. When I got to my stop, the darn station had no escalators or elevators and I ended up having to carry my luggage UP the stairs this time...which was worse of course and there wasn't anyone to help.

By the time I reached the backpackers I was truly exhausted, plus the temperature was pretty much like Singapore's...but less humid. Then I was trying to use the phone to call my mum when I met this other italian guy (who is now becoming somewhat of a pain...but that's another story) and ended up having dinner with him, having a conversation through my trusty italian-english dictionary (because of course he spoke only italian). Ok this has been a really long entry so I guess I'll leave everything else for parts 2, 3, 4.... 8p

Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Back to the Real World

I returned to Dunedin this afternoon from my all too short holiday around the North Island...and yes it's back to the real world of having to deal with whatever life throws at you and important finding a flat for next year. The weather even changed accordingly to fit the situation and mark the end of my break from reality coz I left sunny Auckland and as we flew down South the weather gradually turned bad (It was all rainy and foggy in Dunedin). Still perhaps it's good that my trip has ended otherwise the big hole in my bank account may be even bigger. Ouch!

It was a great trip though....also made interesting by a certain travel companion and details of the trip will be posted in several installments over the next couple of days. I reckon my travel companion will probably give his version of events (although his blog is dreadfully outdated and perhaps there may be a chance that he won't which would be nice ;p) but as always one should note that his version would be skewed towards preserving his "decent" image...

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

Going Nuts

It suddenly hit me today that I really don't have much time left before I've to hop onto planes and zip here and there. At the same time I realised that I've got so much I need to do before I zip off. I finally overcame inertia today to actually start packing. I've got heaps and heaps and heaps of stuff and packing is such a major headache. I hate I'm shifting flats next year (I don't even know where!) so I've to pack for my upcoming trip around the North Island (RJ I'm totally blaming you for the extra headache), pack for Milan and pack for storage.

Aside from packing there's the whole matter for foreign currency. My parents have been trying to transfer euros into my euro account and there are all these complicated forms to fill in with details you don't have...makes the whole thing so darn complicated. All these silly rules and forms and paperwork...designed juz to make you wanna scream. What's wrong with these banks? I just want my money!!! Why in the world do different countries wanna have different currencies anyway? I swear they do it just to make life difficult and foreigners miserable (especially foreigners with parents who keep texting and calling the whole day regarding one matter or another about the whole money-transfer-currency-conversion-form-filling-in thing). Honestly I'm going nuts! Life would be waaaay simpler if the world ran on 1 common currency.

Sunday, 3 July 2005

Daniel Carter Rocks!!

Today was Test 2 in the All Blacks vs the British Irish Lions series. The score: 48-18 to the All Blacks (of course!) Since we totally trashed the Lions in last week's test as well, this means we've won the series and don't exactly need to win the last test. Still, it'll be nice to win all 3 tests. Carter was the star of tonight's game. He was so totally awesome!! I've never seen him play like he did tonight. He scored 2 tries and converted every single try save 1 and didn't miss a single penalty...even the ones from the corner! 33 out of the 48 points we got were scored by Carter.

Tonight's game was way more physical than the last test though. The Lions are a nasty lot, kept rucking during tackles i.e. stomping on the All Blacks which is illegal. Last week they deliberately stomped on poor Chris Jack and kicked him too. Tonight, Bryon's face and arm got stomped on. The referees had to break up more fights this time coz de Lions kept picking fights. I think the referee should have given the ruckers and troublemakers a yellow card since they were deliberately trying to injure our players. At least this time the Lions didn't bite our players. Last week one of the Lions literally bit Chris Jack. He was banned from the series of course after that...

Prince William flew down to NZ yesterday to support the Lions in today's and next week's test. His arrival was such a secret that the airport staff didn't even know he was arriving (only the higher powers knew) and the passengers who were on the same plane he was on didn't even realise they were travelling with royalty! The cameras briefly showed Prince William in the spectator stands as they showed other spectators. The commentators didn't even mention him and spectators didn't even bother about him. Clearly, rugby beat royalty hands down. Lol, I would say that Carter was more of a royalty than Prince William... It's a pity though that William came all this way to see the Lions eat dust. Muahahaha

Sunday, 26 June 2005

Skating Competition

My week of non-stop skating is finally now my blisters can rest!! I've got this huge blister on my left heel and another on my right ankle. Skating with blisters today was agony and I consider it an achievement to have managed to skate properly with the humongous blisters! My left one hurt when I was spinning, the right one hurt when I was landing my jumps... Plus, yesterday when I got in some last minute practice, I fell during the program and hit my knees really hard. It hurt so bad I couldn't move, much less breathe. Needless to say, walking was out of the question. I've never cried from falling in skating, but this time it hurt so bad I did a bit. After all, rebruising my bruises for the 4th time does hurt and my knees now look ghastly.

I was kinda worried that my injury yesterday would make me unable to skate today, but surprisingly I managed to land all of my jumps! Wasn't too sure I could coz during the 6 min warm up I fell while doing the salchow. I did travel while spinning and I kinda mucked up my footwork a little, but it was alright and I managed to finish on time. I came in first in my category although there were only 2 of us in the that wasn't much of a competition. It was all over really really quick...much to my surprise. Anyway I'm glad that's over and my feet can rest and I can break in my skates properly...well till Friday that is.

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Back to the Land of the Living!!!!

Exams are OVER!!!!!!!! Yay!!!! So once again I'm back to the land of the living...and I shall worry and stress over my results later. In the meantime, I've got the skating competition to prepare for *panic* and my old skating boots broken down on the right such that when I land after a jump it can't support my ankle so it hurts. Anyway, I had to switch to my new boots, which is potentially disastrous coz I need time to break them in....time I don't have!! Boots usually take a few weeks to break in and I've only got 1 week! I've taken to wearing them around the flat to try and speed up the breaking in process...although I look rather silly.

Funny how you have a tendency to forget that breaking in new boots is always a painful process....still, without them broken in I can't do anything!! I'm sporting this massive bruise that covers almost my whole knee coz I fell while attempting a waltz jump in boot that haven't been broken. It's pathetic....since it's such an easy, no-brainer jump...which only goes to show how awful it would be if I didn't have them sufficiently broken in by competition day. Then I got my blades sharpened and now they're so sharp they're grabbing the ice. While that's fantastic for my edges (I skate great edges now!!) it also means I CAN'T stop...coz I can't turn the blade. My coach suggeested using a piece of wood to dull the edges to skatability which I need to do sometime...probably today.

I can't believe that this is the end of my year in went so fast!! Hopefully my semester in Milan won't go as'll be such a waste otherwise! I haven't really thought about what I'm gonna do for the rest of the holiday...I'll need to pack up my room and clean the flat (coz nobody seems to bother) I'm thinking of getting a short term job...but my plan for the rest of the week goes something like Thursday: skate, Friday: skate, Saturday: skate, Sunday: skate (competition).

Friday, 3 June 2005

Snowed In

It's been snowing on and off since early in the morning today. I was about to leave for my last lecture of the semester when it started snowing really heavily...prob more so since I'm on higher ground. Needless to say I didn't go for my lecture...who wants to walk in heavy snow? I kinda feel bad for missing the lecture...especially since I'm not doing tremendously well in all my 3rd year papers. Sigh

Ok I'm gonna have to start pulling 7 to 12s...or maybe 8 to 12s...ugh! I'm gonna be disappearing for if anyone is wondering, I'm gonna be freezing in my room trying to study....

Tuesday, 31 May 2005

Rugby Super 12

I didn't have the time to make a post on the Super 12 after the finals last Saturday, so I thought I'd just say something now.

The Crusaders WON the Super 12!!! Now the cup is back in NZ...where it belongs really. I only caught the 2nd half of the game, having decided to compromise between studying and watching the finals. I must say that it was a well deserved win...considering the fact that the South African referee was so biased towards Australia! It was soooo annoying how he kept giving the Warratahs the ball even though in some cases the Crusaders didn't actually do anything wrong. Like for example, when Chris Jack tackled a Warratah and pushed him out the boundary, the blasted referee blew the whistle and called for a scrum and gave it to the Warratahs. Geez come on it's rugby you're supposed to tackle and the tackle was perfectly legal too!! Every time the referee blew the whistle, it was to give the ball to the Warratahs...all the way till the 65th minute when he finally decided to be fair! Most of the S. African referees are biased towards Australia honestly biased.

The sad thing though is that Justin Marshall is leaving the Crusaders and the All Blacks to go play for England....he's gonna play for Leeds (traitor!) and Andrew Merton is leaving too (dunno where he's going but he's going). Not too sure if Merton is leaving the All Blacks as well...I wonder though what his dad would think since Merton is "genuine All Black stock" so to speak. Dad was an All Black, granddad was an All Black....


Finally I get a break...well sorta... Just ended the last of my internal assessments today, which I've been stressing over for the past week. Things are looking good, especially since this week is the last week of lectures. Of course, I've conveniently forgotten that it's coz exams are around the corner and I really should be studying for them, but hey I do think I deserve a break after the last couple of weeks of one internal after the other!!

I must confess though that the last week I haven't been studying as hard as I should have...coz I ended up Yeah, I've discovered the joys of a credit card and ebay. Auctions are pretty exciting and there's so much you can get for a steal, especially in the skating department. Ok, my shopping has all been skating stuff and I ended up purchasing a new pair of skate boots for US$42.50 and they retail for US$355+ in US. They're also new and were a really really good deal! Gosh, I never expected to find such a good deal...even though the postage for US to NZ is costing me US$48.50. Still, I'm getting it for about a quarter of the price. Needless to say, skate boots like these would cost me over $500 here in NZ. It's costing me even less than what I paid for my current pair!! I think I probably won't use them till I attain a higher level though coz they were made for advanced skating and it's kinda a waste to not maximise their potential. I've also got myself a skating dress online and well, although it wasn't as much of a good deal as the skates, it beats paying $70+ to get one here. I'm still looking at skating dresses though...maybe if I get a better deal I could sell the ones I don't want here. That's the joy of the internet, ebay and a paypal account plus the freedom of a credit card 8)!

Sunday, 22 May 2005

Fog of Mourning

Weather was awful today...I've never seen fog this thick around here before. I woke up this morning and I thought my window totally fogged up coz I could see about as far as 15m and what was within 15m wasn't too clear. Then I realised tt it was the fog...and although it looked pretty gastly outside, it was quite warm really although such thick fog didn't seem like a good thing. Probably the only thing not so good about fog is that it makes jay walking way more I found out today while walking to church. All u see is this white/gray area down de road and u can't quite see vehicle headlights...till they're kinda near.

It's half past 11 now at night and the fog still hasn't quite cleared...which is fine by me coz it is suited for death and mourning. Sorry for the bleak outlook but I just found out a family friend passed away. He was the priest who baptised me...and I guess I thought he'd always be around. You never fully appreciate someone until that person is gone. Funny how despite it happening over and over, the message to treasure your relationships with those around you never fully sinks in...well it seems like it for me at least.

And here's where you observe a minute of silence in respect of those it have passed away and pray that God grants them eternal rest. May you rest in peace Father Luke.

Friday, 13 May 2005


It's been a really awful week...third year at Uni is just baaaad...what with all the assignments piling up and deadlines to meet. Anyway I thought I'd just share some testimonial humour my lecturer shared with us today in psyc since we're doing stuff on human factors and all...

Here's some true testimonies given by people who have been involved in accidents (most of them pertain to driving since we were studying driving):

"I turned into wrong driveway to a house I thought was mine and hit a tree that I didn't have."

"I thought the window was down, but when I stuck my head out I realised that it wasn't." (ouch!)

"I hit the lamp post because I was trying to avoid the invisible truck that nearly hit me." (my advice: see a psychiatrist for that hallucination problem)

"The pedestrain didn't know which way to run so I just ran him over."

"I hit the lamp post because it was obstructed by humans."

"I ran into the stationary tree that was coming at me from the opposite direction."

Sunday, 8 May 2005


Today is a day for celebrations because of 2 things mostly. Firstly, in the Rugby Super 12, the Crusaders beat the Highlanders 27 to 13. It's quite odd really that I'm a Crusaders supporter, considering that the Crusaders are the Christchurch team and the Highlanders are the Otago team. I suppose it's coz my sister is an avid Crusaders fan since Justin Marshall plays for the Crusaders, and also coz the Crusaders are a good team (they have quite a few good All Blacks members). Anyway they were playing on Highlander home ground...which is in the Carisbrook stadium here in Dunedin, but the game didn't go very fast coz it was raining (as it usually is in Dunedin) which made the ground slippery and all.

Second event for celebration: I got the Westpac Travelling scholarship I applied for for my exchange program!!!! It's NZ$2000, but that together with the NZ$1000 travel grant pays for my plane ticket which is fantastic. I'm currently also applying for another scholarship although this one is harder because there's an interview process as well. Still, no harm trying aye? I'm estatic as it is though that I got this cash is always a good thing! 8) 8) 8)

Tuesday, 3 May 2005


At 3.40am this morning my sister burst into my room in panic, saying that our house was gonna collapse coz her room was shaking. Half-conscious and none too pleased about being so rudely awaken, I flopped over and told her that she was dreaming and could she please shut my door and let me sleep.

Turns out that no she wasn't dreaming...her room was shaking because of the earthquakes that occurred around 3.35am near Haast. It was only 6 on the Richter scale though and the second one was 5.7, but because they were shallow, we felt them strong enough to be noticeable here...or should I say some of us did (I was out like a light). Apparently the quakes could be felt as far away as Christchurch, according to the newspapers.

Seems like earthquakes are pretty common here...small ones at least. I'm not quite sure I'd like to be around when the big ones hit! Anyway this morning's quakes weren't anything to freak out about...people are scarier than nature really. This point was further emphasized when on my way home today I walked past these two guys and suddenly one of them leaned over and yelled into my face "F****** asians!" Like, wtf?!! What's his problem? Anyway to say I didn't feel one iota of fear would be a blatant lie...duh it's two of them and one of me and both are bigger than me...

I congratulate myself on not making any response whatsoever or showing any reaction to what he yelled...I carried on walking like I didn't hear him...although he pissed me off majorly. Geez! I suppose though that de world is full of bigotted, narrow-minded asses like him so not much one can do about that! I just pity his narrow-mind and pea brain. Still, people are ultimately scarier that just have to agree!!

Sunday, 1 May 2005

Travelling Woes

The worst part of travelling has gotta be making the travel arrangements. It's such a headache with so many different options...each with their own problems. I spent an hour with the travel agent the other day discussing several options and it does seem like my time stopping over in Singapore is gonna be cut down by lots. If I managed to get the option I'm aiming for (the most economical!!), I'd be spending less than a week in Singapore on the way to Milan and say 2 or 3 days on the way back!!

On the other hand, whether or not I can get a flight is another thing entirely. It seems like the whole world is travelling to Milan on the dates I wanna travel on! It's crazy!!! I'm now currently on the waiting list for 6 flights (to Rome rather than Milan funnily enough...and then I've gotta deal with trains buses and metros...) and my travel agent also booked me into one which had seats but is the most expensive outta all the options...and that's not even counting the tax!

Taxes...yeah that's another thing I've got issues with. You look at the cost of the flight and then when you manage to convince yourself it isn't entirely too high a price...wham! You get told, "Well actually there are taxes on top of that. Taxes would amount to another $350". Geez! Another $350 does actually make a difference you know? That's like more than a month's rent in NZ and about 2 weeks of rent in Milan!!

Sigh...dealing with airlines is such a headache. Will someone hurry up and invent that teleporting machine please?

Wednesday, 27 April 2005

Funny Age

It can get quite annoying when people think you're way younger than you really are. I recall trips in the taxi during my secondary school years whereby the drivers ask, "So, it's PSLE this year huh?" or something along those lines (For those who don't know, PSLE stands for Primary School Leaving Examination). On the rare occasion though, it can be quite Monday when I went for a skate practice.

I was as usual trying to work on that darn one-foot spin (which I still can't do properly) and as usual there are these kids who come up to talk. Anyway there was this boy...teenager say 14 or 15? He was trying to learn hockey stops and all on his own and I don't recall how, but we started talking and like we'd talk off and on... There were these two other girls...probably about 12 and they came up to ask me to do certain stuff (yeah I somehow end up entertaining kids too) and tell me I'm really good (although as usual I try and tell them the truth...that I'm really bad, but they never listen). So they skate around and come up to talk to me occasionally as well.

Ok here comes the hilarious part:
I had just finished another of those off-on conversations with that boy when the two girls come up to me and ask, "Do you know that boy?", 'that boy' being the one I'd been speaking to on and off. I told her I'd just met him today. The next question took me completely by surprise. She asked, "Do you like that boy?" (it was obvious she meant 'like' as in 'interested romantically' or something to that effect). Honestly I was kinda speechless for awhile (like duh! I'm like at least 5 years older than him and he's so obviously a kid). Then I laughed and told her, "He's too young for me! I'm gonna be 20 this year."

Oops, I lied, THIS is de really hilarious part. It was the shock on their faces after I told them how old I was. The girl who asked me even gasped and covered her mouth in shock. I really couldn't stop laughing, although I guess she must have been pretty embarassed, but hey! You don't go asking someone you'd only just met a question like that without setting yourself up for trouble. I asked her how old she thought I was...and she said "I thought you were like 14 or something!" Anyway she skated up to the boy and told him (I did see them speak to him once before earlier, but they don't know him). Then he came up to me and asked, "You talk to other skaters because you can learn stuff from them aye?" I said yes of course. It felt kinda like he was trying to show the girls that talking to me didn't mean that he liked me, but it seemed to me that the girls clearly had gotten the wrong idea.

Actually I was gonna ask the girl if she liked him, because why else would she ask me a question like that? But then I figured she'd already been embarassed enough. I don't blame her if she did have a crush on him though, coz he looked like one of those guys who'd grow up to be a looker. Now if he had an older brother my the brother would probably already have a girlfriend! 8p

Sunday, 17 April 2005

Skating Social Perks

Figure-skating isn't exactly the most social of all sports. You skate solo and learn solo from your coach, at different times from others, learn at different paces, do different practice is pretty much a solo thing as well.

While in Singapore, you'd be pretty unlikely to meet anyone on ice (which doesn't say very much for friendliness of people there), it's great here in Dunedin. Since getting back on ice, I've met quite a lot of people, mostly during public skate sessions. Seems like if you can skate resonably, people like to come up to you to get to know you. Strange huh? As far as I can recall, I've met someone every single public skate session I've been down to, and these people I've gotten to know range from 6 to 50+ years.

Like today, I met this guy, Keith, who does figure-skating as well. From what I gathered he used to be really good, but he stopped skating for ages and only recently started again. He's looking for a skating partner to do skate-dancing and he wants to eventually enter the NZ Championships. He asked me to consider becoming his partner and I'm actually thinking maybe I'd give it a go. Doing tango and the likes of it on ice sounds fun....not too sure about his ambition to get into the NZ Championships though...I'm not quite up to scratch! Also, there's a category problem. He's 50+ and that puts him in the Masters Category which is for those 25 and above, while I'm neither here nor there really... Anyway Deanna's coaching him as well so I might just ask her about it.

Aside from meeting people, another good thing about skating during public sessions is that people give you a space...I usually use the centre of the rink. So more or less you have an area that is "yours"...most of the time anyway (the hockey skaters barge in and charge everywhere). Of course, you have the occasional poor unfortunate soul who falls into your space.

A third controversial "perk" would probably be that the kids worship you. They actually come up and go "Wow! You're really good." While I must say that it's flattering, it is kinda embarassing at the same time...that is if you aren't really that good, comme moi! Then there are those who ask if you can teach them stuff...the most popular of all being how to spin (why am I not surprised?). I do try to teach them, but it's kinda hard when they aren't too stable skating forward in the first place...and most can't stop. It's like teaching a horse to jump when it can't even walk (Ok that's a lousy analogy, but I'm quite brain dead from tiredness). Still, whatever makes them happy, although I don't quite know what to say when they attempt to do what I demonstrate and can't do it and then laugh (or scream...a rather horrifying experience for my ears which I hope never to repeat) saying "I can't do it!" Well...duh...

Despite all the "perks" and the social bits of a not-very-social sport, I must say that nothing can really beat being on ice...alone...with the whole rink to yourself. It's like a whole different (albeit anti-social) juz gotta love it. 8)

Wednesday, 13 April 2005


Today I found out why I've been having so much trouble skating on my left outside-edge. It's coz my leg is munted...or rather my ankle is. Apparently my ankle is crooked and somehow I can't lean in to my left on that foot. *sob*

According to my coach it is quite "bizzare" and she recommended that I see this pilates guy who can find out which muscles I'm not using and then work out a training program or something. It would however cost me about $200 to try and correct it and when I last checked my bank account, it was under $20. Yes, under $20!!! I can't believe it myself....I've to wait till Thursday when the NZ govt once again hands me my weekly allowance. It's so sad, I can't even pay the electricity bill till then!

Anyway, financial problems aside, I wonder if I can practice enough to accommodate for the munted ankle... The weird thing is that I walk on the outside edge of my shoe. We looked at my shoes today and it wasn't worn on the inside while the outside edge was falling apart. I don't recall ever walking that way though, but walking around today I've consciously been trying to walk more on the inside edge.

The Dunedin skating club is holding its annual club competition and the coach has asked if I wanted to take part, which would give me something to work towards and we could work out a program. I'm supposed to select music...I'm not too sure what kind of music I should pick though although I'm quite in favour of the opening of 'Carmen' by Bizet and some of Strauss's waltzes... But I'm gonna have to really work on that darn outside-edge. It's screwing up my footwork!!! I've decided that I will somehow do it....or die trying...probably will die anyway, from all the bruises.

Thursday, 7 April 2005

Myriad of Faces

My social psychology lecture today struck a chord. The lecturer was talking about selves and the self concept and how we are different people in different situations. The funny thing was that I was just thinking about it the other day, during one of the times when I randomly think about the more philosophical aspects of life.

Anyway, I digress. Reflecting on the whole issue about different selves, I suppose I've got many selves and sort of multiple personalities, as do most people (just to assure you I'm not crazy!). I reckon it'll be interesting to be able to be in the mind of someone else for awhile just to find out how they view me, be it positive or negative, although certainly I'd rather a positive view!

While I am aware that I do have different faces, I've never actively considered when I put on different masks. Masks. Are they really? Or are they a part of me? Sometimes you put on a 'mask' and you feel like you are wearing one, yet if you can put it on, is it not you? The lecturer mentioned the 'actual self', that being what you truly are. I wonder though, how many people actually know what or who they truly are, considering how complex the self is. It's a connundrum I suppose...although it makes you wonder what happens if you finally figure it all out? Perhaps by then you'd be at the end of life's road.

In the meantime, I guess it's way easier to focus on the simpler stuff in life, like getting over with the next assignment. And we continue shifting in and out of differnt selves, putting on the various faces the situation calls for. The show must go on after all.

Sunday, 3 April 2005

Time Tunnels

It's rather scary sometimes just how fast time passes. It only seems like such a short while ago that I began uni life. Once in awhile I get that feeling of astonishment that hey I'm an undergrad already! It's like things have shifted and moved so far ahead without you noticing and when you finally stop and take a look around it's strange how much has changed, as if you've fallen through a time tunnel into another reality. Have you ever felt that way?

I mean I never would have thought that I'd actually be here in NZ, living on my own, setting up my own home and all. I never thought that I'd actually grow up this much and become this independent. Its not that I'd never considered the possibility. It was just distant. But here I am and looking back, the difficulty of leaving all I've previously known and moving to a new continent is a distant memory. I can't quite imagine going back to my old life. It's like I'm a totally new person.

It makes me wonder though what would happen in the future which is likely to come straight at you without you realising it. Right now as a student I can honestly say that I can't fathom not being a student. The 'real' world out there seems scary. I'm gonna be graduating in 2 years...and then what next? It doesn't feel like even with all this education I have the skills to be able to go out there, into the 'real' world, and get a job based on my degree. I don't feel I'm anywhere prepared for that!! Not for doing something on a higher level...despite all the goals and dreams.

I guess I'll learn to jump that hurdle when I get to it. Right now the upcoming hurdle would be jumping another continent...onto Europe - Italy, which is more challenging, considering it's not an English-speaking country... Or maybe it's wiser if I just ended here and concentrated on jumping the minor hurdle in the form of an upcoming test for one of my psyc papers next week...8p

Friday, 1 April 2005


It's funny how much we tend to take things for granted and you never realise how much you miss something until you no longer have it. I've also just realised how much I've come to rely on technology. It's all good and well to say that 'sure I can live without the internet, the tv, the cellphone' while you still have them, but when push comes to shove, you find it's like missing a limb.

The phone company finally connected me to broadband today. It's great, like I've finally got an arm back coz it means I can now work at night and access online journal articles from home. It also means I can once again socialise in the cyber world with those miles away. I think I appreciate having the internet a lot more after not having the convenience of it 24 hours a day for 3 months. I'm quite certain though that I can't quite live without it.

Another can't-live-without piece of technology would be the cellphone. I really felt quite uncomfortable not having it. It was not very pleasant to realise after I came down to campus that I'd left it at home. My phone is like a secretary of sorts and a form of social connection. Without it, there's this feeling of loss and disconnection from the rest of the world (ok maybe I'm stretching it slightly but you get the idea)...

Bottom line is, technology pretty much runs our lives...or mine at least...even when you don't want it to! So much for total independence... 8p

Wednesday, 30 March 2005


Classes have begun again and it's back to trying to keep afloat of all the assignments. I must say though that I feel like I'm gonna drown. This negativity is probably brought on by the fact that I've caught the cold that's been going around campus and my flat. Now everyone in my flat is down with something, which is awful coz I really need to be working at 100% level to complete assignments and stuff. You tend to wanna stay in bed when you're down with something...not good. I had a hard time getting up this morning to go for my skating lesson. I was tempted to call my coach and cancel but I figured that I probably should go coz I didn't skate the whole week. It wasn't so bad though today coz I'm spending time working on spins (back-spin and 1 foot spin) so didn't really get too bruised!

In any case I think I had a very unproductive Easter break, although I did complete like half my assignment (which is definitely not good enough and needs another drafting desperately). I'm behind schedule (as usual) and I can't seem to get through a chapter on child development(I've a test real soon) without falling asleep! I guess I went out too much during Easter...although there was a day when I was rained in. It rained non-stop the entire day. It's amazing how much water can come from the sky coz the rain carried on to the next morning as well. Anyway, the reason why I went out alot during Easter was coz my friend came down from Auckland and so we definitely had to go out (clubbing). He was down for the whole Easter break which was good coz Auckland Uni doesn't have the same semester breaks and mid-semester breaks as Otago. I guess I shouldn't complain coz it was good to see him again and I mean geez going out is definitely more fun than studying!!

The night we went out clubbing, it was quite crazy coz the bunch of us started out dancing in a circle and now and then the better dancers in our group would go to the middle and do some moves. Then suddenly these random people started pushing their way into the middle of our circle and showing off their moves. There was this Asian guy who would breakdance really well and basically he pushed through, did his stuff and was waiting for someone to 'challenge' him.

Before we knew it, all these people had joined our circle and there was this dance battle going on. It was cool seeing all the breakdance moves, hip-hop and all, but it was rather crazy and there was tension from the competition. (What's with guys and competing anyway?) The Asian guy was going hard out on the dance floor and he and this other Indian guy (who's more into hip-hop) were battling and dissing each other with dance. I can't describe how it is to diss someone through dancing, but from watching them, you really get the meaning of how dance can speak and like 'body expressions' and all. Then people stopped dancing and everyone was just watching the battle...even the bartenders. Totally insane! The battling went on for ages and was still going on when we left.

Gosh I'm really tired....I do hope this will blow over soon (like now), otherwise it'll be really tough getting everything done on time!!