The week back from break was a rush to do a paper I had due that Friday and skim reading the articles I neglected for the South Island. The second Sunday back, I was fortunate enough to be hosted by a local Kiwi couple for dinner. The uni offered for international students to sign up and meet locals. Myself, a male student from Holland (the real Netherlands, not Michigan), and a female student from Hong Kong enjoyed a lamb roast dinner in the Auckland home of a pleasant, middle aged couple. The wife had attended Auckland Uni and was now working there in the IT department. The husband flies for Air New Zealand. We talked a lot about differences in culture and other topics included public transportation, the couple’s children, recent political happenings in America (as is the case with many Kiwis and Europeans I’ve talked to, they strongly approve of President Obama and are hoping for a second term), and comparison of the law systems of Holland vs. New Zealand vs. Hong Kong.
The following Wednesday, I was fortunate to join my music major flatmate to a concert titled “Works with Words.” Kiwi composers were asked to pick out a piece of literature (by a Kiwi author) and compose a ten minute long orchestral piece to be played behind the reading of the chosen writing. Before the concert, we attended a wine and cheese affair where the composers were able to talk some about their experience writing and their piece. The literature was narrated by a very famous Kiwi theatrical name Stuart Devenie. The music was performed by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. It was a unique and enjoyable experience as the audience saw what certain literature was important to the composers and the feelings evoked by those words.
This past Saturday, myself and a few friends decided to take a day trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island, a bird sanctuary about an hour and a half ferry ride from downtown Auckland. We got to walk around the island and could not have asked for a more beautiful, blue skied day. The island has been established to try an reintroduce native bird populations in New Zealand. Most of the native birds were killed off from colonists bring rats, possums, and other rodents that would destroy flightless bird nests on the ground.
This past Monday, I was able to attend another concert, only this time the performers were entirely American. The Bowed Piano Ensemble is a unique group of ten students from Colorado College and their director, Stephen Scott. Scott put the group together over 30 years ago. They work together using bow strings pulled over the strings of an open piano. All parts of the piano are used to get different sounds to enhance the pieces Scott composes. I’d highly recommend looking into them: http://www.bowedpianoensemble.com
By this time tomorrow, I will have a visitor from the United States. Justin’s flight gets in around 8:30a, when I will be picking him and our rental car up from the Auckland International Airport. We have quite a few adventures planned. His departure will signal my mom’s arrival only a few days later. My life abroad is coming to completion faster and faster.