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16.7.09 12:48


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From Germany to New Zealand - Meaning of Space and Time

Kia Ora everyone,

I’ve decided to write this blog in English, as I assume that my German friends understand enough of the language to follow it, and writing in English will make it accessible to others as well. Furthermore I want to write about life here, which happens to be a life in the English language - as the lecturer of a class I’m taking on Mauri language and customs surmised, one can not really approach a culture without approaching its language and vice versa.

The screenshot below is taken of Google Earth, B being my home in Freiburg, Germany, and A locating the place I’ll be in for the next six months: Hamilton, New Zealand. The scale at the bottom left corner indicates a distance of 2.000 Miles, which is approximately 3.200 km… I guess I’m a far way from home. It doesn’t really feel like it though; modern communication techniques seem to make time and space lose their measures. Videoskyping with Caroline lets her shape, movement and voice appear with less than one second delay.

I stepped into an airplane with Flo in Frankfurt, Germany, and I think it was 26 hours later when we landed in Auckland, New Zealand, including a four hours break in Dubai. So, whose thinking: Oh, that poor boy, had to sit still for 26 hours, and I know that he really has problems with such things? Or are you like: That lucky bastard, gets to live in such an exciting time, in which he just has to sit still for 26 hours and then he is as far away from his homeland as is possible (perhaps not counting the Cook-Islands)? I think, my reaction to the flight is a mix of both: it appeared to be a hell of a long time while sitting there, and now it appears to have been far to short to be realistic (please excuse my language, it just makes blogging more fun). By the way, if you choose the second reaction, then in what time are you living in?! Rather communicate with me using drums and smoke-signs?

Anyway, talking about space and time: The land mass creating future New Zealand separated itself about  80 million years ago from eastern Godwana, developing flora and fauna and later on societies based on smallness and isolation. Presently (in geological terms)  the Australian and Pacific Plate collide just off of New Zealand’s eastern shore, as can also be seen on the Google Earth screenshot, making New Zealands mountains to one of the fastest rising ones worldwide… not only Skype and the flight seem to be post-modern, but also the tectonic shifts. Just yesterday there was an earthquake on the South Island (the one of the two big Islands that I am not on!) scaled 7.8; fortunately no one was harmed. And it is already a few years back, that one of New Zealand’s National Symbols was harmed. In 1991 the peak of Mt. Cook, the country’s highest mountain, decided to decline from its lofty seat.

So long.
16.7.09 14:19


New: Keywey Language Lounge

Please check out the Keywey Language Lounge (on the left side).  I have only noted down three words so far, more will follow…
16.7.09 16:13


17.7.09 12:50


The Sleepout - Another Keywey Oddity

For the time that I am studying here I share a house with four Kiwis - only that I don not live in the house. I am staying in a sleepout off of the main house. Such sleepouts are very common for shared living in New Zealand, especially for students.

This sleepout has a toilet and two rooms; Jonno is my sleepout-flatmate. The three girls live in the house to which Jonno and I both have a key, as the kitchen and living room are over there.

Of course there was no heater in my room (I bought an electronic one). Kiwis hardly heat; they rather put on an extra layer of clothing… or they simply walk around in T-shirts and flip-flops forgetting that it is winter (while I am able to see my own breath). This is not meant to be a joke.

My room has the benefit of facing north meaning that I get the midday sun, if it does shine (remember: New Zealand -> Southern Hemisphere?). On the picture above it is shining for a change. I had to run and grab my camera before it was to late. That was a joke.

Jonno claims that there are still some old houses around built by very early settlers which have the living rooms facing south and washhouses looking north. Dough! Seems as if they were sort of elsewhere when they decided to build their houses in the southern hemisphere.

On the screenshot below (taken from Google Maps and processed further by myself) you can see the way I walk to the university from our sleepout. If you are interested, then I would recommend you to check out this area on Google map for yourself: Hogan Street is shown in very good quality and you can get a street view… of the sleepout.
17.7.09 12:55


17.7.09 13:11


Raglan: A Day by the Sea

The city of Hamilton is okay. One can live here for a while, but it does not seem to have something special or interesting to it (no sea, hills, pedestrian pricing, etc.). A local told me, that nobody really knows why Hamilton is there. It is not by the sea and no major thing is produced here. Surely the river Waikato may have been a reason for an early settlement. Though I have not seen any ships on the river and I don not think that there is a port here either. “If the University closed down,” The Kiwi theorized.  “Not much would keep the people here.”

 

Yesterday, on Saturday, I left the Hamilton area for the second time since my arrival. I actually wanted to ask Fabiani, if she and Anna (both are from my home University) wanted to join me in town, instead they asked me to come along to Raglan, located one hour west of Hamilton. Anna’s flat mate Denise has a friend’s car at her disposal and was willing to take us along. It turned out to be a good chance to do something exciting on a Saturday. Boy, did that feel good!

 

We drove through downtown Hamilton and left the commercial outskirts behind us. After a few more kilometers we were suddenly in a green rural area. A winding road lead between rolling hills which reminded me strongly of those in Ireland. Eventually we reached the coast of the Tasman See by Raglan. We drove a bit south and parked the car.

 

Wow, the coast is really awesome: It has a long and wide sand beach. But don’t ask me how the body of the dead sheep came there. The wind made streams of sand rush over the beach, creating a second ocean in motion besides the sea. Light and shadow patterned the landscape. It was very windy. We saw a lot of surfers and even someone racing in a small wagon over the beach. The wagon was moved by the wind, as it had a big sail attached to it. Raglan is an internationally renown place among surfers. Above you can see a collage of fotos I took.

 

It’s great to know, that there is more to New Zealand than Hamilton, though I do still enjoy studying here. I am now thinking about buying an inexpensive used car to be able to make such trips more often - and for the time when Caroline comes here in November and December and we will tour around the islands.

19.7.09 01:12


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