adjusting to ‘Kiwi’ life

Me walking to school

So I’m more or less adjusted to life in New Zealand. The accent’s familiar now, but I can’t even try to do it, I just butcher it. I’m loving the small-town feel, the tropical green everywhere (it’s like a jungle with houses popping out), and the clean air. The rumor is correct – water drains the other way (clockwise) in the southern hemisphere. I tested it by swirling the sink water counter-clockwise, but then it reversed by itself. Thanks to everyone who wrote comments and emailed me after my last post – they were really encouraging.

So school’s getting a lot better. So far I’ve been getting A’s on my papers, which is a good sign. I still don’t talk that much in class debates though. And it’s not that I’m scared to speak up. I’m just one of those people that takes time to think things through, and when I finally come up with something to put in, we’re like on a totally different topic. And a lot of times I have no clue what they are talking about, I feel kinda dumb. Oh well. I’ll just write amazing papers. That’s all I’m being graded on.

I’ve switched my classes around a little bit. So I’m taking:

  • Approaches to International Relations – overview and theory stuff
  • Armed Conflict and Human Security – conflicts, rebellions, human rights…
  • Global Civil Society – NGO’s, development, grassroots stuff
  • Global Governance – international institutions, UN, governments…

So a week ago, I woke up randomly at 4:00am and couldn’t sleep for 2 hours. So I decided to start thinking about my thesis. I’m considering doing something along the lines of the role of faith in international politics. It will include issues like separation of church and state vs. theocracies, universal human rights and morality, humanitarian intervention on the basis of faith/morality reasons, the association of Christianity with Westernization, the imposing of religious/cultural values on other countries, etc. Obviously, arguing for something like absolute morality and faith-influenced politics is totally against the grain, but maybe it’ll be provocative enough to be good. So pray that God would guide me developing this topic into a legitimate and credible thesis that would challenge and maybe even influence others who are against it. And pray that I can pump out 60 pages.

I’ve started riding my bike to school. The first day I was too scared to go in the road (cause they don’t really have “bike lanes” here) so I went on the sidewalk. Then this old lady yelled at me and was like “the sidewalk is for pedestrians!” She also had a cane that could be a potential weapon. So I ride in the street now. Going to school is no problem, it’s mostly downhill and takes me like 15 min. Going back is a different story. Holy crap, I’ve never realized how weak my legs are! There’s this one big hill that I have to get off my bike every time and walk up cause I can’t handle it. I felt like such a wimp. BUT….yesterday I rode ALL THE WAY back without getting off. Yeah, I wanted to pass out, but I made it. I’m gonna come back with barbaric thighs and iron calves.

I’ve started getting connected with Karori Baptist Church. This past weekend, I went on a tramp (a hike) with the young adult group. We hiked all afternoon on Saturday, camped out overnight, and hiked for a little on Sunday morning. It was absolutely beautiful walking through the the hills of…somewhere. There’s pics up as well. I also signed up for the worship band, so I’ll be playing random instruments in a few weeks.

But yeah, all in all, everything’s going alright. I’m still ahead in my schoolwork, but it’s getting a little tighter. Not because it’s hard, but because I spend way too much time watching Smallville episodes online. I’m planning on spending the Easter vacation getting ahead on homework, and trying to attend some of the music & cultural events around Wellington.

Oh, and one more thing, I came across the New Zealand national anthem, and it is sooo awesome! It’s pretty much a prayer. I’ll try to post the music clip here a little later. But here are the words:

God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country’s spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom’s ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations’ van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.

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