yeah i know...I changed my template again...apparently i get bored pretty easily

Back to school again...

So i am back in Christchurch now, trying to get two papers done before next Friday. After that, its smooth sailing for the rest of the semester - just two more tests and then finals.

I got back from the road trip yesterday. I am so tired. After the 33k hike we went to Nelson to explore Abel Tasman. That was probably my favorite part of the trip. The first day we kayaked 16k up the coast with our guide Hot Andy. His name is actually just Andy, but somehow it became Hot Andy (I think it was Kestrel who first said it) and the name just stuck, although we never actually called him that to his face. He is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met. And yes, he is also hot, but really it's his personality that made him that way. The scenery was so beautiful - and we got to see seals. It was pretty tiring though, especially since my poor arms don't get to experience much excercise. We stopped in Bark Bay where we spent the night in a hut. Before going to bed the 5 of us went down to the beach to look at the stars. You really can't fully appreciate a clear starry night until you've experienced it out in the middle of the wilderness, without any form of artificial light, and the sound of waves crashing in front of you. Truly magnificent. The next day we hiked up to the northern part of Abel Tasman (can't rememebr how to spell the name) and then took a water taxi back down to the bottom.

After that we went to St. Anaud to a ski area (I didn't ski - just read and drank Chai in the cafe). The next day we drove to Greymouth, which is a beautiful drive along the west coast, and I took a bus back home so I could get to work on my papers.

Today was a beautiful day. It was somewhat warm - mid 60s maybe - so I decided to take a blanket outside and read. I haven't done that in a long time. I used to do it all the time in Auburn, either in the circle where I lived or on Samford lawn. I had forgotten how relaxing it is. I got to wear my favorite long green skirt too and eat a new fave - an apple with peanut butter.

I think my toenail is going to come off. It's purple and it still hurts. I'm definitely not looking forward to that day. No pain, no gain, right? I hate that saying.



So I finished the Queen Charlotte track 2 days ago and I am still in pain. Some advice: never ever hike a 2 day 33k trail in brand new hiking boots. In fact, you probably shouldn't even try it in worn in hiking boots, unless you are sure you're up to the challenge. It was so intense. The first day we went 12 kilometres (we were supposed to go about 20 but it was getting too dark by the time we got to the checkpoint, so we took a boat the rest of the way to our hostel). That took us about 4 1/2 hours, which is actually a really long time, but we stopped to take pictures of the amazing views. We were in the Marlboro Sounds which is on the northern tip of the South Island - basically mountains surrounded by bays and coves; it was really beautiful. That first day wasn't so hard. The second day pushed my body to its limit. It's really amazing what the human body can do even when your mind thinks it can't. We went 21 kilometres that second day. I've never walked that far before, let alone hiked through mountains. Not only was the distance difficult, but we also had a boat to catch at 4:00, so we had to book it the whole way. That last 5k was really difficult; everything hurt. My right foot was having some serious problems - my achilles was bruised and swollen (still is), I stubbed my big toe really bad (it is now purple and the toenail is raised), and every muscle was on fire. I still walk with a limp. It kinda goes like this: step [ouch] step [oohh] step [sweet mercy] step [ow] step... But when I got to the wharf at the end it was so worth it. I hiked 33k in two days through the wilderness of New Zealand. Talk about an adventure. I never thought I would be able to do that. Although I was pretty miserable in the end, I know I would still do it even if I knew the pain I was going to be going through.

I remember towards the middle of the hike the second day I was walking alone (the group split up as the hike went on) and I was on a somewhat straight path (relief) overlooking the coast. Talk about some amazing God time. It was just me and Him and this beautiful paradise that He had made. I was talking to him, and at one point I was seriously thinking I wasn't going to make it. Then I saw the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen and I remembered how it symbolized a promise. Right then he promised me that I would make it. And guess what? I did. And with two hours to spare. It only took me a little over six hours and I was expecting it to take about eight.

We're supposed to go on another hiking/kayaking trip tomorrow or the next day. I think it's about 15k. What have I gotten myself into? I should be a healthy beast by the time I get back.

November 14th. Thats when I get back. Such a long time. I miss you guys so much. I'm thinking 4 1/2 months is a little too long. I would be fine coming abck in another couple of weeks, but I have 2 1/2 more months to go. Such a long time!

How is the first week of school going? Talk to me!


And the winner is...

Ok so I made my decision on where to go for the break. New Zealand. Pretty crazy, eh? Its actually a lot crazier than you may think. There are five of us in a car with hiking/camping gear, food, clothes and various other necesities for a ten day trip across the South Island. Right now I'm using a computer in a hostel in Picton (which is at the northern tip of the South Island).
Guess what I was doing this morning. Well, you know, the usual - snorkling in the Pacific with a pod of 200 dolphins. Yeah it was amazing. Seriously a dream come true. I remember swimming in the bay across from my house and I would see a family of five or six dolphins on the other side. I would make stupid noises to try and get their attention, but I never got very close. This moring I was swimming with them - I mean there were hundreds of them swimming around me, under me - and they were inches from me.
That was actually in Kaikoura, a little south of Picton and north of Christchurch. The scenery was amazing. There were huge snowcapped mountains to our left and the Pacific Ocean to our right. Totally surreal.
Tomorrow we're going on the Queen Charlotte track at the Marlboro Sounds (in Picton). Its a two day hike. I even got a real bacpack and sleeping bag and hiking boots. I'm a real tramper. In New Zealand.
I'm trying not to think about the two papers I have due when I get back (that I haven't started on yet). I'm here for more than just school, right?
I have to say, it made me really sad when I read the XA e-mail about the kick-off BBQ and all of the fun stuff that was plannd for the week, knowng I wasn't going to be there. I remember my first kick-off BBQ my freshman year. I met kelly fly there. Oh man I'm gonna cry.
Ok well I only have about 2 minutes left on this thing so I'm gonna go. Love you guys!


I just took two of the hardest tests of my life - one last night and one this morning. The one last night was for Personality Psychology and the one this morning was for Sensation and Perception Psychology. They were ridiculously difficult. And I even studied. A lot. I couldn't believe some of those questions. How am I supposed to remember what some old guy said and exactly why he thought that we can perceive a chair even if it looks diferent from other chairs? Especially when I have to remember a bunch of other old guys' opinions too. Ugh.

Oh, well. At least its over with.

I need to decide what to do for holidays (a.k.a. spring break). We have two weeks off after next week. Figi? Australia? Cruising around the south island? Maybe a trip to North island? Tonga? So many choices. I really wanna go either to Figi or Brisbane and the outback (Australia). Any suggestions? We all know how indecisive I am. Oh by the way...I am now on facebook.


Tonight at dinner I ate something called Frog in a Hole.


I like it here, but I don't really feel here sometimes. Kinda hard to explain. It's like "Jessi" isn't just my body, heart, mind, and soul - it's more like body, heart, mind, soul, mom, dad, zack, calla maria, auburn, chi alpha, God, 11327 county road 26, gulf shores high school, charity and the girls, melissa, steven, the pier, krissy-ro, Christian Life Church...all of these things make me. well, not in that particular order obviously. but now i'm cut off from all of those things (except for God). like parts of me are missing now and i have to grow new limbs. its so much harder to function in the in-between times. i have to learn how to walk all over again.


feeling known

I went shopping with my friend Emily today. We were looking for jeans, but of course I ended up getting more than jeans. One of the things I got, Emily picked out for me. She said it looked like such a Jessi sweater. How cool is it that she knows a Jessi sweater when she sees one? When I got home and showed my stuff to Kestrel, she said the same thing. "That's so you."

I am finally beginning to feel known.

Sunday we went tramping (hiking) near Hanmer Springs. It took us 3 hours to get there though, instead of the 2 we thought it would take. There were 6 people in the car, four in the back - I was in the back. Fun times. My butt is still sore.

But thats not the half of it. Two hours into the hike it started raining. And it was cold. We decided to go ahead and turn back. It was a long walk back to the car. By the time we got back we were completely soaked and muddy. Then we had climb into the Honda Concierto and drive the three hours back - wet, muddy, and cold. The heat was blasting, the windows were completely fogged. It was miserable. But it was an incredible bonding experience. As we cuddled for warmth in the back seat, Josh continued his stories about his Jewish schooling- how he cheated his way through it (apparently public school kids learned how to cheat from the Jews) and how his dating a non-Jew isn't going over too well with grandma. Justin says he's more of a Jew than he realized. Josh isn't sure if there even is a God. Justin lets me put my head on his shoulder and sleep. (Don't worry, I'm not his type...he bats for the other team if you know what I mean). Random bursts from the radio sing out. Kepler sings along. We keep readjusting. We are getting more and more comfortable with each other. There's no longer a such thing as "personal space." Kestrel gives me an oreo, Justin is appalled that we would eat such a vile and unhealthy food. He is especially appalled at Kestrel, her being such a hippie. Rosie is driving; she hates having to drive so slow on the unfamiliar roads - she thinks the people behind her are getting annoyed. She gets them to pass her as much as she can.

I am really starting to know these people...

I even let them borrow my flip flops when we stop to get pizza and chinese takeout. (they are the only shoes that aren't soaked and muddy). Its a beautiful thing.