Here are the long awaited pictures of my travels here in New Zealand. I'll go in chronological order. Enjoy!

This was my view from the plane coming into Auckland, NZ.

This is my flatmate Kestrel and I at Sumner Beach.

Here I am hanging on for dear life on a jumpy swing thing in a playground at the Botanical Gardens. (By the way, this thing was amazing - so fun.)

And here is the beautiful New Brighton Beach.

The group in Hanmer Springs. (From left to right : Laurel, Laura, Kestrel, Justin, Becky, and Matt)

Of course, these are just a select few of the pictures I have, but I thought they would give you the best idea of the BEAUTY that is New Zealand. I hope you like them!

(Yeah I know the formatting on this post is a little messed up - like the words being off centered and such- but my computer illiterate brain can't fix it. Trust me, I've tried. So sorry to those perfectionists out there.)


Hanmer Springs and so much more

Yesterday I went to a place called Hanmer springs (its about 2 hours - don't know miles - northwest of here) and it was great. I spent like 4 hours in thermal pools, looking at the snow-capped mountains in the distance. So great. Well, it was great until I had to get out of the pool - it wasn't exactly a warm day. In fact it was pretty cold. But it was worth it.

There are so many Americans here. Half of my professors are American and just about all of the people I hang out with are too. I'm not sure I'm getting the full Kiwi experience here. Of course, this place isn't that different than the States in a lot of ways. I mean, they get our music, our movies, our TV shows - the American media is all over this place. And my accent isn't cool. That makes me kind of sad. Not only do they hear the American accent all the time, making it anything but special, but I also think that they don't like it much. I've heard that they think the American accent is annoying. Thats pretty understandable. I mean they are so articulate and well spoken and they use big words; we probably sound like idiots when we talk. Or maybe its just me. I still have trouble understanding them sometimes. Like this girl I met in one of my classes was asking me if I had any pets, but I kept hearing peets, so i didn't have a clue what she was talking about. Finally, she slowed it down, and asked if I owned any animals. I finally got it. I told her I used to have a dog named Buddy, but it died, and my parents didn't even tell me, and I was really upset about it. I have a feeling that was too much information.

The class we have together is Personality Psychology. We have our lab together too. We played this game in lab called "The Pairing game." Everyone is given a card with three personality adjectives on it and we can't look at it. We all go to the middle of the room and hold up our card so everyone else can see it and we have to find someone that we would want as a partner. It took me a long time to find someone who wanted me. Everyone kept laughing when they saw my card. Finally someone felt sorry for me and paired with me (I didn't think I had much room to be picky so I would have taken whoever wanted me). Then we had to tell the lab instructor whether we thought we had good or bad personality traits, or a mixture of both. I figured I had all bad. This is what I had:
Low self-esteem
Ha Ha very funny. Now I know why everyone was laughing. Still don't know why no one wanted me...
By the way for all of you who wanted my address. here it is:
Jessica Lambert
University Hall
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4760
Christchurch, New Zealand
I like getting mail...
One last thing - SO sorry that I haven't posted pictures yet...they will be coming shortly. And they will be worth the wait.



A couple of nights ago I had my first taste of Vegemite. I only had a little piece of toast with a small dot of vegemite, but oh man could I taste it. It is some strong stuff. I think its made out of yeast extract or something weird like that, but it has some vegetable spices in it too...I think. I don't really know what its made of exactly. Anyway, the Kiwis here love it. They put in on toast, but they only put a little bit. Apparently its something you have to grow up on to love. (Kind of like Americans with peanut butter and jelly - all of the Kiwis I have met think peanut butter and jelly is a disgusting combination).

Last night Josh gave Kepler $5 to eat a peice of toast with a lot of Vegemite on it. He agreed, but he almost couldn't finish it. It was hilarious. I'll have to get Kestrel to send me the pics. My advice to you: If you ever come to New Zealand, and you want to try the Vegemite, don't think you can spread it on like peanut butter...you'll regret it big time.

It is cold and it is wet and it is windy. Having an umbrella is no good because the wind just blows it away and you get wet anyway. Hopefully it will be better by this weekend. Hows the weather in Bama? No wait, don't tell me. I don't think I want to know. I'm sure its miserable...

Ok I must get to class. Sorry for such a boring post.


The Ultimate Bonding Experience

Kestrel and I had a moment yesterday. I never would have expected it. It came completely out of the blue, but it was beautiful, and I now know that I am meant to be here, and I am meant to be friends with this wonderful, beautiful girl. It happened last night, after a nice game of B.S. that my dear flatmate revealed to me that she liked Hanson. I couldn't believe my ears. I wanted to cry; I wanted to leap with joy. It was beautiful. I mean she really is a fan. I haven't met a fellow Hanson fan in a really long time. Or ever for that matter. It was very encouraging...there may be more somewhere out there...

But besides that, we have been having some really interesting conversations. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but all of the friends I've made down have very different views than I am used to. They are all pretty liberal, they hate Bush, they hate religion for the most part. Kestrel is a feminist - she actually lives in the feminist dorm at her school. And she's pro-choice, which if any of you know me well you that that I usually don't get along well with people who are pro-choice. But I really do love Kestrel and we have a good time together. Our conversations can be a bit draining though - good, but draining. I sometimes have a hard time getting my point across. Kestrel and Kepler (another guy that goes to school with Kestrel in the states) both are extrememly intellectual and analytical and that sort of thing. They love to question things and to learn things. I like that about them a lot. I just wish I was a bit more articulate.

It also frustrates me that know little to nothing about politics and government and all of that. I don't have much to say about it, so those conversations I'm just stuck listening to how much Bush sucks and how his views suck and how America sucks. Of course their language is a bit different. But i feel so ignorant; I don't even know whats going on in my own country. I hate that.

On a different note, I have recently made an observation that I have found rather interesting. It is going to sound silly, but I think it really portrays something deeper. Poeple here don't typically get braces. The teeth they have are the teeth they keep. And its beautiful. They have such character and originality. I mean a few people have naturally straight teeth (like my gorgeous flatmate Greg) but most people have a few irregularities with their teeth. I know its a weird thing to notice, but it really does tend to set them apart. I see these beautiful blonde skinny girls with crooked teeth and it makes me smile because you would never see that in the States, at least not typically. I will say that the poeple here are much more stylish and trendy when it comes to what they wear (sort of that European influence), but at the same time they don't seem as materialistic as people in the US. I will have to go deeper in this hypothesis...


Sweet mercy this place is beautiful

Yesterday I went hiking with my flatmate Kestrel and a few other friends (yes, I have friends) and the things I saw were absolutely breathtaking. First, we went down to the coast at Sumner. You know the postcards you always see with the rocky shoreline and cliffs along the water and mountains out in the horizon? Well this was so much better. I wish I had my pictures developed. We went hiking along this trail that led us up the mountains and along the cliffs close to the shoreline. It was pretty steep in places, hard to climb sometimes, but so worth the view. At one point Kestrel, Dominic, and I went down to this little cliff/peninsula thing and we could look back to the cliff behind us and the see the waves crashing on the shore below us. The birds were flying, the seal was playing, I was freaking out by the absolute amazing beauty. The sun set. I wanted to live there. It was so beautiful.

And that was just in one day. One day of beauty. And I have four more months to go. So great.

I met my other two flatmates today. They seem really nice. Oh, but I found out one small problem. One of them is ridiculously attractive. God help me.

Jon Mark...yes its cold here. I think its like in the 30s and 40s. Colder up the mountains. But really not as bad as I was expecting.

Hannah...I miss you too!! I hope everything is going well. I'll definitely come visit you when I get back to the states.

School starts tomorrow. I'm kind of nervous. Actually I don't think I have classes on Mondays, so officially I don't have class until Tuesday. Still nervous.

Oh, so as some of you know Rugby is huge here. Last night was the last game (or test as they call it) of the Lions tour. They played against the New Zealand All Blacks, which happens only once in 12 years so it was a huge deal. I watched the game at the All Blacks home bar, called the Holy Grail, and it was the most intense game I've ever seen in my life. Football does not compare. Rugby goes very fast, its continuous, and its hard core. The guys that play are huge and fast and intense. It was so awesome. At the beginning of the game the All Blacks did the Haka, which is a Maori chant they do at the beginning of every game. It was really cool. And intimidating. You should watch it sometime.

So I think thats about it for now. Love you guys.


I have arrived

Hey everybody, I have finally been able to get access to a computer, so here I am.

I have been in New Zealand 3 days now. I still can't believe it. It is so surreal. Everything has gone pretty well. The flight over was pretty gruelling; I got to the airport in Atlanta Sunday around 12:30pm and didn't get to Christchurch until Tuesday at about 2am Atlanta time (which is 7pm local time). I was exhausted. Five planes. I lamost missed the one to Sydney from San Fransisco because my flight in Denver was delayed an hour and a half. But everyhting worked out pretty well. All my luggage got here fine.

I got to see the sunrise in Sydney. That was pretty amazing. I have to say the flight to Auckland was the best. While we were flying over the Pacific all you could see was this sea of clouds. It was beatiful. Then coming in for the landing in New Zealand you could see the rocky shoreline surrounded by fog. I've never seen anything like it. I'll post the pictures as soon as i get them developed.

The place I'm staying is pretty cool too. Its called University Hall; I'm staying in the flats and I have 4 flatmates. I've only met Kestrel and Yence (not sure if I spelled his name right). Kestrel is from Vermont; she is a really cool chick - we get along really well. Yence is from Germany and the other two are Kiwis (but I haven't met them yet). By the way, a Kiwi is what they call people from New Zealand.

So far I've met a lot of Americans - a lot more than I had anticipated. I hung out with a lot of them last night. They're a lot different than me so its kind of wierd sometimes. Awkward I mean. There are a few that I have a lot in common with and can talk to, but for a lot of them, all they want to talk about is how many beers it takes them to get drunk. Thats another thing, drinking is a huge part of the culture here. I mean when I went to the University Hall welcoming get together, they gave us beer. The head of hall gave us beer. I was surprised (all of the americans were surprised), but it seemed to be completely natural. And you only have to be 18 to drink here. Thats probably why a lot of Americans come here.

It was shocking to a lot of people that I don't drink. One of the resident supervisor guys took us out to town last night to go to some of the local bars and clubs, but he took us to his house for a few drinks first. I got a sprite. I mean I wasn't the only one not drinking alcohol, but it was funny the way Mike (the RA) treated me at first. When I said I didn't want anything he came up to me and asked what i wanted again, he even stooped down (I was sitting) and asked me, like he was sorry for me or something. I mean I really don't have a problem with drinking, but I do have a problem with getting drunk, and thats the main reason they drink here. But I must say I had a really good time hanging out with them. Only a couple of the guys got drunk (including Mike) but me and Kestrel and a couple of the other girsl kind of stuck together and hung out. Kestrel isn't really a big partier or drinker either, so thats good.

Kestrel and I actually had a really good conversation over lunch yesterday. She was asking me about my religion and about what I believed. (She doesn't really know what she believes in yet). So anyway it was really cool, and different, for me to talk to someone who really doesn't have a clue what Christianity is. Every time I would say something, she would ask what I meant by it. Like she didn't undertand what "following Jesus" meant or what "conviction" meant. So I really got to explain about who Jesus is and what he's done for me and my family. She was really curious and thought it was really interesting.

Right now I'm just trying to be a good example of a Christian. I haven't met anyone else yet who is a Christian, and honestly I'm scared of everyone else rubbing off on me. I mean I want them to impact me in a lot of ways, but not in the ways that will compromise who I am in Christ, who God wants me to be.

So I guess those are the high points of whats going on over here. School starts Monday. Scary. They teach a lot different here. We'll see how it goes. I'll keep you posted. I love you guys!


Parties, beamers, and anger management skills

This will probably be my last post before I go to New Zealand. My parents are throwing me a going away party tonight at The Olive Tree (the coffee shop/bookstore they own). I've never had a going away party before. However, I think it will be mostly my parents' friends rather than my friends. My friends don't really live here any more. Or they just don't talk to me anymore. Sad how that happens.

So a few interesting things have happened in the last couple of days. My dad got a Beamer. Thats right, my 65 year old father has a BMW motorcycle. Its the same kind he had when i was a baby and he would sit me in the front and ride around with me. He is gonna ride around with his biker buddies that he ministers with. Pretty cool.

Yesterday my friend Charity punched her fist through her glass door. She got a litle angry at one of her sisters. It took everything she had not to punch her sister. I went with her to the emergency room, but she didn't need stitches, so we just left. We decided she needed to work on her anger management skills.

Speaking of anger management skills, I nearly broke the arm of a little 12 year old boy that lives down the street from me - on purpose. He slapped my rear. I don't handle things like that very well. God help him if I ever see him again. Good thing I'll have four months in a different hemisphere to cool off.

Well I guess thats all for now. I'll be writing again hopefully in a few days. I love you guys! Please pray for me on the way there - you know, that I don't get lost in the airport or miss a flight or crash to my death, etc.