Tuesday was my first day back at school after break and it was actually awesome! I ended up getting into a conversation with a woman who moved to New Zealand about 15 years ago and has struggled with the same things that I am. From understanding the accent to becoming integrated into the culture at the university, it was unbelievably nice to know that I’m not the only one who’s struggled. On top of that we had an absolutely phenomenal artist talk from a composer at the university. Tuesday was also the day that Michael had his first shift at Academy! Of course he loved it, and the day wasn’t over yet. That evening we drove to Matakana for a special pre-screening of the new Avengers movie (that’s right, we got to see it a whole week and a half before you!). Michael had planned on hosting trivia for the public opening of the movie on Wednesday night and had his regular shift Thursday so we stayed in Matakana thru Thursday.
On Saturday we got to experience our very first ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) day. Traditionally this entails going to a dawn service but the good people in charge of the ceremony kindly added one at 10:30 to save us from waking up at four AM. The service was held outside of the Auckland War Memorial in the Auckland Domain. It was a beautiful day, which was especially lucky because we walked there. The ceremony included bagpipes, wreaths, flags, men and woman in uniform, and several flyovers by different kinds of aircraft. It was really a touching and educational experience. They way war was talked about differs some from the way it’s talked about in the U.S. There’s a greater emphasis on learning from experience and keeping peace and less talk of heroism and defense.
Sunday Michael and I took a leisurely trip to the zoo (and again I forgot my camera). We found that the zoo is much busier on weekends, especially with adorable yet space-wasting babies in strollers. The red pandas were especially active and we lucked into coming upon an exhibit of pygmy marmosets (tiny monkeys) being fed. Even though they’re tiny, the ground those little guys could cover with a jump was pretty amazing. Apparently food makes them excited.
More pictures of ANZAC day and Matakana are on my ===> facebook <===