After my first semester in New Zealand came to a close, my next question was: What am I going to do for the break between semesters? Because of the way that the school year works in New Zealand, the break that would be winter break at SDSU is actually the summer break for AUT. Right when the semester ended I traveled to Sydney, Australia with some friends (you can see my vlog about it in my previous blog post). But I still had from the end of November until the 24th of February. So I thought it would be fun to talk about what I’ve been doing for the past couple months.
In December I went to this event called Christmas in the Park, which was located in the Auckland Domain, one of the largest parks in the city. This event was like an outdoor music festival, a large variety of artists, both singers and dancers who performed both Christmas classics as well as covers of popular songs from different genres and original songs. The night ended with a fireworks show that was synced to a medley from P!nk.
For Christmas, it was a different experience celebrating it in the summer instead of the usual winter weather that I am accustomed to. My flat mate’s family was kind enough to invite me and another flat mate over to celebrate the holiday with their family. For dinner on Christmas Eve, we had a ‘traditional’ New Zealand BBQ, with sausages, skewers, potato salad, and grilled veggies. Christmas morning we had pancakes and opened presents. My flat mate took us to her grandparent’s house for Christmas lunch, and then we went back to her house for dessert. The flat mate and I who are both from the states made a pumpkin pie for dessert, and our flat mate’s dad made a pavlova, which is a popular New Zealand dessert.
For New Year’s Eve, one of my flat mates and I went to a night market, then watched the fireworks display off the Skytower from an intersection right down the hill from the tower, as they closed down the streets surrounding the city. It was a beautiful display, and there was a synchronized laser show off the side of the tower. It was a truly memorable experience counting down with hundreds of people in the streets of downtown. Because I am Japanese, I’m used to spending the day with my family and having traditional foods that are supposedly for good luck in the coming year. So for New Year’s Day, I made my flat mates soba noodles, because they are meant to symbolize good luck.
In January, I went to Napier which is a cute coastal town on the eastern side of the North Island. The whole town was rebuilt in a 1920s style, giving it a Gatsby-esque vibe after a major earthquake that hit the town in the 1920s. There I explored the downtown main street, the beach, various parks and viewpoints. I visited a museum that had exhibits of the town’s history, an exhibit for F. Scott Fitzgerald (Author of The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night), as well as an exhibit of various artifacts that have made their way from around the world to Napier. I also went to a winery, as Napier is located in the Hawke’s Bay region, which is one of the top regions in New Zealand for wineries to grow a variety of grapes.
Throughout January and February, I’ve been exploring various parks and events going on in the city. One of my favorites are on Friday nights during the summer season, where there is this park called Silo Park that shows movies that are projected off the side of a silo. A group of friends and I have made it a weekly thing of where we meet up and go see the movie of the week. So far we’ve seen: the 2019 “Aladdin,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Yesterday,” “2040,” “Rocketman,” and “The Farewell.” It’s a lot of fun, there’s a variety of food trucks that come every week, and people set up picnic blankets in front of the silo and hang out until the movie starts.
While I’ve had fun exploring new places in the country and city that I am lucky enough to call home for a year, I am excited for the semester to start at the end of February so that I can meet all of the new exchange students and see what the new semester has in store.
Until my next post!
Kiyomi Nomura is a fourth-year business marketing major at SDSU abroad studying at the Auckland University of Technology for the 2019-2020 academic year.
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