Monday, June 27, 2011

Jumping off S@%# !!!!

Back to Wellington alive!!

This past weekend was the most amazing, adrenaline pumping weekend of my life!!
We had a nice sushi dinner Friday night (the midwest apparently doesn't have very good seafood... weird how that works) but called it an early one in the name of the road trip!!

Katelyn (love of my life), Sarah, Alex and I set out early Saturday morning in a crappy old Nissan for a nice 5 hour trip up the the center of the North Island to the "Great Lake Taupo", pronounced Toe-Paw. The lake is the largest in New Zealand, and was absolutely breathtaking!! The car ride seemed to last an hour at most, we were all in such awe of the landscape and the Dr. Seus style hills that were littered with sheep, cows, and ponys! We stopped at a cafe about 2 hours south of the lake in a little town called Taihape and had the most amazing coffee and carrot cake I have ever tasted, then continued our trip up north!

Just south of the lake is a "desert" where Mt. Ruapehu sits jutting from the ground blanketed in snow and clouds. It's where they filmed Mt. Doom for the Lord of the Rings! I can totally understand why they came down here for it, the scenery is out of this world! When we finally arrived at the lake we got out and snapped some nice pics by the water and drove right over to NZ's highest water-touch bungy jump :)
Of course I was antsy and went first... The weirdest part is looking down from the edge of a bridge knowing that you are supposed to chuck your body off the platform and free-fall until the cord catches you. It was around 150 feet up and is deemed by many to be the "fastest self-discovery experience". My swan dive was not up to Pocohauntas standards but not to shabby. I bounced around a few times after the initial drop but in all honesty your mind just goes completely blank when you take that leap... I wasn't thinking of anything at all, it kind of reminded me of the scene in Peaceful warrior when he is tossed from the bridge and taught to "take out the garbage". I have never felt my mind so clear and blank, it was wonderful (reflecting back on it) and something I would like to master without involving a bridge and cord wrapped around my feet (though I wouldn't mind doing it again and again and again...).

We went to dinner where they bring out a really hot rock and a slab of raw meat and have you cook your own steak/ prime beef dinner! We were waaayyy too amused by it but had a lovely dinner looking onto the lake and the lights of the little town.

Sunday was another adrenaline filled day. Katelyn and I wanted to end the weekend trip with a jump out of a plane at 15,000 feet up. The company was so nice and the instructors were hilarious. We jumped with 2 older men and our guides had a blast messing with us for the duration of the 15 minute climb to the 15,000 ft altitude. My guide's name was Lee and Katelyn's guide picked up on how freaked out she was an tortured her the whole way up. Some lines included "Oh i was hammered last night when I packed the parachute, hope it works" and "if it doesnt deploy it will give you plenty of time to just blow up your life-vest", along with tugging at our harnesses and giving eachother confused looks like "is that supposed to fit like that? do you think that will hold? what does that strap do?". Oh man hilarious... and then they opened the door at the rear of the plane. The nice thing was how quickly it happens, there is no time to think "holy crap I am jumping out of a plane" because they scoot you down the bench, sit you outside the plane, get you into position and just release!!! The freefall lasted a little over a minute and was the craziest feeling in the world. VERY different from bungy because you really have no perception of how high you are without any vantage points like in bungy... I think its just the idea of being so high up that is the scary part. We deployed at about 6,000 feet and coasted down. Lee let me steer the parachute for a bit as we looked over the lake, desert, mtns and little towns below. He did some CRAZY spinning where we ended up being OVER the parachute in what felt like a death spiral. But we landed safely and as quickly as it started it was over!! Such a cool experience!!

Thats about it with the updates for now! All my ski trip details have been set and I am ready to go down as soon as the darn snow decides to get down here and do its job. So excited to get in the pipe and start throwing some new tricks/ perfecting the ones I def. should have by now!! Hope all is well with everyone, sending out positive vibes as always!!!


Monday, June 20, 2011


First week of work completed! And now I am almost half way through the second (but who's counting). I have to say that while this is an awesome opportunity work wise, the longer I sit at a desk reading about the summer ski camps taking place back in the US while simultaneously waiting for an adequate cover of preseason snow here the more I realize how badly I NEVER WANT TO BE A SUIT!

The last week was pretty hectic in the office. I have officially mailed out my first Press Release to three big Wellington magazines. I have gone to 4 client meetings and have a pretty good grip on what it takes to market a product. While I have loved the trust my boss has put in me, I am slightly overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility bestowed on me from the get go. Again, not a bad thing... I've been working with the head PR guy, Nick, and he has been helpful in understanding how to write a press release and establish contacts with the editors of publications you are trying to get into. I have steared him away from his red pen (the first drafts looked like a warzone) and really learned how to condense my writing which, by the way, both my boss and Nick really like!!!! HUGE relief on that one, and made me feel pretty good since the other intern is still busy skyping his mother daily (in the office, in front of our boss) and struggling with the act of copying and pasting general emails to potential clients.

The office has grown on me and I think the other companies really respect that I am trying to get the most of this experience. There are literally no women (thank god they intimidate the crap out of me) in the office and its been fun talking to people from the other companies that share the office space. Lots of Christchurch stories and a reminder of all the cool things I have to do while in "en-zed".

I am still loving my flat-mates! We went out on friday night and had quite a few funny misadventures which included a run in with smurfs, hot transvestites (amazing shoes), a dance stop in the middle of Cuba Square (bar strip), and a nightclub that must have found the American Boogie NIght mixtape and decided to play it on repeat (the people here LOVED it though, so we danced the night away to MJ).

Saturday was raining off and on so we all did our own workouts and I went over to read the paper and chill at a coffee shop down the street (such an old woman). That night we went to the last rugby game for Wellington's club team. The stadium is right on the harbor and as we were walking up the long terminal the torrential downpour hit (thank god for my raincoat obsession). The game was fun, we were right in the front (not under any cover) and had a blast with the crazy people in our section who insisted on chanting and starting the wave as many times as humanly possible. Finally saw some pretty cute boys, of course on the last game of the season. So despite being sopping wet and a loss for the Hurricanes, we had a really nice time.

Kaitlin (my hysterical house-mate) has this weird love of the elderly. On the bus ride back this cute old little woman missing her entire row of bottom teeth, sat down across from us. She told us how she was running late and made the comment "wouldn't it just be wonderful if we were all perfect". I have never seen someone so enthrawled and excited to hear and old woman speak, but K was freaking hysterical... ssooo excited and of course would not shut up about how "ADORABLE" her little hat and coat were. oohh man, funny stuff? Maybe not, guess you had to be there.

Sunday was chill too, I went over to Te Papa (the museum of NZ) and spent a good 4 hours there looking around and educating myself about the Maori (natives) and the rest of the culture. Its kind of relaxing to go around a foreign city and just soak everything in! Of course made a stop in at my coffee shop, they love that I am from America, though I tend to joke about being an annoying "Murican". Overall, awesome weekend but big plans are in the works for next weekend!! I am having withdraws from the lack of adrenaline rush lately so I will be indulging in that very soon!! Not to mention a serious desire for Taco Bell, easy mac and Pizza Republica (we've all made lists of the food we want when we go back). Can't believe I've only been down here for 2 weeks, I feel like I know the city backwards and forwards already! Getting out for some adventures very soon! Hope all is well with everyone, sending out positive vibes as usual. PRAY FOR SNOW (colorado seems to be hoarding it still...)



Monday, June 13, 2011

The land of Kiwis

Cheers from Wellington, New Zealand!!

I have been here for about 5 days and feel much more settled and comfortable with the country's capital. I live with 4 other girls (all from the midwest) in a flat in the city; it is walking distance to EVERYTHING and definitely makes life easy as far as getting to work, restaurants, bars... you know, the important things :)

My roommates are hysterical, and took me out my first night (friday) to get a feel for Wellington and meet some of the Kiwis they had befriended. The city is pretty small, about 500,000 people, but is so vibrant with live music, fun bars, tons of museums, and a young business district where I intern 5 days a week. The company is in the starting stages but has already really taken over in Wellington tourism and looks to quickly expand into Auckland, Queenstown, and other major cities on both the North and South Islands.

Working life is def not what I expected, the days are much longer than I thought but its been great working for this company as my second day here I am already writing press releases and scheduling meetings with potential customers. Not the coffee and copy job so many interns have to suffer through, I actually feel like I am on the road to some great work experience (even though it is a bit scary having no clue what I am doing)! Oh isn't growing up fun.

All the girls I live with and I have sat down and created lists of things we would like to do while here. Obviously as the adrenaline junkie I have found the most absurd things to do, especially in Queenstown (the adventure capital of the WORLD). There is this zip-line from hell you can do where they pretty much strap you to a motorized stretcher attached to a zipline wire and send you across a canyon... then there is the necessary Bungee jumping field trip, it was invented here so it would be a sin not to do it. Skydiving (tommy) and as much skiing and exploring as I can fit into a weekend/ week day (when they are free).

I went on a jog the other morning up Mt. Victoria, which our flat is perfectly situated on the base of, and the look-out at the top was breathtaking. It is winter here so we are to start expecting some more cloudy, rainy, mild days but since sunday we have been blessed with sun and a crisp breeze. I am looking forward to the meetings with Ben (CEO) at the end of the week (the other intern wasn't invited, its safe to say i'm kicking his butt) and the rugby game/ other festivities we have planned for the weekend!! The hunt for a hot kiwi man-friend is ON.

Speaking of Kiwis... went to the zoo on Sunday with some of the girls and had an absolute bast. Fed giraffes, saw some kangaroos and KIWIS!!!!! they have a 1-legged one named Tahi (which means 1 in the native language Maori). Lots of fun so far and looking like there is only more of it to come!!! Loving the land of the Kiwis but missing the fam! Hope all is well with all the other crazies interning abroad, Europe is being overrun with Cal Lax-rats, wish I could get over there to join :)

Lots of love and sending positive vibes to everyone, especially those affected by yet another earthquake in Christchurch.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thats a Wrap!

Last day in Colorado!!! I've been running around like a crazy person for the past few days trying to make sure that all my ducks are in a row (fingers crossed they are). I'm pretty sure I have everything but at this point I would get on a plane without any baggage just to get there already!!

Today is the last day coaching the 180 lax rats :(
I have to admit that being with that group of girls has been the highlight of my spring. Its unbelievable how much all of them have grown and almost creepy how emotional I am getting about leaving them. First summer without them in like 4 years!! But I am all for breaking out of the routine and I am definitely ready to get out and experience something new!! I will be following up with pics and updates from down-under!! Planning out the big things I have to do while I'm down there and bungee jumping may be my inaugural activity my first weekend... why not start things with a bang?? Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer, it feels like everyone is globetrotting this summer, how are all the Euro travelers doing?? Miss everyone as usual!