Sunday, 29 July 2012

Week 11 - 'Going North' - A visit to Auckland with Toni & Monica, & embarrassing tea times!

Hello Everyone!
I still haven't seen the Olympic opening Ceremony, but heard great things, so that will be my aim for the next few days! Hope everyone enjoyed the spectacle! I know you did Jen (saw your Fb pics)! The weeks are becoming quite routine now, and I mean that in a good way. I feel like I have been here 6 months rather than almost 3 months, but with friends - Mark & Jenny arriving in the next week or so, I'm sure I'll be reminded of my old life! 
Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Lane on your news, I'll be very sorry to miss out on that development, let's Skype soon! And a little message for you Julia - this week will be mostly pictures, hope that helps ;) ) 
Ok Ok, on to this week. The main focus is kind of work related, but only in part. After heading down to the South Island last weekend, I headed north this weekend and to Auckland (a third or more of the total population live in that part of the country), and so does my former Manchester work mate - Tony, with his partner Monica. Me and Tony worked together at the infamous Kath Locke Centre in Hulme, Manchester in a Community Mental Health Team back in 2007. Funny how we are both now living and working here in NZ for mental health services!  

So early Saturday Morning (And I do mean early - as this photo shows...) 
Early morning @ Wellington Airport
I got another JET STAR flight, and this time I got a window seat, which allowed me to get some great air shots overlooking my home town of Wellington....
Wellington by Air
After arriving at Auckland and being met my Tony at the airport, we drove to his place, where Monica made a lovely cooked breakfast! We made a plan of action and were soon heading off to explore the surrounding areas of Auckland. I have previously spent my time in Auckland pretty much exploring the centre of the city, so having local guides to show the more 'real' side of life in Auckland was a very welcome change. Wellington (my city) is very compact (some would say small), though Auckland is quite the opposite, very spread out, with different bays, and areas, that require car travel to access all the places around...
I think you get the idea that New Zealand is quite a hilly place, which mean plenty of walks, and hills with lovely views to explore! Just like these....
Tony & Me

Views of Auckland

Monica & Me
So after the day exploring the outskirts, we headed into the city for drinks and dinner, but not before a little shower and a city centre rainbow.

On the way to dinner, we walked through the wharf area, to get lovely views of the city by night, see below... and also stumbled across a rather interesting entrance to this particular restaurant.. as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to get a photo for my good friend Mr Lane! Hope you it enjoy it matey! 
Auckland City
For you Carl!

Check out 'level of heat' (Some Kiwi's don't do spicy)
Sunday was another chance to explore the surrounding areas, with Tony & Monica taking me to one of the little bays around Auckland, for bench and a meet up with some of their friends. One of them was a guy called Ian, a mad Manchester City fan, who was also from near Manchester , who entertained us through lunch, with tales of a recent visit home. A post lunch walk along the bay followed...
Tony & Monica
Windy Walks - Me & Tony
EMBARRASSING TEA TIME - the other major event of the week was a meeting with two OT students (Aimee & & Sarah) from Otago Polytechnic. This is one of two educational establishments that teach the OT degree here in New Zealand.  The other being AUT in Auckland. I met Aimee and Sarah at a very brief training session in the hospital last week. So I asked them if they'd meet up with me, (and hopefully didn't sound too odd in the process). Obviously I didn't seem too weird, and they agreed to meet up at a nearby mall. We met, and I had 100 questions in my head I wanted to know about OT education, so we found a cafe in the mall, and started asking questions as we sat down with our drinks, I was about to take a sip of my cup of tea, when Aimee said "stop, you just put salt in that"... as I looked in at the packet, and realised she was not joking, I felt pretty stupid, not quite the impression I had wanted to make! I got another cup, and felt relieved that at least they had noticed what I had done, as they were about 2 seconds away from me spraying a cup tea all over them! 
Having tried to act like nothing had happened, I continued to bombard them with questions about the process to get on the OT course, the costs of studying here (like having to pay for all their own placements costs) which can be a long long way from their University, and some of the on-line teaching that happens on their course, alongside lectures, tutorials and workshops. I was surprised to hear that the 3 year degree is not an Honours course, (you have to do a fourth year for an Honours Degree). I came away with lots of good information from the student's perspective, and I have to say that Aimee, Sarah, and a third student I met Briely at a professional meeting, have given a good account of OT students here. There are some signifiant differences in the education of OT's here, compared to the UK, and other countries, and I look forward to learning more... Hopefully next time, I'll make a better impression! 

Regards from New Zealand! 

1 comment:

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