Sunday, 24 February 2013

Weeks 40 & 41 - Adventure weekend, a fresh love for life and another great learning opportunity!

Hi Everybody, well it's a 'double-header' this week, yes two posts! This is for two reasons - 1) I was away last weekend and had an amazing adventure weekend, 2) The internet connection was only just installed this week. (Yes 'Chorus' - who I publicly name and shame were almost as incompetent as BT in the UK, at delivering anything close to what I would call decent customer service).  So get a cup of tea, sit down, get comfortable, and read on...

Ok, straight to it then, Week 40 was pretty special in many ways, but ended in spectacular style with an amazing weekend away with one of the 'Meet-up' groups I joined - ADVENTURE WELLINGTON.
Prior to the weekend there had been two other big events in my life. 1) The start of my first OT student's placement, which I had some apprehension about and lots of excitement too, and 2) The visit of three family friends, including the parents of a friend from Junior school who have known me since I was about 5! This led to a busy mid-week with dinners and drinks (Thanks very much for that!).

For just $250 per person (£125), myself and my flat mate Kala, had booked on this weekend which included travel to and from Tongariro (4 hour drive), meals (x2 breakfast, packed lunch and BBQ dinner, 2 nights accommodation, AND THEN... white water river rafting, gorging, and either abseiling or caving! Bargain!!!!!! 
We left Wellington at 16:30 from the train station (where I met the other 26 folks going on the trip), and stopped off briefly for a quick dinner in the famous little town called 'Bulls'. I Only mention it because almost every sign in this town makes the most of it's unusual name! Have a look below!  
Genuine sign in the town called 'Bulls'
Another genuine sign in the town of 'Bulls'
Having reached out destination about 22:30 we had a quick briefing, bundled ourselves into random rooms, I got 2 snorers in my room! A few of us stepped outside for some of the best star-gazing I have ever seen! After 2 minutes of standing outside in the pitch black night in the middle of 'middle earth' almost every star in the sky became visible, as did several shooting stars! A great way to start the trip!
The group was split into two so whilst one group went Gorging (walking through a gorge / climbing in, over / around it), the other half went river rafting.  I could talk all day about the gorge walk, but I'll just show pictures instead, as they pretty much say it all! No pics available of the river rafting as we all jumped in the river / or fell out so it wasn't safe for my camera! 
Me jumping into the river (Gorging)
Gorging in Tongariro
Our Gorging trip - Tongariro
Adventure Wellington team photo whilst Gorging in Tongariro
Drying off in the sun!
Blue blue water... just need to jump in!
Jumping in from the high rock - yep that's me! 
Day one ended as all good adventure days should, with a trip for a few of us to a local pub! With an interesting 'gypsy jazz' fiddle band playing in the background, as the drinks flowed we all got to know each other a little better with the aid of the '2 truths / 1 lie' game! 

DAY 2 - ABSEILING - The weather was too good for me to justify sliding around in a dark cave - something I'll do with friends when they visit, so I joined the smaller group for an awesome abseil experience with breathtaking views of Mt Ngauruhoe! 

Climbing up the hill...
Abseiling team...
The walk up the hill required some effort and once we all helped each other up the hill it was time for a little group photo. I do wonder why whenever I have a photo wearing a helmet, my helmet is never straight! Anyway, after getting the photo out of the way, and catching our breath - we gazed out over the valley and saw some spectacular views... mainly of Mt Ngauruhoe...

Mt Ngauruhoe views...

After a little view gazing, we quickly got back to business and started the descent down the valley! I was second so I got to take some pictures! 

off we go! 
the full abseil...

John relaxing after!
A truly brilliant weekend came to an end with another 4 hour drive back to Wellington. This time thought there was far less chatting and far more sleeping! Once back in Wellington, and with new friends and phone numbers in tow, I headed for home and my nice new bed!

The sunshine continued to make life here seem like mediterranean Europe for me! Suncream required daily, and this past week has been no exception. Another busy week at work, with some very testing conversations and ethical dilemma's giving me and my student lots to discuss and ponder! I managed to get back to the gym, to continue the quest to lose that 'middle age spread'! I also managed to get to the last remaining 'films by starlight'  outdoor movie - 'SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN'. I had never heard of this film or musician before and knew nothing about the impact this guy's music had in the South African fight against apartheid - neither did the guy himself as the movie says. The most amazing part of the story was the guy's total humility, even after he found out he was a major music star in South Africa!
On the Thursday I finally managed to drag some work colleagues down to the penultimate "Salsa by sunset' free salsa class on the wharf, not before a little drink of course! We all had a blast and I have not danced to so many consecutive salsa tunes before! The fact that all this happens in public by the ocean makes it extra special! Bring on the final session next Thursday - I wonder how many OT's and OT students I can get there - and clients too, because it's a brilliant way to get people feeling involved in the community for free, and it's healthy! Social inclusion at it's best!

This weekend has ben pretty active too, with many events around the city (mostly free), revolving around Chinese New Year celebrations. A gorgeous Saturday afternoon BBQ (having quite a few of them), with the Special Olympics basketball coaching staff started the day well! I then headed off to the other meet-up group I joined - THE WONDERS OF WELLINGTON - for dinner and then a free Chinese dance / fashion show at the TSB Arena! All this was going on whilst England were giving the Kiwi cricket team a good thumping to win the ODI series 2-1!
The chinese fashion / dance show was pretty colourful and spectacular too! take a look...
Chinese NY show...
Chinese NY show... 
Chinese NY show...
Chinese NY show...
Chinese NY fashion show
Chinese NY fashion show...
Year of the Snake!
Sunday was no less spectacular but in a different way. After getting up at 6am to watch England beat France in the 6 Nations rugby, I soon fell asleep until 1pm - obviously needing the rest! So a quick shower and breakfast later, I headed off to meet Jess and the gang for a pre-game drink before the Phoenix football match vs Adelaide Utd. The sun continued to shine and Wellington harbour was looking fantastic!  
Sunday Sunny Wellington
Typical Wellington sunny day activities!
The Phoenix fans were in good voice in the newly opened 'Back Bencher' pub where they meet pre-game. The angel character is the Phoenix Manager - and boy does he need some divine inspiration right now! They drew 2-2 at home against 10 men! agh!!!  
In the Backbencher pub - pre game!
Anyway, I think that just about covers the last 2 weeks, and now I have 4 more weeks with my student before a 5 year wait will be over - a return to Vietnam! I've already learned lots from my student so far, about various aspects of an OT student's life and education, and look forward to learning lots more. Having students is fantastic! It's great when they question you about the things you do automatically every day - definitely stops the complacency and reminds me to think around all aspects of my work and make sure my clinical reasoning is evident!  

Ok, that really is enough from me! Regards from New Zealand!

oh one more thing - congratulations to my brilliant cousin Jose who has coached her young cheerleaders to 2nd and 4th places in competition! So proud of you! x 

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.

    River Rafting