Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Wellington Weekends, Visit to Parliament, and Last Week of Classes!

Hi everyone! I'm currently in the midst of studying for an exam tomorrow (worth 50% of my grade...ouch), but thought I would take a little break to blog about my weekend! Since the number of weekends I have left in Wellington are numbered, I stayed in the city and took the chance to once again enjoy two classic Wellington activities: the Friday night Cuba St market and the Sunday Farmers Market!

Every Friday night from Sunday until late there is a little outdoors market off of Cuba St (a street with lots of bars, restaurants, and shops downtown) where there are a ton of local food and other vendors set up booths. I've gone a few times so far this semester, as its a great way to start off the weekend as well as grab some pretty cheap and delicious "takeaway" food, which is difficult to do at traditional restaurants. This Friday, I got a tomato and cheese crepe, but some of the things I've gotten in the past include Roti and cheese wraps and burritos (MUCH harder to find in NZ than in the states). In addition to dinner, my friend Katie and I shared one of our favorite treats we've found from exploring the market scene- Hungarian chimney bread! The bread is made fresh at the stand while you wait, and then coated with your choice of topping on the outside (this week we opted for hazelnut) and spread with chocolate on the inside. Its definitely not an everyday food, but its delicious! It was super rainy this Friday, which really put a damper on my picture taking but I found a few from past weekends that I've been at the market.

Every weekend I've been here since arriving in Wellington, Sunday morning has marked a trip down to the harbor to the farmers market. This is one of my favorite traditions, and I'll definitely miss meeting up with friends on Sunday mornings (or almost afternoons, sometimes) and walking down to the market to fill up our hiking backpacks with super cheap fruits and vegetables for the week! The farmers market has been a blessing to my grocery budget as well as adding a fun activity for weekends spent in town. Luckily, this Sunday was absolutely BEAUTIFUL out, which makes the experience even better. The market has both a section with individual areas you can pick out fruits and vegetables, as well as a strip with lots of vendors selling both takeaway food and more specialty food products (fresh bread, hummus, raw honey, etc) and then an indoor section with more specialty and high end local products.

After the market and spending some time downtown, I got some homework done in the park for a while, taking full advantage of the sunshine!

Yesterday, I went on a tour of Parliament with my Arcadia group, marking our last monthly event :( We toured the Parliament buildings, and also spent a few minutes watching Question Time in action, followed by coffee with a Member of Parliament. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos as cameras aren't allowed to be used inside the building. One of the main reasons I decided to go to Wellington was because it is the capital, and I thought there was no better place to study the politics of another country than in the capital itself. This has proved correct, as along with my tour yesterday I had the opportunity to have a Member of Parliament from every party represented in Parliament visit my New Zealand politics class, which was a very unique experience. While on our tour yesterday, I have to say I was pretty proud when I realized how much I really have learned about the NZ system while being here!

In general, by studying Political Science here (or as NZ students would say, "pols") I have learned so much not only about New Zealand politics, but gained a lot of new perspectives on the US political system as well. Seeing how the NZ system functions has brought up points about US politics that I have never payed that much attention to, and I've gained a lot of interesting perspectives from talking to other students in my politics classes about their views of the US (as well as doing plenty of explaining about aspects of the US, and being called on as expert of why we still don't have a government right now...) Both the knowledge of the NZ system as well as its comparisons with the American system are things I will bring back with me that I know will help me in my future political endeavors, academically and otherwise.

Well, I should probably get back to studying for my psychology and law exam so I can finish off my last week of classes on a high note! Looking ahead, next week I will be doing the Abel Tasman great walk with friends, spending 4 nights camping on a track that walks along the beach on the northern part of the south island. After that, I'm (tentatively) working on an organic farm through the program WWOOF (look it up, its awesome!) So I may be off the grid for a little bit, but I promise to be back with lots of awesome pictures!

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