Climbing and 21.

Hello world.  What a place you are.

In my world, lately, there has been essays, 21st birthdays, more essays, rock climbing, and sardines.  Let’s being with rock climbing.  My kiwi buddy, Sam, works at a local indoor rock climbing facility and is allowed to have friends in to climb.  Boo ya.  I’m not very good at it, but it is fun, and I can see how people would get into it.  Hard out it’s fun, challenging, a bit scary, and tiring.  My arms always feel like steel cables when they’re done, not really sore per se, just saturated with blood and incapable of supporting my weight.  I want to continue and improve technique and get some muscle going in my arms.  Doing it fairly regularly has allowed me to appreciate people like Lisa Rand and the world famous, Eric Atwell.  Climb on.

After climbing last Monday, we were headed back from the waterfront, where we climb, and out popped the harmless statement, “The water looks great tonight.  We should totally jump in.”  Very casual, and by no means serious, but then the positive affliliatives started rolling in: “yea we should!” “Great idea.”  It was a cold night.  And the water hadn’t seen sun for a week.  So naturally, we stripped down and went careening for the water’s edge.  Diving into the very cold water, our tired bodies were electrified by the grip of the icy water.  Some of the fastest swimming I’ve ever done happened next as we raced back to the saftey and warmth of the dock.  We pulled ourselves out and took inventory.  We all had disbelieving, but extremely satisfied grins plastered on our faces.  I couldn’t believe it, but I am so glad we did it.  We all walked back a little taller, if wetter, that night.  Tonight we climb again, will we swim?

I’ve experienced two NZ 21st birthdays since I’ve been here.  Three if you count mine, but I’m not.  They are different here.  My friend Cody turned 21 just before I did, on a night that was filled with stories, laughing, childhood recollections, requisite drinks, and family.  In contrast to twenty first celebrations back in the States, this was an occassion to be celebrated and remembered rather simply a night to drink into oblivion and recall by embarrassing photos the following morning.  One of the key differences for me was the great family presence and the wide range of friends invited to celebrate.  There were speeches, given by his wise older brother, a childhood friend, and his grandfather.  They collectively highlighted to me in a real way the idea of genealogy and place as so important to the people here.  Cody was placed into a greater context for me, one with these friends and family as a piece of who he has come to be, but in the same way one that included Cody as a part of who they have come to be.  Cody was but a thread in the great tapestry of connection that was present that night, but in large and small ways helped to create a greater reality in all our histories.

The fine gentlemen of Student Life gathered on Friday night for a night of manliness, bbq, and night games.  After some delicious sausages, we headed out to the park at the end of the street to play a big old game of sardines.  I love night games. I feel like I run faster, I focus harder, I care more.  Something about the shadows, the mystery, the unknown makes the experience of the night all the more satisfying.  The game was filled with searching done high and low, futile shouts, and ultimately success.  It was a great time. Man I love capture the flag, star wars, sardines, ninja, fugitive (want to try this out sometime. sounds BA).  Good times.

I’ll leave with this, yesterday I was an extra in a movie called Rage. It is a film about the 1981 Sprinbok Tour riots that took place in Wellington.  Me and four others joined the ranks of extras and got to dress up in 1970s clothes and be on set all day and riot, shout, and look surprised.  We were fed (good food) and got a $250 bar tab to split at a new fancy bar in town.  Not bad for a day’s work.  When more details about the film are available, I’ll be sure to try and get a hold of it.  Movie star?  Check!

Also, this song has been perfect lately: Lovely Day everyone!

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