Five Fave Photos: Lord of the Rings Edition

Five Fave Photos: Lord of the Rings Edition

While traveling in New Zealand, I searched for Lord of the Rings filming locations and found some of my favorites. Today, I present a special edition of “Five Fave Photos.” These are five photos from Lord of the Rings scenes.

Can you figure out what Middle Earth action happened in these locations?

1. LOTR 1 Continue reading “Five Fave Photos: Lord of the Rings Edition”

Shorts from New Zealand

I’m back in Christchurch, which means I will have spent a third of my year in New Zealand in this city and the vicinity. My working holiday visa expires in a little over two weeks, so I’m working to sell my car and wrap everything up here. But it’s not quite time to return home–I’m taking the scenic route. I’ll first fly to Sydney and visit Australia, then I’ll visit Southeast Asia, Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. I’ll return home in October and revel in my second autumn of the year.

So for this blog post, here is some

Miscellany from Down Under

For this story, keep in mind I’d been working and living almost exclusively with Kiwis for the four and a half months prior.

All year, I’ve been told Americans are loud, and I’d felt that, too, often speaking more quietly by a few notches when talking with a Kiwi. I thought it was just the volume at which we speak (and how slow we speak) that people noticed.

But when I visited a sheep station in Queenstown during a week of touristy activities, there was a group of Americans who sat in front of me during the sheep shearing demonstration. Continue reading “Shorts from New Zealand”

Four Seasons in One Day

Four Seasons in One Day

Several fortunate things happened on Thursday.

First (and what turned out to be the most important), I decided to wear my glasses. Grey clouds dominated when I looked out the window in the morning. Surprisingly, it’s easier for me to see on grey days when I wear my glasses with transitional lenses — there’s not as much squinting, as contacts make greys more intense and sunglasses are no help.

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Sunset at St. Kilda Beach

Some color and light appeared when I stepped through the doorway with all my gear (a change of clothes, second pair of shoes, lunch, notebooks, laptop, and camera) for my work after I was finished as a teacher’s assistant at the school. The sun lit up the hills near Otago Harbour. A small blue patch showed sky’s attempt to break through the colorless clouds.

Otherwise, Dunedin and the Pacific Ocean were grey and flat. Continue reading “Four Seasons in One Day”

On Descriptions, Exclamation Marks and Some Favorite Photos from January

On Descriptions, Exclamation Marks and Some Favorite Photos from January

While writing in my journal yesterday, I tried to describe a measuring instrument I had used at work. I failed miserably, and the entry I had expected to be short turned into an exposition on my feelings about high school English and how it shaped my life.

That was not a good explanation. I really haven’t had the mental capacity to write good descriptions in my journals. I’ve found I like to rely on my photos for my descriptive pieces. 

And plus, when I was in junior high (or maybe it was freshman year), I discovered I really disliked writing descriptions, especially lengthy ones. I felt it was a waste of time and that the writing space could be better filled with something else. I don’t know that I identified what that something else was at that age, but perhaps today, I have identified it: a photograph. Continue reading “On Descriptions, Exclamation Marks and Some Favorite Photos from January”

“We’ll be birds flyin’ free.” (Unless you’re a weka or a kiwi or a penguin.)

“We’ll be birds flyin’ free.” (Unless you’re a weka or a kiwi or a penguin.)

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Look out for kiwis! The sign at the entrance to the Oban rugby field. I took a picture of it on New Year’s Eve just in case it was the only picture of a kiwi I would ever take….

I’m not sure how I became interested in hunting for kiwis. Before I came to New Zealand, I saw a really nice picture of the bird and watched some videos from wildlife refuges, and suddenly, I was intrigued by the nocturnal creatures. During my first few months here, I wanted to see one and didn’t care whether I saw it in the wild or at a zoo. But then we came so close to seeing one in Paihia that I knew I wanted to see my first kiwi in the bush and not behind a fence.

Through my travels, I heard about kiwis on Stewart Island. As there are 50 kiwis for every one person who lives there, I wrote a mental note that I needed to visit. Rakiura, as Stewart Island also is known, is located south of the South Island, and “Visit the southernmost point of New Zealand” was on the list of things I wanted to do. Plus, I wanted to be at the bottom of the world to start the New Year, so everything fell together for a trip to Stewart Island at the end of December. Continue reading ““We’ll be birds flyin’ free.” (Unless you’re a weka or a kiwi or a penguin.)”