This was only my first week of classes, but I am really starting to feel settled in here. No longer does it feel like I am on a glorious vacation; rather it is finally sinking in that I am going to be in this glorious place for an extended period of time.
Highlights of the week:
- Finding all of my classes yay (with the help of my campus map that I ashamedly had to carry around everywhere)! It’s funny how these minor details that you never consider end up being some of the most challenging things on the daily…
- Getting into PHSE301: Exercise Metabolism and receiving credit for my major for this class! This is my dream class and the assigned readings are papers that I normally read for fun…
- Learning that we get to wear feather boas and long gloves in my burlesque dance workshop
- Winning trivia on Tuesday night with my flatmates! I actually knew some answers for once, including the SCUBA acronym (self contained underwater breathing apparatus, thank you 4th grade science class)
- Working with med students at the physiotherapy clinic to help me sort out my calf tightness and perfect my running form. You can’t tell a runner not to run because they’ll go crazy and won’t listen…how refreshing to hear!!
- Realizing the truth of the phrase so close but yet so far on a casual day hike up Mt. Cargill. The trail head is only a 10 minute bus ride away from my flat and the views from the top were just what I wanted on a Saturday morning.
- Attending my first rugby match and witnessing the absolute chaos that is the zoo (i.e student section). I completely underestimated the party scene here; a great experience for sure but learning that drinking several days during the week is not for me.
One thing that I want to discuss more extensively than a bullet point is the freedom that I am feeling with my eating here. I am definitely more mindful of what goes in my body because I have to buy it all for myself, and food here is very expensive! My grocery staples include brown rice, many cans of tuna and beans, a big bunch of greens, whole wheat pita, frozen peas, zucchini, stone fruit, yogurt, and muesli. I also just made my own mixed berry-chia jam, which ended up being a cheaper and healthier alternative to the store bought stuff! Because there is no meal plan here, this is the first time in my life that I have had to buy and cook all of my own meals. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook…but after a long run or an exhausting day of class, I miss the luxury of being able to go to a dining hall and eat a variety of already-prepared foods.
We have flat dinners about 3 times a week as well,
and so I will eat whatever is cooked (without meat) no matter how “unsafe” the meal is. And that doesn’t make me anxious like it used to. It was only four years ago when I would have felt so uncomfortable and unhappy without access to my “normal” and “safe” foods in a brand new city half way around the world. Now, if friends suggest going out for ice cream after a meal, how can I say no? And I will go and actually get ice cream- because I love ice cream. I might even get a cookie sundae and experience minimal guilt.
Before I came out to New Zealand, I was loosely keeping track of my daily caloric intake in an effort to help with occasional bouts of overeating (which I would do because I was so scared of under eating like I did for so long). I have completely stopped that here because, for one, it is just so time consuming and annoying. But also because most food labels here are in kilojoules and that is just too much math for me (partially kidding…). Instead, I have been eating the good old fashioned way- when I am hungry. And I really think that I am relearning how to listen to my body’s hunger cues. I actually feel the leanest that I have felt in a while, despite all of the pancakes and ice cream. Who would have thought?!
[on the more personal side of my posts but I didn’t start this blog to talk about my trip superficially…thanks for reading!]