Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Back to reality in Auckland

Today is the last day of my kiwi experience trip. Man, that went by fast! It is honestly the most amazing thing I have ever done though, I met the most amazing people and did some crazy activities like jump out of a plane and ride in a helicopter. I spent all of my money, but it was completely worth it. I realized how much I absolutely love traveling no matter how hard and long I have to work to save up, it will always be worth it for the amazing memories that I'll make. 

The past week hasn't been very eventful for me besides getting a really bad case of pinkeye that made my eye swell shut and saying goodbye to most of the friends that I've made. 

It's time to get back into school mode. I have been traveling for two and a half months now so it's not going to be easy. One more week!


 Milford sound
a seal colony in Kaikoura

Monday, February 18, 2013

So much to see!

On the weekends, I have been going to a few different places that are close by Newcastle. This weekend, we went to a the coasts at Tynemouth and Whitley Bay and it was very nice. It was even different from the first ones we went to at Sunderland and Seaburn. These coasts had bigger beaches that were very rocky again and there were less fishermen. There was also castle ruins in Tynemouth, and yet again more lighthouses.

The Whitley Bay Beach was very rocky.

The lighthouses are so beautiful on the end of piers.

The castle ruins were so neat!

I have booked trips to travel to Paris and Barcelona and I am really looking forward to those weekends. Also, I will be in London for a few weeks in April when I have vacation from school. I am really enjoying exploring England, but it will be amazing to see even more places.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

To the Coast!

The more time I spend here, the more I realize just how much there is to see. I took a metro with my roommate and friend to the coast yesterday; Sutherland. It was a spectacular experience. We were in such awe with how beautiful the beach was and we were very excited to smell the salty air and feel the ocean breeze. We are so anxious for the warm weather to come so that we can go swimming at the beach.

I love getting to know the locals because we are here for such a long period of time. For example, while at Sutherland we spoke with the fisherman. It was a really amazing experience. They enjoyed talking about what they do, what kind of fish they catch, and what life at the coast is like. The culture is so rich.

The colors of the boats in the Yacht Club were beautiful, and the swans were so elegant.

My first fish and chips! They were so delicious, not really even that greasy. The fish was very fresh, it must have been caught right on the coast.

The fisherman dared her to hold the fish he caught, so she did. They thought it was the funniest thing.

The Lighthouse was so pretty. All of the fisherman were standing on the peer fishing.

The beach was rocky, and the breeze was cool. However, there is no snow on the ground and it was about 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit. The lighthouse was at the end of a very long peer.

We ate our fish and chips overlooking the ocean. It was such a great view!

The surfer must have been freezing, the water was cold.

We spotted an old windmill in Sutherland.

I am looking forward to going back to the coast, and experiencing more. We can't wait to have more fish and chips either! Now I know what all the hype was about.


Jokkmokk at a Glance

So here it is! Like I said I wanted to share a video of my day trip this past Saturday to the Jokkmokk market and festival. Enjoy!

As always, I love hearing from everyone back home, so if you have a good word don't hesitate to drop a comment below. Thanks!

- Jonathan

Sweet as...

I am officially broke. And I still have almost a month until school starts. Oops...

But this past week has been sweet as! That's what they say here in New Zealand. 

Since my last post, I went heli-hiking, where a helicopter took us up to a glacier and we hiked on it. Riding in a helicopter was amazing! 

Today was the best day ever though. Me and 5 other friends rented a boat and rode around the lake all day. I am really gonna miss being on vacation....

Titiro whakamuri whakarite inaianei, hei hangai whakamua

"embrace the past, prepare now to shape the future"


 Hiking on the Franz Joseph glacier
 The lake overlooking Queenstown
In a helicopter!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Luleå, Sweden: A Hockey Paradise?

The short answer: You better believe it! When I was packing my belongings to travel over here I was told by a Swede I met in the US to definitely take my skates. Unfortunately, back in Pittsburgh when I was checking in my bags, I was over the weight limit by a few pounds. So, being one of the heavier items, the skates had to stay in Pennsylvania. Luckily, last week I found a cheap pair of skates and a stick. Game on! This evening marked my fourth practice with the Luleå Foreign Hockey Legion. It's an awesome way to socialize and hone your hockey skills all at once. The best part is that it's really informal. Have fun, play some games, run a few drills, fall down a couple times, and do it all over again. These experiences compare to the fun times I had with friends from Clarkson heading down the road to Parishville to play some pond hockey with the locals. Oh how I miss those times...

At tonight's practice I wanted a photo I could send to everyone back home to show that Clarkson is still being represented, even if Luleå is thousands of miles from the North Country.

Bence (right) & Martin (left)
But pick-up hockey isn't the only hockey in Luleå. Far from it. Just last Saturday I went to a Luleå Bears game. It was incredible! Being college students, my friends and I (Phillip [Germany], Bence [Hungary], and Martin [Germany]) opted for the cheaper standing section tickets. We all agreed after the game that we didn't make a mistake. The standing section was their version of Clarkson's student section. I was a little confused at first when the section really got behind the team. For the first few moments I felt like I was at a soccer game instead. You all know how the crowd chants and sings at a soccer game, right? It's a completely different atmosphere than any other sporting event. At least that's what I thought when I went to this game. Although all of the chants were in Swedish I did pick up on a few of them. And these chants and songs will last for ten minutes or more. I had a hard time keeping up simply because my throat was killing me from all the yelling and singing. It was no matter. For one of the first times being in Sweden I didn't feel like an exchange student. We were just as much Luleå hockey fans as the next person.

Every time our team scored (which happened a lot with a score of 5-1), the standing section would erupt. Hi-fives all around, jumping and yelling, and at one point I even got a celebratory rub on the head from some guy a row above me whom I never met before. I couldn't have asked for a more energy-packed evening in the town. Even now, three days later, I still have some of the chants and songs stuck in my head.

I'll conclude with a shot of the arena an hour before the game. I didn't get any other shots because of the realization that you weren't supposed to take any photos. Oops. The Coop Arena is, as you can see in the photo, much larger than Cheel (or depending on how long you've been alumni, Walker Arena). This facility holds more than 6000 spectators, and that night it was filled to about 90% capacity by my judgment.

This upcoming weekend I'm taking a trip to Jokkmokk for the traditional Swedish market. I'm planning to make a video post next time so keep checking this page out for more awesome experiences; not only mine but Lauren and Emily's as well.

Thanks for reading everyone!

- Jonathan

Monday, February 4, 2013

Newcastle is such a Beautiful City.

My roommates and I do a lot of walking around the city of Newcastle, and it seems like there is always something new to discover. I walk around the shops almost every day with my French roommate. We are both taking business classes at the University, so our schedules are pretty similar. We really enjoy checking out all of the stores and becoming more familiar with the area.

The weather here is much warmer than at home, but it rains all the time on and off. I could wear rain boots every day and it would be appropriate. I can't complain, because it's rain and not snow. It gets really sunny in spurts, but then it gets cloudy. Overall, the weather is so unpredictable.

I am still in awe with the spectacular views. It seems that everywhere I turn, there is a picture perfect scene. This includes brick buildings, cobblestone walkways, and a combination of old and new architecture. It is amazing that such old buildings are used for stores. The outsides of the buildings are preserved, as the insides are fashioned towards whichever purpose they serve. I love seeing all of the beautiful cathedrals, the castle, the bridges, and the rest of the architecture that creates such a lovely environment. I don't think it will get old.

This is the castle in which Newcastle was named after.

This is the Cathedral Church of St.Nicholas, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

My roommates and I were sitting on the steps of the Castle.

This is a breathtaking view of the Millennium Bridge.

I am going to explore Newcastle some more today, who knows what else I will find!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Island Hopping

Today is the first rainy day since I have been here. Perfect for watching the superbowl! Its really weird watching it abroad because the commercials are different so you don’t get the full effect.

I am on day 12 of my tour around New Zealand and I made it to the south island a few days ago. We had to take a 3 hour ferry to get here and the ride was really gorgeous.

I haven’t been doing as many activities because my money supply is running out really quickly, but tomorrow I am going heli-hiking! We are going hiking on a glacier, but first a helicopter is dropping us off. I cant wait!!

He taonga no te whenua me hoki ano ki te whenua

That means “what is given by the land should return to the land”
Everyone in New Zealand is all about recycling and saving water and conserving energy, its really cool.


 We had a campfire on the beach the other night. There were no s'mores though because they dont have graham crackers in NZ! :(
 The tour bus, where I've been spending about 90% of my time since I got here.
 This is Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings! I didnt climb it, but the hike that I did took 7 hours.
 I forgot what this waterfall is called but the water was freezing!
 Some people went white water rafting in River Valley
 Its so beautiful here.
We were driving along in the bus when a herd of sheep roadblocked us.