I was going to do things today, I really was. I even went to bed early last night (9:30), if you don’t believe me. Well, in all fairness, productivity today was not the goal yesterday. The goal yesterday was to just knock myself out. I had been tramping all weekend and was exhausted. See, Cleo had told me it would be an easy one. Easy, 3-5 hours she had said. Uh, no. Easy in New Zealand is still considerably hard. Easy in New Zealand is not a measure of the angle of the slope (I’d estimate around 70 degrees at its steepest) but a measure of the time it takes to walk from start to end. Three to five hours is nothing, Cleo said. I believed her. I have since learned that Kiwis are not trustworthy sources. Three to five hours in New Zealand can kill a person. I’m lucky to be alive.

To be fair to myself, the first day was the worst. The second day, while much more downhill than the previous day, still had some brutal bits of uphill, but I felt a bit better about myself at that point.

At least it didn’t rain. The forecast had called for a storm. Bright red marks all over the weather map.

So anyhoo, I got back to school on Sunday afternoon and wrote a paragraph of an essay and then decided to go to bed at 9:30. It was beautiful. And so I woke up at 7 and played Words With Friends because I’m addicted but then went for a run at 8. This is extremely productive for me, as I usually leave the house for my run at 9:30.

I did hills. I hate hills. But after this weekend’s climbing performance, I felt it necessary to practice. Signal Hill road is a toughie. I ran up it straight for 30 minutes (slowly of course… very slowly) and still didn’t even make it 25% of the way. I have some time to work up to that though.

I got back home at like 9 and started to work more on my essay. But I didn’t get far before the lights went out. Dammit. Remember that rain we were supposed to get over the weekend? Got it now. Besides that, it was freezing out. Freezing and windy and raining. And now without power. But I had class, so it was ok.

Anyway, I had to head into town to deal with a bank thing. Good times. But I got to the bank a little early, so I crossed the street and explored the Meridian Mall. I’d not been to the mall before. As soon as I entered, I felt a rush of familiarity. I’d momentarily left New Zealand and was back at home. Not the Short Hills Mall, but maybe the Livingston. Or somewhere in Europe. As I looked around, I saw a sushi stand. Lunch! So I bought myself some veggie rolls (they were fantastic) and sat at a table in an atrium. While I ate, I took notes. Here is some of what I found:

1. I really did feel like I was in an enclosed European city. It was lovely. There were several large atriums surrounded by clothing stores and pharmacies and Hallmark-esqe shops, but with islands in the middle, where they served coffee or muffins or gelato. It was like sitting in a little European square. But enclosed with walls. And with a skylight. And music in the background.

2. I found out what goes beyond Bed and Bath: it’s tables. There is a store called Bed Bath and Table. Interesting. I feel like I finally found the pot at the end of the rainbow. But it’s filled with, like, bronze, not gold. Mystery solved.

3. It seemed like a popular hangout place for students of all ages and working people alike. I saw kids with backpacks and school uniforms, kids with University of Otago sweatshirts, men with suits– all sitting at tables in the atriums. The Octagon, or the business center of the city, isn’t far from the mall, so it must be a popular place for business people to get lunch.

4. There was an EBGames. UGH. Video games will continue entertain the boys in my life and taunt me for as long as I live, I swear.

5. There was a bookstore. I walked through it, tempted to buy everything. But I couldn’t. No, I don’t need to buy more books. I own enough. Library or electronic books it is for me. Not enough room in my bookshelves (or suitcase, for that matter) for new ones. Darn.

6. It was like America, kind of, also. There was a Subway (the sandwich one) and a Burger King. And there was no place to recycle the container my sushi came in. I had to carry it out to the street to dispose of it.

Anyway, on my way back from the bank, I stopped into a coffee shop. As I was waiting for my latte to be brewed (they are no experts at making coffee fast), I read the menu. They served a toasted bagel and lox (“smoked salmon”) and cream cheese and pesto (close enough) for $11. Geez.

Also, people in New Zealand seem not to wear rain boots. I was wearing my Hunters and quite pleased to be wearing them (it was raining all day), but there were people in normal dress shoes and work shoes and leather boots and sneakers. I don’t know why Hunters haven’t caught on.

Also, in class later, some Kiwi said to me before the class started, “those boots are really cool.” And I was like, “thanks, everyone at home has them. People here should look into it, they make walking through puddles less stressful.”

I shivered for two hours straight in the History of Science class. I don’t really know why. I mean, I was cold, but not internal-shiver cold. That is rough stuff, internal shivering. It’s when nothing you can do makes you any warmer.

Also, Dumbledore decided to “gossip” for the last hour of class. Dumbledore gossip includes juicy stories about dead scientists’ lives. It’s fun. Especially when he claims to have known and studied with one of them. What a BAMF.

Anyway, this post is titled “Oops” for this simple reason: It is 8:40 and I still have not gotten any farther than that first paragraph of my essay that’s due in two days. Oops.


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