Back in Sumner
Trip Start Dec 23, 2009
4Trip End May 25, 2010
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Where I stayed
our Sumner Bach
We have settled into our little life at our beach apartment in Sumner. The girls are both enjoying their school. Savanna is in Grade 1 here (like our Kindergarten), and Maggie is in the local Kindy (preschool). Savanna has to wear a cute uniform to school, though, of course, her hat has already been misplaced. She had her first playover last week at her new friend Stella's house. Maggie and I went too for afternoon tea. Stella's family lives on the hills in Sumner (we live in the flats) on Ocean View Dr...and is it ever! Stella's mom asked if we had a view of the ocean...I sort of thought we did until I saw their place. But we love where we are and that we can walk to the beach in 2 minutes. The girls like to play there each afternoon after school or after dinner...we feel lucky.
After her first week at school, we noticed Savanna talking differently...she has developed a bit of an accent
The students are still doing well. They are now in their homestays, internships, and formal classes. Actually, today marks the half way point for internships and classes. I can't believe that. This is how our week usually works: on Monday, Peter goes into Christchurch to University of Canterbury to teach his course and participate in the other two courses that the students are taking; Tuesday, I visit an internship with Chris and Jess to see how the students are doing there and what projects they are involved in; Wednesday, Peter's back at classes; Thursday, I'm at another internship; and Friday is a field trip. In between, it's a lot of organizing and planning and grading and playing at the beach.
This past Saturday we went to the Lyttleton Farmers Market (great farmers market that brings back a lot of memories of going to the Oconomowoc market with you, Mom) and then to Godley Head on the Port Hills.
The previous weekend we took a weekend field trip with the students to Kaikoura (2.5 hours north of Christchurch). It is a Green Globe certified town, known for its ecotourism focused on whale watching and swimming with dolphins. It is a very productive sea area due to the mixing of warm and cold currents. We spent most of our time looking in tide pools...they were amazing. We even saw an octopus, which took a strong liking to Peter's leg! On Sunday morning, we were supposed to take a boat ride to view some sea life, but due to a Tsunami warning caused by the earthquake in Chili, our plans quickly changed. The students packed up our gear at our seaside biological station with amazing speed, and we all headed for high ground. We had a beautiful view of the coastline from on top of the ridge and waited for a few hours to see the big wave. Luckily, it didn't come (though I think we all wanted to witness at least a medium wave). The whole thing has been oddly exciting to Savanna (which worries me!). They had a Tsunami drill at her school, and ever since she keeps saying, "I can't wait for the big wave to come!"
Peter's parents are coming this Thursday for a 2 week visit! Luckily they will be here during our students spring break, so we are so excited to show them around and to take a bit of a break from talking program stuff all the time. We are planning to take them to the West Coast for a few days and then around the Christchurch area. Also, they get to come on our Friday excursion to Arthur's Pass to learn some alpine ecology. So they will get a chance to mingle with our students for a day
Savanna got an amazing package of Valentines cards from her classmates back home. She loved them and so did Maggie...Thank you, Marianne and your class! (Savanna is working on something to send back.)
One of my favorite things to do is to walk the girls to and from school. It is a lovely walk, and it has become a really fun time talking with the girls. But I am always lonely once I get to the schools and drop off the girls and have no one to talk with...I miss you guys.
The weather finally turned here, and we have had several weeks of sunny summer weather with cool nights...it has been nice.
Here are some recent photos, and then some of our last excursions on the North Island.
Sending our love to you all....
PS If you want to read more details on some of our activities including student responses and other photos, see this Earlham college site: http://www.earlham.edu/~outdoor/new_zealand/updates2010.shtml