Manawatu Gorge

This weekend, some friends and I went on a bus trip to the Manawatu Gorge. It was kinda rainy and cold, but since we only paid $4 NZD to go, we really didn't mind. Even with the dreary weather, the scenery was beautiful, and we had a great time!
The Manawatu River. Although I've heard a few different translations, "Manawatu"means
"heart standing still" because Hau, the Māori explorer who discovered this region,
was afraid that he wouldn't be able to cross the great river.

Landslides happen fairly often here, and you can see the aftermath
of the last one in this picture. This lookout was called "The Big Slip."
The Manawatu rapids from above.

On a clear day, you can see for miles from this point.
Even though it was foggy, the green landscape was gorgeous.

At the end of our trip, we visited the Te Apiti wind farm on the hills outside Palmerston North.
Combining the fog and the windmills made for some pretty awesome pictures!
If you look closely at the barn, you can see the spare windmill arms! 
This is by far my favorite picture of the day!
Disclaimer: The following pictures were not taken by me, but by the leader of the bus trip on her very fancy camera.

You're never too old to pretend.
Kristi and I decided that if anyone needed models that looked
 (and probably smelled ) like wet dogs, we'd be perfect for the job. 
This is a common, everyday pigeon in New Zealand.
I'm not particularly a fan of birds, but it's kinda pretty.
Standing in front of a strange Māori metal statue.
Today, we had a fire drill around 6:30 AM, so I was up fairly early. I decided I might as well get started with my day, and man, have I been productive! I ate some leftover (free) pizza for breakfast, ran a few kilometers, did a quick workout, worked on some homework, and got ready to go to class all before 8:30! I only had one class from 9:00-10:00 today, and then I walked to the alumni shop to buy some t-shirts for Julie and Olivia. They were having a sale on "class of 2015" shirts, and I got 2 for $8 NZD a piece, which comes out to $10.61 USD total. (If there's anything those two love, it's t-shirts that don't pertain to them in the least. Julie has tons of t-shirts and sweatshirts from Goodwill that say things like "UT Pharm Club 2007," "Rally sons of Notre Dame..." or even "MTSU Mom.")
If anyone else wants one, let me know! (And possibly send some money?) :) 
Afterwards, I walked out onto the main quad, and discovered a small farmer's market, of sorts. (Yay! Southern girls love farmer's markets. It combines two of our favorite things: shopping and pretending that we eat healthier than we actually do. Also, it gives us the opportunity to take artsy pictures, like the one on the left.)
The prices for everything was great and much cheaper than those at Pak'nSave. Plus everything was great quality! Ahh, good old-fashioned capitalism hard at work.
Here's my market haul: a bag of carrots, five tangerines, two giant apples (New Zealand apples are wonderful, by the way. Even their cheapest ones are, dare I say it, better than the "honey crisp" kind back home.), a head of broccoli, six new potatoes, two lemons, and a medium jar of real manuka honey. The fruit and veggies cost $6.70 NZD total, and the honey was $5 NZD, which sounds like a lot but I've seen tiny bottles of this honey sell for $10. My total was around $7.75 USD. I think I got some pretty good deals! From what I've heard, this market happens every Wendesday. Yay! (Also, the exchange rate is way down right now, so it's a good time for some shopping.) 

When I went back to my room, I had an email from my Aunt Glenda asking if I was able to FaceTime with her and my grandparents. Luckily, the times worked out, and we were able to chat for a little while! It was so good to hear from them, and I'm glad that they were able to "see" me and hear how I'm doing. I love y'all!

I went in to town with the hopes of getting a few more groceries and buying some souvenirs, but instead I discovered some awesome secondhand clothing stores, the Palmerston North Library, a few great bookstores, and a lot of restaurants I want to try out. (There is incredible looking/smelling Asian food everywhere!) The one souvenir shop I saw didn't have anything interesting, so I'll have to look elsewhere for all the shirts and Christmas ornaments I'm supposed to bring home. I spent a few hours wandering around in the Palmerston North Library, mostly using their wifi to talk to Ben for a while. I miss him so very much, and I'm so thankful for every moment that we are able to talk. He's so amazing for putting up with the ridiculous time difference, less than perfect technology, and the thousands of miles between us. God really blessed me by putting Ben in my life. I'm planning on keeping him around. :)
Remember the time he came and surprised me in Knoxville? That was a good day :)
Tonight, I went to The Center, which is the Christian ministry on campus, for free pancakes! Every Wednesday night, they cook up heaps of what they call pancakes and what everyone else calls crepes. (It's delicious, and it's even better because it's free.) Afterwards, everyone sticks around for a while to talk and play a few rounds of spoons or other card games. The Center is such a great place to hang out! I know that I can always find someone I know there, plus they provide free coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. 

Now, I'm back in my dorm room after a long, busy day. Even though I only had one class, I've managed to absolutely wear myself out, running to and fro. Tomorrow is another busy day, and I'll definitely need to get a good night's sleep before a hard day of class, homework, and possible adventure planning. I hope you've enjoyed hearing a little bit about life here in Palmy. Everyday is different, and everyday provides a new adventure. Thank you for reading! Goodnight everyone! 


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