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I suck at updating, it's true, but I only have computer access for about 4 hours a week unless I want to pay for it, which I'm not super keen on doing since I can use the computers in the DOC office for free during the week. I am also under no illusions that anyone actually cares to read this, it's just nice to have a sort of record for myself since I'm really bad at keeping journals. =)

I still haven't managed to find my way back to the United States. I just got my New Zealand visitor's permit extended for another month and a half, so I'll be here until May. I'm working in Tongariro National Park as warden in the park's backcountry huts that hikers use. It pretty much rocks. I spend all day (almost every day) out exploring the various parts of the park. It's surprising how much hiking I do - one day I walked 17 kilometers round trip to spend five minutes checking my email, another day I walked about 25 kilometers round trip because I knew that there was some duct tape at another hut that I wanted to get so I could do some gear repair.

The coolest thing about this whole gig is not that I get to walk through the places where LotR was shot, but I get HELICOPTER RIDES sometimes. If there's a helicopter going into the hut where I'll be stationed for the week, I can hitch a ride in! It's so cool! It's just a little helicopter, and there are no doors on it, so when it banks really hard to one side to turn, it can really be felt, and we end up looking straight down several hundred feet. It's really quite nifty. Kind of like a carnival ride but cooler because it's way higher up.

I get to talk to people from all over the world (not so many New Zealanders, actually, this place is quite a tourist destination) and am slowly amassing a list of contacts in various countries that I'll probably never get around to visiting.

I could spend a really long time typing about it, but the person who's computer I stole wants it back, so I won't.

Hope everyone on my flist is well, and I really will at some point try to read it, reaquaint myself with you all, and see what you all are up to.
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Alas. I have finished my email stuff and have 10 minutes of paid internet time left. I refuse to completely and totally waste it, so....here's a meme.

[Unknown LJ tag]
1. Who was the first person you talked to in 07?
Some random Indian girl in Circular Quay.

2. The first person you hugged?
The random Indian girl's random Indian friend.

3. The first person you called?
Umm...a hostel to see if I could book a room for the next night.

4. The first person you texted?
I have no text capabilities. =(

5. The first drink you drank?
Jaegermeister mixed with extremely cheap, extremely disgusting wine. EEW EW EWEWEW!

6. The first person that called you?
I have no phone...I only make outgoing calls.

7. The first person that texted you?
Again, no text abilities.

8. Who was the 1st person to hang up on you?
No one has hung up on me. Dude, this meme is turning out to be very boring.

9. What was the first thing you watched on TV?
News the next day at the hostel becuase I was bored and hung over.

10. Who was the first person you thought of?
Hmmm...I thought about my friends at home and what they're going to be doing for NYE.

11. What was the first thing you ate?
A piece of toast that I mooched off one of the people staying in the same room.

12. What were you wearing at midnight?
Gray hiking pants and a pink tank top. I think.

13. First kiss?
No one's kissed me yet. =(

14. First Laugh?
At another random Indian guy (I ended up hanging out with this group on the docks) who had lost his shoe in the crowd.

15. First person to say 'i love you'
Um...that would be my mum.

Yeah...that turned out relatively lame.

I have discovered couchsurfing.com and am currently staying in a suburb outside of Auckland with some guy and his 12 year old daughter. It's nice to not have to pay for a room, but also seems a bit dodgy. So far it's working out all right, though. I haven't been assaulted and murdered yet. Hopefully it will stay that way. This is something that I will NOT be telling my mom about, as she will freak. =)
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I got a job (well, a volunteer position) for eight weeks in Mordor. =) I GET TO LIVE IN MORDOR! HOW RAD IS THAT!

Of course, this means I won't be back in the US until the end of March, which makes me a little bit sad. Although there are a few things that I intensely dislike about my country, it's home and I'm starting to miss it. =(


Also got to meet Beth (Zahri) today in Australia. It was awesome. We walked around and she was very indulging and let me spend time browsing through outdoors gear stores to buy stripey long underwear (something that they don't have in the States). And she told me about the area, which is cool. It was like I had my own personal tour guide. Unfortunately, she didn't see me at my perky best, as I had gotten finished with a 10-hour bus ride at 2am this morning, crawled into bed at 3am, woke up for no reason at 7am, and was a bit sleepy the whole time. And was wearing smelly clothes because I'm trying to wait until I get back into Auckland to do laundry. *sigh* But it was still fun.

We did, of course, hit up many, many bookstores. I find it a little bit sad that I come to the other side of the world and I still spend hours in bookstores. I think I have a problem. I wonder if there are 12-step programs for this?
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People tell me that Sydney has one of the better New Year's Eve fireworks shows. It did not fail to deliver.

I got distracted by alcohol 100 meters from my bed last night and now have a headache. Serves me right.

Perhaps will do a summary of my 2006 when I am not paying $1 for 15 minutes of internet time.

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Note to self: shopping areas should be avoided at all costs during Boxing Day (once again I can't remember what Boxing Day celebrates)
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Okay. So it's Christmas Eve, and it's actually way more depressing being alone and not with my family for Christmas than I thought it would be. I would totally be able to forget it's Christmas (after all, it's SUMMER - Christmas doesn't belong in summer, that's crazy talk!), except that there are freaking Christmas carols being played EVERYWHERE. I want them to stop. *is grouchy*

After coming back from Mordor, I spent a couple of days wandering around Auckland and meeting an odd guy at the hostel. He was coming on to me ridiculously strongly - he massaged my feet. And then decided to suck my toes, which was where I drew the line, because that's just weird. I just met the dude and he thought he was going to get some. *snort* It was definitely good for a laugh, though.

I am now off to figure out how to get to the airport to catch a plane to Sydney.

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I walked through Mordor.

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I'm sitting in an internet cafein Auckland right now. Some guy is really angry at the person who works here. He tried to hit her. A couple people held him back and are currently holding him on the floor. Periodically, I hear thumps from the hallway where he's trying to break free. The lady called the police, and then what does she do? SHE LOCKS THE DOOR SO HE CAN'T GET OUT! Read: SHE LOCKS THE DOOR SO NOBODY ELSE CAN GET OUT! I'm not sure if that's the best idea.

At the moment, I'm more entertained by the situation than nervous.

Holy crap, now he's growling. And cursing.

If I get charged for going over the half an hour of computer time that I paid for, I'm gonna be slightly peeved.

The police are certainly taking their time in getting here.

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I got to meet Rach (pixie_caramel21) yesterday. It was really awesome. And she's really nice. She bought me tea. And drove me to the airport. And took me to see her flat and meet her cat. And gave me a little tour of Christchurch, telling me about its modern architecture.

I'm spending the day doing things like 1) get my passport sorted out (the guy at the US consulate office made fun of me for not keeping it in a plastic bag...just like EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON WHO I'VE TOLD ABOUT IT GETTING WET) 2) start using up some of the food that I stole from the leftover NOLS rations (mmmmmbrown sugar) 3) figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my time in New Zealand and 4) figure out when I'm going/what I'm going to do in Australia.

I'm thinking that I might hit up Tongariro National Park and do some backpacking. A friendly neighborhood DOC information center person gave me a couple ideas that sound cool.

I'm finding it odd that now that I have to pay for my internet time by the hour, I'm spending more time updating my LJ.
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Hmmm....it's been so long since I paid any attention to my internet life. It took me forever to even figure out what my LJ name was and how to access my account. I noticed that TIP has shut down (it was fantastic while it lasted).

A whirlwind of the last year or so:

Japan rocks. But it rains a lot.

New Zealand rocks. But it rains a lot.

Being lazy at home isn't quite as much fun. Though it rains a lot there, too.

Anyone out there know cool places to go in Australia? I'm hoping to head over that way in a few days. I hear that it doesn't rain quite as much.

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