Saturday, January 29, 2011

Getting to know Auckland

Saturday was a day filled with activity! The group and I took a trip to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Kelly Tarlton's underwater world aquarium. The museum had three different levels: Maori culture, NZ natural history, and WWI and WWII (how the war affected the Kiwis). It was interesting to see old century artifacts and to see how the Maori lived before the Pakeha (white men) came. I especially loved the two world war galleries/exhibits. As a child I always learned about the wars and how they affected my country, but I never really thought about how it personally affected other countries. It was so amazingly interesting to see how the New Zealanders were affected by the wars through their eyes; such a different perspective! This little country, that doesn't have a large population to begin with, lost a little more than 25% of their male population to the second world war. Incredible. We also got to go to a Maori presentation in the museum's theater. There performers introduced us to the Maori traditional songs and dances. I love museums. I could have spent more time in there than we were given. I just love taking my time wandering around and taking in all that there is to take in.
We all took pictures with the really attractive Maori performer...
I'm not that good at widening my eyes like the girls do.

This stingray was massive!



Going through the aquarium.

Dear Lola,

I can't pronounce your ridiculously intricate middle name and I haven't met you yet, but I already love you. You made your long awaited debut into this world on January 23, 2011. You are perfect and simple. You are without sin. How was Heaven? You were just recently with our Heavenly Father and Savior. That gives me the chills. I'm jealous that you were just with them!

You have been born into a family that loves you sooo much! You are the first baby to be born into the Hino family in over ten years. It's about time you came! Prepare to be overly spoiled, girl. Trust me it's coming, I just know it. Your parents love you so much! It makes me so happy to see how proud your daddy is to have you. He has come so far in his life. I'm so proud of the person that he is today. I know he's had a lot of ups and downs in his life, but it's the way that I've seen him recover from the downs that makes me so proud to call him family. I look up to him in so many different ways. He deserves you and all the happiness that you will bring to him, and you deserve him. How lucky you are to have such a sweet, thoughtful, kind, and loving father.

Girl, you are already gorgeous! You are quite the mix, huh? Half Caucasian, quarter Japanese, and quarter Samaon, yeah? (I'm pretty sure that's correct). I can't wait to get to hold you. Until then, I send all my love to you across the Pacific!

Love,
Aunty Christine My cousin's little one, Lola Tiasaleseua Young

BYU classes. Done and done.

I've finished my last full semester of college classes! No more school (I'm not counting the two Spring classes I have to take when I get back)! I don't know how to feel. Am I really old enough to be done with college? I'm going to be a full-time teacher this Fall. Yikes! That thought is a little scary. I don't think I'm ready. But I think teaching is one of those things that you will never be completely ready for. I have never been a teacher before, and I will never get the experience I would need to feel more confident until I actually start teaching. I need to start somewhere, and starting at the beginning seems to be the only logical place to start. I just need to have faith that the Lord will be there to guide and support me as I jump with both feet into the expansive pool that is to be my career.

One of the last few days of our science class we had to write a lesson plan and then teach it to a small group of our peers. Jessica, Heidi, Anna, and I were a group. We all made hokey pokey, which is similar to toffee, and taught different science concepts with it. I taught about the three different states of matter.

It's so nice to know that we don't have to worry anymore about classes, homework, and walking 45 minutes to school both ways. I will miss having classes with the girls and eating lunch outside on the sidewalk with them, though. But we have a week and a half to do nothing but play with each other this next week on our trip to the South Island, so I think we'll get plenty of time with each other. :)Making hokey pokey.

We totally burned the one in the back corner. See how dark it is? Oops.

Devonport

Thursday night some of the YSA boys took a few of us girls to Devonport. On the far coast of the city is a park filled with really fun trails to explore. Throughout the hills overlooking the harbor are old WWII bunkers, tunnels, and cannons/guns that were set up as lookouts/defenses during the war. The views were amazing. We sat on one of the hills overlooking the harbor and Auckland city across the way and watched the sun go down. It was so serene as we watched all the boats coming in for the night and the city come to life in the evening breeze.Nancy, Allie, Kara, Jess, me, and Hannah

One of the bunker windows. We couldn't go in because the roofs are unstable and dangerous.

Going into some of the tunnels.At the bottom of one of the large guns.

This was our sweeet ride! It was a green van with curtains on the windows!
These Kiwi boys sure know how to get around in awesomeness.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kayaking pics...as promised

These pictures really do not do the scenery justice. It was so beautiful! ...Sorry, it's kind of a picture overload.Emily, Jess, Whitney, me, and Phyllis
Way to go, Phyllis!

Me and Emily at the end!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sweating together=Bonding together

One day after school all 16 of us decided to do a Jillian Michaels (the trainer from The Biggest Loser) workout dvd together. It was great. Ha ha Bro. Jacobs probably thought we were so weird when we told him what we were doing and to not bother coming to lock up the church for another hour. What better way to spend time together, burning off all those Kiwi treats than jumping around with Jillian in the cultural hall?! Ha ha I love us.

Science and Social Studies

Now that we're done with Math, we're on to Science and Social Studies. Half of the day is spent studying science with our professor, Ian Milne, and the last half of the day after lunch is with our SS professor, Alexis Siteane. The first few classes have kind of been slow moving, but come Friday at 3:30 I'll be free! No more classes! Then it's on to the South Island for a week and a half of playtime! Here is a little vid to give you an idea of the "hardworking" things we've been doing in class:

video

Designing little airplanes in the shape of bishops hats.


This was an experiment we did to see how many people we could get on a table supported by balloons underneath.

video
Look at all the girls we got on this one table!

River Kayaking

This past Saturday morning we went kayaking on the Puhoi River. Whitney and Emily came with us. It was such fun! We went down the river with the tide. It took about 2 hours. I was so impressed Phyllis came along with us; she was quite the adventurer. It was so peaceful to float down the river just the 5 of us. It was relaxing and the scenery was breathtaking. Once we got down to the bottom we stopped at a cheese factory cafe that Phyllis likes. It was a restaurant/cheese shop. There were so many colors, shapes, and sizes of cheeses! It was a perfect afternoon. (I don't have them right now, but pictures are to come!)

That night Phyllis, Jess, and I watched the movie Whale Rider together. It was a great movie that gave you a sincere glimpse into the Maori traditions and culture and the importance of close family ties. I think my family has it at home in Sandy, but I hadn't seen it until that night. I guess if I was ever to watch it, it was perfect to first watch in New Zealand!

Math

Finish a full 3 credit class in 4 days? Yes, please! I was a little apprehensive about doing math all day everyday for the whole week. But it was actually really good. Our instructor, Helen Walters, was a hoot. She had so many great math center and game ideas that will be helpful in my classroom. We talked about math centers rather than whole class instruction. I'd never really thought about that before, but I love it. We talked a lot about the development of children's mathematical thinking and the different framework stages that they go through. By understanding which stage of mathematical thinking and understanding your kids are in, you can better plan and direct your lesson plans. You know what is too hard and too easy for your kids, this will help you to fill in any "holes" they may have in their math comprehension. We also spent the week doing fun activities that we're supposed to do once we're in the schools in our practicum. They are great engaging activities that can easily be incorporated into other lessons and other curriculum subjects.

I hate math. When I think back to elementary, I think I was taught to dislike math in about 4th grade. Yes, you can teach your students to hate any school subject. My 4th grade teacher never bothered to explain math problems to me. If I couldn't do a problem she would give me the answer without really explaining how to get it. I was taught the many math algorithms, but I was never taught the concepts behind them. I was simply memorizing steps to get the right answer without really understanding what I was doing. Teachers can't do this with their students, it leaves gaps and holes in their learning. For example, we watched a few clips of students at different math levels solving math problems they were given. There was one little boy who was doing a subtraction problem (41 minus 17). He crossed out the 1 and made it an 11 and then made the 4 a 3. When asked to explain why he did this, he couldn't; all he could say was that was what you are supposed to do. He didn't understand that he was "trading" one ten for ten ones. It was very interesting. We talked about the importance of letting kids try out their own solutions to problems before teaching them the algorithms.

Going back to hating math. Even though I don't like the subject as a whole, there are some parts of math that I do like. The important thing is to find those parts of math that I do like and work off of that. If my heart isn't in the subject and the lesson, my students will be able to see that and may learn to feel the same way. And if you really can't find anything about that subject that you hate, fake it til you make it, kid. If you have a kid who isn't that good at math, don't tell them (I was amazed at how many of the girls said their teacher told them that)! Be patient with them and keep encourang them; let them know that you have confidence in them. If a student isn't understanding the concepts, you really think it's their fault. No. It's the teacher's fault. Find a new way, a new approach til you see that little lightbulb go, "Bing!"
The tapa cloth designs we made in class and our "body" garden

Emily, me, Nicole, and Neeley
We got to dress Nicole up in newspaper!


I don't always understand the complexities of technology, but I love it still!

I can finally do another blog post! I haven't been able to blog in the last few days because 1. I was too busy last week with life and all its crazies and 2. my computer broke this weekend! Thankfully, I was able to find a computer repair guy just down the road who works out of his home. My poor computer had viruses...yes, plural. Mom and Dad I won't tell you how many there were cuz I'm embarrassed, but all that really matters is that everything is all better now! I may have to rethink some of my New Zealand adventures due to some lack of money now, but at least I still have my computer! I never realized how dependent I am on this baby. It's my life. All my music, pictures, documents, etc. are on here. And it's my link to the outside world and my family back at home. So when it broke on Saturday I was in such a state of panic and stress. Crazy how much we rely on technology! Well, you ready for lots of updates, cuz boy do I have a lot of them!
Here we go!

I was so excited to start out last week because Elder Anderson was here. I was so excited to hear him speak at the fireside that was being given. Jessica, Heidi, Anna, and I figured out the bus route we'd need to take to get to the stake center. From there, a group of the YSAs from our ward were going to carpool in buses to the North Shore where the fireside was. so we got on the bus, but after a while the bus started heading in the wrong direction! We finally decided to just get off before we ended up too far from the church. We were still pretty far from the church and we only had 5 minutes to get there! We ran. It was raining, we were in church clothes/shoes, and my umbrella was broken (it kept popping inside out). We took our shoes off so we could run faster.
We must have been quite the sight! I even cut my foot at one point on some glass. We finally made it to the church, but no one was there. No cars. Doors locked. What?! We didn't understand, and we were only 8 minutes late. Well, we had no phone and no means of getting home. So we chose a random house across the street and knocked. The man who answered was probably so confused when he saw 4 American girls on his porch looking like wet rats. But he let us use his phone and was so nice.
We called Bro. Jacobs and he came to pick us up. At that point it was too late to try and make the fireside. So sad. Oh well, we tried. And at least we got a good story and laugh out of it. Anna was laughing hysterically at how funny we looked running through the rain. And when we were in the man's house calling for help, we were laughing so hard at how sad and pathetic we were. It's situations like this that you can only shrug your shoulders and laugh at yourself and the hilariousness of the whole thing. Come to find out later, no one met at the church. They decided last minute to cancel the vans. Everyone knew but us four. Of course. :)
Here's Anna's view of what we looked like running through the rain:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mission Bay

We weren’t able to figure out the hike with the girls Friday, so we MADE SURE to figure out Mission Bay. Mission Bay is a fun beach spot that we kept hearing about; so we decided to try and go there. It's right outside of the city. It took some work to figure out how to get everyone together at the same place and bus numbers/times, but we figured it out and got the word/plan out to everyone the night before. Everyone was meeting at Becca/Katie’s house. To our great surprise, everyone (all 14) was able to get to their bus stop in time and we all rode over to Mission Bay together from there. We were so proud of ourselves for figuring out the bus and where to go. And everyone made it except for Heidi and Anna. They were doing family stuff with the Lords today.
Once we got to the beach, we all laid out for a bit and rested. It was windy and kind of overcast, so we went exploring. Some of the girls stayed on the beach while the rest of us went to the bay next door and found a cool place to rent kayaks and paddle boards. Jessica and I are going kayaking next Saturday with Phyllis, so we didn’t go. We stayed on shore and took pictures of the other girls going around in the marina.
While the girls did that for an hour, Jessica and I headed back to Mission Bay. On the way we found a really cool park. It had a cool tire swing thing and a mini zip line! So of course we had to stop and play on it for a little bit. When we got back to Mission Bay we rented a tandem bike for 30 minutes. I don’t know what it is about tandem bikes, but I just think they are so much fun. It was fun to ride along the walk/bike path just parallel to the water. The sun was out by then and it was gorgeous to ride along the beach and see all the different shops and activities going on. Our butts hurt so bad after, though! You'd think they could make the seats a little bigger and more comfortable.
Jessica and I had to leave earlier than everyone because we had to get home in time for dinner. Phyllis was having company over, and there was no way we were going to be late again! But on the way home, our bus was having troubles. It kept stalling and completely died once in the middle of the road! Thankfully the bus driver was able to get it working long enough to get us home. I was so scared...at the thought of Phyllis mad again! Glad we didn't have to deal with that again.
Masters of the buses now! Some of us on the bus:
Becca, Katie, me, and Jessica

Coolest park. Ever!

Auckland: City of Sails

Finding peace and serenity by the water.
Tandem bike!

Beware of Phyllis

Phyllis may seem like a sweet little old lady, but she can be intimidating! It's that strong, quiet glare that only grandmothers can give that just makes you feel sheepish for something you've done. Well, Jessica and I definitely upset her on Friday. Here's the story:


The girls and I tried to plan a hike or something fun to do today since it’s the weekend, but the plans kind of fell through. Transportation is hard and sometimes frustrating around here. I’m not used to having to use the public transportation; I don’t even know how to use it back home, let alone in a strange country. The girls and I always want to get together and hang out, but we’re all so far from each other that it’s hard. And we wanted to go on these hikes that one of the moms suggested, but you can’t take a bus there and there weren’t enough moms available to take us.
So since the hike after school didn’t happen, Jessica and I walked home to Heidi and Anna’s house. We swam in their pool with the kids for a few hours; it felt nice to cool ourselves off after the long, hot walk home. Jess and I hadn’t told Phyllis earlier about our plans to go to the Lord’s house after school. But once we got to their house, Jessica called Phyllis to let her know where we were and that we’d be home in time for dinner. The phone wasn’t answered so Jessica just left a message. We should have known that wasn’t good enough. Apparently, Jessica called and left a message at the wrong house. Oops! When we got home a little after six, we were greeted with a not-too-happy Phyllis. She was a mixture of being worried and annoyed at us. We felt really bad. We promised not to do something like that to her again and told her we’d make cookies to try and make up for it. Dinner was kind of awkward though, and she kept making comments about being mad at us. :/
After dinner, Heidi and Anna came over to our house. We made really sweet (almost too sweet) chocolate chip cookies. Phyllis likes Anna and Heidi, so that plus the cookies softened her a bit, and she wasn't mad at us anymore. We also watched a New Zealand movie with Phyllis. It wasn't the best movie in the world, but it was fun to see our first New Zealand movie.

We make GOOD cookies