Life is cruising along here. I can't believe we are 3/4 of the way through our time in New Zealand. With the end of my Kura 211 class at Victoria University and my Fulbright friend, Den, and her husband, Tim, heading back to the States, the last week has felt like the beginning of the end.
We had a surprisingly eventful Monday evening last week. Den got it in her head that she needed to try Beef Wellington while she is in Wellington, although it wasn't really named for the city. However we were all game to go along. After all it was a great excuse to hang out one more time before she and Tim headed back to Washington. While we were at the restaurant, David Koechner was seated next to us. As it happens, my friend Seth had met him a couple weeks before and was invited to play background music for a gig of his. He and Seth got to talking and decided to go over to the open mic comedy night at the bar down the road, so we all joined. It is hard to top when you begin your week with something that fun.
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I feel so lucky that I happened into taking Kura 211 which was a Maori pedagogy class geared toward pre-service teachers. I learned so much about the dual cultural education system here, and it has really prompted my thinking about creating space in my classes to honor the cultures within our community. We had a lovely time of reflection during our last class day, and the we share kai (food). The students in the class loved the bookmarks I gave them that my students at Cunningham had made for me to share.
I am also very happy to have made a friend of my instructor. Craig and his fiance live here in Island Bay, so we have had the opportunity to hang out with him socially. They both have spunky personalities. He and Patrick seem to be kindred spirits of some sort, and last night Craig started teaching Patrick the basics of scuba diving....in his hot tub.
Tuesday night was bitter sweet. We had a great indoor picnic at the empty flat of Den and Tim. As always it was fun hanging out with the group and doing crazy things that Den suggests, however, as Seth put it, there was a great elephant in the room. No one wanted to talk about Den and Tim's time in New Zealand coming to its end, which, of course, means we are all shortly after. Poor Den had to go straight back into the classroom with not even one day to recover from the flight.
One other special thing that happened this week is that Zelda got to perform on the welcoming side of the Powhiri at her school. A Powhiri is a Maori welcoming ceremony. It usually takes place at a Marae, but many of the schools here are now using them to welcome new students into their communities. When we arrived Zelda was welcomed to Island Bay like this. On Wednesday she got to help welcome the students who are starting school at the beginning of term 2.