Thursday 16 December 2010

Kayaking...scary new hobby!

I've started a diploma in teaching this year. It is fun but a lot of work, especially since I'm also working full time. So this last term I decided NOT to take a third teaching paper, but learn how to kayak instead with the local kayaking club. Great club who put a lot of effort into newbies!

The course was very intense for 2 weeks (3x pool, 1x beach, 2x lake/river and 2x river) and it has been amazing to see how quickly everyone learned. Started off being shit scared even getting into the kayak (you feel 'stuck') from being nervous about being up side down under water, till superduper focussed getting down a grade 2 river. I learned heaps, got very very tired, got adrenaline pumped but generally loved it. Since then I haven't been out because work took over again (finishing my job to start a new one in 2011) but I'm hoping to pick it up again in the new year!

Pictures are all Susan Cornahs: it is funny to see how I discovered on the last day that my seat wasn't adjusted well enough for my posture...I constantly felt like I had to pull myself up...which shows in the pictures I reckon!

P.S. The grade 2 bit has not been 'evidenced' since it was quite hands-on...:)

Saturday 27 November 2010

3 boxes on Hyundai Busan...

When I decided to move out of my lovely house to go travelling around the world in 2007, I moved all of my stuff from my flat to my parents. Since then friends have bought some of the quality stuff, my brother has taken a lot of furniture, my sister is using the odd bit and when I was in Europe last my parents asked me to go through all my 25 odd boxes of stuff...and get rid of it. It was quite fun actually. Most of my stuff I gave to the neighbours: their daughter was about to go to uni so she could do with some basics!

Of course I still had all my papers from uni: first assignment I wrote, first mini- linguistic research I did (following kids in the train and analyse their speech!) and lots of notes. Most notes I had no idea what I was on about (I mean, I could see it was my handwriting, but honestly...No clue whatsoever!), but some notes I would say I master that now. Probably about 5-10%. Quite shocking isn't it?! And about 3 folders of data for my masters. Needless to say I chucked it all out. Autsj. There is no point is keeping it. So by the end of my sneezing time going through the boxes (and the giggles and the moments of 'oh no, yes I remember that') I was left with 3 half full boxes. My European life, 27 years of gathering ... reduced to 3 boxes.

I arranged for the boxes to be shipped out to NZ by Seven Seas. So far they have been amazingly well organised: they delivered new sturdy boxes for free, their paper work was clear, they arranged the NZ custom papers and warned of common mistakes, they rang to remind you of the pick up etc etc. Brilliant. Exactly what a well organised Dutch girl on the other side of the world wants! So my mother re-packed the boxes, put some liquorice in to fill up the load (YAY!!!) and off they went. It can take up to 3 months. So. Fun. So I logged into my account to see whether the payment went through (I told you I was well organised: daughter of my father!) and I found out on which boat my boxes are. How cool! So I googled the boat and it gets even better: you can see where Hyunadai Busan is and what route it has taken. It is near Taiwan at the moment.

And the best bit is that I'm not paying for it, work is!

Friday 5 November 2010


What is that with blogs and me?


No adventures to write about? Eh no.
No computer or Internet at home? Ah, well, no.
People not reading the blog? Ahah, they were, but maybe not anymore!
Am I lazy? Mmm, no, but yes computer lazy.
Don't I have stories to tell about NZ, my friends, my whanau, my house or work? No...
Don't I take pictures? Yes, No. (very kiwi thing...)

Anyway, new action: more blog posts. My friends Amy and Michelle always make lists of things they have to do after they have their birthday. Amy turned 31 a while ago and on her list was re-instating her blog. Good one. Since I'm 31, I thought I should do the same...

So here we are. First post is about...Amy, Michelle and I doing Spring Challenge (multisport event). And yes I'm taking the lazy way out because I'm busy kayaking: go here to see Amy's post!

Monday 28 December 2009

Fun...mucho fun

It seems to become a tradition; once in a while I will do a big update instead of tiny ones here and there. Life has been eventful, too much fun playing outside and no rest for the wicked. Or at least no time for computers. Obviously...

The last 3 weeks I have been spending my evenings on a circus course...which was totally exciting. I have to refer you to Patrick's blog for some fun movies...

Christmas has been spend with Patrick's family in Palmerston North. His aunt Mary has taken us in her house and we spend the last 5 days meeting the family, eating nice food, drinking delicious wine, having good chats, playing lots of games and doing some sight seeing. And we laughed a lot: Mary has a great sense of humour (and she doesn't mind some crazy people like us!)

It was also about time to put some effort in my lovely lonely blog: some Maaike stories and kiwi pictures! I think there are about 10...'Lekker leesvoer'... And after today I will be on a proper long holiday with my mother: travelling around the North Island, showing her why I love NZ that much!!

And finally, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a healthy, happy and an amazing 2010. I hope to see you in April/May (if not before...!)

Sunday 27 December 2009


Work is challenging and joyful good, but just amazingly busy...I suppose to finish my contract mid 2010. I wonder. I mean, I will have it done, but there might be more… Or not: all fun and games (true kiwi expression!) In the meantime, since I was asked, I wrote an article about embedding literacy and numeracy into Adult Community Education (ACE) programmes. Literacy and numeracy is my thing, I don’t really know much about ACE. If you would like to read it, click here. Good thing is that I already got one teaching contract out of it. Not that I have time, but hey... U vraagt, wij draaien...

Thursday 10 December 2009


One new and exciting thing I picked up since my last post, is Maori class. I know I’m a true language nerd, however, doing a class 6-9 on a Thursday evening made me feel a bit hesitant. Being the only non-kiwi made me aware that I would probably have the least prior knowledge to the language. How wrong could I be. On all levels!
The classes are in Maori style, so we start off with Karakia (prayers), Waiata (songs) and some meditation. Then the 3 hours are basically full of interactive learning with practising in pairs, doing songs, learning vocabulary while doing ‘haka’ like movements, doing hand/foot coordination and clapping rhythms while learning word combinations. We do games, we push each other, moreover we have fun. Lots of fun, it is totally cool. We are a very supportive team, I think!

Our group is interesting and you can sort off divide us in 3 categories. First category are people from Ngai Tahu descent (South Island tribe) who never learned Maori and now they want to learn it. Some youngsters and some wiser older people. Secondly, there is a big bunch of primary school teachers: Maori language and culture is part of the curriculum nowadays, so they feel the need to improve their language skills. And lastly, there is this group of random people who are just keen on learning Maori. I’m one of the random ones...

On an educational level it is very interesting to see how Hoani, my teacher, teaches. He is good at what he does. And honestly, the diversity is massive!! Some people have a huge bank of vocabulary and excellent pronunciation (mostly the Maori participants) and then you have me: nil knowledge nor pronunciation skills. You have people without any education and people who are highly educated. You have linguistic freaks like me and you have the rest of the group who are monolingual all their lives (Kiwi’s are basically shocking at learning languages) and barely understand the concept of how languages are constructed. The fact that I don’t know kiwi songs, is an immense shock for some.

But we have found our merry ways in it. If we start a song the entire class has their eyes (and ears) on me and starts laughing because I sing whatever I think the tune is...I attack my fellow learners with a zillion questions ‘ what does x mean, what does y mean’ and they are not surprised about even the most simple question: they know I have no basics. Then again, sometimes the English speakers find the pronunciation very hard, I find it easypeasy because I have that thing for languages. If sentence structures are completely not like English, the class struggles, I’m comfortable with it. Since I have always learned languages by the use of grammar and textbooks, Hoani sometimes gives me some grammar to please me. If Hoani doesn’t get the English grammar, I explain how it works. Or like Hoani says: I teach you Maori and you can teach me English. And he says that with the biggest grin on his face: he thinks I’m hilarious...little language nerd...

So yes, my Maori classes are really superb. Having exams every 5 weeks is quite full on, but they are very accommodating. You do them in pairs, lots is verbal and you never fail...just not yet achieved...!

Monday 30 November 2009

Queen Charlotte track - late November

So. Last one with pictures. I still owe you my pictures from an amazing cool trip to Marlborough Sounds: biking the Queen Charlotte track with Amy, Michelle (aka Mighty Midgets) and Steve. It is a walking track but you can also bike it; we took a lazy-ish 3 days for it which meant about 3-4 hours of biking per day, then pitch up our tent, and give our legs and bums a well deserved rest. Biking was up and down....and up. Steep cliffs, amazing views and lots of learning. I improved my balancing act: going steep up is going much better now! Downhill was crazy and cool and I only fell off once at a switchback. No biggie. Then, nutters as we are, Amy, Michelle and I decided to bike back the last 25 km to the starting point. As you do.

I loved this trip so much more than I expected: the biking was awesome. I sound like a teenager. I know. But it was awesome! More pictures soon if I get them from the others...!