Sunday, July 31, 2011

5 Thing's I've learned while travelling...

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."     

 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

1. Take a deep, deep breath

Arriving at your destination can be overwhelming. I know when I arrived in Aukland, New Zealand, there was a Tsunami warning issued ten minutes before I landed. If that's not welcoming enough...

2. Know your surroundings (well, at least try to)

When I was in the bus provided by Lincoln University on my way to my dorm, I wasn't sure what was going on. I was exhausted, restless, but none the less, I wanted to explore! Meeting the people who were in the van was a great start to my trip. The next day, when most people had arrived to the university internationally, it was time for an International get together. It was awesome, though I was still shy and was hesitant to meet many people. Over the course of a couple weeks, I got to know most of the international students, and am currently having a great time!

3. Language Barriers ?

Luckily, I didn't have to worry too much since our American language isn't too different than the Kiwi (New Zealand) English. What I found fascinating though was that it is so easy to communicate with the international students. They know english quite well... in fact most of them took english courses as a mandatory class growing up. I'm finding more and more that wherever you travel to (I've gone to New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Turks & Caicos, Domincan Republic, and the Bahamas... going to Australia in a few weeks!) english is usually understood. I've begun to understand that if you can speak their language, it is a sign of great respect to their country. Just as we are appreciative of others speaking English in America, other countries feel the same about their own language.

4. When locals are being over generous, take it as a compliment.

In most parts of America, we think of people who are being 'abnormally nice' as people who are either trying to scam us, rob us, or are simply on drugs. Outside of America, that can remain true, but not from my personal experiences at least. I have met some of the nicest, and friendliest people while travelling. In New Zealand especially, people have been over generous and will go out of the way to make sure you enjoy every second of your stay. It is sort of like bragging rights for them (Everywhere in New Zealand is breathtaking!) Not only are New Zealander's extremely friendly, but so are the international students! They are a fantastic bunch of individuals and all have their own life stories which are unique. I hope to hear everyone's by the end of my time studying at Lincoln University.

5. Be yourself.

One of the most amazing and inspirational things that I have learned already, in the short few weeks that I've been here is that being yourself is by far the most important thing you can do. Of course, when you meet new people, you want to make a good impression. For the first time in my life, I was true to my self from the very beginning. I didn't try and act extra 'not Matt Berger ish.' From one of the most intelligent individuals in the world, "Why wouldn't someone want to know the real Matt Berger." How I look at it, either you act like yourself from the beginning, or it comes out when you have a few drinks, so its really your choice.

Lincoln University International Students 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Hello everyone!

I asked a Danish guy, a swedish girl, a french guy, a norwegian girl, and an austrian guy to count to 10 in their own language. I counted to 10 in spanish and english! It turned into a pretty cool conversation and we shared cultural 'slang' with each other. It was tons of fun!

Before that, we were on a school trip assessing the damage in Christchurch (from their major earth quake months ago). In the next few weeks, we are drawing up a design to re-locate all of the damaged homes... if it's good enough, the council of Christchurch will review it! After the trip, my self and another classmate went to one of our classmates homes... a real kiwi home! It was so much fun to meet his entire family and share our backgrounds. They were so intrigued to hear what we had to say. We enjoyed a glass of their homemade wine (really sweet and tangy) too!

I'm looking forward to Saturday... myself and 25 others will be heading to Kaikoura Park in New Zealand to enjoy cabins, the ocean and snowcapped mountains all in one overnight trip!


P.S. : Ken Smith, an admirable Landscape Architect will be visiting Lincoln University to give a lecture on Monday!!!! If you don't know him, google him and you will understand my excitement. I met him once before at one of his lectures at Columbia University... bought a book from him and got his autograph too!

While you are on google, search Jan Johnsen... she's also an aspiring Landscape Architect! She does better Landscape design work than Ken Smith... trust me! Check out her blog too, !

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wall of Hope

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the earth.

~ Rumi

Clear Blue Skies... 

What better place to visit than the

We were greeted by many welcoming residents enjoying the gentle breeze and natures soothing flow of water.
As we flowed through the winding walkways, we made our way to a sub-tropical alpine forest where we bumped into my Professor at Lincoln University!

We had fun at the Gnome Grotto Showcase in the Fern room!

We had some fun climbing trees... and even spotted a gnome palace!

Extracted from Serenity in the Garden Blogspot... written by me... The following pictures are by Jan Johnsen.

When you walk into a garden [designed for serenity], you feel a sort of energy. A fusion between relaxation and excitement.

...Your first rush of energy is usually captured at the entrance way...As you leave the stressful world that we all share, and enter into the garden of thoughts, dreams, and peace, you become the feather floating in mid-air....

a garden for healing - j.johnsen

You look down and appreciate as the ladybug sits on the plant's leaf, you notice the bee's pollinating the magical wild flowers, and the the squirrel keeping an eye on you as it cracks open a fresh acorn.

Rock Garden - J.Johnsen

This is the feeling of Serenity.

You become one with earth as you sit on that rock, which is perfectly situated between that ground covering of moss and the tall zebra striped grass. You feel ... its slightly vibrating rush of intensity ...

Dry Stream garden - J Johnsen

As the rock takes you in ... it forms a relationship with you. It allows you into its very diverse environment. You are now an accepted being in this garden. Whenever you enter, you will know that you are in your of comfort, peace, and of course, serenity.

This is the feeling of Serenity in the Garden.

Now take that  feeling, which hopefully, you have absorbed after reading my snippet of thoughts and imagine walking out of the Bush (Forest) and into a city which is mainly blocked off by fences all around it's perimeter. Completely vacated and off limits. I stopped taking pictures because I was in complete shock... but here was the last one I took before putting my camera away.

Look closely, and you will see a crack going down the whole left side. It was terrifying to see that this brace system is common practice and a common sight to see around Christchurch... not just the city, but also at Lincoln University!

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.  
~Anthony J. D'Angelo


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Exploring Lincoln Township

I woke up today pretty late, 10:30 a.m. since I had no class! At around 11:30, I headed off to explore anything and everything in this neat, little, sustainable community. Below are my findings...

Such a cool plant, not sure what it is though!
 Some sort of device used for making feed for farm animals.

 How cool is that?

Someone forgot their front loader...

It means speed bump... that's Kiwi slang for ya!

More to come with this post... hope you enjoyed so far!