Days Abroad: 15
So much has happened in the last week! I took a road trip to Dallas for an Athletes in Action Winter Retreat, went to (another) basketball game, registered for and started classes, met my roomies and made many new friends. Aaaaand, the snuffles are gone. I am still very much in the honeymoon stage, and I am loving it! I hit the gym for the first time and started my journey to next netball season, went bowling with the international department and hung out with more Spaniards. Someone sign me up for Spanish 101 please!
The bus to Dallas was pretty chill, but I for sure missed the Naked Bus. I was at the terminal and the lady in front of me had an ankle tracker on, and then this other lady walked in looking quite ragged. Ankle tracker lady was so excited to see tired looking lady and asked where she’d come from, only to receive “Oh, I just got out of prison.” Yep, you read that right. I was on the phone to Mother Bear at the time and we were both totally dumbstruck. It was an adventure for sure. The trip itself was pretty much a non-event, but I was so excited to be in Dallas. Going to Dallas was probably the most spontaneous thing that I have done in my life. I met with one of the staff from Athletes in Action from UT on Tuesday and that Friday I arrived in Dallas, exactly 11 days after arriving in the country.
The retreat was amazing! Spending a weekend with a group of athletes who are seeking after God’s heart and to make disciples, learning and encouraging each other was such a great way to start my time in Texas. Everyone was so welcoming and interested to hear where I came from and I very quickly got my explanation of what netball was down to a tee. I sat there on the first night of conference, in a room full of strangers and realised that my journey to Dallas started nine years ago with two college dudes who probably sat at a very similar conference and answered God’s call to come to little ol’ New Zealand. I had come full circle and not even asked for it. Y’all can’t tell me that my God isn’t a good good Father who cares about the little details to make a girls heart happy! The group of girls that I got to know at the conference were all so amazing; open to be vulnerable and very real about life. It was so refreshing and beautiful to see how strangers were so willing to open their hearts to allow everyone to learn and grow together. They were girls that I would definitely travel across the country to see again.
We went to a mall for a scavenger hunt and to eat multiple times and I have NEVER been to such a big mall in my life! There is a freakin’ ice rink permanently in the mall and honestly I am convinced that the mall never ends. It was massive! We played leap frog over a road crossing, posed as mannequins in a shop window and generally had a great time. It is such a privilege to be young to have the social license to do stupid things.
My roomies are the sweetest bunch of girls, they dragged me out to watch them eat Plucker’s wings at 10.30pm at night as soon as we met and went shopping the next day, so I’d say our friendship is destined for greatness. Okay, they didn’t drag me out, I willing dragged myself out into the rain. It is so refreshing to be around such positive, fun people who laugh all the time and are so invested in each others lives. I am so enjoying being around them and seeing how much they care for each other and how willing they are to include me and get to know me. 10/10 would recommend my roomies at this stage. Who knows, I might drive them to insanity later. The portion sizing even at the dorm cafeteria is crazy big, I have ended up hitting the salad bar before the dinner starts hitting me. I forgot to mention, the weather is pretty shocking at the moment. It has made me feel right at home, as if I never left Scarfie Town. I feel as though I have started to slot into friendships on this side which is so encouraging for me, as that was the thing that I was most nervous for moving here – whether or not I would be able to make friends quickly (My track record is not the best).
Registering for classes was interesting, it works so differently to Otago in the sense that you can pick which of the many streams and professors of the paper you want. I have managed to manipulate my schedule as such that I have only one class on Mondays and Fridays off. Hello almost four day weekend! Yeah, I know the idealistic freedom is not going to last long, just let a girl dream a bit. Classes are 1.5 hours long though, which is a killer at 9.30am during syllabus week when the professor is making dad jokes and explaining all the generic things about the class and college life that you already knew. My one professor is a total badass though! She is 64 and was a record breaking, pioneering powerlifter back in her day with an amazing legacy – I was totally awed! She might even take the cake from Jim Cotter for all my Phedder loves out there. One of my psych classes is an online class, which is like streaming them, but 100x better. It is recorded in a tv studio on campus and is interactive with quizzes and a chat with the TAs where you can ask questions. It was bliss after walking back in the rain to sit on my bed with a blanket and a bowl of kettle corn to watch this beautifully recorded lecture.
I went to my first women’s basketball game and was saddened by the lack of crowd. Those girls were talented, put on a great show and are more successful than our men’s team, yet maybe only a quarter of the stadium was full. Like women’s rugby, it needs more attention. Title IX happened for a reason people! Get behind your local women’s teams and support them too! If we’re all about gender equality and all that shizz, why are we not supporting our women athletes as athletes and only using them to grace our front covers? And that only when their hair and makeup is done and their wearing a dress or are at least in uniform and airbrushed. Rant over. It was a great game, despite the shuttle never coming, walking 30min in the near-thunder-storm rain, missing the first quarter and still being wet 5 hours after tip off. And we beat OU! Finished off with a Decaf Smoked Butterscotch Latte, Grande and a Morning Cinnamin Bun from the beautiful little Starbucks on the corner of my street. Life is bliss in this honeymoon period!
Side note for all my Kiwi sisters, American boys are all they are said to be. Mother Bear was impressed and yours truly remains optimistic that hope is out there somewhere. That is all.