Auckland City

In spite of (or maybe because of) growing up in the absolute middle of nowhere, I’ve always been more of a city girl. I can fall asleep regardless of noise and I love being able to walk to anything and everything. I love it in Limerick and I love it here.

I had my first shopping trip into the city didn’t involve buying much, thanks to a minor panic with my bank card, but I did get to go up the Sky Tower. Wow. Like I’ve said before, Ireland has a lot of great views, and we can certainly match any natural beauty NZ has going for it. What we don’t have is many epic cityscapes, which the Sky Tower provides in buckets.

I was also introduced to the shop Typo, which I absolutely adore and will no doubt spend way more than I should in over the next few months.

Mane ‘n Tail

Second Monday of the month means its review time and I’ve been using a Mane ‘n Tail combo for about two months now. I should say that in those two months I’ve used less than half the bottles thanks to my complicated hair care routine and the crazy heat here, but I think I have enough info to work with.

Mane ‘n Tail is definitely not a new product, and was on my “to try” list for about a year before my running out of shampoo coordinated with a trip to the big-ass Boots in Cork city, but I finally got my hands on it and while it might not be a magic potion that warrants a year of longing, I’m not disappointed.

It’s a decent shampoo/conditioner that doesn’t smell of anything in particular and it’s not greasy or drying. The textures of both are weird, the shampoo is white pearlescent, and the conditioner is a comforting chemical yellow colour, obviously because it’s designed for horses,who I highly doubt worry about that sort of thing. I think this is a pro though, it gives the impression that it will do the job and hasn’t had a bunch of chemicals added for the sole purpose of making it “that pink colour you like”.

The Hair Strengthener I like, a quality leave-in is exactly what I needed coming out here and I honestly feel this stuff has saved me a lot of splits. Plus it smells (to me) like apple/cinnamon.

Of course one of Mane ‘n Tails big attraction is that it supposedly makes for faster hair growth. In the sense that it keeps the ends intact so you don’t lose half your growth, nothing you put on your head will make it start shooting out of your scalp. Now, I could tell that I feel like the Mane ‘n Tail is working, but I’m really not sure. I’m at the one month after bleaching stage where the centimetre of dark roots is unjustifiably making me feel like my hair is growing super fast anyway. I does feel in pretty condition though and like I said before, in the really drying weather here, it’s impressive.

Major drawback is that this stuff isn’t widely available in NZ, so once the bottle I brought with me is gone, it’s pretty much gone until July, but I will be buying more once I get home.

Future Kitchens

…or lack thereof.

The Electrolux focus I went with is Culinary Enjoyment, mainly because I have no interest in Air Purification and am very interested in Fabric Care, to the point that it’s what I want to look at for my FYP. The problem with Culinary Enjoyment, is that it requires a product that make cooking more entertaining, rather than just doing away with it, and technology is much better at making tasks disappear rather than making them fun.

Life is becoming automated and I think the idea of cooking when you don’t want to will be gone, easily, within 5 years. As it is, thousands of people live on restaurant, take out, and ready meals. Little bit of 3D printing and you can DIY-do nothing. The only people who will cook are the people who already enjoy cooking. But this attitude will not make for good product-designing, so,

Though not even vaguely recognisable from any of my sketching, I’m looking at a sort of eat now, cook later system. Which sounds completely backwards but it’ll work, I swear.

The Utter Sameness

I knew coming out here that NZ was the Ireland of the southern hemisphere,. “Era, sure it’s grand”=”No worries”, agriculture is still a big deal, and full of Irish people. But I wasn’t prepared for just how exactly the same things would be. Other than sun, which is still strange and alien to me.

This startling realisation occurred to me last Saturday, when, instead of being out bungee jumping or anything else the guidebook suggests, I was sketching products that will never exist for a project I’ve already lost interest in. Exactly what I’d be doing on an average weekend in Limerick. That’s the thing about peoples accounts of studying abroad, no-one mentions the study parts. I’m studying at the same level I would be at home and I spent ~14hrs a day on PD last semester. I had to quit the archery club, and basically all outside-PD friends. Where am I going to find time to spend on weekends away?

And even on these weekends away, a major part of NZ tourism is the impressive landscape. Ireland, like, invented using pretty views and clean air to lure holidaymakers.
I took the top one on Waiheke Island last week, the bottom at the Atlantic Challenge in Bantry in 2012. The only major difference is the shorts I was wearing when I took the one on the the top versus the 2 coats I was wearing for the other.

You know what, I retract whatever it is I’m trying to say here, that is a completely acceptable difference. Never mind, I’ve just wasted this post.

New Country, Same Course

First week back at the sketchbook for 2014, and despite the half-planet distance between colleges, the class stays very much the same.

via Buzzfeed

The studio is weirdly broken up rather than the one giant communal space I’m used to, which I don’t love, but then I only like the the openness because of our little co-dependant group, who are all about 12000 miles that-a-way (points generally north-west.) *sob*
The first half of the semester in studio work is going to be spent on the Electrolux Design Lab competition, which, while a little too sustainability-concious in ethos for my liking, offers a pretty broad brief to work within.

“Practice in Context” turns out to be a research paper that can be on anything. It’s prep work for the FYP that the class here have to have done by the end of next semester. I have the luxury of 18 months to think about/work on it (it being the project, not the paper). That’s one of the major pros to coming here, it’s a sort of dress rehearsal for the first semester of final year. I get to start my FYP before I start my FYP.

My third class was supposed to be in Photography but my lack of a DSLR is, understandably, an issue, so I will be swapping that on Monday.

Getting Really Freaking Lost

The theme of this weeks Study Abroad post is getting lost. And yes there’s a reason.

When you come to a new anything you expect to get lost to a certain degree. I remember my first weeks in Limerick, wandering down corridors and into classes I had no business being in. But at least in UL the room numbering makes sense and the buildings have names instead of just more numbers.

In Unitec, there are no corridors really, you either get lucky with the right outside door or you walk through a series of classrooms to get where you need to go. Thankfully, because of my swapping from Photography I won’t have too much more to do with Building 1. Even the Product Design building, beautifully titled “76” has to put signs with arrows for all the rooms. I understand first years needing direction for a while, but if you require multiple signposts for the third year studios, something is wrong with your building. I’m liking this university, really I am, but Jesus, they don’t make it easy to get around.

Getting lost outside of college is more fun, or at least it should be. In my first week I took a wrong turn out of the supermarket and turned what should have been a half hour trip into an hour and a half, but that was a learning experience, I found a lot of shops and no harm was done. The same cannot be said for last weekends excursion to Waiheke Island.

In hindsight, I think he was trying to warn me

It started out as a pretty grey day, but Auckland had fooled me into dressing warm before, then hitting 28° by 11am. It was rainy and foggy for the ferry ride over, but still I was sure it would turn around, and honestly, I kind of liked being cold for the first time all week. The held up when we arrived, so we made the art gallery our first stop. It was a quick stop because it was considerably more concentrated on the selling than the viewing side. With the weather still miserable we decided to give it until we walked around the village before we gave up and went home. Lo and behold just as we were trudging back to the ferry, defeated, there was a break. Not beach weather, but enough that a 5/6k hiking trail didn’t seem like an awful idea.

But it was. Waiheke Island is pretty, and from the top of a hill the views are great. However it was when we were at the top of this hill that the sun came out. Great! Lets finish the trail and find a beach! The trail never ended. We walked and walked, the signposts continued to lie to us. We started the trail at 11.30am, we crawled onto the ferry at 6pm. I got the worst sunburn of my life, the kind of sun burn that makes you think, “Yup, I’m going to get cancer”, and blister that looks set to last me a number of months.
Oh and it rained for the ferry ride back too, so there’s that.

Goodbye Ireland!

So a week ago I packed my bags and flew 18,000km away from home to Auckland, NZ. This is the first of what will be a weekly post on the subject of studying abroad.

Before mentioning anything about NZ itself, I want to rant about long-haul flights a little, because they are a special kind of torture. To get here, I flew Cork to Heathrow, Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur and then on to Auckland. Cumulative travel time- 27 hours. 24 of them spent in the air. I wanted to die.

It didn’t help that despite leaving on Thursday morning, 30hrs later it was Saturday. Here is 13 ahead of home. I spent the first 3 days incapable of staying up past 5pm and waking up at ridiculous hours in the morning. I’m still about 3hrs behind.

Does. Not. Compute.

So the country, my initial impression is hot. So freaking hot. I expected it, kind of, coming from an Atlantic winter to Pacific summer, but it’s like I can’t remember a time I wasn’t sweating. I’ve found I can’t wait until it gets Autumn/Winter here and it’s a more reasonable 15 degrees. The second thing is the cicadas, it’s never silent here, there’s just this constant hiss. That never goes away. It sounds like I’m complaining here, which I guess I kind of am, but these are both things I’m sure I’ll adjust to, by the time Winter does roll around I’ll be missing the sun!

College-wise orientation was this morning. It’s really weird Europe not being a dominating force in the International scene. The co-ordinator asked “Who here is from China?” and what seemed like the entire room raised their hand. I’m the only Irish on campus, but that gives me a USP, so definitely not seeing that as a bad thing. Being “that girl with the blue hair” also helps.