After nearly 3 full weeks of classes, I think that I have finally settled in enough to figure out when I will have the time and energy to post. So far it seems like Thursday nights after Anatomy Lab is when I have both. Usually I would be studying, but after a full day of lectures and gym and lab my brain is pretty much mush, so focusing on study becomes an exercise in futility. Therefore, you will get weekly posts on Thursdays when I can manage it. No promises though, and there might be a smattering of other posts if I can get there.
So without further ado, let me tell you about my first four weeks in New Zealand of 2013.
I arrived in the country on a very warm summer day and found myself delayed in customs for nearly an hour, eating up all of my time to change flights. Thankfully a kind person in front of me let me through ahead of them so that I could SPRINT across the airport to the domestic terminal (a completely different location about 10 minutes walk…I made it in 6) just in time to make my flight. Which, of course, was delayed by more than 10 minutes. Rather than missing my connecting flight entirely (which I was afraid of), I actually had time to sit and drink water and cool down before boarding. The flight from LAX to Auckland had been the most turbulent flight in my experience of flying, but the trip to Palmy was quick and easy.
I was picked up from the airport by the friend who took care of me while I was grieving last semester. I stayed at their house that first night, and planned on moving all of my things from storage into the new flat the next day. I slept in the way that only jetlagged and heat exhausted people can, and woke relatively refreshed the next morning. I then waited for my friends to wake up so they could help me move my stuff because I have never driven with a trailer before and needed a little assistance. We eventually got up and situated and ready to go, picked up the trailer, picked up my spider infested things, and took the whole car+trailer load to the flat. From there we unloaded everything in the hot sun and got my room mostly set up with all of my things. Unfortunately for me and Mr. Shadow, my bedding smelled RANK. It smelled so awful that I was sure I needed to wash it at least three times. Double unfortunately, the washing machine hadn’t been delivered yet and I was too tired to drive to the Laundromat. With nothing left to do at the flat, and no way to stay the night comfortably, I took my helpers to lunch at our favourite sushi place. After lunch I walked around town with one of my friends while the other went home to get ready for work. I ended up spending the night at their place again and looking into internet options in the morning.
After that it was a great deal of waiting around for the router to show up and the connection to go through. We waited an entire week from when I initially set it up to when it finally arrived. Absolutely ridiculous. However, the internet has not had any problems since then so I am willing to give this company a chance. Also I signed up for a 2 year contract in order to get the router free…so I’m stuck with them.
The washing machine finally showed up on Saturday afternoon (I arrived on Wednesday and moved in on Thursday), so I was able to wash my bedding and everyone else washed their clothes. I’m going to take this time to say that I REALLY enjoy my flatmates this time around (Henceforth referred to as A, E, and M). They are fun, funny, weird, awesome, and awkward. In no particular order. We have dinner together at least once a week, we go shopping together when it suits us, and we can just hang out. They have also encouraged me to start working out more regularly so I have done more exercise in the last 3 weeks than I did over the entire semester last year. I also share the house with 3 cats: Mr. Shadow, Serrate (M’s cat) and Gremlin Fivetoes (a foster kitten for M’s friend who is looking for a flat that will allow cats). Shadow and Serrate are both older cats and they both dislike the kitten, but unfortunately cannot use that as a bonding tool and also dislike each other. Once the kitten is gone I think they will be better able to work out their issues.
My first week of classes went relatively well. We were introduced to the paper coordinators and told a little about this semester, and then flung full speed into study. My flatmates are also really good at studying, which encourages me to be good at studying and procrastinate less (which is why I haven’t posted every night). We will see how long this habit lasts, but I am going to give it an honest 4 weeks to set in before giving up completely.
My schedule is pretty easy this semester: Mondays – 3 hours lecture starting at 9am followed by 3 hours tutorial starting at 2pm, Tuesdays – 1 hour lecture at 9am followed by one Physiology lab at 10 and one alternating lab/tutorial/field trip for either Animal Industries or Animal Nutrition, Wednesdays – 3 hours of lecture starting at 9am and three scheduled hours for Anatomy lab preperation, Thursday – 3 hours lecture starting at 9am followed by three hours of Anatomy lab starting at 2pm, and Friday is 3 hours of lecture starting at 9am and a free afternoon. The times my flatmates exercise is during the lunch breaks Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 6am on Fridays. I am going to start doing the Monday and Thursday lunch hour days (Body Pump = a weight lifting class set to music for 50 minutes, Body Attack a 30 minute aerobic class, and CX Works a 30 minute core workout) and do Yoga with some of my American classmates on Monday and Friday mornings.
As for specifics, I won’t regail you with all of the bloody details of the lectures which can be both intense and incredibly boring. However, I will try to talk about my Anatomy and Physiology labs when they are interesting.
This week in Physiology we took a section of non-pregnant rabbit uterus and connected it to a pressure sensor. The tissue was attached to a hook at the bottom of a bath apparatus (to keep it alive), and at the top to the pressure gage, by sutures. We then introduced hormones into the bath one at a time, and then in tandem, to measure the reaction. The experiment we designed was to test which hormones blocked uterine contractions during the fear response to prevent parturition. There may have been a mix up in the labelling of our hormones, because we found that Nor-adrenalin stopped contractions while Adrenalin increased them. This shouldn’t have worked and should have been the reverse.
This week in Anatomy we got to look at the eyeball and external ear of our dogs. We were given back the heads of the dogs we started dissecting last semester and will be getting back the abdominal section later in the year. In previous weeks we removed the skin to look at the muscles of facial expression which are mostly innervated by Cranial Nerve V. The following week, we removed those muscles and looked at the muscles of mastication, which are mostly innervated by Cranial Nerve VII. We also removed one mandible and looked at the muscles that the tongue attaches to. By the time we got to today’s dissection there wasn’t much left of Buddy’s left side of the head. We enucleated his left eye and studied the structures in and around the globe. We also cut into his external ear canal to take a look at that, it was pretty gross in there. There was also a freshly dead dog (not preserved) that we were able to practice with the auriscope on, which was really cool and saved a live dog the torture of 100 newbs digging around in its ears. For anatomy, none of the dogs were killed specifically for the lab, they were all going to be euthanized for other reasons. However, the lab demonstrators did euthanize the animals themselves so we respect our dogs very highly and do our best to learn the most we can from them.
That has been my last three weeks in a nutshell. Now I am off to bed so that I can be awake for Yoga in the morning.