Monday, November 24, 2008

Intensive Update #1

I've had lots of ideas for blog posts recently, but unfortunately life keeps interrupting... so instead I'm going to just write a quick update.

This evening I am off to Wellington for a week's holiday. This is my first time to the NZ Capital, and I'm quite excited about it. I am also pretty broke, so I shall be limiting my activities to free and/or very cheap things to do. Luckily Wellington has the amazing Te Papa museum to keep me occupied for a couple of days, as well as some beautiful parks and wildlife sanctuaries, and some good coastal walks too. I shall be taking lots of photos and blogging about my trip next week.

Unfortunately, I have managed to get a dental abscess from my evil wisdom tooth (the one that always causes me problems) so I had to spend 2 and a half hours at the emergency dental school clinic this morning... I did take my Rough Guide with me to read up about Wellington, so at least some of that time was productive. Anyway, now I am on antibiotics for 5 days, so perhaps I won't be partying it up too much. Such a shame, I'd just gotten over the concussion I gave myself last month and was feeling ready for some alcohol-related fun. I also have a lovely red swollen jaw so am feeling highly unattractive at the moment....

In other news, I sat my Nursing Registration Exam on tuesday. Which officially means I've finished my training. Unless I fail the exam, but I think it went pretty well. It was, however, mulitple choice. I loathe multiple choice tests with a passion. Grrrr........ I won't know the results until around Christmas time, as apparently they have to send them off to Australia to be marked. You wouldn't think it was that hard to mark MC questions that they have to send them abroad, would you??

Well, I am off to pack now, and take some more painkillers. Until next time, folks xxx

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Time!

(above from NZ Herald)

Whilst the rest of the world remains enthralled by what is happening over in the USA, the little hidden away islands of New Zealand have their own decisions to make - yes, Saturday 8th November is also Election Time for NZ. Today is the day NZ may or may not be voting in a new government and new Prime Minister!

I am quite excited about this - but why I don't really know. As I've only been a Permanent Resident in New Zealand for 6 months I am not entitled to vote yet (stupid immigration service took waaayy too long sorting out my visa...) So why should I really pay much attention to what is happening? I guess because even though I can't vote I still live and work here, pay taxes, and use health and public services - therefore politics do affect me, even if I can't affect them.

New Zealand has a completely different system to what I am used to - here they use the Mixed Member Proportional system to elect the 120 seat Government. (In the UK, we have first-past-the-post). This means that while the Labour Party (left wing) and the National Party (centre-right wing) are the two main parties, they often have to ally with smaller third parties, such as NZ First or the Green Party, in order to form a Government. Currently Labour is in power, but with a minority Government, so they have agreements with other parties in order to remain in power. This is all quite confusing!

All I know is there seems to be a lot of minority parties in NZ, and they all seem to have a bigger voice that what I remember the UK parties having. I found this helpful article about what the parties are offering (although it's geared towards student voters...) I also discovered that the official Elections website has a funky quiz you can take to test how much you understand about MMP. It makes squeaky noises! Surprisingly, I managed to get 6 out of 9 correct... not too bad...

The current Prime Minister is Helen Clark (leader of the Labour Party). She has been in power for 9 years now. Her main rival is John Key (leader of National). From what I can make of the polls, National seem to be the slight favourites this year, but it seems so close that both parties would have to form coalitions in order to win power.

Who will win? I have no idea. I just hope that the recent fervour over the US Presidential Elections has sparked Kiwis to care about their country and get out and vote too.

Even though I can't vote, I still have my part to play - I have a job as a 'counter' tonight - yes, I get to sit in a chilly school hall on a Saturday evening counting up ballots. But, hey, it's good money, and it makes me feel like I'm doing *something* for democracy. Roll on 2011, when I will be able to vote for the first time!

I'll leave you with this cartoon I found, make of it what you will....

(NZ Herald)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where to begin....

So here is the start of my attempt at blogging.

To be honest I have tried once before, in the dim and distant past when I was much more adept at computers and computer languages than I am now. Why have I suddenly decided to enter the blogging world again?

There are a few reasons. I'm coming up to a major turning point in my life, lots of things are going on and life's journey is starting to become a bit more interesting.

Firstly, I have finally finished studying to become a Registered Nurse, with my final Registration Exam in just two weeks. After four years of working, studying and stressing, the end is finally in sight!

Secondly, and following on from the end of studying, is that I will be starting my first real nursing job in March 2009 - when the real learning starts! (Assuming I pass the Exam, of course...)

Thirdly, because I have a nice long summer break before I have to be a real Nurse, I have booked my flights to South East Asia, specifically Laos.

I am so excited about this, it has been 2 years since I've been able to do some proper travelling and my feet are getting so itchy I need a whole tube of antihistamine cream to calm them down (okay, not really, yuk...) Of course, like the hoards of other travel bloggers, I'll be needing some place to post photos and write about my experiences, and torture all my friends.

Lastly, I really need to get back to my first love, writing. The last few years of my life have been so focused on the goal of becoming a Nurse, and also a bit of a roller-coaster because of moving halfway across the world, that my writing has suffered too much. I've had the odd period of industriousness, but am seriously lacking in discipline these days. I'm hoping to at least set a little bit of time everyday to do something writing-related.

So I am hoping my blog will be a good thing for me, and at least minimally interesting to anyone else who happens to read it (which, let's face it, will probably just be Craig...) I should say a big thanks to my friend Craig, who came up with the name for my blog almost immediately upon my asking him for suggestions. He has his uses! He is also trying to convince me to do some stories with my character from his popular blog Traumador: The Tyrannosaur Chronicles. Perhaps.