Saturday, March 13, 2010

My First Two Weeks Off the Ice

A duckling in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

I'm not sure if my first two weeks off the Ice were a wash or a roaring success. My original idea was to run off to a Pacific Island for a little R&R before training for ultimate got started. I wanted to rest up from a long season on the Ice and add a little spunk to my travels because I was mostly going to be in New Zealand and Australia where I've already visited. There were lots of cheap options, like Tonga, but I thought something that was really expensive from the states but cheaper from New Zealand, like Fiji or Tahiti, might be the way to go. On more of a whim than anything else, I was settling on Tahiti. I think I was sucked in by too many pictures of sea kayakers returning to their overwater bungalow (photo on the above).

Hydrangea in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

Giant trees in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

After I had agonizingly chose Tahiti, I started talking to others for ideas and looking to book flights. Cara informed me that Tahiti was one of the two places in the world that you could fly to Easter Island from. The other is Santiago, Chile. A Pacific Island seemed cool, but Easter Island was EXACTLY the type of adventure I was looking for. The cost was a lot, but the payoff seemed huge!!! Going on big travels is why we go to the Ice isn't it? It would be be tough to get back in time for when my ultimate team expected me, but it was doable. Ten hours of flights there. Ten back. Doable, if not agonizing. I tried to book flights.

A purple dahlia in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

A fancy dahlia in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

Unfortunately, booking flights from Antarctica was not that easy. I was supposed to leave Antarctica on a Friday and wanted to fly to Tahiti on Monday. If there were any delays on the Ice, I might miss my flights. I finally decided to risk it. However, the Internet had other ideas. After five tries, I couldn't book my flights. I have no idea why and was too tired to fight it. I just figured it was some kind of satellite lag and I'd book it from New Zealand.

A yellow dahlia in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

A pink dahlia in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

When I arrived in New Zealand, I felt confident that I'd be able to get my flights so I set to work on finding lodging. Unfortunately, my get up and go, got up and went somewhere between Antarctica and New Zealand. After two days of looking, I realized that I had lost all motivation to deal with logistical challenges. I was just too tired to deal with any of it. The reason I was heading to a Pacific Island was to spice up my travels and for some R&R. After a lot of back and forth, I decided I could save a ton of money and just take my R&R in Christchurch at the flat I had already rented. Yeah, I'd be missing out on an adventure of a lifetime, but I also realize that I'm not done traveling. I can visit Easter Island and Tahiti later and it will be a lot cheaper with a little more planning.

Another fancy dahlia (who knew there were so many types?) in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

A yellow rose in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

So after ten days of research, I was suddenly settling into two weeks of no plans in Christchurch. I just milled about. I wasn't even online much. I really did do pretty much nothing. I definitely wasn't productive. My first two weeks were pretty much wake up, eat breakfast, read, train for ultimate, eat, bike into the Botanical Gardens or Mona Vale after lunch, run an errand like getting my cellphone, meet an Ice friend, chat it up until dinner, go to ultimate practice and then head home. It was a pretty stellar two weeks, which is surprising. Normally, I want to explore as much as possible, but I didn't even make it to the Port Hills or the beach. The second week, I started to get antsy, but managed to make it work.

An orange rose and bee in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

A pink rose in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

On my third week, I finally got off my bum. I got back on email, started writing the blog again, trained harder, and even left town. It was amazing, but in a different way. I think I underestimated how much the Ice took out of me this season. I really needed most of that two weeks to get myself right again. I also needed most of that two weeks for my body to stop hurting from ultimate. While I had been training on the Ice, I hadn't been playing hard ultimate. I did in Christchurch and my body had a lot to say about it. I don't think I've had muscle ache like that since the start of training for high school soccer after a summer of nothing. After two weeks though, it was gone. I was able to play a tournament (we took second by a point) and come away without any new major pains!!

A red rose in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

I saw a lot of Ice folks go dashing out of Christchurch to explore New Zealand in those first two weeks. I did the same thing after my first season and loved it, but not this time. I let myself relax and was able to thoroughly enjoy it. I might be letting myself start to slow down, but don't worry, I'm still me. I still get antsy without a purpose or direction to go. I still have Easter Island on the list.

A duckling family visits Jude, who recommends custard donuts, in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

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