Last week we headed about 14k down the road to Tapapakanga Beach which happens to be another Regional Park right down the road from us. The goal of the day was to reflect upon what we had seen and experienced thus far in New Zealand.

We were able to explore the beach and just ponder. This particular beach was pretty rocky with loads of organisms to see. A lot of the rocks had little crabs hanging out underneath and they would scurry away when you picked the rock up.

After this, we gathered back under one of the Puhutakaua trees (NZ “Christmas” tree) and were given a little assignment. We had to each draw a tree that basically represented our life. Each part had a different meaning: the roots being people, events, places, and experiences that have shaped you, the trunk being your core values/beliefs, the branches being where you are currently and how you use those values day-to-day and the leaves were aspirations or goals for the future. It was a great-thinking exercise and it was nice to be able to write all this stuff done and sort of assess where I am at this point in life. After that we formed into small groups for another little brain exercise. We had to come up with a way/symbol to represent our idea of sustainability. I was with Cara, Abby, Sarah, and Amanda. We decided on  a hermit crab because of the way it uses its shell as its home and then leaves it when its done for another hermit crab or organism. It is a nice closed-loop cycle that enforces reuse. We called him Bernard, the sustainable hermit crab. Everybody loved him!

After we all explained our ideas, we sat down for lunch and just hung out at the beach for awhile. A couple of people went swimming, but it was a little too cold for me. I was in fleece and my wool hat…