Personal Addition #20 – My Other Blog

I have become a bit behind on the personal additions, partly because of the actual doing of things instead of sitting at a computer writing about them, and partly because before I came to Canada I made another blog to write about my exchange experience, and that’s the blog where I write detailed posts so my family and friends can keep up with what I’m doing. I started the blog 60 days (2 months) before I left for Winnipeg and will hopefully write a couple of posts after I return home, so it has a pre-exchange perspective, on-exchange perspective, and post-exchange perspective.

If you would like to read the blog, it’s


Personal Addition #19 – Banff

This trip was over a month ago I think, but better late than never, I’ve been busy! So back in April (omg) I joined a trip with three other exchange students who are living in Miami, Manitoba, to Banff for four days! I had never met any of the people on the trip before, only spoken to them through email and Facebook, but I got on really well with everyone, and the 17 hour bus ride to Banff offered ample bonding time.

During our time in Banff we walked some mountain trails and hikes, saw elk, went up the gondola, shopped, relaxed in hot pools, saw waterfalls, and took photos of the never-ending beautiful views. My favourite part of the trip was the gondola up Sulphur Mountain, which has the most amazing views! I also really enjoyed spending time with the other exchange students, Julie (France), Fabian (Switzerland), and Charlotte (Germany).

Here are some photos:






If you want way more details you can read my other blog: here

My Buried Life Now What

For the past 4 months and a bit, I have been completing a major item on my bucket list – going on exchange. Exchange was something I had been interested in for a few years before I actually applied to go, and the application process took a month. It was June 2014 when I applied! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I decided to come to Canada! What began as unassuming emails to my exchange agency, has become the most exciting experience of my life so far.
While I’ve been on exchange I’ve tried to experience as much as what Canada has to offer as I could, and while I did manage to see Banff, Toronto, the US, Niagara Falls, and many things in Winnipeg, there’s still a few things I want to do before I go (which is sadly only 19 days away).
My exchange has been a very positive experience, and I feel like I’ve become more confident and independent. I’m so happy to have met all the people I know here and I hope to return one day and see everyone again!
If you have the opportunity to go on exchange at university, I highly recommend it! Also I hope I have made a lot of people interested in visiting New Zealand! If you ever are in NZ then look me up and I’ll show you the best town in NZ!

My Buried Life Author’s Note

When I began writing my Buried Life list I realised that a lot of my life goals involve travelling and exploring the world, and even at this moment I am completing two of those items – #3. Go on exchange, and #6. Visit Canada!
I get such a happy feeling whenever I visit new places; I can’t remember who said it but I once heard, “Travelling is therapy for the soul.”
Going to new places has been part of my life since I was very young, and when I was six years old I moved from England to New Zealand. I feel that this experience gave me an international perspective on the world that I still have today, and an interest in different countries and cultures that motivates me to have so many travel themed goals.
When first presented with this Buried Life task I was slightly daunted, as I didn’t think I’d be able to come up with 50 items for my list. It turns out I was wrong: I’ve ended up with 62 and I keep thinking of new ones every day.
Other goals on my list are for the benefit of others, such as #20. Get my mum’s books published, because I know this would mean the world to her; and #40. Shave my hair off for Shave 4 A Cure, which is something I’ve seen friends of mine do and I know it means a huge deal to people who lose their hair to cancer.
I also included some things on my list that are a little more crazy (#55. Pretend to be someone else for an entire day), and some more practical (#34. Learn to drive). I think it’s important to have a bit of both on the list, and I hope the list will challenge me to keep moving forward for the rest of my life.

My Buried Life List

1. Fall in love
2. Have a job that I love
3. Go on exchange
4. See my exchange friends again
5. Travel Europe with my best friends
6. Visit Canada
7. See Niagara Falls
8. Go to university
9. Live in a European country
10. Dye my hair
11. Go on a big rollercoaster
12. Go up the Eiffel Tower
13. Meet Taylor Swift
14. Have great hair
15. Own my own home
16. Invent something
17. Get a Bachelor’s degree
18. Go to Comic-Con
19. Write a book
20. Get my mum’s books published
21. Speak another language fluently
22. Change someone’s life for the better
23. Help someone get over a fear
24. Sit front row at a concert
25. Go to New York City
26. Graduate high school
27. Summit Mt Taranaki
28. Visit the USA
29. Swim with dolphins
30. Go to Disneyland
31. Have a family (kids and spouse)
32. Go to Amsterdam
33. Be a bridesmaid
34. Learn to drive
35. Learn to cook
36. Be in the Ellen audience
37. Be in a movie
38. Be at an Olympic Opening Ceremony
39. Beat my archery personal best
40. Shave off my hair for Shave 4 A Cure
41. Give someone a compliment every day
42. Steal a stop sign
43. Get a perm
44. Visit Egypt and see the pyramids
45. Go skydiving
46. Ride an elephant
47. Get paid to sing
48. Work in the tv/film industry
49. Ride in a limo
50. Walk the red carpet at a film premiere
51. See a lacrosse game
52. Meet all my second cousins
53. See the seven wonders is the modern world
54. Have another white Christmas
55. Pretend to be someone else for an entire day
56. Eat pizza in Italy
57. Inspire someone
58. Go on a cruise
59. Pick a major
60. Perfect my signature
61. Visit Leeds again
62. See the Northern Lights
63. Learn to ice skate

Short Story – The Fear

The view from the top was glorious – straight out over the bush on the other side of the river, with a clear view of Mount Taranaki in the distance, towering, grand and green, seeming almost to preside over the province like a guardian. I take in the vista for a moment, and then look down at the river. Now that I’m on the cliff ledge, it seems much higher than when I was swimming in the water, staring up at it. I peer over the ledge and quickly step back again. I am very, very high up.

The water droplets on my skin start to make me shiver but that’s not enough to make me take the leap just yet, even though I know my friends must be getting restless down below, thinking I had to have made my way up there by now and I should just jump already.

Come on, Kellie!” I hear Nigel yell from the water, giving me the courage to take a step forward again. My friends start cheering me on as they see me anxiously standing atop the cliff.

Okay, breathe Kellie. I think to myself. You’re going to do this. Nothing bad is going to happen. I picture myself jumping and splashing into the calm water with a smile on my face. You can do this, Kellie.

In fact, I had to do it – once you climbed up the cliff, pulled yourself up the steep, dirt “path” (if you could even call it that) using dry roots and grass as hand-holds, you really couldn’t get back down without taking an uncomfortable mudslide over the tussocks. And besides, everyone was waiting for me to jump, and I knew already that they thought I was a little bit fragile, no matter how many times I told them to treat me like they would anyone else. Sometimes people couldn’t see past the years of chemo.

No going back. I squint up at the clear blue sky and take another deep breath. This was no more difficult than the huge, crazy roller-coaster I went on in Auckland two weeks ago – once I was up there, about to drop, there was nothing to be done but try to enjoy the ride. This was no scarier than my first surgery when I was nine; than putting my life in the hands of someone else. This was doable. I’d just watched Nigel and Karen do it!

I remembered how good it felt to get off that roller-coaster and how I felt like I’d accomplished something that day. I’d faced a fear and nothing bad had happened.

I started a mental countdown.


Just keep your body straight.” I remembered Karen instructing me before I climbed up. “Make sure you jump out at least a little so that you completely clear the cliff.”


I stepped forward again, curling my toes around the edge of the rock. My friends resumed their cheering.


This was the summer for taking chances, and living life. For first kisses, and long bike rides under the hot Taranaki sun.


No time like the present.


I jumped.

Personal Addition #18 – NPGHS

NPGHS stands for New Plymouth Girls’ High School (my school!!). I’ve said a few bits and bobs about my school in New Zealand in other posts but then I remembered there’s this video that my school made to show overseas for international students and since I always get questions about my school, if you want to see the uniforms, campus, hostel, and also a few accents (which I know you love) then you can now watch this video 🙂

Personal Addition #17 – Te Reo Maori

Téna koutou katoa! Hello everybody!
A lot of people ask me about whether I speak another language in New Zealand, and while there is a widely spoken native language, I don’t speak it (I wish I did!).
Te Reo Maori is the native dialect and is used by about 10% of the NZ population. Even for those who aren’t fluent, we still use the language every day – the national anthem is sung in Maori and English, it’s used on the evening news, and we also get taught numbers and colours and a whole lot of songs (waiata) in primary school.
Despite not being born in NZ, I got involved in the kapahaka program at my primary and intermediate schools, and it was something I really enjoyed. Kapahaka is a Maori performance style, and we would take part in competitions of song, dance, and haka, in full costume. It was a really cool way to be part of the Maori culture, perform, and be part of a close team! Here’s a video of my high school’s kapahaka group (all girls, plus some staff members):

Here are some Maori words in common use in NZ and around the world:
Kiwi – aha! Bet you didn’t know that you’ve been using Te Reo Maori in everyday life!
Aotearoa – this is the Maori name for New Zealand, it means ‘the land of the long white cloud’.
Kia ora – this is a casual greeting when you see someone you know.
Haere mai – this means welcome!
Kumara – this is what Kiwis call a sweet potato.
Whanau – this is the Maori word for family.
Haka – if you’ve ever seen the All Blacks play, then you’ll probably know they traditionally perform a chant to the other team before the game, which is called a haka. Different groups have their own specific haka, but the national one is the most well known. Here’s a video of it:

Personal Addition #16 – AFL

Just like with netball, most Canadians have also never heard of the sport I like to watch most – Aussie rules/Australian football.
When I first watched it I thought it was ridiculous, but now I love it. Most of the games are played in Australia, but I was lucky enough to see one live when I visited Melbourne last year. For the past two years my favourite team, Hawthorn, has won the league championship, and while it’s very uncommon for teams to win three seasons in a row, I hope the Hawks can do it! AFL is becoming more popular around the world, including Canada! The Canadian women’s team is the world champions for women’s AFL outside Australia itself.
Here’s a photo of Hawthorn after they beat the Sydney Swans in the final last year: