Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"An Oreo? Oh thats a real American cookie isn't it!"

Colin and I spent the last week over on the South Island for a little vacation before I started working full time at Westfield.
But first - I have to admit I have come to love my cell phone, though it is the most basic Nokia in the world, not even a camera! I have grown to appreciate it and am glad I have a cell phone, even though no one calls me because we don't have any friends here.... :)  Also all the toilets here have two buttons, but none of them are labeled!! I have constantly wondered what the difference was and finally asked Colin about it... He said the same thing! Were guessing one is for number 2 and one for number 1 but there isn't any kind of indication for which one is which.. its kind of humorous.

Also everything closes so early and it drives me nuts! I can't get used to it! if you work till 5:30 you have at the most 30 min to go somewhere and shop.  Food places stay open but everything else closes.  Even the Mall's hours are 9-6 monday - wednesday.  Luckily some places stay open till 8 on the weekends, but everything is closed by around 2 on sunday.  The lifestyle over here is just different and not so focused on working all the time like in the US.  And women here don't only have their engagement, and wedding band, they also get an eternity band as well, and some even get a baby one! basically, the rings are huge! 

Anyways, We left for Nelson on Tuesday on the Ferry.  It's a three hour ride across to Picton.  We arrived and walked to our hostel.  It was a fun bright blue hostel with a huge porch, chairs, a hot tub and a tree house.  After checking in we went on a hike around one of the coves and walked back along the beach.  as usual the town shut down around 5ish and we walked the deserted streets looking for a place for dinner.  Picton was a super cute town, just really small and not alot going on.

We met a super nice girl from Manchester who gave us some good travel tips.  and we talked about Prince William and Kate, they call him willy.  HA She did tell us though (which proved to be true) that there are 27,000 Germans in New Zealand and no one can apply for a working holiday visa for the next year since its so pack.  two of our 4 roommates in the Nelson hostel were German.

The next morning we took a bus from Picton to Nelson.  There was this older man on the bus talking on his phone, but he would put it to his ear to listen and then move it to his mouth to talk.. it was pretty entertaining.

Nelson is a super cute town! there is alot of fun shops (but alot of them i didn't get to see because they all close!!!) But there is a great I-site station.. I-site stations are all around NZ in each town where they can give you information, book things for you and other fun stuff.  We booked two day events for hiking and kayaking up in Abel Tasman National Park.

So the first day we went to a brewery in this odd old town that was like some weird replica of an early 1900's town.  except nothing was really open and it was deserted... so we just did a beer tasting and then headed to some pizza dinner.

Our hostel in Nelson was awesome! it was the nicest one we have been to by far, and they served free chocolate pudding and ice cream each night! The next morning bright and early and took a boat up to Bark Bay in Able Tasman where we were dropped off on the white sand beaches and to start our hike.  We met a super nice girl from Holland who was hiking as well.  She talked about how cool it would be to live in America and when I offered here an oreo she was so excited and replied saying "This is a real American cookie isn't it!"  Our hike was gorgeous! we would be in a desert area, then to tropical, then to deep forest, and all of a sudden we would be looking out to the beautiful water.

The next day we took a bus up to Able Tasman and set out to kayak for the day.  After an orientation that seemed like forever we were finally on the water and went to two different island and 3 beaches.  It was so much fun, great weather and amazing views, but i was exhausted by the end of the day.  We once again had our chocolate pudding and then headed to bed.

During our stay in Nelson we met a super nice Dutch girl named Tabby, she was so full of life and hilarious to talk to.  We talked about the huge differences between the US and Holland and she told us about her country's celebrations for new years, such as fire works at midnight, but then everyone walks into town and shakes hands with everyone else wishing them a happy new year.  How fun!  We also talked about how much Americans work.  Her impression of Americans was:  "They work work and work all year till they get 2 weeks of vacation and play play play and take lots of fun pictures and then come back really tired."  It was so funny to hear her point of view, because the Dutch get 5 weeks and even New Zealand gets more!

Well we made it back, the tsunami warning in NZ got canceled and we are home in Wellington.  Just in time for me to start my job with Westfield! I am a marketing assistant with a contract right now and hopefully will get to stay on for longer!  It has been a fun 2 days and all the people are so nice.  The marketing and mall operations in general are so different than in the US.  but excited to learn more!

All and All,  it was a great vacation and I am excited to be working.  We are still planning more trips around to the glaciers and a biking wine tour on the South Island and just booked tickets to the World Rugby Cup game, USA vs. Australia!

Friday, March 4, 2011

We live in earthquake country

Well its been over a week since the Christchurch earthquake, and there are 166 officially dead.  So sad… They're slowly looking for more people in pancaked buildings and getting things back to "normal". 

There have been two earthquakes in Wellington this week. They were around 4.5.  We felt the first one but the last one was Friday morning around 2AM and I didn't feel that one.  There hasn't been any damage luckily, just kinda scary.

We have been going on hikes and going to museums around Wellington and planning a trip hopefully next week down to the South Island to Nelson for a few days to go play in the sun and go kayaking and to some breweries. 

There have been some pretty gross windstorms here recently where I'm pretty sure I was going to get blown away.  Yesterday while walking the bag Colin was holding onto broke and went flying into the street from the wind.. WOW! it was actually pretty funny though because right before he said that he joked about it happening. 

I have something in the works with Westfield that I am super excited about but its not official yet so wont say… I'll keep everyone posted when I find out for sure! :) 

There is a film documentary festival coming to Wellington this week and were going to try and go to some of those movies, they look really good!  Also we did some window shopping yesterday comparing prices and went into a outdoor store with Northface stuff…. I found my coat US250… it was NZ549!!!! which is $417 US!! AHHH thats crazy! the exchange rate doesn't even compare, people here are getting so ripped off! we keep finding crazy things like that where the prices are so much more. 

Also, interesting fact, the Police here don't have guns, only tasers, no one has guns here.

We are in the works of getting a ticket to the USA VS. AUSTRALIA rugby world cup game in September too!

Anyways, more news to come! hope all is well back home!

The pictures above:
- Colin and I in Auckland, Island Bay, and our latest hike!