Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hey Sarah.. go over there to take a photo... Me.. AHHH theres a seal!!

Once again, sorry its be awhile since the last post....

Many things have happen since the last post,  We had our makshift easter celebration, booked some Thailand stuff, the Royal Wedding crazyness, I drove for the first time on the left side of the road, and we spent the weekend out at Cape Palliser which is one of the most beautiful places I have seen.

Easter in New Zealand is HUGE.  Not necessarily the religious aspect of it, but the idea of eating candy and having it be a public holiday.  We got a 4 day weekend because good friday is a public holiday, and then it was ANZAC day (like a memorial day) on Monday.   Instead of there being tons of Easter bunnies and premade Easter baskets, there are just TONS of giant and small Easter eggs, all types you could think of. The whole notion of being politically correct and not talking about a religious holiday doesn't apply here, we had an Easter brunch at work, and I got lots of Easter eggs from people at work.

We went to an STA travel night and continued to book our adventures in Thailand!  We booked our three day trek in Chang Mai which is going to be amazing!  We also got free beer and wine, food, a free Thailand lonley planet book ($70NZ dollars) and 50.00 towards more!  All and all it was pretty sweet, which made me start to think about our next adventure... and I am thinking South Africa, a 10 day tour through the country and then a few extra days in Capetown... Don't you worry everybody... IT WILL HAPPEN, though I have no idea how I will make money when I get back to the USA, I will get to South Africa, and many other places around the world! :)

The Royal Wedding happened, and man oh man was it a HUGE event!  I spent alot of time at work talking about what Kate would wear, how it would be hard to be her, and anything else.  Everyone had wedding parties with high tea (Fancy tea party with the party stacked platters and each one has sweeter treats)  Or there were themed parties, or dress up ones for charity which mimicked the wedding events.  it was crazy! I also bought the souvenir edition of the newspaper here! :)

On Friday night we met up with Caro, our friend from Belgium and had dinner, she made us an amazing dinner! The weirdest thing about it is that she had a girl staying with her... and she was from Olympia! how crazy! She was super nice, yet if you wanted to describe anyone as an Evergreener she would be it! (and she is trying to go to school there too!)  But really it was fun to talk about all the signature Olympia stuff and think about how I can't wait to get back and eat Old School and Meconies!

One cool thing we learned from Felix (girl from Olympia)  is how to make an amazing desert!  chocolate coconut balls... it was just avocado, sugar and coco whipped together and then rolled in coconut. oh man it was amazing!  I recommend trying it! and you can add macadam nuts. YUMMY!

Anyways, this weekend we went out to Cape Palliser, its the southernmost part of the north island.  Its on the east coast and there is a 150 year old light house that you can climb up the 250 steps to.  so we rented a car and were on our way!  I got in the drivers seat we headed out of the parking lot.  I immediately turned on the windshield whippers... as they are switched, and got flustered.  It took some getting used to but by the time we returned the car on Sunday I felt better.  Although driving on the left side is odd.. I felt like the part of the car between the two windows (front and side) was so hard to see around!  Only once, and it was in a parking lot, did I accidentally go on the right side of the road.

So we got out to Cape Palliser and it was amazing!  It also known to have a lot of seals, which we saw!  They were sleeping all over the place, like a foot from the road (which wasn't really a road, more like gravel)  we got out and took pictures and then climbed up a huge cliff area to take more.  We figured we were safely away from the seals as we were up very high and Colin told me to go down a step for a cool photo.  I started to walk around and almost got there, when all of a sudden this seal started hissing at me! (and for those who didn't know they are actually really dangerous and can slither around really fast and then your done for...)  I screamed and ran back up.. so basically Colin was trying to get me killed! although really it was hidden behind a rock...

The scenery in this area was crazy.  We were right on the coast but then there were these huge green mountains so close to the water.  The waves were giant and came crashing down onto the seals, and big rocks.  They would of easily engulfed a car and taken it out to sea.  Then looking out there was a soft mist from the water which made it look almost unreal.  I know it doesn't do it justice, but it was beautiful.

So we climbed to the top of the light house and then headed to a small town (the first colonized NZ town) called Greytown.  We stayed in a cute little hotel and had an amazing dinner at the White Swan... It was very good, although we didn't have much of a choice since the ENTIRE town was basically already closed and the whole town was only main street.

We made it home, and spent today going to the market and catching up on things, it was actually a beautiful weekend and day in Wellington with no wind, so we got to air out our shitty house and didn't have to hang out in our sleeping bags (which is becoming quite popular as our house is usually so cold you can see your breath.. cool....)  That is one thing I will NOT miss about NZ!  un heated/insulated houses..

Fringe = bangs
Servett = napkins
Brain Wave = ex; I need a brain wave, or i just had a brain wave, like an awha moment, or the light bulb came on.

Different places throughout Cape Palliser! Enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I can't believe we have already been here for over 2 months!

Alright, so according to some of my readers (Alex....) I don't put up enough posts... so I am trying to be better!

I have been home sick the past 2 days which isn't any fun... but I found out that I am officially contracted until February with Westfield! and the best part is they are flexible around me traveling, its like the perfect situation!  So we can still go around and see the country, just as long as I don't have a big project or anything.

I love all the people I work with, each one is so nice!  Megan (In picture below) is like a mom figure, she is soo nice I almost feel bad! but that is just the way New Zealanders are.  We met up for the Lower Hutt Duck Race (Phebe didn't win.. she got stuck up the river...) and then she had Colin and I over for an amazing lunch and desert, and then sent us home with carrot cake too! She also helped me win a air popcorn maker (yes Savannah and Alicia, I now have one. THANK GOD!) and even drove out to pick it up!

Everyone is generally curious about different American things, so I get some funny questions.  like Jaime asked about Twinkies because she read about them in the babysitters club when she was little, another one was about how fat Americans really are.  Half of the staff at work hadn't seen a air popper before, ya know for popcorn, so we are now buying one for the work kitchen and I am making them some with brewers yeast of course!  Some of the pronunciation is different as well.  such as advertisement, glacier, garage and aluminum.  Its hard to describe but the 'a' is drawn out so its like gaaarage. or glaaacier, etc.  If i write certain sayings like greeting everyone, or something else they tell me thats very American. :)

Everyone thinks is funny that I say anyways, not anyway.  Also instead of saying "check out below," they say "check out the below."  odd... Also:  the paper size is different here, three ring binders are actually 2 ring binders, they don't use the letter z in words like organize, its organise.  Self checkouts are a new revolution here.

On each Wednesday we have morning tea, which is always fun.  We all sit around the table, have tea and different treats and just talk.  It's a nice break from work, and something Americans would consider odd, I think...

Another interesting thing is the different in food ingredients.  The US standard for food is SOO low (THANKS USDA/FDA)  There is no high fructose corn syrup here, or aspertaime.  Even the cheaper food here has less ingredients in it, just using the basics.  Jaime was interested to hear that I always read the ingredients at stuff back home (and here) because there is such odd thing put in food.  EX.  coca cola here is like the Mexican kind with just sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.  I wish the food standards at home were higher so even if you were poor you could still have healthy non fake food!

We now have a part time flat cat named Kitty... she comes and visits each day and we have no idea who she really belongs to, but we like her.  Our door to the deck has a cat door so she just walks right in and then meows till we greet here.  She is pretty cute, and curious about everything!  Its fun because she is only a part time kitty!

Some other interesting things about New Zealand include:

- on domestic flights there isn't any security checks.
- Heaps is a common word, ex: I hope you feel Heaps better!
- Most guys here were shorts, shoes and tall black socks, its like a fashion trend.
- Clinque face wash $14 US = $45NZ!!
- A palate of 4 eyeshadow shades from YSL brand, was $114!!!!

Below:  our lovely house!!  The window above the red roof is our room.
- Phebe making her way sideways down the river.
- Megan and I with the big duck.
- Phebe after being rescued from the river... she got a little beat up!
- Our cat kitty, stopping by for a nap on our bed.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm a big girl now, with a big girl job!

Hello Everyone!

I know its been awhile, I've been super busy!  Since coming back from our last trip, I have been working full time at Westfield Queensgate.  I am the new marketing coordinator, and it is so much fun!  I have my own office, and the people I work with are great.  I am learning alot about the differences between the company within the US and NZ.  There are many cultural differences too, the way you write emails, and my favorite one... wine each Friday.  Yes, thats right the last half an hour of work we relax and end the day with a glass of wine! They all think its funny that you can't do that in the US.  and everyone was in shock to hear we only have 2 weeks paid vacation.  I also found out their maternity leave is 14 weeks too!

Anyways, besides my job which wares me out! we have been planning our next place to visit.  Good Friday is a public holiday, as well as ANZAC day, which is like our Vetrans Day.  so we have a 4 day weekend!  We are going to Hawks bay, which is on the east cost of the North Island.  We are going to do a biking wine tour, which I am so excited for!  I hope to do some more traveling alot, were really just wanting to make some money and then go around the country.  We love Wellington but are feeling alittle tied down, though I am sure it will get better once Colin has a job as well.   It could also be us just missing home and friends/family.

In other news, our flatmate Stephanie is moving out (not really sure why...) and so Greg is most likely moving in with us!  at least until August.. so if anyone wants to come live in NZ for a while, we have a room open! 

Some common sayings:
- Let me have a think about it.
- I can't be bothered.  (ex.  I want some ice cream but I can't be bothered walking there!)  I think its funny.

- Singlet = tank top
- Theater = operating room

Below:  My duck Phebe... for the Lower Hutt Duck races... More pictures to come!! She debuts tomorrow, and I hope she wins!!

The other two pictures are our night out on the town with Greg and his Dad.

I'll try to put up a post more often, as I know I am missing stuff!!  But hopefully in the next few weeks well have more interesting things to tell everyone about!