I can not believe we are moving back to America in less than 50 days! Where has the time gone, how has a year already gone by?!! This experience living in New Zealand has been amazing, I have learned so much, met so many wonderful people, had a wonderful job, saw stunning natural wonders, traveled to multiple countries and got to spend it all with my lovely partner!
The past few months have been very crazy, Sam and Martha came to visit us for a month and we got to visit the Coromandal in norther New Zealand and did a 10 day tour of the South Island. We spent time in Wellington showing them the sights and taking them to good restaurants, soaking up as much as possible. And now that our time is counting down, we are making our lists of things to do before we leave (Scary!) We still have lots to do and I hope we can fit it all in before we leave. I love New Zealand and know someday I will be back to visit the amazing country.
Christmas in NZ
Work has been very busy since Christmas is almost here. Funny though, you can call Christmas Christmas here! no Holiday only crap. We have Christmas carolers in the Centre, Father Christmas - kids send him Christmas letters which you can deliver to any NZ Post shop! And the Christmas music throughout the Centre isn't regulated to the extreme. Its even normal for friends to get together on Christmas Eve and go to the pub!
It is crazy to think that Christmas is only a week away, especially since it is now summer! I don't know what I think about my first Kiwi Christmas, but it should be a nice day bbqing in the sun with Nelson's Family. Though I have to say it doesn't really feel like it, yes we have a mini Christmas tree, and the Centre is blasting Christmas music but its just not the same! (a co-worker from Europe warned me about this!)
I am working on Boxing day (the day after xmas) which is one of New Zealands biggest shopping days of the year, so hopefully I can find some good deals!But in true New Zealand fashion the Centre is only open from 9am - 7pm (Kiwi's are winding down during this time of the year, most go on holidays and lots of businesses shut down for a few weeks.)
Recently Wellington has had 2 earthquakes which as has kept things exciting. The first one was while we were down on the South Island it was a 5.7 but 40K deep so not too strong. Colin and I felt it, though others around us didn't. The second one, less than a week later was a 4.0 but only 20k deep, This time I was at work (and Colin at home). One of the major factors into feeling the quake was the creaking of the buildings each time. Even if you only felt a jolt or a sway of the building it was the creaking of the building after the movement that defined it. Luckily even after both quakes there was only limited damage.
During our time on the South Island we got to spend a day in Christchurch, it was fascinating to see but devistating knowing these quakes are still happening on a daily basis. Its not news at home anymore but there are multiple 3.0 or 4.0 quakes a day. The city has no longer has a CBD (downtown area), thousands have fled out of fear, and the place is deserted. Walking around the 'red zone' was odd, it was a nice hot day, sun shining but no one was around, just fences blocking off the broken buildings, or areas where buildings used to stand but have already been demolished.
Below are some photos of the 'red zone' throughout Christchurch. After seeing these, be extra thankful that you still have a job, home, city, etc.