May 31, 2011

Loving the small things that make me smile...

... the fact that our jandals (flip flops) are permanent fixtures on the floor (even though it's fall)

... and the door with a view

... food made with 100% love, no less, but the best kind really

... slowly (very slowly) getting the hang of driving on the "other" side

... rainy days where I can sport a silly pair of rainboots (how I miss Target!)

And a big shout out love to a great bloggy friend (Morgan, The Handcrafted Life) who I'm lucky enough to know in real life. She may not know how much she inspires me to keep on keeping on, and she's been a bright star always cheering me on. Thank you, thank you, thank you times a million for being in my corner.

She's wandering around a bit too, getting used to a new home and new city, miles away from everything she knows. Helps make me feel not so lost over on this side, to share adventures with her. And maybe one day her shoe closet, girl has got one heck of a collection!

May 29, 2011

Wellington Food Show Weekend

It was a lovely weekend to enjoy new foods and never ending wine pours at the Wellington Food Show. Paired with a good neighbour and our tickets, we sipped, dipped, and enjoyed are way through the booths. Some favorites included:

* Tokyo lime green tea from t leaf
* A frozen ciprahana from Hi I.Q. Liquor Merchants
* Tart, tangy and New Zealand's only creamy limoncello from Sovrana Limoncello
* Gathering info for a weekend getaway to Hawke's Bay (4 hours away from Wellington)
* A lovely tempranillo (light, fruity, and made me crave cherries) from Hawke's Ridge Wine Estate
* A deliciously dark 2007 Pinot Noir from Johner Estate Wines (sadly I cannot find it on their website, but it made me giddy, since I'm finding it next to impossible to find a pinot noir that can give the Russian River Valley region from California a run for it's pinot noir money.)

I tried to take pictures of everything, but with a wine glass in hand, bags of goodies, and large crowds, I failed. There's always next year!

Dish magazine, that makes me hungry page after page turn - scored tons of free goodies along with my first New Zealand magazine subscription. I did a victory dance for a $35 subscription since a single issue sells for $10 - still in sticker shock over here!

Gu puds, where $20 NZD bought me (and my neighbours - had to share!) two buckets of millionaires flapjacks (think the most splendid, chocolatey, gooey bars, chopped into smaller bite size bits), four chocolate vanilla cheesecakes with the smoothest, creamiest layers, and three mini chocolate puds (never can have too much chocolate, right?).

Fall sure has been kind to us around here, after four days of grey rain, it was lovely to be greeted with this beautiful sunshine-y Saturday... and Sunday (and even today, Monday).

Life is good.

May 23, 2011

Recap: the past week

In the past week...

~ I've completed my work contract
~ Celebrated this fact twice with work friends (drinks and wine, and dancing and wine)
~ Added more blonde to my life (sweet as)
~ Found the best ever boots
~ Made pulled pork in a slow cooker (easy peasy, but I prefer the oven method, more love goes into it!)
~ Attended two neighborly dinners (one potluck, and one where we were pampered by an Italian cook)
~ Went out with another neighbor to enjoy the comedy festival (turns out the Canadian comic was the funniest, at least in my Canadian opinion)
~ Turned down a long-term work contract (couldn't agree on the benjamins)
~ Working on my driving skills (still getting honked at by aggressive city drivers)
~ Made puff pastry straws (yumm)
~ Signed up for a library card (I feel like I'm 3rd grade)
~ Said no to Wellywood (agree that it's tacky to showcase creativity in the film industry by using Hollywood's idea)
~ Enjoyed a leisurely Sunday watching surfers catch the waves (while eating hot chips on the beach)
~ Added more decor to operation making house a home (ceramic elephant, heaps of picture frames, and more china dishes)
~ Stood next to a wind turbine, admiring the views of this city surrounded by ocean (kinda made me feel like I'm top of the world)

Catching up on all your posts and excited to see what you've been up to this past week!

May 14, 2011

Kiwi-styles: heaps of new words

When we first arrived here, New Zealand seemed like a new world to us. Especially since this was our first time visiting anywhere out of the North America region. It all seemed so new and foreign, with so much to learn. New cities, maps, currency, food, ways of life, customs, etiquette, stores, fashion, slang, time zone, pop culture... yes very much a new world to us.

Now, 2+ months in, it seems very much home. At times we find it's very Americanized, modern and dare I say, normal? We love it here, and are enjoying operation making house a home, making new friends, and just getting used to life.

But there are some small differences, a conversion if you will.

The stores close up shop early, and are usually not open Sundays and with very shortened hours on Saturdays. For example, clothes shopping has been at the top of my list since my wardrobe is virtually one pair of pants, one pair of jeans, 4 cardigans and a few dresses. And it's getting cold here, gearing up for winter. I've tried for weeks now to get out and shop, but they close up the same time I'm done my office work, and by the time I finish errands and house stuff on Saturdays, they are closing up. And going out on Sundays? It's virtually a ghost town. Same goes for hair salons. In dire need of more blonde in my life, and unless I'm willing to take time off work or book an appointment 1.5 months out, there aren't many options to just get my hair did.

Restaurant dining. It's very common to arrive and not be greeted, but rather find a table yourself or order at the counter and take a seat. It's also common to have to get up and pay your bill rather than waiting for the bill to appear at your table. There is no rush to serve you, or to bill you. So you plan a night out and you go for the long haul. As a past server, I'd say we are the campers. Who sit and sit for hours on end, in no hurry to leave. But the restaurants are in no hurry either. Here, you sit, talk, chat, observe, enjoy, dine, enjoy, sit, talk and chat. It's a slower pace, and has become the norm for us.

The language. There are many slang words use, and different words compared to the American ones, such as capscium = peppers. Biscuits = cookies. Cilantro doesn't exist, but coriander is it's replacement. Wholemeal = whole wheat. At first, I thought I'd just continue with my American ways and use the words I know, considering since the people here know what I mean anyways (for the most part), but slowly I've found that I use the common words here. I'm adapting and learning. And hopefully being respectful. I also toss in words like "heaps" (for lots/many) and overuse the world "cool" like I did with the word wicked back in sixth grade. And "cheers". The most common word I encounter daily. Cheers when I the cashier takes my money, cheers when I hold the elevator for someone, cheers when I say bye, cheers when I say hi, cheers, cheers, cheers. It's like a celebration for everything you do. And sweet as. Which is pronounced very similar to sweet ass. Meaning awesome.

Our next mission, is to start exploring New Zealand, and seeing everything it has to offer. This clip really says it all... sweet as indeed.

May 1, 2011

It's nice of my coworkers to think I'm turning 25, 26 or 27, nice indeed.

Birthdays are my favorite celebration, always full of love and chocolate cake.

Was a bit sad on the actual day, with big waves of homesick pangs hitting me. Didn't know what to expect, didn't know the best place to go, didn't really want to make a scene of it, and besides still making friends... made me wish I was at home surrounded by my favorite peeps.

When I arrived at work, I was serenaded by the early birds, who sang Happy Birthday, allowing me to do a dance as I walked to my desk. There was an afternoon tea with lots of sweets, and many a birthday wish sent my way. What an amazing day! I tried to not make a scene or tell anyone, but they found out anyways, and made the scene for me, letting me bask in my favorite celebration.

When I arrived home, I knew the bf and I would either stay in enjoying some bubbly and possibly making smores over the fire. Or if we were up for it after a long day of work, we'd get out on the town. Thankfully, he knows me like nobody's business, and made a booking (aka reservation) at a wine bar. Where the menu was literally twice the size of the dinner menu, in fact, I thought the dinner menu was the drinks list. Muchos jammy cab and buttery chard with stinky cheese was consumed. Does it get any better?

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Don't mind the green!

But my favorite moments? Arriving home after work, ready to fling myself onto the couch and possibly take a nap, but instead finding a bouquet of flowers (that he assembled himself so much so, that he even cut the stems - leaving them in sink for me to notice, and picking up a much needed vase) a wrapped present, chocolate cake, and sparkling chardonnay.

Sweet love indeed, and sweetly loved am I.

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