March 22, 2012

That moment

Today was the first day I paid in change and didn't have to inspect it and manually add up what I have. It was like second nature to grab it and know what's there just by touch.

Also? Today, for the first time, I could spot the tourists and not feel like one.

Made my day. What made yours?

March 9, 2012

Three new things

This past week has been exciting, save for the fact that winter has arrived. A news report showed that for parts of New Zealand, including Wellington, that its been the greyest summer in 80 years! Which means technically we haven't seen a proper summer since October 2010 from San Francisco. But I'll take it, because the good days are amazing even if few and far between. There is such jaw dropping beauty when the sky clears, wind halts and sun shines down and glistens the water, makes me forget about the greyest days.

We had our first New Zealand experience with a weather bomb. Yes, it's a technical term for when there's rapid decrease in air pressure producing high winds and heavy rain. It caused a lot of damage, ripping roofs off and taking trees down. For us, we had a patio barricade thankfully nothing too serious.

Patio furniture from the other end of the deck

Last weekend I also had a blogger first, meeting one of my favourite bloggers in person. A blogate? Blog date? The lovely miss Leah from Chandeleah made a return visit to New Zealand and I joined her welcome home party. I had so much fun finally meeting her in person, she has the brightest personality making you feel like you're long lost friends, and she radiates in person, you can even see it in this photo!

Alisha (one of Leah's other online friends who I was lucky to hang out with), Leah and me with the infamous wine that I was denied at the bar. New Zealand takes their ID very serious, drinking age is 19 but if you don't have NZ issued ID or a passport you don't get the wine. I was even denied entry to a bar! I guess I'll take it the compliment, but really need to get on with securing proper identification.

I wasn't nervous about meeting her since I was pretty sure she would be just like herself from her blog. We even discussed that meeting people from the online world can either be great or awkward. There are those who are very outgoing online and in person and others who are not so much in person. I tend to be in the middle and get energy from those around me, so thankfully Leah had us covered in the not so awkward stage. I wish her happy travels as she heads back to Vancouver and then prepare for another adventure in London! And look forward to a future meet-up maybe this time in London!

And next up, another first in New Zealand, two oldie and goodie friends are visiting this weekend. I cannot even describe the feeling of seeing familiar faces that I haven't seen in five years because of our travels. I hope I don't weird them out when I tell them I just want to sit and stare at them. Ok that sounds weird. I figure I'll be a bit starstruck with them while we catch up. Five years! The last time I saw them was way back when I moved to Los Angeles and one of them joined me for the cross-country road trip. Sweet memories.

Looking forward to taking them out to see the Wellington sights and enjoying more new memories in New Zealand!

March 3, 2012

Happy one year in New Zealand and to blogging!

Imagine that, it's been a year! And not just any old year, but one where we landed ourselves on the other side of the world. We moved here last March, but I started my blog just before our journey began so I could document this experience. I was going a bit stir crazy after being unemployed for five months, so I needed an outlet. Thankfully and luckily I have met some amazing people through this experience, and I thank you all for your constant support and sweet comments, they really make my day brighter.

In honour of the bloggy year, I thought I'd share some photo outtakes from the past year:

Yes, the ceiling of the car is stapled on the roof. This was our first car. The one Kev bought at an auction for a deal of a steal price, that he looked beyond the staples and no heater. It wasn't until he rolled up to pick me up that I noticed the car was leaking radiator fluid (I'm not a mechanic but my dad has taught me many a car things!) and once we made it down the road the car started overheating and steaming. What a clown car! In hindsight the staples really did say it all no?

Side note: Did you know the sun is so hot here and there's no ozone layer that it literally melts the glue off the roof of your car ceiling? And that car roof interiors drooping are a common problem here? True story.

When we first arrived in Wellington and went house hunting, we learned very quickly that people park and then walk the rest of their journey home. Like San Francisco there are many hills, but here the homes are all cascading down a hill to the water, with no proper entry way to the house, the roads are curvy and stairs are steep. There was one home we looked at and I gave up halfway because the walk to get to the front door was so long and steep that I couldn't imagine doing the walk if it rained. (And it rains a lot). So for some homes the way to get to your front door involves a cable car. Which have their own issues when they stop unexpectedly or break down, but it was a sweet slow ride getting home every day cruising down a hill in this (so-called) cable car (we aren't in San Francisco anymore Toto).

This photo happened because I made Kev immediately stop driving and get out so I could take the picture. For no other reason than "I love Wellington!". It was also our 2nd day in the country. I realise it's not a bad photo or really all that amazing, but the sense of urgency I had to just stop driving and take a photo cracks me up. His face says it all, no?

I was so intrigued by the clothesline at our place, that I had to hang my clothes to dry! I hadn't seen this in many years, my memories are from when I was five and my mom hung our sheets out... turns out hanging clothes out to dry is extremely economically here as electricity prices are insane. Not too mention many flats we looked at didn't even have a dryer, it's just expected you hang out your clothes. And it make for pretty pictures.

Champagne toast as we boarded our first Air New Zealand flight. We had already flown seven hours from Toronto to Vancouver (usually six, but we were delayed on the tarmac for an hour) and we had 15 more hours to go to Wellington (that turned into 25 since we were rerouted to another city since our plane couldn't land due to wind) and the champagne, let's just say it helped the situation. And it kicked off our exciting adventure to a new place.

A sweet note from the hotel manager for me! Kev's work puts all new employees up at a hotel, and the hotel kindly notes that the partners are often unemployed and huddled up in a hotel room. Made my day with such sweet Kiwi hospitality.

It took me days to realise this meant 'no parking', and not 'no problem'. Let that sink in on how confused I was over the road sign.

And finally, my how times change. Never have I spent so much time indoors when it's raining playing Jenga. And I still have no skills. Whenever the jenga tower is going down, it's all because of me.

It's been a great year in Wellington, and I'm looking forward to the next one! And lucky me, this weekend I'll be hosting my first Canadian visitors!! Finally!