Sunday, December 19, 2010

Back on the Road

Last February I found myself homeless.  I had packed my bags and was living under the roofs of generous friends.  I left a few weeks later and the trend continued until April when I moved into my own flat in Auckland.  Ten months later I am back on the road again.  I have moved out of my flat and will now be bouncing from place to place... 

December/January:  Our office closes on December 24 and doesn’t open again until January 17 so I’ll have plenty of time to travel around during the holidays.  On the docket…lots of driving:  the Coromandel peninsula, Opononi on the south end of 90 mile beach, and possibly south to Wellington with a hike at Tongariro along the way.  And as a little present for the New Year, I’m going to rustle up some graham crackers and marshmallows from the American store to have some proper s’mores over the holidays.

February:  Look out world, as of February 3, I will be unemployed.  Why would I quit a perfectly good job in a gorgeous country?  Well, I clearly live in a world of denial so what better way to spend that time then on the South Island.  In a land of adventure and beauty with glaciers and mountains galore.  And I get to share it all with my dad and his partner, Debbie, when they come over to meet me in Christchurch

March/April:  On March 8 I will be tearing myself away from New Zealand but since it wasn’t enough to travel straight home I am flying to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I will start a few more months of living in denial in places I’ve never been.  Along the way I get to spend time with my best friend in Southern Thailand and my mom who will be backpacking with me for the majority of the trip.  And at the end of it all, when the money runs out and I just can’t see another temple or eat any more rice, I’ll be flying back to the US to face reality sometime around the beginning of May.

Only time will tell what’s really in store for me in the next few months, but I do know I have a busy month of planning ahead.  Let the fun begin…

Merry Christmas everyone!

Things to be thankful for:
- Snowy white days
- Cold weather that makes you want to stay in and snuggle up
- White lights on everything making the city light up when the dark falls at 5p
- Christmas carols that start after Thanksgiving
...Christmas just isn't the same without these wonderful things.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Aging...It's Inevitable

Most days I still feel like I'm 21 without a care in the world (that is until I occasionally interact with someone who really is 21 and realize I'm a fool).  But other days, I start to feel my age and the pains of getting older and dealing with things that I usually classify as adult issues...death, illness, marriage, etc.  These aren't things kids deal with, and then I remember, I'm an adult now.

When I left for New Zealand I had to consider that I would miss major events while I was away:  friends getting engaged, people getting married, babies being born, and sadly people dying.  If these events happened, I would have to decide what was important to me and if I felt like I should go back.  This wouldn't be the first time I had to make this choice, but it was something I dreaded and not something I could escape. 

Three months ago my best friend called to tell me she was engaged.  We weren't in the same city back home so it would have been done over the phone anyway, but I couldn't be there to give her a huge hug of congratulations, help plan the wedding, wasn't much fun to feel like I was missing out.

Two months ago I got a call, my mom's uncle passed away.  It was unexpected.  It was extremely sad.  But it was fast, relatively painless and he lived a long life.  And I wasn't there to support my family.

Last week a friend got engaged to a guy I've never even met.  I missed the excitement, the wonder and the ups and downs of it all.  Another major milestone missed.

Yesterday I discovered that someone I know has cancer.  It's not someone I'm close to, but it's something I could identify with.  This person is my age.  Am I really at that stage in my life?  Reality was hitting hard.

This morning I found out my uncle passed away.  He was severely handicapped, after having several strokes more than 13 years ago.  My aunt diligently took care of him for many years, doing things for him that he could no longer do for himself.  Things as simple as brushing his teeth.  It could be argued that this isn't necessarily a sad thing.  It's still a death in the family and I am starting to feel myself age by the minute.

It's life.  I move on.  I'm living abroad and that's the choice I made.  I have a life of my own here, I'm making decisions based on only myself and moving around the world as the wind blows and that means that sometimes it's hard to remember I'm not 21.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pavlova, The Embodiment of the Kiwi v Oz Rivalry

It's funny how one small dessert can become the essense of a rivalry between two countries.  One a small unassuming country very happy to make fun of themselves; the other a much larger, more well-known and imposing country with the attitudes that go along with it.  As someone who used to live in a country similar to the latter, it's refreshing to now be living in the former.  Before I came to this part of the world the term pavlova had not to my recollection entered my vocabulary (unless of course you count my bad pronunciations of the Russian Olympians and hockey players).

Pavlova, a dessert named after a Russian ballerina, is a meringue cake topped with whip cream and fruit.  And unbeknownst to the rest of the world there is a quiet war raging about where this dessert actually originated...was it New Zealand or was it Australia?

When Jessica Watson finished her round-the-world sailing voyage in Sydney last May the first thing she requested to eat was Pavlova...both countries jumped on that as further proof of her nationality (for the record: she was born in New Zealand and she moved recently to Australia). 

Today the answer has finally been solved around this tasty little dessert. included the above image with the simple caption:  "IT'S OURS: Oxford agrees with us."  They stuck their tongues out at the Aussies with the backing of the Oxford Dictionary.  That's right, the people behind the Oxford dictionary dedicated time to determine where the Pavlova actually originated and the answer is...New Zealand.

I particularly liked the quote from an old Australian codger who wasn't too happy about the new support for New Zealand, ''They can make all the claims they like, and the Oxford dictionary can go on like great academic know-it-alls, but I think most Australians would agree with me that the true pavlova belongs to Australia,'' the 86-year-old told the Sydney Morning Herald last night.

Let the battle rage the meantime there will be more Kiwi's sleeping easier tonight.  (Read the article here:  New Zealand wins pavlova war.)

Thank you to Meagan, my flatmate, for sharing this fun article and contributing to my further enjoyment of this wonderful country and its quirks.  I'm happy to be on the winning side.  Now we just need to work out who wants to claim Russell Crowe.