Tim & Anja's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Up near Auckland for the Ameircan student orientation, we took a walk...

One Sunday I took a drive out into the countryside, can you...

Snow in the countryside, about an hour outside Christchurch

Another loaf of Anja's bread - tasty!

Dinner with Chris, Anja's colleague at Science Alive

Yummy nachos with homemade salsa (with tomatoes, beans, honey and other spices)...

Momma and her little lamb

Hey, I'm hungry!

Notice it's lying right in the path :)

View of the Banks Penninsula from the Port Hills after about an...

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 1.97 MB)

A special greeting from a NZ local :)

Tim here, figured we're way overdue for an update. Life in the garden city of Christchurch is ticking along, the pictures are a little snapshot of some fun we've had recently. We've definitely hit a point where we miss our friends and family at home, and often talk of the exciting things we want to do when we get back: buy a house, get some 'real' career jobs again, get a dog and cat, get back into some hobbies we just can't do here, start a family etc. But in the meantime (about 6 more months - can't believe it's halfway over) we'll keep enjoying kiwi culture and making the most of things.

WORK: The tax job is still keeping my busy during the day, if not that stimulated. There's a new addition to the office - a fish tank. At least something to distract us and be mesmerized by fish swimming in circles. The other day we had a special morning tea to say thank you for all the work we've done and one item on the menu was bacon wrapped prunes (not sure what I really did, but the management is good at showing appreciation and hey, I gladly ate the free food).

I've been very happy with the other half of my work life, advising the 23 American students studying at the University of Canterbury. I flew to Auckland and helped orient them over the July 4th weekend. We picked them up at the airport at 6:30 AM, drove to a beautiful YMCA camp about an hour outside the city right on the water, and over the next four days we enjoyed kayaking, touch rugby games, bike riding, hot pools and bush walking (plus the obligatory academic briefings of course) and it was gorgeous. The weather was sunny and warm (actually wore some shorts - not like this in Canterbury at all) and the students are really great. Lots from Vanderbilt, Tufts is represented so we talked about Boston, a Virginian is in the bunch, and even a few students from Vermont so that was fun too. One extra special thing we did was sleeping on a Marae (picture a big slumber party with about 30 of us total sleeping on the floor in our sleeping bags in one big room), the sacred and ceremonial building on the land of the Maori. We enjoyed their hospitality, watched some cultural performances, and it was great for students to meet, learn about, and appreciate the indigineous culture of New Zealand in the beginning of their semester. I've planned some fun trips for the semester including a food and wine tour and the quad biking adventure again. Every Wednesday I spend an hour on campus for a drop in session if they have questions, which adds a nice bit of sanity to my week to get away from the boring tax job.

SOCCER: Now with the World Cup over, I've gone through a bit of withdrawal. Apparently this winter has been one of the coldest and wettest ones ever in Christchurch so the team I play for, the Ferrymead Bays, has had 4 games cancelled so far, including this weekends. Bummer. And when we do play, the pitches have been so muddy it's been a mess. Now I don't mind getting dirty, but this was over the line.

THAILAND: We're all booked for this adventure! A 28 day trip through both the north and south of Thailand including hill tribe treks, homestays, spectacular beaches, traveling on a rice barge, and sleeping in bungalows. We've checked out the Lonely Planet guide from the library and have been studying up on all the things to see and do (get ready for the riding the elephant picture), cultural differences, foods to eat, and health and safety stuff. We don't leave until January, so we have plenty of time to prepare. Before that my sister and her boyfriend are visiting in November, and the big group of other family and friends are coming in December over Christmas and New Years, so we have a lot to look forward to.

MOVIES and BOOKS: Since Anja and I really don't share the same weekends (with her schedule she's off Wednesday and Thursday), it's been hard sometimes to really go out and be that social, but we try. Other times we rent movies and watch on our laptop, one good film we say recently was "Kinky Boots". It's about an old shoe company in England that has to transform its business in order to survive and ends up making tall, red boots for transvestites. And it's based on a true story too. In other quiet times we've each enjoyed reading a lot of books. I think the library system is really good here, and I've gotten into reading some fiction by local authors. I figured while I'm over here and life is kind of quiet, I would absorb some good stories. I've been lucky with a few books that have been good, others that were just okay, but either way it's nice to have the time to get into a good book. We often think that life will never be this calm and simple ever again with more intense family and work responsibilities once we return home, so we're taking advantage of it all now and are very thankful for this time we can spend together as a couple without that many distractions.

HOT AIR BALLOONING: We're exploring the idea of taking one of these rides for my 30th birthday coming up in September, or maybe doing it in October to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. We've seen the brochures with the beautiful images of the flat Canterbury plains extending out to the magnificent Southern Alps so if we do it we're hoping for a clear weather day to enjoy the sites!!

ALL BLACKS: The national rugby team is all the craze over here. The season goes throughout the winter, and now they are in the midst of the tri-nations tournament with Australia (the Wallabies) and South Africa (the Springboks). Just watched a game last night in fact, the All Blacks are undefeated so far, after playing Ireland and Argentina earlier in the season. I am just about there with all the rules, but there are still parts of the game that are baffling to me. Anja will be watching with me at home, and we both look at each other and think 'hmmm, why did they do that?". For instance, when they score, it's called a 'try', not a touchdown. When the ball goes out of bounds it's called 'going into touch', and there are the actions I've heard before like the scrum and ruck and maul. Sometimes it just looks like a big hog pile of big dudes jumping on each other and suddenly the ball comes out and they run around. Anja even mentionned "it looks like they're giving birth to the rugby ball" when it pops out of the pile sometimes. The best part for me is when the All Blacks do the haka before the game starts. The haka is a traditional Maori warrior chant, and the 15 guys all line up and face the opposing team. It is so intense and loud, and intimidating, if that doesn't get your blood going and get you pumped up, nothing will. We also like that before the game the New Zealand national anthem is sung in both Maori and English. Very cool!

Alrighty, Anja's coming home from work soon, time to go the old fashioned way and re-heat some leftover lasagna in the oven (since we don't have a microwave). Hope you're well and keep in touch.

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