Dec 18, 2006
|We can't believe our 1 year adventure in New Zealand is nearly done. Yes, the honeymoon is definitely over! We've wrapped up our jobs, we sold our car just the other day, soon we'll be packing up everything, and on Saturday we move out of the cottage and fly up to Auckland. Then on Sunday we meet the gang of 10 family and friends to travel all over New Zealand for 3 weeks.
We're super excited to see different parts of the country again, and share some quality time with family and friends. We have so much to look forward to, but we've also been very reflective these last few days, trying to cram in every good memory and story and really relish the last bit of time here. As excited as we are to go home, we do have mixed feelings because it will be sad to leave here. The following list is an attempt at some closure, our try to catalog all the funny, sometimes just regular stuff, but definitely all very meaningful things that we will take away with us from 2006:
- hiking the Kepler track with alpine views and the lucky weather
- Tongorio Crossing - the wettest and worst weather ever!
- All Blacks rugby
- Learning how to play netball - no dribbling, no backboard, no touching - very frustrating
- Ferrymead Bays soccer team - much different than the co-ed leagues in Boston
- Dallas, a kiwi friend from SWY who showed us around a bit
- Awesome biscuits like Tim Tams, Gingernuts, Nice cookies
- Mystery machine
- Electric blanket in winter, that we slept on top of in the mattress, not in the covers
- The heater that Anja hovered around and practically wheeled wherever she moved to like an IV
- Funny new words and expressions like 'good on ya mate', 'sweet as', 'wee', and 'good as gold'
- WOOFing with Sue and Simon and Ellie and Joel and chopping wood and getting to know their family
- WOOFing with Fred and Vickie and Reggie the dog
- Vanessa, Michael, Christian and Cullum Brownbridge, the family from Vermont we got to know while living in Christchurch
- The Port Hills - so accessible near where we lived, exploring Taylors Mistake and Godley Head, the gondola area, Castle rock, and the little lambs.
- Trig V overlooking Governors Bay talking about our next 5 year plan.
- Skype - what a savior! We got really good at calculating the time difference (add 6 hours and subtract a day)
- Sleeping on a Marae with the Butler job. Getting to know the American students at the University of Canterbury and helping them make the most of their time in NZ. The staff of Alex and Lauren and Andrew were great to work with too (plus getting to go quad biking and do other fun activities for free didn't hurt either)
- The cottage! We were so lucky to land such a sweet apartment for the year, fully furnished and everything, and such nice people to rent from, Natalie, Andrew, Lily and Harry.
- Early mornings watching the World Cup
- Doubtful sound cruise
- Key Summit hike
- Urupukapuka island in the Bay of Islands
- Laughing at how locals complained about the cold winter here, which really wasn't that bad compared to what we were used to
- Brendan the weatherman on TV1 always made it fun and interesting to watch.
- Simon and Gary on the radio More FM 92.1 that we listened to after we decided to carpool instead of waiting for the bus.
- The ladies of IRD. Not only was I the only American, but one of only a handful of guys and about 20 years younger than most of the other ladies who worked there. They were super nice, but I didn't quite fit in, let's say.
- Hot air ballooning
- Queens birthday trip to Arthur's Pass for the first time for a gorgeous hike
- Lake Tekapo walk - the striking color of turquoise blue is hard to forget
- The movie "The Worlds Fastest Indian". We don't own any DVD's, but this one might be our first purchase, it is a great story!
- Taking walks up the hill and exploring the really nice houses and neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant with the views and smells of the estuary.
- Cooking new foods and trying out different recipes
- Katie's visit
- Joe and Erins' visit
- Visiting Myra and the Lutze's in Australia
- Olive oil in Nelson
- Our new found love for aromatic wines- reislings, gewurtztraminners, iced wines- this is New Zealand's best kept secret- and one they don't export because there isn't enough of it!
- Tim turning 30 and Anja's collection of website entries she organized.
- Celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary with balloons, and a tasty dessert at Strawberry Fare
- Indian Sumner, the best curry!
- TV commercial jingles: "The Warehouse, where everyone gets a bargain" and "Pack n Save- we buy big, you save big"
- MacPac goretex rain jacket
- The friendly and welcoming people at Science Alive
- Sheepskin slippers
- Taking advantage of the library system, reading lots of magazines and books.
- Slowing down life, taking time to enjoy nature, and not stressing from the pressures of work. Planning how to take this back with us.
- Sheep. Lots and lots of sheep!
- Abel Tasman walk
- House design and research, including straw bale, passive solar heating and masonry stove
- Divine cake and flowers surprise
- Experimenting with making bread by hand
- During the first three months of travel, the joy of staying in a cabin instead of tenting outside when it was raining.
- Kiwi culinary treats like hokey pokey ice cream and toasted sandwiches
- Planning for the big December visit and travels in Thailand
So you might be wondering what is next for us? After the 3 week tour of NZ, we're off to Thailand for 4 weeks to visit both the north and south of the country. We chose to travel with a company called Intrepid that specializes in small group travel and emphasizes lots of local and cultural interaction. We're especially excited about the food, markets, sleeping on a rice barge on a river, a homestay visit, treks through hilltribe villages, elephant rides, massages, cooking classes and surely more unexpected things too. We'll arrive back in Virginia to spend time with the Mosehauer's for a week, then touchdown in wintery Vermont in mid-February where the real fun will begin: finding jobs, a house, and hopefully cats, dogs and kids to arrive soon thereafter.
Thanks for reading this website and sharing in our travel adventures. This is the last post, as the website closes on Dec 27. Enjoy the holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We look forward to staying in touch when we return home!!