As the Year Winds Down

I’d planned on writing earlier with pictures of my post-New Zealand 2011, but I just found my camera USB cord and wanted to post something in December, which for the Pacific Standard Time zone will only last another 20 minutes. So here are my rushed thoughts.

It’s truly been a fantastic year, undoubtedly the most memorable of my life. I’ve traveled before, but never for nine straight months, and never in a place where I knew no one going in. But what a year it’s been.

I’ve also gained a new family member, my brother’s fiancee. It won’t be official until August of next year but it’s official enough for me.

Once again this year I’ve packed my belongings for another trip, as I’ll be off bright and early tomorrow morning to Spokane. Praying for good weather over the pass.

And now, 14 minutes to 2012, I’m surrounded by my parents, my brother and my dog. We’ve been laughing at our dog, who Robert drug around on the dog’s cedar bed, and later laughing at Mom, who screamed louder than I’d ever heard any scream when Robert popped open the champagne we got Mom and Dad for their anniversary.

All in all, I’d say a fantastic end to a terrific year.

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All Blacks WIN

So this certainly isn’t news to anyone living in New Zealand (unless you made like Shrek the Sheep are living in a cave somewhere), but for those of you non-Kiwis reading this, on October 23 the New Zealand All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Imagine the Superbowl combined with the World Series in a country the size of Colorado, and you essentially have an idea about how huge rugby is here. The K-12 school schedule was even adjusted so that the kids would be on holiday during the World Cup. This is the second time the All Blacks made it to the finals, and the second time they’ve won, but that last happened in 1987. Like the Olympics, the World Cup only recurs every four years.

So yeah, pretty epic deal. I watched the game on the big screen in the Centre, and it was great to be surrounded by so many passionate, patriotic Kiwis. I actually enjoy watching rugby much more than American football, primarily because the game doesn’t stop every 22 seconds. This game was especially intense, as New Zealand only beat France by one point. France put up a good fight, and if they were ever in the finals against a team other than the All Blacks, I’d probably root for them.

One semi-final game this season was New Zealand vs. Australia. New Zealanders love the All Blacks just about as much as they hate the Australian team, so this was an intense game to say the least. But I’ll let you experience a bit of the atmosphere for yourself. My friend Nina was amongst the chanting group:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/lightbox/auckland/local-news/rwc-in-auckland/5793839/?KeepThis=true&TB_iframe=true&height=560&width=640

Sorry, I couldn’t get the video to insert directly since it’s not YouTube. Worth a watch, if not for the rugby madness then at least for the accents.

Last Sunday the Rainiers had Suzie and me over for a braai, a South African-style barbecue. The afternoon was gorgeous and we ate outside. I didn’t even mind the mosquito bites I found the next day; they were worth the price of a tiny snippet of summer! At the gathering we also met the Rainiers’ daughter and two of their friends, another couple from South Africa. The husband teaches environmental science and said there’d been a lot of research done in that field in Spokane, of all places! I reiterate: small world. Don’t worry, I won’t make you listen to the song. However, in Googling “braai” to make sure I spelled it correctly, I came across this video, which I thought you might enjoy:

I imagine with slight variations you could apply the content of this video to just about any country. As my dad is fond of saying, men don’t cook unless there’s an element of danger involved.

Anywho, in the land of academia, I sat two exams today – my only ones this semester – so now I’ve just got three assignments before the semester is complete. Thanks to some much-appreciated extensions, my last one is now due November 9. Three days later, I leave!

Kiwisms:

  • paddling pool = wading pool
  • suss = realise
  • twink = white out (love that one)
  • yonks = ages
  • done and dusted = finished
  • New Zealand celebrates Guy Fawkes Day (i.e. where that whole, “Remember, remember the 5th of November” bit originates
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Once Upon a Day in Wellington

Last Saturday I made one last visit to Wellington with Bernie to a) finally go to Te Papa and b) go to a Mexican restaurant. New Zealand has some great spicy substitutes, manifest in Indian and Thai restaurants, but very little Mexican to speak of. Fortunately with Bernie being a Wellingtonian we had no problem finding our way around.

After our bus ride there, we made a quick stop to Subway to tide us over till dinner, and on the walk to the museum we found this street:

Wouldn’t that be nice, if all the polite people lived together?

Anyway, we soon made our way to the museum …

We decided to start from the top floor and work our way down. Here’s the view of the Wellington Harbour from the sixth floor:

The museum itself was huge. I couldn’t believe how much there was to see – and it was FREE! I still can’t get over that. I’m not a big museum person but I would highly recommend this one. They also had a great exhibit on New Zealand immigrants, which, being the genealogy glutton that I am, I loved.


About the New Zealand women who married American soldiers

Protests of the World Cup during the Apartheid

View from the other side of Te Papa

The Beatles embracing their Maoriness :)

The doors leaving Te Papa. Very clever designer, I think!

After about four hours – though it certainly didn’t feel that long! – we left Te Papa and made our way to Pan de Muerto for dinner. On the way we saw this advert:

Yeah.

Then we reached the restaurant, which had this banner out front:

For those of you who don’t know (i.e. Americans), 1987 is the last time New Zealand made it to (and won) the Rugby World Cup. They won again this year (!) but more on that in an upcoming post.

For dinner, I had chicken enchiladas with a pollo con mole sauce. But rather than describe it, I’ll just show it to you:

That’s sour cream and onions drizzled over the top (Yum). Afterwards I realised I probably should have had something spicier, but it was still great. Not AS great as American Mexican food (yes, I realise that’s kind of a contradiction …) but still worth the trip.

Afterwards Bernie and I walked along the Oriental Bay, where we enjoyed the boardwalk, the beach whose sand had been imported from Nelson, and the old houses. Oh, and some Kapiti ice cream :)

On a park bench on Oriental Bay. I thought it was really sweet.

Do you see what I see?

Let's hope there's not a mudslide ...

Eh, we tried :)

Some of the flags of the countries in the World Cup

The train station where we picked up our bus home

Our bus back to Palmy wound up being an hour late, but even that couldn’t put a damper on a great day. It was a fantastic last visit to Wellington!

And finally, the much-anticipated song of the day: Up Around the Bend by Creedence Clearwater Revival, because a) my daddy raised me on this band, b) every time I listen to them after a long hiatus I get really excited to rediscover them, and c) it’s one of my favourite songs to work out to.

All the Best,

Andrea

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Clockwise

That’s the direction the water goes down the drains here. I know some of you were wondering.

And, in a shocking breach of protocol perhaps inspired by the title, I’ve decided to list my Kiwisms at the beginning of this post. I know; the world may never recover.

  • Flat on/flat tack = full on, at top speed
  • Footrot Flats = a very Kiwi comic strip Bernie introduced me to whose name I recently remembered with Suzie’s help
  • Randy = horny
  • Shout = to pay for someone’s meal (though it also means to yell)
  • Jabs = shots
  • Hottie = hot water bottle. My friend Rose says her mum sometimes asks her if she’s “going to bed with a hottie” … yeah :)
  • Flat battery = dead battery
  • Leavers = high school seniors
  • Hiya = hi, hey
  • Manoeuvre = maneuver

In other news, I’ve got my flights home confirmed now! I won’t share all the details on the big bad interwebs but suffice it say I’ll leave New Zealand (and get home) on November 12 – a mere 31 days away! I’m extremely excited, but also urging myself to stay present, to enjoy these last few weeks here. Who knows when I’ll be back again? But I will be back someday – if the Lord be willing and the creek don’t rise, as my grandpa used to say!

Last Friday, Magge, Marian, Suzie and I had a fun end-of-the-year dinner with the Alpine Club at Halikarnas, a Turkish restaurant in town I’ve been keen to try. I’m not sure I’ve ever had Turkish food before, but it was SO yum! I had chicken mukassa (the spelling of which even Google seems to be unsure of…), which sounded a lot like Mufasa to us – which reminds me, I hope to see The Lion King in 3D soon! Has anyone seen it? We also had quite a selection of some fantastic New Zealand wines to choose from. Before dinner a Massey researcher gave us a presentation on some of the work he’s done with emperor penguins in Antarctica, which was both fascinating and “awww!”-inducing. After dinner I went to my friend Nicole’s to introduce her to Drop Dead Gorgeous, seeing as she’s going to Minnesota soon.

Sadly the Tongariro Crossing tramp I’d planned on doing with the Alpine Club has been indefinitely postponed due to lingering ice and snow on the path. I was bummed at first but I’ve heard it’s disappointing if the weather’s no good. Besides, this’ll give me incentive – like I need any – to return to New Zealand in summertime! And it’s just as well, because next week is the last week in the semester (!) so I should be studying this weekend. And I’m also not too gutted because next weekend I’m heading to Wellington with Bernie. We’re going to check out a Mexican restaurant there, Pan de Muerto (“Bread of the Dead”). Many of you know how badly I’ve been lamenting the lack of quality Mexican food here; just reading the menu made me salivate. We’re also going to finally go to the much raved about – and free! –Te Papa museum. Should be a fantastic final New Zealand hurrah!

And I’d like to finish off by wishing a cyberspace happy birthday to my lovely grandma, who would have been 90 this Columbus Day. We used to sing this in the car together:

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Beautiful Day + A Question …

From the very beginning, today was a beautiful day. Having no classes till the afternoon, I slept in a bit too late and took a morning shower (meaning my hair was presentable enough to not simply throw into a ponytail, and as any girl can tell you, having nice hair can really improve your day). The weather was also gorgeous; I was able to wear jandals and ate my lunch on the back porch of the Centre, watching about eight tiny ducklings and their parents skitter across. I just wish I’d had my camera. Lunch was also great, a chicken and cheese enchilada that the dining hall rarely makes.

But all this is cake icing; the big news happened after my class. I got an e-mail from Mom asking if my brother had posted anything on Facebook about Disneyland (he and his girlfriend are currently vacationing there). I checked, and was responding to her that he’d posted they were in the park when I noticed a new post in that new mini newsfeed thing on Facebook, the one that updates the most recent changes. It was my brother’s status, saying that he’d just gotten engaged! Instantly I tried to chat with him to see if he was kidding, but he didn’t answer. Fortunately Jenna did, and confirmed that it really had happened! Apparently my parents had been helping him plan it for weeks, and – get this – he got down on one knee in front of Cinderella’s castle! Can I get an “awww”?

So in a nutshell, I am ecstatic! I was expecting it, but I was still shocked to learn it happened! I think Jenna is a really great influence on him, and I can’t wait to finally get a sister! I’m a little bummed I can’t see them for several more weeks, but as long as I get to be at the wedding, it’s all good! (Sorry for the explosion of exclamation points; I’m really excited, if you couldn’t already see that …)

The goodness continued when I went to Mel’s house for a delicious dinner of chicken, pasta, a creamy vegetable medley and peach muffins for dessert. SO yum! There were seven of us in all, and I absolutely loved eating family style. It’s funny how growing up, it was such a treat to eat out, but now I love eating around an actual dinner table. I have nothing against the dining hall food – most of the time – but there’s something so great about eating a meal family style. Thanks to the self-contained units my parents and I stayed in over break, we got to do this often. And, of course, the Rainiers have been wonderful dinner hosts, as well.

In the Wonderful World of Rugby … I watched my first complete game last Friday night – and I actually really enjoyed it! It’s a lot more entertaining, in my opinion, than American football, and it certainly doesn’t stop as frequently. I watched the game at Speight’s (pronounced spaits, not spites, a common American mistake) and had my first beer of the same name. I went with Suzie, my friend Nicole, and a handful of Nicole’s friends. It really was a fun experience, not something I can say about a lot of sporting events I’ve watched. The All Blacks played Japan, and slaughtered them 83 to 7. In fact, when Japan made their one try (goal), the people in the bar cheered louder than they had for the All Blacks. I thought that was a nice moment, and not something you’d see in the States, no matter how far ahead the home team is.

Upcoming Events:

  • Tomorrow night (well, tonight, technically), a friend from Whitworth, Kayla, is coming to Palmy! She went to Massey last year, and we’re meeting up in town to watch rugby (All Blacks v. France) and catch up.
  • Next Saturday I’m Skyping with my parents and Grandma! I haven’t seen Grandma since I left, so I’m really looking forward to it. And hopefully I’ll see Robert, Jenna, and my puppy, too!
  • Next Sunday (October 2), I’m getting baptized! Oober excited.
  • October 15: I’ll be tramping the Tongariro Crossing with the Alpine Club. It’s hard to overemphasise my excitement for this trip. I’ve been hearing about how incredibly beautiful this trip is for months and months. MUAC’s trip program claims it’s “one of the best one-day walks in the country.” It’s going to be my last trip with MUAC and most likely my last trip from Palmy before I leave New Zealand. I can’t think of a better final trip.
  • I’m getting closer to having a concrete date for my flights home. It’s going to be no later than November 13, which is only 50 days away. Cuh-razy.

New Kiwisms:

  • meant = supposed (sounds so much more formal, doesn’t it?)
  • all good = an acceptable answer to “thanks,” in addition to “no worries” or “it’s alright”
  • squiggles = yummy Hokey Pokey biscuits Nicole introduced me to
  • wagging (or punking, on the South Island) = skipping class
  • whinge = complain
  • brill = brilliant
  • N.B. = P.S.

Now the much-anticipated question, for Kiwis and non-Kiwis alike (drum roll, please): What goodies should I bring back to America? This is my list so far:

  • Rooibos tea
  • New Zealand breakfast tea
  • Aero chocolate
  • Whitaker’s chocolate
  • Crunchies
  • Jaffas (See a pattern here? NZ chocolate is SO much better than American)

What else should I bring?

And finally, a fitting Song of the Day:

Peace,

Andrea

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Fun Times in Palmy … No, Really

As I type the date for this blog, it brings to mind that tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I know I’m repeating what many people have already said, but I just can’t get over the fact that it’s been 10 years. It also just struck me today that I’ll experience September 11 about 19 hours before most of you reading this will, before most of America will. I suppose in a way, for me 9/11 will stretch for the length of two days, as my birthday was this year. At this point I’m unsure of how I’m going to feel on this anniversary. We shall see.

I thought I’d write a blog to fill you in on what I’ve been up to since Abel Tasman. Once I got back on 3 September, I almost immediately called the Palmerston North library to see if they had The Pact, the Jodi Piccolt book I’d started reading at Bernie’s house. It was checked out but I was able to snag it a few days later. The pace slowed down significantly once it started getting into the legalistic chapters, so it hasn’t been quite as much of the page-turner as it was in the beginning. Then again, I suppose that’s her style: suck you in till you’re obsessed with the characters, then slow it down with the boring legal stuff. Well, boring to me, anyhow. Still, I’m close to finishing it and at this point I’d still recommend it.

Since I’ve been back in Palmy, I’ve watched a movie with Suzie and Mary nearly every day – woot for the wide variety of $1 movies at the rental store Suzie’s a member of! Throughout the week, we’ve watched Holes, Beauty and the Beast, Finding Neverland, The Glass House, Fireflies in the Garden and Freedom Writers. I’d seen most of them before, but I chose them because they were worth seeing again. I think of the bunch, Holes and Freedom Writers are my favourites. And, of course, Beauty and the Beast is a classic!

This week has also been filled with numerous trips into town. Suzie and I spent several hours one day visiting a handful of stores to get art supplies for her Creative Processes project, which in essence is a castle but with loads of hidden artistic meaning that I probably won’t get right if I try to explain, so I won’t try. The bus driver on the way back probably thought we were crazy; we had SO many bags of stuff with us that we could barely carry. But all in all it was a fun and beautiful day out. The castle is nearly done now and looks fantastic; I’ll post some photos of the final project if she lets me.

Also on that day, Suzie and I noticed several of these green street signs pictured below. We assume it has something to do with the World Cup. For those of you who don’t live in NZ, after much hullaballoo the Rugby World Cup officially started last night. Imagine Christmas, the Superbowl and the Olympics on the same day, and you essentially have how Kiwis feel about the Rugby World Cup.

On Thursday, Suzie, Mary and I went to the Noodles ‘N Dumplings restaurant on Mary’s recommendation. It was very yum and they served gigantic portions, so that we all had a full meal leftover for the following day. After we walked off a few calories we stopped by a shop called Simply Scrumptious for cupcakes that were just that. Mine was Jaffa-flavoured.

Speaking of Jaffas, I’m creating a list of things I can only buy in New Zealand to take back home with me. Currently the list consists of Jaffas, Aero, Crunchies, New Zealand Breakfast Tea, Rooibos Tea, and in the non-food department, a New Zealand flag. Do any of you – Kiwi or otherwise – have other suggestions? And before anyone asks for one, I don’t think I’ll be able to smuggle a sheep. Sorry.

You might be asking yourself how I plan on fitting all my New Zealand goodies in my luggage home. Well, friend, I’m glad you asked! My tramp with Bernie inspired me to do more hiking in the States, and I realised a hiker’s backpacker would be versatile in that I could use it both for moving – which I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of in the next few years – and hiking. Though I’ve been careful in not buying clothing here, I have accumulated many notes, binders, and textbooks, so I was going to need a new piece of check-on luggage anyhow. So, after much research, I got this bag from Kathmandu.

Don’t worry; I didn’t spend the full price on it. For joining their membership club I got a 40% off discount, and in American dollars it’s even cheaper! Ironically the cost of the bag was very close to the price of my entire Abel Tasman trip. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but I’m justifying it as an investment. Also, in case you were wondering, I got the green one. It’s much prettier than the black one, and has more personality in my opinion. I wonder if I should name it. I do like naming my possessions – my car, my laptop, etc. Suggestions?

I decided given the break I’d cook something more time-consuming than quesadillas for a change, and I’d been lusting after the pot sticker recipe in my cookbook that I hadn’t made in probably over a year. I went to Davis Trading, Palmy’s imported food store, and got blank stares from all the employees when I asked them where the pot stickers were. Here, they’re dumplings. I hesitated to buy all the various sauces needed for the recipe, as none of them came in small containers and I’m not going to be here much longer. But my desire for pot stickers got the better of me, and I caved. I figure I’ll just make a lot of dumplings for lunch now instead of quesadillas.

In addition to my pot stickers, Suzie made French bread and homemade potato chips. Mary made roasted eggplant, and provided those white rolls you see. Half were vegetable, half were the sweet “lotus” flavour. In the end, it all looked like this (both photos stolen from Mary’s Facebook page):

Look at all those colours! Aren’t you proud, Mom? I ate far too much but it was definitely worth it. Unfortunately, in double-checking that the lids to all my sauces were screwed on tightly, I spilled some soy sauce on Suzie’s castle. It didn’t stain, but it did smell like soy sauce for a while. I told her it was a Chinese castle.

In other news, I’ve been contemplating lately about what I’m going to do when I graduate. Yes, that’s right, the ever-looming Future! But I’m actually not worried about it. For one, the Bible says not to worry: “Who of you by worrying about his life can add an hour to it?” (That’s my own paraphrase, so don’t quote me, but it’s from Matt. 6:27). And there’s also Jeremiah 29:11: “’I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (NLT).  Secondly, I might – might being the keyword; it’s very tentative! – have a job in Chicago working for Christianity Today magazine. And this afternoon I got an e-mail from Teach for America. I’ve gotten their e-mails every year I’ve been at Whitworth, but now that I’m a senior I actually read them. I think it’d be a great opportunity. I’ve always wanted to move out of state after I graduate (though I’ll probably settle in Washington), and this might be just how I do it.

Finally, this didn’t happen over break, but I forgot to post it earlier and I think it’s pretty darn funny. If this were a newspaper article it would probably read something like “Tensions Run High in Moginie Kitchen:”

That’s all, folks! Thanks for reading my novel! I didn’t realise I’d done so much this week.

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Home Again, Home Again

Day 7 – 3 September

In the morning, I had a simple but proper breakfast for the first time in a while, a luxury after days of Up & Gos and muesli bars. I spent a couple more hours engrossed in the Jodi Piccoult book, and took a couple more pictures of the view from Bernie’s house, this time in daylight.

The mountains were especially nice to see. I miss seeing the Cascades and Mt. Rainier out my back window.

Bernie’s dad drove me to the railway station, where I picked up my final bus of the trip. Soon I found myself wishing I’d taken her up on her offer to borrow the book, as I had two hours to kill and I was aching to find out what came next. But instead I took pictures, and in retrospect I’m glad I did. Surprisingly, I don’t have many pictures of the New Zealand countryside.

Yes, New Zealand does have livestock other than sheep.

I bit blurry in front but I like the mountain, whichever one it is...

Nothing like that NZ sky

It’s funny; I’m still in New Zealand for another two months and already I find myself missing it. I find myself seeing “lasts:” the last time I’ll be on the south island, the last bottle of shampoo I’ll use here. I’ve said this to several of my friends, but it bears repeating: I can really see now how people come to New Zealand intending to stay temporarily and end up staying for good. The people are so friendly, the landscape second-to-none. Don’t worry, friends from home, I am coming back! I’ll get deported if I don’t, and I believe I have a degree to finish up … but I definitely know I’m going to return somewhere down the line.

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