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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About Andrea

PNW native in NZ. Internationally published writer, editor, grammar enthusiast, genealogist and all-around storyteller. Recovering homebody. @Whitworth alumna - @gobucs!
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14 Responses to Beautiful Day + A Question …

  1. Trista says:

    -Moro Gold bars
    -Hokey Pokey Ice Cream (I WISH)
    -A Hell Pizza (I wish)
    -A “hot chocolate” beverage from Murphy’s in town (…okay you get the picture)
    -A flat white and a piece of cheesecake from Cafe Cuba (….)
    -A savory pie (….)
    -Guiness Chocolate cake from the tiny coffee shop on the corner down the alley behind the theater (Ask Kayla)
    So glad you are having such a good time. I am so proud of you that you spent a whole YEAR there. What a blessing! Enjoy it all m’dear!
    Trista

    • Andrea says:

      Thanks, Trista! I still haven’t been to Hell Pizza but I plan on it. And I will definitely ask Kayla bout the Guinness chocolate cake; that sounds wonderful!

      I’m so glad I decided to come for the year. There were times I had my doubts, but it’s still gone so quickly! I love it here.

  2. dan & sherry says:

    Hey Andrea,
    Just for the record the parental units did not help plan the brother’s engagement. We saw the ring after he bought it but had to wait for the details with everyone else.

    Love,
    Mom & Dad

  3. Annie Hoover says:

    I believe all you are saying about NZ. Just finished a book on my Kindle about the landing of the 6th Marines on Tarawa during WWII. (My Uncle Phil was in the 3rd wave that landed there. My foster brother’s birth father was also on Tarawa in the 3rd wave though they did not know each other at the time. Thus my interest in the Marianas, Gilberts, etc.). The author talks about the new troops who have never been in battle. They were transported from San Diego to NZ awaiting orders to go somewhere but they didn’t know where that would be. He goes on and on about the wonderful food (steak and potatoes and fresh vegetables!) and the warm and welcoming people of NZ. Of course NZ was grateful the Americans were there. Their presence prevented invasion of NZ by the Japanese. People took American soldiers into their homes and treated them as members of their family. It was such a blessing for the Marines as well as their relatives back home to know they were being welcomed and treated warmly. He also talks of the beautiful countryside, the mountains and the beaches. The book makes one want to visit for sure!! I think the thing that struck me most was the welcoming attitude of the people for the Marines. The men talked about how much it meant to them. Some were away from home for the first time, they were facing a fierce and deadly enemy and did not know if they would live through it or where they would be fighting their first battle. The book tells of individual Marines, and in some cases, the NZ women they fell in love with. Many vowed to return to NZ, if they lived through the war, to marry their new love. What a wonderful country with more-than-wonderful people!!! You are a lucky woman, Andrea!!!

    • Andrea says:

      I can definitely vouch for New Zealand hospitality! Sounds like a great book; what’s it called?

      • Annie Hoover says:

        It’s called One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa. Trust me, Andrea, you do NOT want to read it. It tells the true, brutal truth of what war is really like, including graphic descriptions of the sights and smells of death. It isn’t something you should have to know about. I was interested in reading it to understand what my uncle and all the men went through in the 3 days it took to take Tarawa. I was struck by their relationship with the people of NZ and how much each group meant to the other. I got a very positive impression of the residents. I knew you would agree, but please don’t read the book. Of course, you can read it if you want to but I would suggest, very strongly, that you will sleep better if you pass on that one.

        You are very much missed in Washington and Tucson. Aunt Carol was hoping you could come down here and stay a little while before you have to go back to school. We were thinking you could enjoy some time with Will and get to know Tori. Your Mom said you will drive Jane back and begin your job before school begins in February. If you can work us in, you have a standing invitation when you can visit.

        You would enjoy Will. He is in accelerated classes this year in second grade and is like a little sponge. He does love to learn! He had an overnight with the grandmas this week and told me about his state quarter collection. Then, he called me later to tell me which quarters he needed, so I have 7 quarters for him today. He will be so excited. I think we will drop by a little later today and give them to him because he received his map recently and wants it full RIGHT NOW!! You honestly would really have a blast with him He is such a joy and he is so good when he is over at our house…if you don’t give him any sugar. Sugar makes him absolutely wild. He has to bounce off the walls and never stops talking when he is on sugar. We don’t give it to him for our own sake!!

        Take care, Girl, and enjoy your last few weeks in NZ. How lucky you are to be able to study abroad. Great experience!

        Annie

  4. Andrea says:

    OK, good to know about the book, Annie. Thanks for the head’s up!

    I would LOVE to come visit, and to meet Tori! And of course to see the whole family again. I loved hanging out with Will at Disneyland and would it would be great to see him again. He certainly does seem smart for his age – and is such a cutie, from the pictures I see on Facebook! I will try my hardest to make it down there before I start back at Whitworth; if I can it will probably be in December because I start work in January. It just depends on money and if I happen to pick up any odd jobs while I’m home. But I’d love to see you all and get a snippet of nice weather – by the end of this year I’ll have had 3 winters and no summer! I’m sure an Arizona December would be lovely …

    • Annie Hoover says:

      Carol was just saying the other day that you hadn’t experienced a summer in a long time. Our winters are probably warmer and easier to take than you are used to.

      Will is just adorable. His freckles are an asset and oh (!) those dimples!!! He has such a nice smile, is smart and very curious to learn about just almost anything. I never was a scholar so when he asks me about some things I have to tell him to go ask his grandma!!! I give him good hugs so it evens out!!! Plus, I make a wonderful root beer float. It is one of the special treats he gets when he stays all night with us. We enjoy him so much and know it won’t be long before he will “outgrow” overnights with the grandmas.

      Yes, you should get to know Tori. She is a whirlwind, tornado, hurricane all in one!! She climbs on everything. She knows no fear!! Dangerous combination. She is so cute!! Her hair is getting thicker and is going to be as red and curly as Will’s. She has that same winning smile.

      I wish we could send you a RT ticket, but we just don’t have it. If we did, it would be yours. I wouldn’t want you to spend all you have to come down but we really want to see you and want you to know you are welcome anytime. Just let us know. Oh, you would like our puppies, too. Elvis and Harley are quite entertaining but short on manners!! They kiss on the mouth and are full of love

      Better run. Take care. We love you!
      Annie

      • Andrea says:

        Yeah, I just had a little snippet of summer when I first got here in February, but not much! I have no doubt your winters would be very nice for this Washingtonian!

        I remember Aunt Carol talking about Tori’s climbing abilities. She sounds so sweet. And I forgot about the dogs; I’m sure I’d love them, too. I’m really going to try to come out if I can! And even if not, there’s always the wedding!

        Love you, too!
        Andrea

      • Annie Hoover says:

        Well, good. If you can come here we would love it. Yep, there is the wedding but I haven’t heard any rumblings about a date for it. Guess your parents will let us know when Rob & Jenna set the date. I hope they let us know if it will be this coming summer, or when they are thinking they would like to have it.

        We will be here when you can make it, if you let us know well ahead. We aren’t gone that often but you would let us know so we wouldn’t be gone.

        Dean & Jen took the kids hiking today on Mt Lemmon and sent a pix. The kids love the outdoors!! They would go hiking with you!!

        Take care. I have to get ready for the Cardinals/Brewers baseball game. My family has been Cardinal fans since the early years!!

        We love you!
        Annie

  5. Andrea says:

    Last I heard Robert and Jenna were looking at this coming summer for the wedding, but nothing is set in stone yet. We’ll definitely be in touch when they’ve set a date.

    Yes, I’ll make sure to let you know if and when I can make it. I’ve mentioned it to Mom and we’ll discuss the possibility when I get home. I really hope I can!

    I love hiking, too, and would love to see more of Arizona! I don’t remember much of it, to be honest. I think I was about 9 or 10 the last time I was there!

    Woot for baseball. New Zealanders are all about the rugby, as they should be since last night the All Blacks won the World Cup semi-finals. They play France for the Cup next weekend. I definitely enjoy watching rugby more than American football, but baseball will always be my favorite (even if the Mariners haven’t been so hot this last decade …)

    Love,
    Andrea

    • Annie Hoover says:

      Hi, Andrea.
      We will definitely be in touch about the possibility of your visiting. It isn’t like we have this big social life we have to rearrange for visitors. We don’t need a booking agent or anything like that!!! I am sure we will be here when you can come here.

      I didn’t really think Rob and Jenna would have it all figured out yet and that is okay. I know there is so much to think of. We should be saving for it now, regardless of when they decide to have the wedding. It is definitely on our priority list.

      I have always loved softball and baseball!! Right now I am psyched over the STL Cardinals winning the National League Championship Series!! I talked with (son) Jeff this morning and he and 3 buddies are going to the first game of the World Series Wednesday night. He is stoked!!!

      I haven’t been to their new Busch Stadium in STL but I have seen games at the previous two. Jeff said we would have to do something about that!!! Yes, we should but it won’t be this year.

      I have always wondered about rugby. It interests me but we don’t see a lot of it on TV here. I’m going to watch for it though. I have met some gals who played in college and they were totally taken with it. I don’t understand soccer either. I guess I have focused way too much on baseball and basketball. We are always excited about U of A basketball. They suck in football this year and, as a result, fired their coach last Monday. My grandmother could probably have done a better job!!! Okay…maybe not, but she couldn’t have done worse.

      Do you have classes until the time you leave? Or will you be leaving during a break? I was just wondering if you have another round of finals before returning back to the states. I hope you don’t have to work too hard, so you will have the time to do the things left on your “to do” list before you leave.

      Take care. Continue to enjoy yourself!!
      We love you,
      Annie

      • Andrea says:

        My last school obligation is November 4, and I leave the 12th. So I’ll have a bit of time left over, but I won’t be doing much other than packing and saying my good-byes! Initially I’d planned on doing some travelling before I leave but I’ve already seen a lot! Plus I’m anxious to get home :) I will most definitely enjoy myself, thanks!

        Andrea

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