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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About Andrea Nicole

NZ enthusiast in the PNW. Internationally published writer, editor, grammar lover, genealogist, educator, and all-around storyteller. Recovering homebody. @Whitworth alumna - @gobucs!
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