Sunday, September 30, 2012

Character Building Days

Last week my family in Colorado experienced the loss of my grandmother and all though I don't care to discuss the particulars, it must be noted as a new and difficult experience to say the least. Wanting to hug and take care of loved ones 12,000 kilometers away is a desperately helpless feeling. But this is too is part of living and exploring aboard, it wasn't really a part I was expecting or had though much about.
My feelings are ironically fluctuating as frequently as the weather here and I am just taking it in stride. Although it is possible I am just in shock or something, I am actually feeling very strong - overwhelmed, emotionally overextended, and just plain old tired - just still I feel that there is an inner strength I am relying on that I didn't have a year ago.
My backyard this morning at 0700 - rain and gray in every direction

My backyard this afternoon at 1400 - sunny and beautiful
Friends and family here have been wonderful and supportive. Skype has allowed for me to communicate and offer and receive some comfort from home. All in all, I have been very blessed and know that these days are those that will be considered "character building." The knowledge, perspectives, and strengths I am gaining will lend themselves for years to come.

Friday, September 28, 2012


So that my host parents could attend a wedding, I had to gone a beach vacation last weekend. In order to have enough room for the all the provisions (it felt more like an exodus than a weekend away) a family with two young kids and all the people we took two cars, so I brought a friend with as well. 
Hot Water Beach
Whitianga (pronounced fi-ti-an-ga) is a quaint beach town on the East side of the Coromandel Peninsula. We stopped at Hot Water Beach on the way. It is a beach that is situated over - you guessed it - hot springs. If you bring your shovel and a little patients to find the springs you can ding hole and sit in hot water while relaxing by the cold ocean. The beach along with the entire peninsula is truly resplendent. 
Cathedral Cove
Saturday we went to a walk to Cathedral Cove and babysat in the afternoon.

On the drive home
Sunday we drove home via the scenic route. It was a peaceful and, after seven weeks in Auckland, a much needed holiday. 

The Great Gatsby and Birthday Party

What I call a Good Friday Night
In between re-reading one of my favorite books about WWI before its sequel (about WWII) came out I had a few days to burn. I am always, always reading at least one book going, but I was so excited about the newest book in this trilogy I didn't want to start anything too demanding so I went back to an oldy, but a goody - The Great Gatsby. The historical timing was perfect and it was an easy read done over the weekend.
A friend and I went to the Museum that Saturday, which like the zoo I had been to many times, but never without kids in tow and hadn't really seen any of it previously. It is beautiful building over looking Auckland.  The exhibits are expertly done and the range of artifacts and displays are extensive while not overwhelming. Best of all, the City Council of Auckland has sponosored the museum so that anyone who lives in Auckland is free of charge - the Art Gallery and many other museums here are the same - a brilliant way to keep people involved and culture and education available.

The kids and I made cupcakes for a friend's birthday before we went out for dinner, followed by cupcakes and beer on the beach- what more could a girl want?!


I apologize for my procrastination and lack of ambition to document the last few weeks.
The weekend after my last post the girls and I pretty much repeated the lounging, but added rummy! We played contract rummy for hours while watching music videos and sipping back a few beers. Side note - I have become fortunate enough to find an beer importer that ordered me New Belgium. Until I received the shipment I really didn't think it was possible. The first sip was like having a hug from a loved one at home and almost made me cry.
Anyways the girls and I went out to Ponsonby Road Friday night, which is not really like going out at home as a small glass of beer is at least eight dollars and you aren't allowed into most bars if you are wearing blue jeans.
I can't speak highly enough about the quality entertainment a deck of cards can provide. I am deeply worried that in our fast-paced, electronics dominated culture, playing cards will become a thing of the past like listening to the radio or uninterrupted (by television) family dinners. I vow to do my part to make sure this doesn't happen - even if I don't win a single hand!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Girls Weekend

We watched these monkeys
clean each other for ages
Both Friday and Saturday evenings we occupied by babysitting, but I had one of the best weekends! Friday the girls came over and I cooked a three course dinner that I must say was pretty darn good. Saturday we went to the zoo as they hadn't been before and I rarely get to see or doing much while I am dragging the children around. I have been to the zoo probably a dozen or more times, but still hadn't been to about half of it. We took our time and spent as much or as little time as we wanted at each spot - it was so lovely to ignore everyone's crying children. Not to say that I don't adore my job and all its perks, like going to the zoo regularly, but I appreciate child-free time more than I could have ever expected.

Possibly the best part of the weekend was just relaxing with other adults, doing (sort of) adult things, and not talking about nappies or naptime. Or maybe the best was pancake breakfasts two mornings in a row!
Or maybe it was how we were craving an American hotdog and then on the way home there was a stand on the side of the road offering just that - sometimes the world just works out.
We are planning to do it all over again next weekend.
a hotdog, just when you need it

Busy doing normal

I am not all that sure why I don't seem to have any spare time these days. By spare I don't mean I don't have free time to have fun and play. I have been actually relishing and cherishing that time more, which maybe is why it seems like I don't have time for the boring things like blogging, laundry (well I am still doing heaps, and heaps of it, just not as religiously), cleaning up rooms when I know they will just as quickly get hit by hurricane Mackay again... My workout routine has jumped up a notch as I am obsessing over re-reading one of my favorite books and am negotiating longer cardio stints so have more time to read while on the machine. There are now two other American au pairs I have become quite close with and we are now spending most of every weekend together. My work schedule has changed a bit, giving me both more time with the kids on my own and more time on my own in general and I can't believe what a significant change in attitude I seemed to have found with it.
I am sure that having a date for going home has rekindled my love in my life here and I am already missing it.
Despite having spent numerous hours on the couch watching movies and chatting away an evening while babysitting, we still managed to go for a quick hike in the Waitakeres.