Thursday, December 23, 2010
It is Christmas Eve here, and I am sure none of us really feel like that is real. We keep saying it's the weather, but I think that it is really being apart from all the usual hustle and bustle and anticipation, planning events with others. We are definitely looking forward to our plans too though! We hope to do some surfing on Christmas Eve, and have a beach bbq on Christmas Day. As well, there is a beautiful cathedral in town, where we will go sing carols and celebrate Christ's birth (the most important part) tonight. A memory I will remember is singing carols as we hiked through the pouring rain on our Abel Tasman hike. A beautiful hike, not so beautiful weather, but made enjoyable through friends. Although it is amazing how few words you actually know to some of those carols!
Anyways just wanted to say a quick Christmas greeting to everyone. Enjoy it! Sip that hot chocolate, get cozy around the fire, rip into those presents, but remember that is all extra and Christmas really comes down to a simple family with a small baby.
Much love, joy, and peace!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
However, we do have some good news: we are employed! Yay! We are phone fundraising, both of us. Now stop laughing, we know. But this is a very important job, many non-profits are counting on us :) I know I thought we were done with the call centres. Interesting fact: I was very excited when Andrew came and worked at the phone survey company I worked at in the summer of 2004. However he found a "better" job soon enough so I outlasted him there. By a bit to say the least.
We are very thankful to have found jobs and in talking to people at work it sounds like the have had a lot of trouble finding anything, which made us feel a lot better. So now the fun is over for awhile because we are working? Think again! We get two and a half weeks off over Christmas, starting in two days so we are heading south! Hooray!
And we have added two people to our crew; Erin and Jen (my sister and her friend) joined us on Monday. It's been good to see them and hear about their adventures. Our place is not large, but we all manage to fit.
We have had a travel issue: Andrew has lost his wallet or it was stolen. We've been hoping it would turn up, but it seems that is not happening. We did cancel all the cards before anything happend, but it sucks especially that his license is gone. Good thing I can drive!
So some good, some bad, I guess that's life. We are very excited to go South and share more adventures with you!
Friday, December 3, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
After that we went out to Waitomo, to see the worms. The glowworms! Waitomo area is full of caves, many of which have glowworms living in them. This was really cool to see, it looked almost like the starry sky in the cave. It was interesting that the glowworms spend their whole lives in those dark caves, just waiting for food to get caught in their strings, just to reproduce and do it again.
After the glowworms, we went to another cave with lots of stalactites.
The next day we headed out to Hobbiton. I was a little unsure about whether this would be worth the money, but we were happily surprised. Usually when you go through the movie site, they only have white boards showing where the hobbit holes were, and not much else, as almost everything had to be destroyed due to the contract. However, and this is exciting folks, they were getting ready for filming “The Hobbit” (can’t remember quotes or italics?) so the hobbit holes were being put back to what they were for the movies. This was really, really cool. They looked so much more real, and it was neat to see the different stages of construction and how they built it all. There is so much work and money used for such short little shots, movies are kind of ridiculous. We aren’t allowed to share any pictures over the internet due to confidentiality but we (Andrew) took quite a few. So Mike, get over here before they close it down again!
After the Hobbiton tour, they had a quick sheep shearing demo and then we got to feed little lambs. Ooohhh they were so cute. So small and fleecy, I may have squealed. How could you not with this face?
From Hobbiton we headed to the coast, Tauranga. We walked along the harbour and explored the town.
Then we drove to Rotorua, the land of geysers and thermal springs. As soon as we got out of the car, we noticed the stink of sulphur which was really gross. I don’t see how people live there, it seems like it would be bad for you. We decided not to go to the really expensive natural park to see the geyser and decided to go zorbing instead! Zorbing was awesome, very overpriced, but a really fun time. Zorbs are giant inflated balls that you roll down a hill in. Andrew and I did the water zorb, where they dump water in with you and you slosh around all over the place. We got to go together, which was good because I am a chicken. The waiver said zorbing could cause death or severe injury! But it was actually not scary at all, just very wet and crazy. Definitely worth a try, we would have loved to go again.
And that was it, we headed back to Auckland!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Our first night was quite fun too. After moving in, we realized our furnished apartment had a bed frame and a box spring. That’s all in that area, which was a problem. It was too late to go find any stuff, i.e. mattress, sheets, pillows, blankets. You know, all those extra things. But being the resourceful travelers we are (or just too dang tired), we made it work. Andrew made the bed by putting out our travel neck pillows and laying out a selection of clothes to pad the box spring (not cushy at all) and cover us. After we spent an hour laughing, maybe a little hysterically, we tucked ourselves in. That’s right, we are classy people - sleeping in a nest of our own clothes. Not the best night ever, but actually not as bad as I thought it would be. Please don’t judge us - desperate times, desperate measures! Needless to say, shopping was the first thing on the agenda in the morning.
A few pictures of our place:
We are very lucky to live only a few minutes from the library, where we have been hanging out for their internet. It’s a bit patchy so sometimes we go to a big entertainment centre where we can get 1 free hour per day. So we are kind of being internet hobos! Speaking of which, we are on skype at andrew.geralis so feel free to chat. Anyways, the library is free to join and has a good selection of dvds and books. We requested Lord of the Rings, and are looking forward to seeing New Zealand from that perspective (also to check out one of the places we visited! - more later).
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Our first resort was right on the water with a big open air lobby that birds could fly in and out of. We soon discovered some other friends staying in our room, which was a little creepy but we got (kind of) used to. At the resort, we got to try snorkelling, which I was not too successful at. We also took a trip to the 7th nicest beach in world at Natadola, which was gorgeous! Everything you think of when you think Fiji.
We also spent a morning in Nadi, which was very busy and crowded. We saw a Hindu temple, and did some shopping.
Next up, a day trip to one of the islands. We went to South Sea Island, which was just a teeny island, we could walk around it in 3 minutes. We went on an underwater submarine, went kayaking, swimming and snorkelling (I finally learned and know really love snorkelling), had a BBQ and saw some Fijian singers and dancers. It was a good day in the sun!
That night was Diwali, so there were fireworks going off constantly. I added a new goal to my life list: light a firework.
The next day we moved to our second hotel, the Westin which was fabulous. We walked to the Hard Rock Cafe that night and enjoyed some fantastic burgers.
The rest of our time was pretty much spent at the beach or pool, with another trip to the Hard Rock! Fiji was gorgeous and we really enjoyed it. However, if we were to go back, we would stay out on one of the islands, or spend a few days doing a cruise out there or something. Staying on the main island, you miss some of the nicest beaches. However it was still very nice and more affordable. So a mix might be ideal! Just some tips.
More pictures are on Picasa, and maybe eventually on Facebook. Vinaka (thank you)!
My verdict: One time thing, as it seems really gross, I feel weird, and the floor is really cold on your feet especially in the refrigerated areas.
Andrew’s verdict: Nope wouldn’t do it again.
These last few days, we have been driving(!) (well, Andrew has been driving) around a bit. It is definitely an adjustment for him, not only with the whole other side of the road thing, but the entire layout of the car. There have been a few windshield wiper mishaps, but he is quick to learn. We decided to rent a car to meet someone Andrew knows, to hopefully get some insight, and to check out a few other cities. So far, Auckland is still our fav and we are looking for a longer term place to stay.
Anyways, back to the house hunt. It is actually kind of frustrating so hopefully we will be patient.