Wednesday, December 12, 2012

California (Yosemite Visit)

Erlo and I FINALLY got to go back to the Bay Area together.  It seemed like a whirlwind of a trip, but we definitely got to do a lot and spend a lot of needed time with the family.

The day after we arrived, we drove down to Yosemite with my parents.  My mom had booked a hotel outside of the park the first night, but we wanted to try to see the valley on our way there.  There was a chance of snow, so on the way we kept calling the park for updates on the road conditions.  We ended up stopping in some little small town (Merced?) and buying some.  Erlo was fascinated by the small American town….it looks exactly like it does in the movies! 

We did get to drive through Yosemite Valley the first night, but unfortunately, there were so many clouds that we barely saw Yosemite Falls and El Capitan!  Erlo was impressed, nonetheless, and I was happily breathing in the familiar cedar and sierra scents.

The little motel we stayed in was adorable.  It was about 20 minutes outside the park, and had some pretty bad reviews, but it suited our tastes.  It was tucked away in the woods and was refreshingly peaceful.  Not the best service by the owner/manager (the garbage from the previous guests was left in our room) but it was good enough.

That night, we had our first Mexican meal of the trip….and it was SO GOOD.  We shared a dish of chicken Mole that literally melted in your mouth.  We were also reminded of the Great American Portion Size.  Yikes.  Erlo and I shared a dish and were still stuffed to the brim.  I don’t know how people do it…

(side note:  I’m realizing as I’m talking about all of this that I should have taken pictures of all of this!  I’ve been away from the blogging game so long that I have forgotten!  My sincerest apologies, I will try to do better…)

The next day was still quite cloudy, so we were left to explain and try to convince Erlo how beautiful Half Dome is.  Every time we rounded the corners that would normally have a view of the spectacular rock, there was a patch of cloud covering it.  At least El Capitan and the Falls were in clear sight!

We took a couple walks, ate a picnic lunch in the Awahnee Hotel and moved into our rooms at Yosemite Lodge.  After a dinner at the Awhanee Bar(WAY overpriced), we returned to the Lodge for an early night.

The next day, it was back to Yosemite Valley to see the fresh morning fog clearing to reveal Half Dome!  I love this view so much.  We also hiked up to Mirror Lake, which has a lot of memories for my parents.  Although the lakes were dried up for the season, we enjoyed an exploratory wander through the woods behind the lake.  Erlo was disappointed not to see any bears, but we definitely saw evidence of them (torn up logs, footprints) which was almost as exciting.  A group of about 6 buck made an appearance for us, which was definitely cool. 

And then back on the road for us!  We headed back to the restaurant we went to the night before where we stuffed ourselves silly again before jumping in the car back to my parents’ house.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Watch this space....

Hey readers!  Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about this space!  Since I haven't had my own computer for some time, I have been totally neglecting this space.  But good news!  I will soon be getting my macbook and have some good ideas brewing for my blog.  See you soon!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

One Year

I can't believe how long it has been since I have posted! It has been almost a year since Erlo and I moved to New Zealand. It has been just over a year since we got married. So much has happened. I moved locations in my job. I am still doing the same work, but much closer to our house. Erlo changed jobs. He works in a much friendlier, happier environment where he is trusted, valued and challenged. We have had many visitors already, including my parents, my friends Tracy and Carie, my friends Larry and Joan, and a brief visit from my friend Brandon. We have seen SOOO much of New Zealand and been able to show some of our favourite parts to those people and would love to show them to more.

Unfortunately, my bad luck with electronics has limited my blogging ability. Just after my last post, I learned that you can’t feed your sister green curry through Skype because you will spill it on your computer and ruin it definitely. I also learned that if you get an iPhone, hold onto it with all your might at all times, or it is highly probable to be stolen from right beside you. Hopefully I will be getting a new computer soon and will continue writing about my life. I miss it and find it cathartic.

Erlo and I will be here for at least another year. It has been such an amazing, invaluably difficult and wonderful year and we are ready for another! We miss my family, but love being close to Erlo’s (well, part of it anyway). We are meeting new friends(slowly, but surely), and dearly missing the far away friends. 

Although this isn't the beginning of a calendar year for me, it feels significant as I reflect on a year in a new place, with a new phase of my relationship with Erlo, and a new phase of my personal life.  I'm looking forward and open to all the upcoming year has for us. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Do You Wonder

My good friend Jenna sponsored me in her post recently. Read about me!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rugby World Cup, Eating Healthy, and Muffins.

Last weekend, the Rugby World Cup began here in New Zealand. It is the first time NZ has hosted the event since 1987--the same year they last won the cup. So as you might imagine, there are a lot of expectations for greatness in NZ during this time. It is pretty exciting, since NZ is such a small country. We get to hear a lot of complaining at the same time--about how terrible the public transport is, criticisms on the decorations, and moaning about the referees making bad calls against the All Blacks(NZ's idolized Rugby team). At work everybody is getting into the excitement, which makes my days a little more interesting. I work with a lot of Pacific Islanders(Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, etc.), and they are all getting very into it, proudly cheering for their home teams. Tomorrow we are having a potluck to celebrate Samoa's first game of the world cup. I decided to make these banana chocolate chip muffins (blue and red to support USA!):

I made those to compensate for the healthy eating lifestyle Erlo and I are attempting. We always try to eat healthy, but after watching the documentary Knives over Forks which is all about Plant-Based Eating, we are trying to have less meat and dairy in our diets. It's a very compelling movie, and while I realize that it is probably biased, I think the evidence they present begs for at least a little conscious lifestyle change. Watch it and see what you think!

Anyway, tonight, I made this amazing dish:

It is roasted butternut squash stuffed with Quinoa mixed with chickpeas and caramelized onions. I used ginger, sprigs from our curry plant and fresh garlic to season it. Erlo agreed it was great. This was a completely vegan meal with plenty of protein. It was so filling neither of us could finish it! This doesn't mean that we are becoming vegan(Erlo definitely couldn't), but we both want to experiment cooking with a lot less meat and dairy. I know the muffins don't really follow the whole no dairy thing, but they are a treat... :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Here's the post you've all been waiting for! For many of you American's out there, this seems to be a very interesting and entertaining topic: Kiwi sayings. Trust me, it is for me too! I've compiled a list of a few of my favorites/the most commonly heard.

(Note: some of these words or phrases may also be used in Australia or the UK)

mate: a friend (also can be heard used as an expression: "How are you doing?" "Mate!!"(good) or "Mate...."(bad)

motorway: freeway

lolly: candy

sunnies: sunglasses

ta/cheers: thanks

g'day: hello

togs: swimsuit

lilo('lie low'): inflatable pool toys

jandals: flip flops

greasies: fish and chips

chocka: full to the brim

bach(pronounced like the beginning of bachelor): holiday home

arvo: afternoon

tea: dinner, break, or actually tea

dunny: bathroom

fizzy drink: soda/pop

footie: rugby

entree: appetizer(I find this interesting that we use it for main dishes...anyone know French?)

pack-a-sad: sulk

piece of piss: easy, not hard

piss around: do nothing

piss up: to party, drink alcohol

pudding: dessert

scull: drink, consume

up the duff: pregnant

ute: pick-up truck

a wobbly: a tantrum

a Sunday driver: a slow driver

So to all my mates up there in the Northern Hemisphere,take advantage of your weather and piss around in your jandals and togs on your lilos in the arvo. Next time you're in New Zealand, grab your sunnies and some greasies and head to the beach, but please don't be a Sunday driver on the motorway or everyone will have a wobbly. Ta.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Melbourne, VIC

Hi all. Finally I am at my own computer, with my pictures uploaded! The week before last, I was in Melbourne, Australia. I got to tag along with Erlo since I didn't start my new job till last week and he was going for a conference. While he was in meetings all day, I took off and made a point to get lost in the city. Melbourne is a seriously cool city. I had always heard good things, but I really really liked the place. I highly recommend it, and even though it is winter, it was charming and beautiful.

It was full of cool alleys with restaurants and cafe's like these:

At one of them, I got this cool coffee:

At another, I enjoyed this awesome curry laksa:

Melb is also full of cool old buildings and churches:

In and amongst the wandering, I explored Queen Victoria Market....a place that reminded me a lot of Italy and Spain, except with more Asians and English speakers:

On Friday and Saturday I was a luckly lady to be joined my a handsome fellow who calls himself my husband:

and his best friend Justin:

On Saturday we went to the zoo:

But one of my all time favorite things about Melbourne was the wild birds! Parrots were everywhere and so beautiful!

I highly recommend this city for anyone who loves cities and exploring. Go there!