Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Some things I learned while in New Zealand

1. About the food: 

A hamburger here is not just a sandwich, it's a buffet: meat patty, sliced Beet, an egg, pineapple, chutney, lettuce, tomato, onion....what else am I forgetting?

I am truly sorry to say this.  But, with the one exception of THE LUCKY TACO food truck, there isn't any amazing Mexican Food here! So I am forced to gorge myself on Mexican food every time I go back to southern California.

2. About the weather: 

People talk about the weather A LOT. And when the weather is bad the conversation will include, "This isn't normal for Auckland."  Im sorry after nearly 18 months I DO NOT believe that anymore.

It rains a lot!!! That's all I have to say about that.

3. Things in nature:

 All the birds in New Zealand can't fly 

There are more species of penguins here than any other country

There are no snakes, AT ALL! Bonus! 

4. About sports: 

Rugby is not a sport, it's a religion.  

Rugby comes in a variety of ways: rugby union, rugby league, 7's, and 9's

After the rugby game aka religious experience there will be more talk about why the All Blacks only won by 60 points rather than celebrating that they WON! I mean a win is a win is a win, right?! Spoken like a true Cubs fan, lol! 

5. About the language:

Sometimes you have to say "yes" to say "no": kiwis don't just say "no" they say, ""

TA=thank you 

Bangers and chips=sausages and fries, which to some, is the staple diet of bogans=white trash, hillbilly

If it's cold, you'll want a cuppa=cup of tea and your jumper=sweater

Togs=bathing suit and Jandals=flip-flops are what you wear to your Bach=vacation home at the beach

Chunder=vomit, which you do when you're crook=sick or after being pissed=drunk because you have skulled=slammed all of your drinks 

The most important one I've learned is do not say, ever, you are "rooting" for a team (or player), especially in a car full of guys on the way to a rugby game.   Rooting=having sex=I felt in a word, awkward!!!

6. For all the ladies:

In 1893, New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote 

Nancy Wake, was the Gestapo's most wanted person during WWII, and once killed an SS soldier with her bare hands. 


Here is one of the photos from my first photo shoot.  A big "thank you" to my friend Brian Ng for your triple help with styling, shooting and editing.  It was a fun experiment while feeling slightly awkward at the same time.  It also was part of the motivation to get a new camera, which I did on my last trip home. Now dont getme wrong, I love my Iphone.  Sometimes you just need more in the photo taking department.  I went with the Canon D3200 and am learning about all the features.  The one thing that I have learned more than anyhing is that I will learn the most by USING IT! No amount of reading will replace taking the camera out and experiencing life through it's lens.  So that is what I plan to do and share with you in the near future!!

PS: If you do have any tips or tricks that you would like to share I am all ears!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Moving: bad, very bad. New neighbourhood: good, very good

Well, after sorting, purging, cleaning, packing,  then moving followed by more cleaning, sorting and unpacking we are starting to get settled in our new house.   After all of this the fact that I HATE MOVING has been solidified in my soul forever.  This may seem dramatic, but it was very stressful!

We have moved from Mission Bay to Ponsonby.  To my friends in the US this probably means very little. So to compare the two in a way that makes sense I can say it like this... Mission Bay = a kind of suburbia while Ponsonby = is a hipper, edgier neighborhood with more pep in it's step.  A BIG BONUS for us is that we can walk to a plethora of great cafes, restaurants, shops, salons, wine bars, even a grocery store and a bank.  There is something great about not having to get in you car to go to the places you enjoy.  In other words this area just feels more like a city (which makes me, a true city girl, happy).  

The house is smaller and older than the house we rented in Mission Bay. This type of house is referred to as a villa (clearly the Kiwi's don't see eye-to-eye with the Italians on this term).  Here that means means that it is a single level home with 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms in the front and the living, dining and kitchen area is in the back.  From here, there are french doors that open to the deck and backyard.  Toby is already enjoying the yard and deck and all the sunshine so it's just what we need!

Now I am slowly making it our own.  It needs some sprucing up....I've already made a list and checked it twice, nothing major but little things cosmetically that I think will make a big difference. Meanwhile, pictures are going up, new couch covers have been ordered and the Christmas tree and decorations will make an appearance this weekend.  My preparation is reaching a feverish pace as the date my parents arrive quickly approaches. I am super excited and want things to be looking as close to perfect as possible for their first Kiwi Christmas!!  Here are a few pictures of the house so far... I will share more as I make more progress :)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sealed with a Pura Vida Kiss….

I was so fortunate to recently get to go to Costa Rica for a wedding.  My dear friends Shelly & Blake decided to have a destination wedding on the beautiful beaches of Santa Teresa ( on the Pacific coast in Costa Rica). I was fortunate to pick the seat next to Shelly for the two years of hell that we we called CRNA school.  She instantly became a dear friend. I really don't think I would have made it through without her friendship and support. 

The time we spent there was such a testimony to what incredible people these two are.  It was a time full of love, laughs, hugs, drinks, sun, surfing, fishing and swimming (I myself did as much of "nothing" as I could squeeze in).

58 men, women and children traveled for almost two days to reach this magical place.  Not only was the scenery gorgeous, but each person there added something beautiful to this collage of friends and family.  It was one of those times that I felt so lucky to be a part of something this special. 

Big shout out to Casa Yin Yang (a Mariposa Vacation home): Ben, Anna, Thomas, Kurt, Mona, Laurence and I (and there may have been a mouse in the mix too).  We got a chance to spend non-school, non-anesthesia time together relaxing and it was SO MUCH FUN!  I feel so much closer to this group of incredible people than ever before!   Laurence was the resident chef for the week and spoiled us with an array of fresh, delicious food.  I really didn’t want to leave..EVER!

Two days before the wedding over multiple pina coladas (made from scratch FYI) I told Shelly that I would make her a bouquet for the wedding day.   I was so happy to be able to do something to contribute to her special day.  The flowers kept in the fridge and looked fresh and beautiful when the ceremony started (insert sigh of relief). Even though it was something small I was so happy to get to do something for my dear friend on her most special day! 

Shelly and Blake are two of the kindest, nicest, most giving people I have ever met.  I am so glad that I got to be a part of this time to honor them and their love for each other as they start their married life together.  Thanks you two!

I am sure I will be finding sand in things and “places” long after I am back in New Zealand.  But I am pretty sure there are a few grains of that magical Costa Rican sand that found their way in to my heart and will be there forever.

What an amazing couple.  What an amazing journey.  What an amazing wedding! 

Preparing to move.... (houses, not cities)

We are moving.  There is nothing about moving that I enjoy.  It is a chore of epic annoyance....never the less it is something that must be done.   So this week I will be sorting, editing, packing and clenaing.  Even though it will be hard, please, please do not be jelaous!

PS: it is amazing to me how much "stuff" two people can accumulate!!! 

We recently marked our one-year anniversary here in New Zealand and it has gone by so quickly.  After a year in Mission Bay we have decided 2 things: 1. We don't need this big of a house and 2. Our favorite neighborhood is Ponsonby.  The vibe and atmosphere is a better match for us.  From our new house we can walk to some of our favorite restaurants, cafes and shops.  Ponsonby has a great feel and makes you feel like you live in a city rather than a suburb.  I like the house we are moving into, I only hope that my hubbie does too!  Usually a couple goes thru the house-hunt process together, but since my husband is always traveling I found this house and made the decision by myself (no pressure what so ever)  It causes a bit of angst as I prepare to see it again for the second time on Wednesday-Will I like it as much?  Will there be enough storage?  Will my husband like it when he sees it???  Whatever the answers may be, we are committed since we signed the lease already so like Tim Gunn says, "I will make it work!"  I will not only make it work but make it stylish and homey and Christmas ready for my parent's holiday visit!!  (again, no pressure..)

I will post pictures of our new house once the boxes are unpacked and everything is organized!

A night at the Bund

The Bund is a famous area in Shanghai along the western bank of the Huangpu River. We had dinner at the equally famous Roosevelt Restaurant. The food and ambiance were sublime, but my favorite part was the roof-top terrace.  From there we had a panoramic view (the photos fail to capture the splendor of it).  After dinner, we went for an evening stroll along Lovers' wharf with the thousands of other people who had the same idea. I was impressed that even though it was jam packed with people and peddlers and noise it still had a special atmosphere, or vibe if you will.  This is an area of Shanghai that I look forward to exploring the next time I am there.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I was on a Shanghai.....the Asia trip continues

A city of 25 million people, probably even more scooters ((watch out) and the energy to match.

Day One:  Ok, I have no sense of direction. Actually less than that, a negative sense of direction.  I am the person who got lost while using not one but two GPS systems in a city I had lived in for several years.  

So exploring Shanghai by myself was a scary thought! However, I was not going to sit by and do nothing.So after talking to the concierge (because Google maps does not work in China and I needed a paper map for navigation) I was off.  I am proud to let you know that I not only navigated the subway but I used my map to find an area that I had read about and wanted to check out.  There were shops that I had read about in Shanhgai Style File (  Check it out if you are ever going there! Her blog is full of stylish tips about Shanghai.

As I proudly approached my first destination, my heart full of pride and joy that I found it without any catastrophes....only to see a store under construction. 😃 hilarious (now), ironic (always). 

That afternoon I met a new friend Sophia for lunch at K11. This is a shopping center where shopping and art are combined seamlessly. It is an amazing place.  There were even baby pigs outside the farm to table restaurant that we got to "uh" and "ah" over.  We spent the afternoon walking and shopping around the city.  The shopping in Asia is ENDLESS....and I am not complaining. I especially like the Xiantiandi area.


As the sun (and the credit card) were cooling off we met our husbands and their co-workers for a drink. It was a bar in the middle of one of Shanghai's many parks.  This park has a very interesting event that takes place every weekend.  Parents with daughters who have been deemed spinsters bring these girls to the park and parade them around.  Single men show up at the same time to see if they can make a love connection. Talk about a Sunday Funday!! It started raining so we moved indoors and smoked a hookah (cause that what you do when it rains).