Tag Archives: E

who am I?

I started thinking about this recently, like yesterday, and I realized, I have no idea anymore.

I mean, I thought I knew who I was. But that was before I strapped on my shoes and went for a walk to the store.

Wait what? I walked to the store? Who the hell is this person?

Me, Sarah, would have just jumped into the car and driven to the store. got what she needed, put it in the car and driven back home.

Nope, I walked to the store, got what I needed, tossed it into my reusable shopping bag, and then walked home. And then today, I decided I wanted sushi for lunch. So, I strapped on the shoes, tossed on the coat and walked to the sushi place, and then walked back.

So my question becomes, who am I?

The Me that I knew back in the states would never do this, ‘walking’ thing. And then follow it up by going to the gym. The US Me would never have even thought about maybe attempting rock climbing. The US Me went everywhere in her car, even if it was only a mile away.

The Kiwi Me? Well the Kiwi Me for the first part says ‘only a mile’ as if that’s not a big deal anymore. The Kiwi Me eats chinese cabbage and wasabi. The Kiwi Me is thinking of ways to talk to pretty much everywhere. The Kiwi Me has entered into a 6k walk and is damned sure that she will not only complete it, but she will do so in a good amount of time. The Kiwi Me is excited to go out for nature walks, to see new things that the US Me would have been uncertain about. The Kiwi Me is starting to come around to the idea of rock climbing. And conquering fears. The Kiwi Me likes to drink water! And hasn’t had a can of soda in months!

I’m not sure who this Kiwi Me is, but I Like her. and I think that my Kiwi Me and I are going to get very friendly as time goes on.

Damn Straight.

My Boyfriends Friends

What great people.

 

I mean it.

 

I am so fortunate in life to be not only in this place and in this time, but to be blessed with such beautiful wonderful people around me.

 

They are caring, warm, loving, polite, and respectful.  They are brilliant, insightful, glamorous, and interesting.

 

I could not, in my life, have imagined myself in a better place than I am right now.  happy, loved, and with a slowly growing group of friends that are absolutely fantastic.

 

What brings this on? Simple.  We went on a picnic yesterday with some of Ee’s friends and basically all ended up at the last minute grocery run together, because nobody was really prepared for a picnic.  Cheese and salami and fruits, and bread, and salads.  And without saying anything, or making a statement at all, they picked up smoked salmon and some shaved roast beef because they knew I didn’t eat pork products and they wanted me to have something to eat other than just bread and cheese.

 

We went out for lunch with another friend to dim sum, and she made sure that there were options on the table for me that weren’t pork.

 

I am so very blessed to be surrounded by these people, and so very amazed and even humbled by their overwhelming kindness, generosity, and their acceptance of me.  At a time in my life when I could very much feel so very alone and lost, they have made it possible for me to not be so homesick.

 

My boyfriend’s friends have found a way to make me feel at home, and for that, I can never thank them enough.

 

Love you guys.

I LIke To Move It

Well. I did it. I joined a gym.

I guess I should say that we joined a gym.

We are signed up for a 6 month contract at a gym that is up the hill from our house. It’s about a twenty minute walk (for me) to get there, which the guys at the gym said is a great warm up. Then 10 minutes on cardio, and then 3 circuits on 6 weight machines with 15 reps each, plus bench sit-ups of 10 reps each, then back to 15 minutes of cardio.

Tonight was my second night through the program, and I picked up some Biggest Loser music this afternoon to help me power through. Let me tell you. I am feeling the work out, but it’s a good pain. My instep on my right foot is hurting a bit, but the trainer said that it would happen and to try switching to a different elliptical. My left calf is tight as all hell, but that’s been that way since yesterday’s workout. I am getting a bit of a pain in my neck, not sure what that’s from. Might have to talk to the trainer about that on Saturday.

Ee joined too. They’ve got him doing some treadmill and then he’s down into the weight room to lift some weights and put some muscle on his scrawny self.

All in all, so far, it’s been a good experience. Of course I’ve only been going for 2 days, but it’s still a start. And a good feeling. I’m doing something to help myself and goddamn if I’m going to let myself out of it. Getting myself to this point was the hard part. Getting myself into the gym and onto the machines was the hurdle.

Like hell I’m gonna let myself fall off.

8 Minutes

When I was a baby, I sucked my thumb.

When I turned 9, I stopped sucking my thumb and started biting my nails.

When I got into University, I stopped biting my nails and started smoking.

When I stopped smoking, I started chewing on my lips.

 

It’s been almost 20 months now since I quit smoking, and let me tel you, I feel great.  My coughs are not as severe, I don’t get sick anywhere as much as I used to with respiratory issues.  My headaches are fewer, and I’m even getting into better shape.  For months after quitting even the smell of a lit cigarette nearby was enough to make me nauseous and run in the opposite direction.  I could barely stand to be near my brother and some of my coworkers, because they smelled of nicotine and ash.

 

That’s been better lately.  I’ve actually caught myself liking the smell of the cigarettes, not to mention the smell of nicotine on clothes.  It’s become almost a comforting smell to me, which is just bizarre.  And while I was working at the call center, I started to notice the cravings. Ever so slight, but sometimes, a group of people would go out for a smoke and I could almost feel myself wanting to go with them.  That was one of the other reasons that I stopped working there.  The smoke breaks were getting to be a temptation, the people smoking during those breaks were awesome and I wanted to hang out with them more.

 

But cigarettes are expensive down here. Crazy expensive.  But that’s not the only reason that I’m looking at the last 20 months and reevaluating where I stand, and why I’m happy to have quit and why I will fight my instincts and my need for something to do with my fingers until the end.   I saw a billboard the other day.  And while I’m not completely sure on the veracity of the claim, or the science used to back it up, it stated that every cigarette costs 8 minutes of your life.

 

8 minutes.  For every smoke. Every pack of cigarettes is 160 minutes. Every carton, 1600 minutes.  That got me thinking.  All those nights and days at the theatre, where we did nothing but smoke and joke around.  Those nights out at the diner where we could finish off a pack and a half easily.  Or at verizon or walmart where I could smoke a pack a day, maybe two days when I was cutting down.  I don’t want to even think about the money that I spent or wasted, but the time.  I mean.  All that time.  I’ve shortened my life significantly by smoking.

 

Now, I want to say that while I was smoking, I knew about this. I knew the health risks and the dangerous factors. I knew that I was taking a leap of life and limb every time that I lit up.  I knew it, and I didn’t care.  It was my life and I was going to live it how I wanted to live it. I was going to make my mistakes, hang out with my friends and bugger the future.

 

So what changed?

 

I found a future worth being around for.  I think this advert, and the thoughts that followed, effected me more now than they would have back then, simply because of where I was.  I was in the car, driving somewhere with Ee.  And I think of all the time in our life together, that I cheated us out of, by smoking.  Hypocritical?  Possibly.  Sentimental? Definitely.  But there it is.  Ee is the one who gave me the strength to try to quite, all those 20 months ago, the reason that I stuck it out, and now the reason that I won’t ever go back.

 

I want a life with this man. I want a future with him.  And our friends.  I want a chance to live a life and start a family and see my kids grow up and start their own lives.  And now, I kick myself, because I willingly cut off so much time from that dream on my own.  I have shortened my own Happy Ending.

 

This is not for me to post and get all preachy for others to quit smoking. I know that it takes time, and some people won’t ever quit.  This is for me to get these thoughts out.  8 minutes a cigarette.  assuming that I smoked a carton a week, which is not a big assumption, it comes out to just about 1.5 years that I smoked off my life.  Doesn’t sound like much, when you look at it that way.  but 1.5 years is the difference between your grandchild being born and not. Between your kid graduating from college and not.

 

Heady stuff.  I’m glad I quit.  I’m glad I have what I have. I’m grateful for what I have.  I’m just mentally kicking myself for that 1.5 years that I could have had.

Printed!

So, we are underway for getting the next visa application together.  I took a bus trip out to Brown’s Bay today in order to get myself fingerprinted for the paperwork that the FBI needed.

 

There’s apparently so many steps in needing to do this.  First, I need to get a background check from the FBI that is no more than 6months old.  Considering that it takes the FBI 8 weeks to process the background check and then probably another 2 weeks to get it back to me, that’s 10 weeks, plus the week to get it to them.  So that’s 11 weeks from today, roughly.  So we’re looking at the first week of November for getting that information back.  Meanwhile, I get to run around to friends and family and get them to write up some statements about how loving and stable Ee’s relationship is.  Easy enough.  Next, have to get 2 passport sized photos taken, again younger than 6 months by the time that I send the application in. More evidence of a stable and conjoined relationship.

 

And then all of that gets sent into Immigration NZ, and the decision is another 4-5 weeks after that.  So, by hannukah, or at the latest Christmas, I should have an answer as to whether or not my next visa is approved.  This Visa will be most likely for 2 years, and then  a year into that I can apply for residency.   But, it’s still a 2 year visa, and that should open up more options for me for employment.  But enough about that, my adventure today!

 

Caught an earlier bus than I had intended, by virtue of me being absolutely paranoid about time and getting lost.  No worries though!  The bus dropped me off exactly where I thought it would and finding the police station was fairly easy peasy after that (just walk up the street…)!  Of course, I was an hour earlier than I should have been for the appointment, so I stopped into the little cafe right next to the police station.  They were rather busy for the middle of the week, which was kinda neat.  I grabbed a little pastry and a bottle of coke, although I later wished I had picked up something hot to drink.  Once I finished up with that, I headed to the police station and sat and waited.

 

Another lady there and I got into a conversation about this place called “Martha’s Backyard”.  Apparently they sell all kinds of imported american goodies.  like Pop-Tarts and lucky charms and kraft Mac& Cheese.  Definitely going to have to see if I can make a trip out there sometime soon. A box of lucky charms sounds awesome right now.  She was there to report an attempt to pass on fraudulent travellers checks by somebody over the internet.  She was looking for a new flatmate, this guy contacted her and said he needed a place for a few months.  She asked for payment in advance, he sent through some traveller’s checks for more than the amount agreed on and asked her to send the extra money back to an address in the UK.  Well, the checks were forgeries and she would have been out about $2000NZD.  Eek!  But she caught the gimmick and brought them into the Police to make them aware of it.

 

She got all sorted, the police called INTERPOL and gave them the head up and she went on her way.  And then it was my turn to be Fingerprinted!  I had brought all the paperwork that was needed (which the technician was happy for, because it made his life easier), filled in all the stuff that I could (he was also so very pleased about that), and then we got to the fingerprinting.  Want to know something neat?  he asked me to look at the wall, not at the fingerprint card, because apparently when you look down at the card, it tenses your fingers and that can mess up the prints.  Neat, huh?

 

So, after that, he took a statutory declaration from me for my election paperwork (how cool! I brought the papers with me on the off chance that there was a notary in town, and he said he could notarize it for me), and I headed off to the postshop.

 

Got everything boxed up and sent out, the paperwork for the background check, and the request for my absentee ballots.  And then I wandered around the shops for a bit, stared at the bay and Rangitoto, and then went to catch the bus.  Turns out, I was waiting for the wrong bus.  That’s ok! I had extra time, so I headed back to the music store that I had seen, independently owned, and shopped around.  Bought myself a new Amici CD (well, new to me, it was from their 2006 NZ tour), and a present for my brother.  A kiwi singer who is trying to get himself started.  I picked up his sample CD for my brother, since the guy behind the counter said that the guy was kinda pink Floyd-y.  So I’ll send that off to the brother for his birthday and see what he thinks.  If he likes it, I’ll see about picking up the guys full LP when he releases it later this year.

 

After that, it was time to run and catch the bus and head home.  Note to self: Catching a bus on the way home after 3pm, silly idea.  The bus was soon stuffed with schoolkids, all heading home from school.  Luckily I had sat right near the doors so I was able to pour myself out of the bus fairly easily.

 

And now, time to make dinner (soup) and relax for the night.

 

A good day and plenty accomplished.

Dashboard

I’ve yelled at myself something fierce lately.  Trying to get myself psyched up for writing again.  And I knew it all was going to start with a blog post, or seven.  But which one?

 

Do I sit down and write about how great it was to be working where I was working, but how fantastic it is to not be there anymore?  Or about the fantastic people and coworkers that I had while on my brief stint there, but at the same time, how grateful I am that I’m not there anymore, and can sit with myself and my thoughts?

 

How about I write about how horrible I’ve been at the physical fitness stuff, and how I’m still hovering at the same weight, which granted it could be worse, but I was going to get myself moving.  I can tell you that I am in much better shape than I was when I first set foot on kiwi soil.  I nearly died while climbing and walking the trails at Piha beach, but I actually made it through two days of fairly intense (for me) walking while in Rotorua.

 

What about that trip to Rotorua?  Do I just post a bunch of photographs and give a brief overview of the trip like I did when we went to Piha, or to Manganui?  It was a fantastic trip, and the scenery was breathtaking, the food delightful, and the time to unwind with Ee was superb. And even the pain from the walking and climbing was a sweet pain to me, near tear jerking, but sweet.

 

And food! What about food?  I have been cooking lately now that i’m not working.  And I’ve made some interesting things.  Including my own version of pierogies!  I really should write about them too!  The soups I’ve made, the sauces, the dumplings that we’ve cobbled together, all very intriguing topics for conversation!

 

And my goodness, I turned 30!  What a momentous occasion, a glorious day, a rather anticlimatic hump.  no really, it wasn’t that traumatic.  Other than I can now say that I’m 30 with a straight face without all of those preceding words, “I’m going to be turning…”  No, no more future tense for me.  I am 30.  And it kinda feels nice.  But at the same time, now I get into a whole bunch of other things. Like where am i going now that I’m here. What happens next in my life.

 

So where do I go from here?  I’ve got some work experience in New Zealand, but what happens next?  I know that I don’t want to work in a call center again, but I know that I want to work.  But what do I want to do?  I’ve toyed with the thought of part-time work, since I do enjoy being home and being the ‘housewife’, but I also like having my own money.  And having my own money would lead to a whole other world of things.  I’ve been looking at bigger flats and a car of my own.  I’ve almost given up on the vague dream of having a scooter, since that would be impractical, both due to weather concerns, as well as potential offspring.

 

So yes.  This is what I’ve been thinking, and so many choices actually leave me paralyzed a bit.  I’ll work on getting around to most if not all of the topics above, eventually.  I just need to make a list and then work down them one at a time.

 

So I am not dead or missing, just busy, happy, and overwhelmed.  Also, look forward to posts detailing the process that I’m going through in order to get my next visa.

Besties

There is always that one person that you can count on to be there.  The one person in your life that no matter how long you spend apart, you always start right back up in the beginning again.  A best friend, a soulmate.  Although most people now take soulmate to be strictly for love and marriage and other things, but it may not always be so.  I mean, sure there are soulmates for love, but there can be soulmates for friendship as well.  If I can love my friend and love my lover and love my parents all at the same time, it’s still love.  Different love, but it’s still love.

 

Shaun.

 

Of all my best friends in the world, Shaun is the oldest.  And I’m not just saying that because he is older than me.  But because we’ve been together the longest.  Fourth grade.  I was still pretty much the new kid from Philly, and he had moved from Dover and before that Michigan.  We were the outsider kids.  And the only thing the other one had.  We hung out on the playground and we made up our own world to tell stories in.  I don’t remember half the stuff that happened or half the characters involved, but we were quite the little storytellers, let me tell you.

 

So much so that most of our next few years, we spent every moment we could (when not doing other things like school work) writing a book.  We had it all.  Shaun would come up with the plotlines and I would fill in the holes with the characters.  He wrote the story, I gave it flesh.  We started this book at least three times that I can remember, and finished it, sadly, only once.  And that manuscript was lost to the years.  We would spend hours on the phone going over chapters and stories.  How this character felt about this and that.  And every year we would take a break from this and watch Miss America together.  Over the phone.

 

Yes. You read that correctly.  We would watch Miss America together over the phone.  You have no idea how truly awesome that was.

 

There were boyfriends and girlfriends and relationship fights, and the constant, insane instance from everybody around us that we were dating.  We swore and swore to them that no, no we were just friends.  He had a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend, there was no way that we were dating, we were simply best friends.  Throughout middle school this continued on, until after 8th grade graduation, the horrible reality struck.  We were going to different high schools.

 

It turned out to not really be as bad as we thought.  We still spent time together, weekends and some school nights.  There were times when I would have piano lessons at Avenue Methodist and then Shaun would meet me after the lessons and we’d walk down to the waterfront behind the church and sit on a rock there and just talk for the night.

 

Every big moment in my young adult life, Shaun was there.  From the first major breakup with a boyfriend, to the first car accident.  I had been going food shopping for my parents in my little brown pinto.  I had gotten to the corner across from Causey Mansion and was all set to make the left hand turn. I looked left, I looked right, and I went.  But somehow, I didn’t see the large white station wagon.  I don’t know how I missed it.  But we hit.  Their front passenger bumper to my front driver bumper.  The next hour or so was a blur, I remember a few of the other kids from high school driving by and looking but not stopping.  I remember going into the house on the corner to call the cops and my parents.  I remember sitting in the cop car, talking to the police officer and looking out the window across the street.

 

And there was Shaun.

 

He had been coming back from church and had seen the brown pinto and lord knows I was the only person in town with that car so he knew it was me.  So they got home from church and he walked to the accident scene (only about 3 blocks-ish) to wait for me.  I saw him outside and started to cry, finally started to cry.  The cop and I finished up and he let me go over and Shaun and I sat on the grass while waiting for my parents.  He wrapped me up in his arms and just held me as the shock of what just happened and what it all meant started to hit.

 

Shaun has met every single one of my serious relationships. Every one.  The guy that I was engaged to back at University. The Guy that I moved to maine for.  Even Ee.  Shaun has met every single man in my life that has ever become a big part of my life romantically.  He has met them all.  He was home from University on Halloween weekend when I brought Jimmy home.  He was home for a visit from Michigan when Chase and I were down for a visit.  And he was living in Seattle when Ee and I were there last year.

 

To say that Shaun is a huge part of my life is by no way or means an exaggeration.

 

We realized, or at least I did, at some point after high school was over that we had actually been dating all of those years.  We had actually been a couple and that all of those people we kept telling them that they were crazy, were indeed not crazy.  We were.

 

They say, and I don’t know really who ‘they’ are, but they say that you never really forget or lose that first love.  It just grows into something else.  Shaun was my first and longest best friend.  Shaun was my first love and the first guy to ever make me care more about myself than what other people thought about me.  Shaun saved my life on more than one occasion and has always been right there when I needed him to be.  He is the best friend that I know for certain i will be able to see again in five or ten years and it will be like nothing has happened.

 

The hell that I went through the last year in maine, the trauma and drama of finding myself and building myself back up again, the numerous scars, were all helped to ease away by seeing Shaun in Seattle, hugging him tight, seeing him happy and seeing him smile.  Ee did a lot for my healing, and a lot for my confidence, but Shaun finished it off.

 

There is always a place in my heart and in my life for Shaun.  And there always will be.  I’m trying to think of the best way to finish this off without saying something that will set my world ablaze and will not make people go crazy.  But, The best way to end this, is the only way guaranteed to make people think I’m nuts.  But ohwell.

 

I love you, Shaun.

You will always be my best, closest, oldest friend.

You will always be the one reason that I am here now to type these words.

You were the first person to save my life when I needed you most.

You will always be a part of my heart and of my life, no matter how far apart we are.

I love you.

 

Fort Minor

So, there’s a song by this group called Fort Minor and I enjoy it a bit.  The chorus begins with ‘where’d you go?’ and I figure that’s a question that I should be answering.  The long and the short of it is, I’ve been working.  And then sleeping.  And then working.  The original 4 week assignment has turned into almost 3 months, and we finish up on July 29.  Although that feels so very far away.

 

Also, I’ve been sick.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m back in a call center and still getting my body used to being bombarded with germs from every direction, so that when one person gets sick, everybody gets sick. Or if it’s because of the weather change down here and it being Winter but not really a winter that I would call a winter so I don’t get as bundled up as I should.  Or if it’s because of the humidity and moisture in the apartment having finally settled into my lungs and refusing to go away.  Or, if it’s a combination of them all.  Suffice to say, I’ve been sick.  Stuffed nose, chesty cough, I even lost my voice the other day.  I start to feel better during the day and then the night hits and my body feels like giving up all over again.  I’ve been eating right and drinking plenty of fluids, so maybe all I need is rest. I’m not in work today simple because I could not find the strength or the energy or even the desire to move or do anything but hide in the bed.  Headache, nausea, and some light other intestinal problems along the way as well.

 

So today is for resting, and medicating, so that I can go back to work tomorrow, finish this week off strong and use the weekend to complete my journey back to healthiness so that I can stop feeling so damned miserable.  Being miserable is not a fun thing.

 

What new adventures am I having?  Well, we went out about two weekends ago and I bought myself a big monitor.  my little netbook is still running everything, but I can now see more than I thought possible.  the screen is about twice the size of my netbooks screen.  Awesome.  I have bought myself some early birthday presents as well.  A new bento box and lunchbag, and some video games for the computer.    Last weekend we went out and bought a dehumidifier.  To try and get rid of the excess moisture problem.  It’s a 20L tank and thank god for that.  We turned it on after we brought it home, around 5pm and left it to run over night.  When we got up the next morning, around 7am, the thing had sucks about 17-18L out of the air.  And I wonder why I’ve been feeling sick and chesty?  We’ve run it on and off again since then, but haven’t gotten the amount out again, thank goodness.

 

I’ve been exploring the goodness of a wok.  I finally got around to seasoning the wok that we bought back in february (God bless Youtube!) and we’ve been making some tasty stir-frys ever since.  And I’ve been investigating Tofu.  and the many different ways to make tofu. We’ve marinated it and eaten it just like that.  We’ve marinated it and baked it in the oven.  And we’ve added it to the stir-frys.  I think that I am starting to not only get the hang of tofu, but also to liking it.  I am not, however, going to be giving up my meat.  Tofu is just another alternative at the moment.

 

But mostly, I’ve just been working.  And I love the work. I love the people and the company and I even enjoy the customers.  Hard to believe, but it’s true.  Unlike American customers, it seems like Kiwis will readily tell you that they’re not really mad at you personally, but they are going to yell anyways, but please don’t take any personal offense.  And some of them, most of them, are quite easy to turn around and calm down after they’ve been allowed their moments of yelling.  It’s amazing.  I’ve been cursed at once by a customer.  And when I informed that customer to not curse at me, she immediately apologized and was calm from there on out.  I do enjoy the work.  And were it work that I could continue to enjoy in the manner that I have been (M-F 9-530) then I would most happily continue there.  But, it is a call center, and that means working rotating hours with rotating shifts and rotating days off.  It would mean never getting a normal sleep schedule, or a normal day off with Ee.  And that’s really not anything….

 

I came down here to start a new life, and go in a new direction.  And right now, in my mind, that new direction includes weekends with my partner and nights curled up on the couch watching a dvd.  Not days off in the middle of the week and coming home from work just as he is going to bed.  I’ve done that life before, it ruined the relationship.  And I didn’t come halfway around the world for that.  No.  As much as I love the office, I think it really is in my best interests to keep searching, to keep looking.  To explore more options and grow more as an adult.

 

But as a first experience working for a New Zealand company? I couldn’t have asked for more.  I think, however, I may want to look into the public sector.  Maybe a government job, if possible.  Eventually.  But for now, I’m going to go back to resting as I am feeling rather worn down, and I want to get better, faster.

 

So that is where I went, and where I’ll be.  Next update will probably be before Rotorua and after Orcon.

Easter at the Mount

So, this past weekend was Easter weekend.  Four days off of work for E and most of the country even, so a great time to get away.  We were invited to go down to Mt Manganui with his friends Derek and Victoria to stay at Derek’s parents’ holiday house.

Let me tell you, it was a really fantastic time and I am so glad that we went.  I’ll try to be brief while still giving you the gushing review that you’ve come to expect from me.

Good Friday

After spending the morning packing, E and I drove down to Botany to pick up Derek and Victoria.  We loaded up the car and took off!  The ride was memorable not only for the gorgeous scenery outside of mountains in the distance, Cows, and vineyards, but for the stimulating conversations about visible spectrum radar and whether it would be possible to make a boat move purely with radar power.

After about an hour we came to what was affectionately referred to in our car as “The Gorge”.  The dire warnings from the backseat had ne fearing for my life, this roller coaster that we were about to be on, with a single strip of road winding through a gorge enough to put the highland roads of Scotland to shame. Happily enough, there wasn’t much to it.  There were high walls and a rather nice looking river running through it.  We’ll have to go back at some point and walk through the old mining settlement that is there along the banks.  But I did get a nice picture of a bridge for my mom!

Soon after we were arriving in Tauranga, and then a few turns and we were at the Mount!  Well, almost. We got into the house and settled our stuff in, and then we went out for a nice walk.  We started at the park across the street which had some rather stately looking trees growing.

And then it was a walk along the seaward beach with it’s constant surf and pounding waves, a walk down just at the foot of the Mount, and then we were landward at the quieter water, more of a bay than ocean.  And then it was back to the house for a night of some board games.  Until it was dinner time, and then we went out for some Turkish food that was delightful.  The night ended with us watching Terminator 2 (my first Terminator movie! how exciting!  I can cross that off my list!) and then heading to bed for the next day.

Saturday

Saturday morning started out cloudy and rainy and dreary.  Just like we were expecting it to be. But that was alright, the weekend was made for relaxation.  We stayed inside most of the day, watching television and playing board games.  But we did get a chance to go out for a walk that afternoon, E and I.  We were sent out for bread and milk and we ended up going for another loop around the isthmus.  The pictures that I got of the trees and the architecture are just as amazing as the other evidence of the kiwi spirit that I’ve seen.

First, there’s the fact that there’s both palm trees and Pine trees together.

Then, there’s the absolutely gorgeous architecture.  It seems so ‘Beach town’ at first, but then you realize that a lot of the buildings in this country look like this in some way.  Terraced while being built, lots of windows, absolutely fascinating to look at.  Sometimes I’m reminded of the designs that I used to draw up in high school.

And then, there was just the plain amazing things that you find.  I know that there are amazing pictures in the states, and people who do astounding things that just take your breath away.  But the Kiwis have this ability to just make me smile in the oddest ways.  And with the best stuff.

Yes, the tractor is hooked up to the boat in order to get it to the marina and the water.  It was highly enjoyable.  Of course the next best part of New Zealand, other than the people is the scenery.  And the plants.  Like this Hibiscus.  So Beautiful.

Victoria made us dinner that night and we played some more board games and then headed to bed early, determined to get up and try to beat the rain to the Mount.

Sunday

Happy Easter!  A morning of pouring rain, down pouring rain, and chocolate cross buns.  Which are like hot cross buns but instead of the nasty technicolor citron that is used in the states, it’s made with chocolate chips.  They looked and smelled delicious.  I, however, had a piece of matzah and some cream cheese.

The morning started out slow, but then the rain went away and we decided that we were going to try and conquer the Mount.  I was going to try and conquer it.  Now, by climbing the Mount I really mean going up the rather nice and gentle path that was carved around the side of it.  It’s considered the Easy Way (which as I’ve come to find means ‘slightly suicidal for out of shape american girls’), and I know that I’m much fitter than I was when I went up the Kitekite trail, sure I can do this.


I’m pretty sure that I wanted to die about 200meters in.  Luckily there were stairs and plenty of terracing (from when the Mount used to be an ancient pa (pay), a maori hill fort essentially) for me to rest on.  Victoria, being the athletic lady that she is, took off up a different path than us to run up the mountain.  Why? because she’s just that crazy.  Derek decided to stay with E and myself while I tried to get up the mount.

Let me tell you this, I am fairly certain that had the path been flat and not steep, I would have been fine.  I know this.  But the incline on the path was murder on my knees.  The arthritis is gotten to the point that keeping my knees in the half-bent position necessary for walking up a path like that is murder.

I did, however, make it about 1/3 of the way up the Mount, stopping just below the lighthouse (which is a light housed in a box behind a fence) before I absolutely could not keep going. But, I made it 1/3 of the way up the Mount. that’s a full 1/3 more than I would have done last year at this point.  When I would have looked at the Mount, then at E and told him he was out of his mind and hell no.

Progress!

Derek continued on to the top, since he had the water bottle and Victoria was certain to want a drink. E and I continued back towards the bottom, me with the typical and expected disappointment in myself for failing at what I set out to do, but he of course with the encouragement that I needed and the love that kept me going.

Yes, you can gag if you want to, but I’m not going to listen to you.

The path down was, of course, a bit easier, but the view was amazing.  I knew that we were on a small strip of land, but actually looking down on it and seeing just how thin was impressive.  Four blocks, if that, separated one part of the bay from another.

We headed back to the house, I took a shower to wash off the dirt, sweat, and disappointment in myself.  Derek and Victoria returned shortly thereafter, and right behind them came the rain.

So we played some more board games, and then the rain stopped.  Back to the beach!  Derek and Victoria played volleyball and frisbee and E joined them occasionally.  I walked along the water, getting soaked by the waves and picking up seashells.  Dinner out at a Thai restaurant and then back to the house, another board game and then bed.  We got up early on Monday morning and drove back to Auckland.

It was a fantastic weekend with friends and E, relaxing and energizing.  I look forward to going back at some point in the future and conquering the mountain completely.

oh, as a side note that will be fully updated tomorrow, I am at 130kg.  wooosh

W&K

Know where I’m going to be this Friday night?  I bet you can’t guess.  That’s right. I’m going to be glued to the computer monitor watching along with thousands of others as William Windsor gets married to Kate Middleton.

Why?

Well, to be honest, why the hell not?

I have friends all around the world, most of them don’t get the interest, some do.  I am currently living in a former British Colony and most people down here could give a flying fig less.  They don’t seem to understand the American obsession with the Royal family.

To be honest, I don’t understand it fully either.  I know that the royal family is a fascination for me, and has been.  Although I tend to enjoy more of the renaissance time period than modern, but that’s the same for just about everything English.

Americans are celebrity obsessed, that’s for certain.  Don’t believe me, take a good look at how many gossip magazines are at the checkout counter next time you go grocery shopping.  Now, take a moment to realize that there are none like that down here.  At least not that I’ve seen readily available.  Of course, i don’t go looking.

I am not usually celebrity obsessed.  I don’t know who the Kardashians are or why I should care.  I have no idea how many men Brittney Spears has been married to, or divorced from.  And I can honestly say that I have no idea what Lady GaGa wore to what event.  Or could I care.

But there is something about the Royal family that catches my attention.  Something that sets the imagination on fire.  Yeah, they’re the descendants of Tyrants and crazy people, and yes they’re all interrelated going most of the way back to William the Conqueror, but that’s not the point.  The point is that every little girl wants to be a princess.  And the royals give, and have given over generations, the chance to pretend.

There is something innately romantic in every little girl, Disney first starts to stir it up with Cinderella and the other Princesses in their movies, and then the little girls grow up, and there’s real princesses.  History classes talk about kings and queens and princesses and things, storybooks give details about this and that and this.  It’s enough to set the imagination wild.

Most Americans are never going to be rich.  Most are never going to be Princesses or royalty of any kind.  But that doesn’t stop the dreams.  The hopes.  The wishes on far away stars.

Grace Kelly was a girl from Philadelphia, she started acting, was a big movie star and she could dance with the angels.  And then, she became a Princess.  The perfect story for every little girl growing up in the USA.  Or at least in the Philadelphia area.  You too could maybe meet your prince and he will make you a princess.

Maybe it’s inevitable that I feel this way.  My name is Sarah, which is Hebrew for “Princess”.  I have always been treated like a princess by my parents, spoiled rotten and well behaved. I knew my manners and my education was stellar.  I was 5 days old when Diana and Charles got married, my mom watching the wedding from her hospital bed.  Maybe that had something to do with it.

I grew up fascinated with the English Royal family, from 1066 on down.  There were points where I could recite the entire lineage from the War of the Roses on down to modern times.  I can’t do that as much now.  Henry VIII is as fascinating to me today as he was when i was in 10th grade history.  Elizabeth I is just as imposing as she was back then.

And the royal wedding is going to be just as much fun as I can imagine.  There is an aspect of romance to being able to have everything you can imagine and more for your wedding.  That dress? yes please.  Those flowers, i’ll take a dozen.  Any thing you can imagine and create and come up with?  Yes.

It’s a romance thing, it’s wanting what you can’t have.  To be swept away by white stallions and a prince who will give you everything you can imagine.

I’m a happy woman.  I am in a relationship with a man who loves, respects, and cherishes me.  he spoils me and treats me as close to a princess as I’ve been treated since I was a little girl playing with my cabbage patch dolls that my Daddy got me and going to stage shows with no discernible plot but featuring everything from saturday morning cartoons that I loved.

Do I want a wedding with the glitz and the glamour, with the drama and the blank check?  of course I do.  Every little girl somewhere deep inside wants that.  That one day where everything is perfect, where you’re the center of attention and nothing but you and your loved one matters.  Am I going to get the dream wedding?  Probably not.  There won’t be a carriage ride through town.  There probably wont be a giant room with white curtains and lilies and roses and ivy cascading around us.    But at this point in my life, I can honestly say that grabbing a few friends, grabbing a judge, and getting married in the middle of the day on some summer day would be just as magical and romantic to me.

But enough about me.  We’re talking about the obsession over the British Royals and the wedding this weekend and how absolutely insane it is for Americans to be so obsessed and fascinated with it.  And I think that’s it.  It’s a fascination.

The closest we have is our Celebrities in the States and their weddings are huge affairs with glamor and drama and the news covers them like the events of the century.  But it’s been 30 years since the last royal wedding, they happen so rarely, how can you not be excited?

On a side note, this is the perfect time for England to start giving a great Public Relations moment for next year’s Olympics.  The world is watching you, England, advertise now.  Bring in the excitement, the glamor, the thrill and the wow with this wedding and push it for the Olympics.

There will be hundreds and hundreds of tourists in town for the wedding, use this and the Olympics next year, and bring yourself back up to the top.  You have the stage this weekend, Don’t screw this up!

Also, congrats to Kate & William!! A wish of Good Luck and Health to you and your future together.  Mazel Tov!