Tag Archives: Life

And So I Said “Yes!”

Have a seat.  make yourself a nice cuppa.  Get comfortable. I’m going to tell you a modern love story.

Four years ago I got involved in a message board at a rather famous webcomic’s website.  I was playing games and posting about politics and generally being a typical citizen of the internet.  I made some friends and we all started hanging out together in an online chat room.  And it was there that I first started talking to my E.

 

I had just finished a long term relationship and was not looking for anything more serious than friendship.  He was still finishing up his Doctorate Thesis and wasn’t looking for anything past the end of school.  But we spent the nights and evenings talking about everything and anything.

 

Ideal vacations on a train through the outback, having dinner beneath the shadow of Uluru and counting the stars.  Singing songs from Broadway musicals and laughing when one of us (him) got the lyrics so horribly wrong.  This was all about three years ago. And then one night, something strange happened.  As we were saying out good nights so that I could sleep and he could make dinner, he slipped. And the words “I love you” came out of his mouth.

 

He panicked. I panicked. We both ignored it.  But then time passed and the words just seemed to be so very natural.  He slipped and said it again.  And then I slipped and said it back.  And then the whirlwind of absolute insanity happened.  Within months he was flying to the States from New Zealand to spend a week with me in DC. That time went far too quickly and we arranged to see one another in Seattle later that year.

 

And once that trip was over, my fate was sealed. It was only five months after having only spent three weeks total with him that I shoved my belongings into two suitcases and got onto the airplane to come to New Zealand.  I have been here for over 19 months and it’s like the time has both flown and stood still.  So much is happening in life that I could never have imagined.

 

Our happiness has only grown, our comfort is immeasurable, and our certainty unshakable.  So when we took the trip to the States this summer/winter it was not a surprise that he asked my father’s permission for my hand.  When we came back from the trip things continued as always.  But there was now an anticipatory excitement happening.

 

Then, about a month ago, I was daydreaming over rings online and E said to me, ‘let’s go out this saturday to look!’  So I found a few local jewelers that I liked their websites and found their addresses.  We went and spoke with a couple but the one gentleman in Devonport was astounding.  He was polite, professional, educational, and overall excited.  We left his store and looked around a bit more, but by the time that we got home, we knew that he was going to be the one.

 

So I started to tell E just what I wanted so hat he could call the jeweler, at which point E just told me to do it because I knew what I was talking about and he was clueless.  So I called and emailed the jeweler and we set up an appointment to come back and see him on the next saturday.

 

We got to his shop and he had spent his week searching for the stones for my ring.  I fell in love with them immediately.  E nodded and smiled and we decided on the ring and the setting. E and the jeweler settled on a two week period of time for the ring to be finished.

 

And so time passed. one week and then another. the days moved so slowly.  But then we got the emails from the jeweler.  Our ring was ready!  So this past saturday, October 20, we drove back to Devonport.  And my ring was there and it was gorgeous.  I tried it on and it fit absolutely perfectly.

 

And here is the next modern part.

 

I went to put the ring back into the box, so that E would be able to hide it and propose in his own time.  But he told me that I could keep wearing it, so I did.  We went and spent the afternoon with some friends at a campsite up north and then spent the rest of the weekend packing.  I kept offering for him to take it so that he could propose, but he kept telling me to leave it on. So I did.

 

And then, last night, after a particularly long night of playing Civilization 5 on the computer, we were getting ready to go to bed.  As we’re climbing tinto bed and settling into our customised cuddling positions, E said to me, “So I can’t think of how to make it a romantic surprise. I’ve been trying, but I just come up blank. So, do you want to get married?”

 

And so I said, “Yes!”

 

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Life Lesson Learned: Laundry Edition

So here I am, hanging out on my porch, well in the carport, hanging up my laundry.  See, I’d normally be on the porch, but it’s a touch windy today and the last thing I need is to have the laundry topple over (again!) onto the landlord’s daughters new flower bed.  Not good.  So instead, I’m going to take advantage of the carport’s wind-tunnel nature and put the laundry to hang in there, relying upon the not-quite gale force winds to dry my clothing.  Sure, they don’t get sunshine this way, but I also don’t spend most of my afternoon going out to pick them up off the deck and pick dried leaves and dirt from what were clean clothes.  And yeah, I could tuck them in the little space where E’s motorbike is parked, we get some sunlight there in the afternoons.  But the last time I did that and a big gust of wind came through, I was chasing the laundry down the driveway as the towels acted as sails for the Good Ship Clothing Drive that was careening towards the road.   Not a particularly fun way to spend twenty minutes.

 

So there I was, in the carport, hanging up the clothes when I came to this one shirt of mine in particular.  Now this shirt I’ve had for several years and it has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs.  It’s a gray shirt with an orange collar and orange sleeves and I got it from Old Navy, who knows how long ago.  It’s a comfortable shirt, well worn and well loved.  I use it mainly for around the house now and lazy weekends with nothing to do but relax with my man.  But today, something about this shirt made me stop as I was hanging it up.

 

I’m not sure if it was the voluminous amounts of fabric that were just not agreeing with me or the hangers.  Or if it was the somewhat stubborn seeming insistence that it would quite simply not stay on the hanger at all, thank you kindly.  But once I finally hung it up, I paused in my usual chore doing and looked at it.  Really stopped and looked at it.

 

“This shirt is huge!” I thought to myself, and half said aloud.  I turned it this way and that and then this way again, looking it over.  Now true, it was wet and it had just gone through a bit of a battle with me and the washer and a pair of pants that decided it was a great time to turn into an octopus, so it was slightly stretched out.  But no. Even accounting for that, the shirt was huge. Enormous. And that thought, of course, got me thinking other thoughts.

 

The shirt was a 3XL.  I bought it because it was comfortable to fit in.  It was nice and light, gave me room to breathe, but also room to hide. I never quite filled it all the way out, and I’m very glad for that, but I fit into it comfortably.  It was a nice second skin for me. The shirt allowed me to get service in almost every establishment I went into without really letting on just how fat I was. We were secret companions in an ongoing battle with reality.  And dammit, we were winning, my shirt and I.

 

But now, here and now, on this day, I am hanging up this shirt and it is huge. Giant. I could swallow a small child and not even notice it had eaten.  I remembered thinking the other night when I was wearing it, that it was almost like a nightgown, only a little shorter.  I looked down at the shirt that I was wearing today.  A black t-shirt. Nothing special, nothing amazing. Just one that came from those three packs of t-shirts from the Men’s department at WalMart.  it’s comfortable, not too snug, but also not too loose.  I could do my workout in this shirt if I needed to.  I can also do my dishes and still feel comfortable.  Just to make sure, I turned the shirt sideways slightly and I peeked a look at the tag.

 

XL.

 

Talk about your mind being blown.  It’s hard, sometimes, when you’re so close to everything happening, to really see the progress being made.  But I was standing there, obsessively staring at this old shirt of mine, not quite realizing that I was looking at the progress I had made.  I used to fit into that. Now, I fit into this.

 

I used to hide behind that fabric, now I’m starting to own this fabric. I used to wrap myself in security in that shirt, now I’m becoming more outgoing in this one. I did that. I beat that. I beat that old shirt.  And I’m starting to beat this new shirt as well.

 

I have a size large t-shirt hanging up in my bedroom.  It’s my Nanowrimo shirt that I bought last year.  It was way too small for me then, it’s still slightly too small for me now.  Next year, next year, It will be too big for me.  I have come so far, but I have still further to go.  But for the moment, I’m going to finish my laundry, and then have a cuppa tea.

 

Thank you, Grey and Orange shirt. Thank you.

Browns Bay

photo found here:  http://widescreenstuff.vndv.com/new_zealand/default.html

A view from the grass at Browns Bay

 

Today I spent a lovely day in Browns Bay.  The reason for my trip was quite mundane.  I had to get my fingerprints done in order to send in my FBI request for my background check for my next round of Visa applications!  Hooray! It’s that time again!  We are all so joyous, can’t you feel it?

 

Anyway.

 

After getting my prints done up I had the afternoon to wander around and enjoy the town.  And while I did not get into the residential areas of town, it’s still lovely.  It’s actually what I think of now when I think of small towns on the coast in New Zealand.

 

There’s a main street that has all of the shops and cafes, the little bakeries and chemists.  There’s the housewares store and the book store.  The camera shop and the pet shop.  And there’s the jewelry store and the cafes.  About half dozen cafes in all, not including the obligatory Starbucks.   There are offshoot roads that lead to more shops, including a wool shop with very friendly staff!

 

But just behind the row of shops is exactly what I think of when my brain ponders the East Coast of New Zealand.  An expanse of green grass, not too long, and a smattering of trees that leads right to a small drop of and poof, you’re in sand. And just there, a ways from the green grass, is the water.

 

The tide was out while I was there, sitting on the grassy knoll and looking out across the bay.  The sand stretches quite a ways when the tide is out, you could probably easily walk thirty or forty, or even fifty feet, out from ‘shore’ and still not be in too deep of water that you could not get back.  Since this was the first sustained ‘nice’ day in a while, everybody was out along the water with their kids and their dogs.  And tourists and visitors as well.   You could watch the dogs race along the beach, happily chasing one another, or a ball, or a stick three times their own size.  Or squawking unhappy seagulls.  Or you could lift your eyes a bit and marvel at how the light hitting the water changed the color so dramatically.

 

For most of the bay the water seemed to be that typical dark blue that most people associate with a large body of water.  Blue, not brown.  This is so far from the Atlantic Ocean and the East Coast of the US that the two are not even comparable. the only place that I’ve seen a coastline similar is Maine, and the water there is dark blue and brown and bitterly cold.  The sand in Maine is more like fresh rocks, and not quite sand.  Although the Beaches that I’ve visited so far here have been  full of their own rocks as well, and seashells too.  not the fragments of shells that we see in Delaware, but full shells, and gorgeous.

 

But I’m digressing.

 

The water changed to a brilliant cyan, almost aqua color as the light hit and played on it.  I think some of that also had to do with depth, because there were some areas within the turquoise beauty that held onto the deep blue of the wider water.  You could almost look and see just how far you could walk out, simply by the colors in front of you.  A bit further out, was the bright orange and red and yellow of somebody’s sailboat, enjoying this weather and the water.

 

And then further east still there is more land, you could look across and see the homes of those that lived high on the cliffs, and the shiny walls of a big business.  And ever present in the slightly southerly distance is Rangitoto.  That large volcanic island’s presence ever looming over the East Coast Bays Region (Kiwis are so awesome at naming things. Seriously), with a mix of magnanimous permanency and that subtle reminder that it’s still a volcano, and capable of just about anything.

 

But those are thoughts for the back of your mind, not the forefront.  No in the foremost part of your mind you’re sitting there, enjoying your tea or coffee, and the shade of the large pine tree, watching a small pit bull drag a stick three times his weight after his owners.  You’re looking out over the sand and the rocks and the waves and not thinking much at all.   Other than just how beautiful this place is.  And just how New Zealand this place is.

 

And how so very lucky I am to live here.

Seasons Change

Wow.  Not since April.  Huh.

 

I guess this is where everybody expects a big info dump of my life in the last 5 months.  Truth to be told, there’s not much to tell.  I’m still in New Zealand, I’m still madly in love, and I’m still unemployed!

 

There, my life summed up.  Well, ok there’s more to it than that.  I’m still going to the gym, and I’m still losing the weight.  Slowly, but it’s happening. It’s steady, and I’m looking more at a lifestyle change than rapid “ohgod get it off me before summer!!!!!”.  Because even when summer hits, and even after I hit my goal weight, I’m still probably not going to wander around in a bikini.  It would just be weird.
And blinding.  My skin’s a bit… pale. Light would reflect from the surface of my skin and blind everybody.

 

Hmm.  maybe this could be the start of a new trend.  Nobody minds wearing bathing suits because nobody can see anybody else due to blinding skin whiteness.

 

Anyway, what else is happening?  Well E and I went back to the states to visit my parents and go to PAX again.  I suppose I could do a post all on those once I get my head straightened back out.  Pax was awesome, just saying.  Even if I didn’t go anywhere near the expo hall or do anything overtly geeky (although I suppose spending two entire days playing board games is a bit geeky.  But i got to be a pirate in one and the other I killed zombies! Totally not geeky!).

 

And now, I’m back home, getting back into the fitness swing of things, back into the crocheting swing of things, and back into the packing swing of things.

 

Packing?

 

Why yes, packing.  Because in about two months we’ll be living in a new place.  And so when that happens, people pack! it’s a natural thing, no need to be afraid of it.

 

So yes, I am back.  I will do what I can to keep you all updated with the absolutely mundane things that make up my life.  Even if all they are revolve around the gym, my crochet, and tea.

 

Tea can be entertaining, right?

 

 

Today’s Brew:  Twining’s Earl Grey

Total cups so far: 5

Getting Back Up

Hi!

 

Have you missed me?

 

Well life has been a series of busy lately, and while all of it has been fantastic, none of it really lends itself to being ‘blog-worthy’.  Or at least, not in a way that I can think of just yet.  So what has been happening in life down here in kiwiland?  Well, let me tell you.

 

A couple weekends ago two of our really close friends got married.  It was an absolutely fantastic day, the ceremony went off just as was planned and the Bride and Groom had a great time.  I was so very happy to be not only invited but to also be a part in helping them plan and get ready for their day.  Having only known them for a few months, it’s truly amazing just how close we’ve become.  I can’t express enough or in the proper words just how humbled and grateful I am to the pair of them for allowing me to spend time with them and share in their joy on that day.  Love you both R&K!

 

This past weekend, another pair of our friends moved into their new house! And we, of course, helped them move!  Now, I know that does not necessarily sound like a barrel of laughs, and it was some hard work, but it was also absolutely great.  We got to spend time with friends, help them move onto their next big step, and generally just enjoy everybody’s company.  And while helping them move, unpack, and settle into their new place, I had time to look back, reflect, and focus on just how far this life that I’m living now is to the ones that I’ve lived before.  Doing physical labor, but laughing and joking at the same time. Everybody coming together collectively to help out, and then sitting around a table (which is gorgeous!) for a well deserved dinner.  I am struggling to figure out if life gets better than that.   The house is gorgeous, the couple fantastic, and our time spent together equally precious.  Congrats R&E!

 

What else, what else.

 

The job hunt is not so much a hunt as it is shooting arrows wildly into the forest in every direction, only to have them shot back at you with no points and no fletching. Not helpful.  But! perseverance will prevail!  Employment will be gained! Somehow.

 

Now, the biggest new thing happening to me personally is that I’ve committed to a Personal Trainer. Tom is going to be kicking my butt left, right, and sideways twice a week for 45 minutes.  After 7 months at the gym, and a significant amount of body tightening up, It was time to get even more serious.  I’ve got weight I want to, must, lose and it’s not going to come off on it’s own.  And while I’ve stuck with going to the gym at least twice a week for 7 months, I need something more. I need to keep pushing myself even more, harder than before.  I must lose this weight.  The rest of my life depends upon hitting that healthy moment and then keeping going.  And that’s not an exaggeration.

 

Today was my second session with Tom and everything went well.  Really well, actually.  But it was the last ‘exercise’ that got me into a contemplative mood.  Essentially all I had to do was lay down on the ground on my chest and then stand back up again five times, and then lay on my back and get up again five times.  Sounds simple, right? Wrong.  It was definitely not easy.  There was so much involved, just so much energy and movement and muscles.  It was by far the hardest exercise that I did.

 

Just like life.  It’s fairly easy to get knocked down time and time again.  It’s the getting back up that’s the hardest part.  And all of this, the man who is supporting me, the friends that I’ve found and love, and the gym, this is all part of me getting back up off the ground.

 

And this time, I’m going to remain standing. And then, start running.

Round the Bays 2012

What an absolute crap day.

 

Oh the race itself was great, the company a blast, and being able to cross something off my list highly fantastic!  But I was just not quite in the mood. I woke up grumpy and it stayed with me pretty much all through the day.

 

I went to bed early the night before, but having been awake for far too long by that point I was not able to make up my sleep quota in just 7 hours, so I woke up at 7am on sunday morning, and I was grumpy. Cranky, and a few other words that end in -y and are not pleasant things to be.  But i was awake and there was no way I was going to back out of this now.  I made myself some oatmeal, had a mug of tea, and then our friends arrived for the carpool caravan!

 

We drove with them towards the end of the race track (because you see, you walk the 8.4km and then you have to get back to your car, which is likely at the start of the course.  So really, if you’re unlucky, it’s actually 16.8km walk. but only half of it counts!  But we were smart this year!  We carpooled with some friends and we each parked our cars at one end of the course!  Huzzah!  So after dropping their car off at the finish line, we drove back towards the start of the race and parked ours.

 

And here is where my day started to go bad.  I had to use the bathroom.  I know I probably could have held it a bit longer, but that seemed to be utterly foolish.  So while scouting for a place I finally gave up and went into a petrol station with a line.  I was still standing in line when the race officially started, with cannon blast and everything.  I didn’t actually get to the starting line of the race until about 20 minutes after the race started.  Which was actually not too bad since we were still with a bunch of people at that time.  There were over 70,000 participants in this event.  That’s a lot of humanity.

 

 

So you see, we started in central Aucklan, right along the waterfront.  Walked up past the Port of Auckland, where the Portworker’s Union were standing out with signs about keeping the Port public.  And then all along the walkway that’s just been finished .  Up and around all of the bays. Mission bay, where I’ve spent some time, and others that I haven’t yet.  The views were quite pretty, but I did not bring my camera.  My big cannon just would not have worked well.

 

So, now that you know the route, let’s get back to me and my bad day.  Somehow I started off putting my left foot down wrong. Or at least that’s how it felt.  I tried to adjust my gait over the course of the day, but it just was not working well for me.  My big toe was hurting and I was getting cramps down the outside of my leg, along my knee.  I stopped a few time to try and stretch the offending muscle, but to no real avail.  It was just not a good day.My pace was not consistent as a result and by the last kilometer of the race I was barely moving.  I was running on absolute dregs of the dregs of fumes.  My tiredness from the day/night before plus the exertion of the race seemed to have caught up with me and I was just plain wasted.

 

I made it to the finish line though, and the official times haven’t been posted yet online, but shortly after I crossed the line, they announced it had been 2 hours and 28 minutes since the start.  So a little over 2 hours if we want to be technical and not count my being in line for the toilet.

 

Now there were some fun things along the route.  One radio station was apparently handing out sausages, and another was giving out/selling slushies.  They had packed up by the time we reached their trucks, but we were told that they had been awesome.  Cadbury chocolates had set up a giant water sprinkler at just about the halfway point for people to run under and cool off a bit.  Luckily, or not I guess, the weather was actually overcast and cool so there was no real need for the sprinkler, but it was really cool either way. And there were some folks from the Ice bar company (a new icy pop business) giving out samples of their lemonade icy bar.  Which was really welcome at that point in the race.

 

Overall, the race was good, and had I been in a better mood, less tired, and better prepared mentally I probably would have enjoyed myself even more.  But my mind was just not in it, and my body certainly was not quite ready for it.  Next year, I will be more prepared, and I will conquer it again.

 

had a good time with walking the race with E though, he decided to not run it, but instead hang back with me and our friends and do the course at a leisurely pace.  Which was greatly appreciated.

 

There were some good bits, like the sprinkler and the icy bar, and the army guys and their perfect jogging technique. Oh, and the firetruck that got stuck on the Start banner. And it did feel good to finish the race, walk to the bbq that his work put on and have some post race food.

 

But It was just not my best day, and not my best race.  It’s left a tiny bit of a sour taste in my mouth, but i’ll get over that soon.

 

Soon up!  Crochet projects galore!

Achievement Unlocked: New Visa!

So last night, I checked my email before going to bed, and there was a nice email from Immigration New Zealand, saying that my status had changed.  So i logged into their website and sure enough, it said “Work Visa January 2013”

WOOT!

It’s only a year long visa, but it’s still a visa.  I can go get permanent work now instead of temp jobs. I can be a contributor to the household instead of a drag on finances.  I get to say in new zealand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I am overjoyed, overexcited, and quite simply thrilled to no end.  I got very little sleep last night, and I’ve got a full day today. I’m going to crash tonight, but right now, I am on top of the world and singing songs.

And doing laundry, dishes, and straightening the lounge.  While guzzling caffeinated tea because I am dragging.

New tomorrow, here I come!

Curly Wurly

Welcome to my world!

 

I’m going to divert a bit here and move on to being a complete and total corporate shill for the moment.

 

I love Lush.  If you have not had the joy of going into a Lush store, you should.  All of their products come from natural sources, and a good deal of them are Vegan as well.  And they smell heavenly and do exactly what they say they will do.

 

My journey into the world of Lushness started a few months ago, when I picked up a container of Herbalism, their face wash/scrub with tea tree oil and other things that are good for reducing redness and blemishes.  My skin has never been quite so pretty as it is now.  Then, I discovered the solid shampoo.  The solid shampoos are round discs of, well, shampoo.  you run them over your wet hair in three swipes, Right, center, left, and then lather and rinse.  There are many different scents and they all do different things.  For example, Karma Komba is a generic shampoo that smells of the most amazing perfume that they have in the store, Karma.  Seanik is blue and has chunks of kelp visible in it, which helps for the softening of your hair.  Godiva is yellow and smells of sweet jasmine, and has chunks of conditioner right in the bar!  So it really is insanely convenient!  Soak & Float is their anti-dandruff solid shampoo, I just bought this one the other day and I haven’t tried it out yet.

 

Then, we moved into the soaps and the body washes and the perfumes and everything is just fantastic.  The face mask that I have in the fridge for helping to combat blemishes, the body lotion that smells like heaven. The foot lotion that smells like chocolate and has a hint of capsaicin in it to help your feet get warm.   The Buffy body bar.

 

Oh the body bar.  It is a solid block of shea butter and cocoa butter and oh my god heaven with little bits of ground rice and almonds and aduki beans for exfoliation.  You get your skin wet and ready, then stand out of the water and rub this all over your body, you can feel your skin exfoliating under the touch, but also the butters are just soaking their way into your body.  Rinse of the exfoliants and then step out of the shower, pat yourself dry and be prepared for skin so soft and smooth that you won’t want to stop touching yourself.  I am serious.  Luxuriant in the most classic sense.

 

But, above and beyond all of these things, above and beyond even the most astounding body butter that I have ever felt, is this shampoo Curly Wurly.  It comes in one of Lush’s black pots, and it looks a bit like a strawberry margarita with small flakes of coconut inside.  It smells like coconut definitely, with a hint of vanilla.  But it is seriously the best thing in the world.  I have never been happier with my curly hair than I was when I first washed my hair with this shampoo.  I don’t even need conditioner with it, the coconut takes care of that.  My hair is soft, smooth, shiny, and nearly tangle free.  My curls are beautiful and easy to manage. I have been leaving my hair down more and more since I discovered this shampoo, and I have not regretted it once.  Only five minutes to brush my hair before bedtime.  Five minutes!  That is insanity itself!

 

I have never, in my life, been more head over heels in love with cosmetics and body stuff like I am with Lush.  If you haven’t been to a store near you, then you should go!  Or, you can order online!  Self-confidence is at the root of all beginnings for a better life.  And their products have made my self-confidence all that much easier to enjoy!

 

Ok, I’m going to go back to playing with my hair now.

Stamper

When I was little, maybe nine or ten or so, the US Postal Service started a program all about having pen-pals.  They even had a mascot!  It was a bald eagle, of course, and this bald eagle’s name was Stamper. I think the idea was to get young kids more involved in the wider world around them.  And hopefully help them build long lasting relationships with people from foreign nations.  Yes, this was before the Internet was a big deal, or even a little deal.  Follow along here.

 

So my father got me all signed up and involved in this Stamper program.  And while I’ve spent some time today looking for it online, it must have been called something else because I can’t seem to find it.  Anyway, I got hooked up with another little girl my age in France.  Which was fantastic, because I knew a little French at that time.  I think we wrote about four letters all told back and forth on this really neat stationary, and then they got put into the air mail envelopes with stamps and away they went!

 

Of course about four letters is the most that could hold my interest, and apparently the same for my pen pal.  After four letters we just stopped writing and that was that.  Which brings me to my larger point.

 

I am a horrible pen pal.  Just horrible.  And I’m not just talking about letters to foreign lands or anything, I’m talking about emails and birthday cards, christmas greetings and thank you notes.  Oh, my grandmother tried to pound the importance of thank you notes into my head but I just could not do it.  Which of course always got me into trouble with her, but I figured if I had seen the person and said thank you to their face, why did I need to send them a card?

 

Little girl logic.

 

But now that I’m getting into being a proper adult, or so they tell me, I am finding it necessary to write such things. Christmas cards and Thank you notes.  And I’m finding it so very difficult.  Especially the timing! Trying to get pieces of mail out into the system in enough time so that a New Years card will arrive at least in the first part of January and not March (I failed on that one this year)!  Sending an email is just so much easier, but a lot less personal.  So now, I’m having to teach myself politeness all over again.

 

Of course, for me, I’m going to type up the thank you note and slide it into a card.  Because what’s the point of writing a thank you note when the receiving person won’t be able to read it?  Yes, my handwriting really is that bad.  Also, if the note is going to be more than just “thanks for the thing”, but it’s going to have more information in it, there is only so much room on a card, and I just can’t see the point in sending two cards, that’s just wasteful!

 

So I’m trying to become a better communicator, and there are lots of problems that I have with that.  But those particular neuroses will have to wait for another day.  It’s absolutely gorgeous outside and I think I might go enjoy the weather and read on the porch.

 

After putting on sunscreen, of course.  Can’t afford to turn into a lobster now!

I Can Almost Reach….

The sky.

 

One of the first things that I fell in love with down here in New Zealand, other than E, was the sky.  It’s one of those visceral feelings that you get when you first get off the plane and look up, especially on a mostly clear but still fluffy cloudy day.  There is just so much sky up there.  And the color of the sky is so amazingly crisp.  And the clouds are so very close.  So very close.  At times it really does feel like you can reach up and touch them.

 

Now true, there are trees everywhere, and the land itself is so very green it could probably give Ireland a run for the money.  There are mountains and valleys, and parklands as far as you can see, with old stately trees reaching to the sun, their trunks thin and twisty.  But you look at them, even with the moss growing on the branches, and the multitude of wildlife and birds that you’re not used to and once again your eyes are drawn up and up and up to the sky.

 

It goes on for seemingly ever.  particularly if you’re standing at the top of a hill.  You can see everything on a clear day.  Sure, there are trees and hills and houses all around you, and the occasional tall office building, but all around that, there is sky.  And on some days, the color of the sky is unreal, unimaginable. You sit and you look at it and somewhere in the back of your internet filled mind you think to yourself, “This has to be photoshopped”.  But it’s not!  The sky really is that brilliant azure blue that you only usually see in children’s drawings and tourism guides.  And the clouds.

 

The white fluffy cumulus clouds that we learned about in high school.  The ones that mean fair weather, but could turn to storm clouds as well.  They are huge.  Fluffy and white and they go on forever.  They feel so very low, but they are still the same clouds that you know are not the lowest point (nimbus clouds hover lower if I remember correctly.  And of course Fog).  But they are just so very close.  And so very dramatic.

 

That’s right, fluffy bunny clouds are dramatic.  The way the light hits them, the way the curvature of the moisture has formed.  There is always a new way for the light to play against the clouds, and it does.  The air is cleaner down here, and the sky brighter, and the clouds more impressive.

 

I was driving over the Harbor Bridge the other day, well ok I was riding on the bus, and I looked out my window over the harbor and towards the city.  The skyline for downtown Auckland still causes me to catch my breath at times.  Something about it is just so very breathtakingly beautiful.  I don’t know if it’s just the SkyTower, or if it’s because the city practically rises up straight from the water, or because of the magnificent vast stretches of sky behind it.  Or if it’s some combination of the above.  But there it is again, the sky.  Any direction you look, it goes on forever.  I’ve heard people make these comments about Montana or Wyoming, but having never been there, I can’t make my own judgements there.

 

I can tell you that on a sunny spring or early summer day, when the weather is just right and the clouds oh so perfectly fluffy white and the sky is that cerulean blue that is considered to be almost perfect, on those days, it really does feel like nothing else in the world could compare to this place at that time.

 

Of course then the storm clouds move in and it begins raining buckets on your head, but that is going to happen anyway because we live on an island.

 

But rain! What about the rain?  Yes, we should talk about the rainclouds, the way they sweep in across the land and how if you know what direction you are facing, you can watch the storm systems moving towards you.  You can see the clouds forming and building and racing across the atmosphere, and even on a cloudy day where everything is overcast, there is still drama in the sky. The clouds build in layers upon themselves, and there are still shapes and forms amongst them.  And every now and then you get a spot in the clouds where the sun has broken through and there is glorious light cast upon everything.  And you can see the storm above your head and to your east, but to the west, there is sunny skies, and that beautiful blue sky.  Even as the clouds are racing overhead and you can feel the rain seeping into your skin, you know, there are sunny days still to come.

 

So while I love this county, and I do love this country, and I love the trees and the wildlife and the  people.  But the one thing that never fails to amaze me is the sky.  Photos don’t do it the true justice, since they only capture that moment.  To truly appreciate the New Zealand sky, you have to live it, watch it, be drenched by it, and then be dried by it.

 

One more thing that I love about New Zealand.