Tuesday, August 23, 2011

To the east through the west

Because of some flight logistics, we had a couple of days to spend in Sydney after we left Auckland, which was rather nice actually because first of all it's a gorgeous, sparkling city and also, we needed some time in between our life as New Zealand explorers and dark, cold winter we were about to return to in Cleveland. None of us were particularly thrilled to leave, so I thought that a stop or two to transition back to regular life might be helpful. Our first stop was Sydney, and then we added a few days in the Los Angeles area, too, to see some of both sides of our families and some dear friends, as well.

Let me just suggest here that if you ever have the opportunity to get out of whatever wintery place you live (if that applies) and head to Australia in January, don't even think, just say yes, please!

These white birds (cockatoos? or something?) travel in big flocks, molesting tourists. I think some are pickpockets.

This cool model of the city is on display in the lobby of the Customs House downtown by Circular Quay.

Boats, water, anyone? How cool would it be to have this as your driveway!!?

That last shot is a ship from the Australian navy. I thought it was rather humorous that the military puts those very sinister kangaroos on everything. The first time that I took the kids to Sydney, there were New Zealand ships there, too, and they have Kiwi birds on them.

Took a ferry over to Manly Beach. Quite crowded on a Sunday, but we walked all around and saw the beautiful beaches and had a nice meal somewhere.

The kids each put together a small piece of a big Lego mural that was being installed at the Sydney Aquarium.

And other miscellaneous pretty stuff...

And just after this walk, where Laurel found her future car marked just for her, we left for the airport and a long journey back to the U.S.

Cheers, mates!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our last trip on the left side of the road

Wow, I really do not want to write about this. It's completely irrational, I know. I'm sitting here right this moment in Cleveland, so obviously we did eventually leave New Zealand. Yet I don't want to officially see it here on the blog.

(Though this is the last of the posts from NZ, our trip didn't end here and I'm going to include a few more posts from Sydney and then our return to the states, where we spent some time with family and friends before making our way east to Ohio. Just to give it all a proper wrap-up.)

On Saturday, 22 January 2011, we piled up the remnants of our temporary household and left them for Tony and Grant to sort out, packed our belongings into Tony's station wagon (which must've had a Harry Potter extendable charm on it to fit everything!), and followed our two friends to the Auckland airport.

This was what was left of us at 679 Riddell Road after six months. If you ever have to move somewhere just for a while, I can give you a definitive list of exactly what is needed to maintain some semblance of your life. Do you love our gorgeous duvet covers?? :o)

I wonder how the current residents fared with the almost-snow that hit Auckland (really a big deal there) yesterday. I believe they were coming in from Las Vegas, so I'm sure they were less than happy with the unheated, drafty house on the cliff :o)

Trey and I took one last look at our gorgeous view from the bedrooms upstairs.

Including, of course, the one wall decoration we had -- a Christmas greeting from dear Samantha back home in Ohio.

Trey and Laurel both kissed the walls (for luck?) and we were off.

(Disclaimer: these were all taken with my little point and shoot. Duh! Obviously!)

Above are Tony (red shirt) and Grant, our lovely and helpful Kiwi friends who, along with their families, will remain in our good memories of New Zealand forever.

And we're outta here. Haere rā.

We love you New Zealand!!!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Girls' Night on Karaka Bay

I had the pleasure of the company of some delightful women while we lived in Auckland. A group of them (Jenny, Marie, Amanda, and Kathy) joined me one evening when the air started to warm up and the gales stopped their howling. We sat outside overlooking Karaka Bay and the volcanic islands, drank wine, ate Lisa's Chunky Dips, and laughed and laughed. 

My dear friend, Samantha, from here in Ohio, had sent this very cute video to everyone, as I'd told her earlier that I had a girls' night planned. She wanted to say hello to everyone. So at the end of the night, we all made a return video for Sam. I hope this loads fairly quickly. It's quite cute and I love to hear everyone's accents (except Kathy, the American) again! 

I miss these girls!! How I'd love to sit out there with a few bottles of wine with them tonight! xoxo to all!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The end of the end

Last batch of the random everyday sights photos. As I said in the second of these three posts, if you'd like further explanation, please see the first and second posts. 

St Heliers library. I still carry our cards.

Paddle Popssssss!!!!!!

Loved this little Italian takeaway spot down the street. We could walk there, pick up dinner, wine from the wine guy, and then wander back home again, hands full of good stuff.

Paddle Pop eating spot outside of our local dairy.

The sad, sad ugly view that I had to face while doing dishes and cooking meals.

Pak 'n Save -- always an adventure!

From the top of Waimarie Street, where we turned to go to all sorts of places.

Relaxing in St Heliers.

Avos, strawbs, whatever was in season.

Every day the cows lined up around 5pm to go in for dinner.

Loved these little button flowers.

Taken from our bedroom window.

Beautiful flowers, growing wild everywhere.

Napkins? Serviettes!

With little pictures of eggs and meat pies. Of course.

Steinlager signs on every corner. At least we can get this here in Ohio.

Dental surgery here in this little house! What fun! We saw many examples of this and always found the thought of it quite funny.

All the nice people doing their daily stuff in St Heliers, where we went to the butcher, library, post, fishmonger, fruit and veg market, small grocery store, barber, ATM, book store, and to a few different restaurants.

The last photo I took with my good camera. Laurel and her dear friend, Charlotte.

Our mud boots, ready for action!

This guy and his partner were always talking to each other up above our bedroom.

And, last but certainly never least -- the light that hit the cliffs out on Mototapu for just a minute each night at sunset.

With that, our next stop is the airport. We're nearly finished, friends!
xo, K.