Monday, 15 May 2017

Feeling loved

The last week of work was a pretty mad one.  I was frantically applying for jobs, tying off loose ends in my current role, as well as training up the most useless replacement ever (she asked me how to use Outlook. OUTLOOK!!!) which meant my morale was pretty low and I wasn't the happiest of bunnies.  We had an awesome weekend away planned which I was very much needing/looking forward to, but it got cancelled last minute which did nothing to boost my mood.

I had a leaving do on Thursday evening which was fun - I don't think I paid for a drink all night and ended up very drunk and spewing into a bucket by my bed having been chugging champagne, beer, cocktails and shots.  Oops. I blame peer pressure.

Shanyn told me that he had found something I might like to do on Saturday evening, and to keep it free - refusing to tell me what it was or give me any clues.  Given that he had previously surprised his girlfriend Franzi with tickets to a pop up Shakespeare play and had made a HUGE deal about what a surprise it was and led her to believe it was something insane when it was something she had never had an interest in, I was expecting something similar and wasn't overly excited, but happy that he was thinking about me.

I texted a few people on Saturday morning to see if they wanted to hang out but they were all busy so I took myself for a walk around Long Bay Regional Park, got rained on and came home to dry off before heading off to whatever Shanyn had planned.  When I got home they were making a bunch of food as they said they were off to visit Shanyn's friend the next day for lunch.

He decided to blindfold me, put me into the car and put on my favourite playlist on full blast "to relax and distract" me.  I was starting to think that this was either going to be a really cool surprise, or something totally rubbish which he knew would be rubbish, but thought it would be funny to make a huge deal out of....

We stopped off and someone else got into the car, I tried to talk to them to guess who they were but they were on strict instructions not to talk and Shanyn said it was someone I hadn't met before - I started to get slightly freaked out especially when the person decided to stroke my knee a few times! We played 20 questions and from their answers I deduced it was the one and only Mikel George! (much to my relief!)

We stopped again and Shanyn led me out of the car to a dock and I could hear a party blaring in the first thought was Shanyn was going to push me off the dock into the water, but then I started to wonder, had they thrown me a surprise party on a boat? Then I got a bit excited but also a bit sad as I was wearing very dull clothes and barely any make up...but then I got shoved back in the car and we carried on driving to our final destination.

We went down a very bumpy road and then stopped abruptly and I heard Shanyn complain about traffic, then shortly after we stopped.   We got out of the car and I started to have an inkling about where we were - I recognised the paving as Colin's, and my suspicions were confirmed when I was led into a house and could smell that we were at Colin and Amy's (that sounds weird but I have a pretty good sense of smell).

I was put into position and my blindfold taken off and suddenly streamers were being blown into my face and everyone was shouting 'SURPRISE!'.  I blinked a few times and in front of me were all my friends, bunting, a table filled with food and a chocolate brownie cake.  It was hard not to cry!!! I was slightly confused as to what the occasion was and was most humbled when Shanyn said he thought I needed cheering up so had planned a small dinner but then it escalated into a surprise party sleepover - they'd snuck my toothbruch and some PJs into the car and everyone else had brought sleeping bags and I was allocated Amy's brand new spare room.  So nice!

After swapping stories about how the surprise was planned (turns out Shanyn and Franzi are exceptionally good liars and weren't going to their friend's the next day and the food was for that evening, and that the traffic was Sam, Dan and Adnaan running late walking down Colin's driveway, and everyone was 'busy' that day because they were preparing food for the party so couldn't hang our with me), we ate all the food, drank all the drinks and played all the games until 3am.  Adam brought along a cocktail shaker and was whipping up some delicious concoctions,  and we even had a singalong - I had requested that for the weekend away Colin learn how to play Save Tonight on the guitar - so him and Amy had learned it and played it in front of everyone :-) gosh they are so adorable.

We fell asleep and woke in the morning to tea and croissants and leftovers, before we headed off home and went climbing for the afternoon.

I have known most of my friends that I have here for a year, but we have some newbies in the group too - everyone is so nice and it feels like I have known them forever rather than between 2 and 12 months.  We have such a nice little crew going on and they're all wonderful people - supportive, empathetic, have good values and good jokes and I love them all to pieces.  Thank you guys for making me feel so loved and cheering me up no end xxx

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

March and April catch up

Haha if you came here from Dan's advert on facebook then I have to apologise for the quality of the blog lately.  Sorry for the lack of updates. I have actually done some quite cool stuff recently but I just haven’t been in the mood to write. And then my phone broke so I barely took any photos which I usually use to remind me of what I have been up to.   I have been super stressed about the future and not feeling very enthusiastic about anything and to be honest haven’t been a great egg to hang around with – I feel like I am snapping at people and getting annoyed and frustrated very easily and haven’t had the energy or enthusiasm to write about anything.  BUT my friends are amazing and I'll do another post on that later ;-)

Some things that I have done recently:

-          Ben’s leaving do.  My wonderful friend Ben has left to go on an adventure in the US.  He has a super cool job where he’s the tour photographer of husky tours in Alaska – so cool.  I am very sad he’s gone though, we were very close and he has left a big Ben shaped hole in my life.  For his leaving do he made us all go climbing and have a pot luck at the climbing centre – such a Ben thing to do.  But also a really good idea!

-          Surfing and paddleboarding with Morry (we're friends again now (for now. Hah. )) 

-          Went to the coolest theatre show EVER called The Encounter.  Me and Adam (work Adam) bought tickets which were pricey but we hoped they would be worth it and wow they were….if you get an opportunity try and see it. It’s so hard to describe how amazing it was – it was intelligent, goosebumpy, technical, insane, sensory overload, mindwarpingly good. 

-          Been swimming and playing lots in the sea with Franzi- some random woman asked to take photos of us so we said yes and then she sent them to us which was cute. 

-          Went for a nice wee stream walk and a camp in the Waitaks with Shanyn and Franzi

knee injuries
- Been to the chiropractor a few times. It's well interesting, he said my right leg was 3cm shorter than my left!!! Apparently my hip has dropped so it's shorter so he's spent time doing weird things to make it right again. It's pretty fascinating - he pushed up the left side of my body and it was really painful, then he cracked my back a few times and my hip and then after it didn't hurt anymore! It was like magic. 

-          Had a really awesome 80s party for our housemate Ash’s birthday – I fully committed and dyed my hair pink for the occasion and decided to go as an 80s hooker purely based on the dress I found in a charity shop. I may have got a bit drunk and Amy told me she didn't want me to leave New Zealand and I started crying in the pub because I never knew Amy felt that way and it made me cry. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Exploring Whangarei Heads for Easter

Easter was looking like a bit of a washout with Cyclone Cook threatening to destroy all of our plans.  Deemed “the worst weather event in 68 years” and with the Met Service berating Kiwis for not taking weather warnings seriously enough, we were determined to go away for Easter so we played it safe and booked a cabin rather than a camp spot in case the cyclone came to fruition.  We had the tail end of Cyclone Debbie the week previously with pretty bad flooding and slips causing havoc, so we waited with baited breath for Cook to wreak his wrath.  And waited. And waited….

Clouds but no cyclone cloud

I got sent home early from work as a precautionary measure and took the opportunity to do some grocery shopping , tidy my room and head over to Birkenhead to climb with Morry – a journey that would normally take 40 minutes at 5.30pm took 19 due to everyone escaping earlier on in the day.  Score!

The cyclone came and went in the blink of an eye – there was a little smatter of rain in Auckland and suddenly it was battering the East coast and we carried on our jolly way.  To be honest I was slightly disappointed…I was prepared for my roof blowing off and cows flying around in twisters.

Anyway it meant we could still go away for Easter without the threat of our tents blowing away (unlike New Years!) so we drove up to Whangarei on Friday morning, via a slightly scenic route due to a ton of traffic on SH1.  We drove to Onerahi boat ramp in Whangarei Heads and bartered with the kayak rental guy (I had declined to take my own, for fear of it blowing off in a cyclonic wind) to get $10 off a kayak rental for a few hours.  The island we wanted to explore (Limestone Island) was only 500m from the coast and I resented having to pay $80 to kayak that distance when we could have swam it!   We paddled out and landed on the other side of the island where we were met by Amy and Colin.  We disembarked and went for a wee walk, discovering the remains of an old, abandoned concrete factory.  Amy joked that this was the kiwi version of Angkor Wat and it was fun to jump around on the old relic.  (Old being like maybe 40 years old!) 

Band cover

We also discovered incredibly friendly sheep that I took great joy in petting.

We then did a walk up to the top of the island and back round to our kayaks where we headed back to shore.  Adnaan and I stopped for a dirty dinner of burgers and chips before joining the others at the holiday park where we made friends with Camilla’s childhood friends, Rupert, Myfanwy and Lucy, who were all really nice. They all played a boardgame whilst I semi snoozed on the sofa and then we headed to bed.

In the morning we headed off to Whangarei Heads where we began a 5 hour tramp on the Bream head track to Peach Cove hut.  It was pretty hard going, a) because it was up hill for a lot of it and b) I am pretty unfit right now, having not really done a proper hike since Cape Brett in December. However it was beautiful and we started to have lunch at the top of a nobbly bit of rock that was very scary to climb up as there were no ropes and steep drops to the sea either side.  Then it started to rain so we packed up and had lunch further down the track at Peach Cove, which was a slightly disappointing little bay.

We drove to the supermarket to purchase supplies for the evening – I picked up bottle of wine and told Adnaan to go away as he doesn’t have ID and they’re strict in New Zealand.  He was all ‘ahh nahh it’ll be fine I look old enough’ and lo and behold – we get ID’d and aren’t allowed to purchase the wine. Sigh.  We sent Camilla back in to buy it for us and felt like we were 16 again.

We drove down to Uretiti to camp the night – I have ALWAYS wanted to stay here because the name makes me laugh so much.  However as campsites go it is slightly disappointing – it’s very busy and it’s right by the highway so not that relaxing.  On the plus side, the beach is pretty awesome.  We made a campside dinner and watched the stars (we saw an amazing one that went from bright to dull to bright to dull as it shot across the sky, then nearly collided with another – amazing) then walked down to the beach to watch the moonrise – it was one of those big orange ones.

In the morning we spent a few hours playing in the sea before driving down to Waipu for a coffee.  We meandered home, stopping off at Piroa Falls – I have driven past the sign so many times but never actually stopped, they’re quite cool but not for a day trip, only if you’re passing, and finally stopping at Puhoi for some cheese. 

We miss Ben so we kept a spot open for him

I got home, had a nap, then Adnaan came round and we watched the Lego movie – I was a bit silly and bigged it up to Franzi and Adnaan so of course they were slightly disappointed and didn’t find it as funny as I did the first time round.

The next day Sam, Adnaan and I went to an indian supermarket which was AMAZING – did you know that you can buy eggplant (aubergine) that are round, or long and skinny, not just the normal size we know? They also have a huge spices and flour section where you scoop it up in bulk.  I was amazed.  We ate some indian snacks then stopped off at a Chai shop for more indian snacks and chai, which upset my belly  but tasted amazing. Then I rushed off to the airport to pick up my visitors – Tom and Liz!  Technically they’re not just visitng me, they’re looking at the country as a whole for a holiday but I’ll go with they came all the way to see me :-P  It was SO nice to see them again :)

I picked them up and we went to Devonport where I took them for a walk up a volcano, then we wandered along a beach before heading home where I had another Friend Show and Tell and we ate tacos and swapped stories.  In the morning they walked to work with me which was nice to have the company, and that evening I joined them with Liz's friend Rochelle at her house on the North Shore - they were really nice people and I hope they can be my friends in future!