Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012

Today began with this bright and cheerful sunrise, but I knew it was going to be a somber day. February 22, 2011 marks the worst natural disaster to hit New Zealand in 80 years, claiming the lives of 180 people. I decided to approach today with caution, as i did not want to be seen as capitalizing on a grieving situation where i have not been fully present.

The mood at work was a bit grim, and rightly so. Residents of Christchurch and the whole of New Zealand have really been though a tough battle this last year. Wading through the troubling waters of insurance claims, EQC guidelines and CERA notifications. Not to mention the grief of the City falling, including the demolition of the Christchurch Cathedral, the City's icon.

Christchurch held a public memorial service that was quite touching. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even presented a video message, which i found particularly touching.

The biggest lump in my throat was in watching my fellow coworkers celebrate the memory of a fallen comrade, who died in the February earthquake, the 40-year-old Christchurch City Council employee was helping an injured woman in a food court when an aftershock struck and rubble fell on to his neck, killing him. He posthumously received a medal of bravery today.

Witnessing the sadness that engulfed my fellow coworkers was more overwhelming than i expected, and i personally feel that are not many sadder senes than a grown and grey man crying. it just tugs at my heart strings.

I would like to say that i am very proud of what i have seen of the residents of Christchurch, trying so very hard to rebuild their City and their lives. Keep it up Christchurch, we can do it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

tea time

"Time for Tea"
"Having Tea"
"Making Tea"

are all quite popular phrases here in New Zealand. I'm told we have our British friends across the pond to thank/blame for this phenomena.

imagine my surprise when the term "Having Tea" is spoken and does not necessarily mean: break out the mug and tea accessories and have a cup of warm cheer.

having tea means, food. making tea generally means eating dinner.

the US equivalency is as follows:
Breakfast = morning tea
Lunch = lunch
Dinner = tea

Other specific instances when tea is actually made part of the work day happen at 10am and 3pm, like clockwork. it's quite amazing actually. i think the 10am and 3pm tea times are called "tea", but I'm not
entirely certain.

Also of note, you can drink whatever you like for "tea", i typically have plunger coffee. which actually has nothing to do with a plumbing tool, rather a coffee press. and since I'd rather lick the bottom of my shoe than have instant coffee, i am always emptying or refilling a coffee press.

don't worry, after almost 5 months, I'm still quite confused. oh and parties are called "do's" but I'll get on to explaining that a bit later.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vege-ary is complete

Firstly, please let me explain my blog absence with a number of excuses/reasons you may choose to accept as legit for not posting:
1. my hard drive on my 1.5 year old Dell lap top crashed. completely. as did my faith in Dell and Windows software, in general
2. i traveled non-stop for 3 weeks and am not quite fully recovered
3. we turned 95% vegetarian (2 isolated instances for fish) as such, i was spending a lot of time chopping vegetables and not blogging
4. Forrest and i were hiking, something
5. Forrest and i were attending or planning or hosting parties
6. work is tremendously busy and rather stressful
7. it's summer time. you don't do anything related to blogs or photo updating in the summer either.

ok hopefully that is enough and you find my absence justified. moving on;
most notable happenings of January 2012 (in no particular order, except for #1 since i'm exceptionally proud of my sister):

1. My older sister (Erica) gave birth to two healthy babies, welcome to the world Michael Gregory and Ellen Elizabeth
2. after 4 months of searching, i bought a car, a 1994 toyota corona (the corolla's older sister)
3. we took a hot air balloon ride in New Zealands largest balloon (carrying 20 passengers)
4. we hiked the the tallest mountain in the Banks Peninsula (Mt. Herbert), in the rain
5. i restarted my boxing classes, sand volleyball league and zumba classes
6. hosted a sushi-rolling birthday party, complete success
7. attended a Mexican party and Forrest made a pinata out of 2 corona (beer not car) boxes
8. we have eaten no red meat and have eaten approximately 10 cups of rice
9. hiked up to Sugar Loaf Pass and on our way home got our first speeding ticket
10. became exhausted enough during the day to sleep through the night and through any aftershocks (there are many)
11. bought a mountain bike!!

here are a few select photos of January. enjoy!