Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Little things...

Just a post with various little things.

Some weeks ago I went for a wee tiny hike with Paul and Katrina: just to get out of Christchurch for the weekend. Not much walking, but more time for games! And a lovely view...Basically, this is my back yard (yes, I have a huge imagination...)

And then, Christmas lunch with my colleagues in our 4 person team. It's a bit funny, because I am in a team, but I only work with Diana. And I work with loads of other people outside my team. But Diana, Heather T, Heather C and I are called a team (and for the summer we have Jamie, the student!)...I think they have a good (academic) theory why we should be in 1 team...My theory is that we are all a bit nuts, so that matches quite well! Anyhow, we went for lunch at a nice cafe and we all worn some of Hilary's clothes (Diana's 6-year old). Why? I don't know but we had loads of fun...and laughs, good food and mjummie dessert. And honestly, I'm sharing my cake with Jamie, I'm not taking it of his plate...

Heather C made me do it (honestly dad, ofcourse I wouldn't misbehave while you are not here!!)

Boss Diana, although she hates it if I call her that...Doesn't she loose all credibility with the wings and tiara?

Jamie: we made him choose the last item...pink of course!

Heather T: tiny wings but she can truly fly!

Heather C: my office partner...absolutely loves pink. Just as me!

Me and the wizard hat...

Now I'm so prepared for 10 days with my cousin Imke and 5 year old Josie and 1,5 year old Liam in Darwin...!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Rafting the Clarence

Question: what did I do in my previous job if I was really busy?
Answer: work my ass off and cancel fun stuff to catch up on sleep...

Question: what do I do now when I'm busy at work?
Answer: I go rafting!

One of my friends, Steve, and some friends of his arrange this rafting trip down the Clarence River almost every second year or so: they hire 3 boats from university, get the gear, arrange transport and get us going. 16 people in total, 3 rafts, Pinky, Red Sofie and Grey Ghost with our 3 amazing captains Steve, Stuart and Mike. And camping along the river on otherwise not so accessible beautiful spots...

From day 1 it was amazing. Long days on the river (one day 9 till 9), being absolutely knackered, having nice food (Steve is the chef (mjummie!) and sleeping like a baby. Great people (some new, some old), cool river surroundings, interesting rapids, easy, hard and freaking unexpected hard rapids...but very cool, very cool indeed. We even had a puncture...

I got a go at steering of the raft too. Twice. First on the first day which felt absolutely disastrous: it's quite hard to steer the boat, get a good line, find the fast water, see how the river curls around the gorges and riverbeds and co-ordinate the other people (I love the shouting though...) But amazing how much you learn by watching the others, getting to know the raft and the skills with it. So second time was on the last day and it went much better. Jill, my Canadian friend, who is mad into kayaking, is trying to get me on a course, and after this trip she might have a new kayak partner...

See, that's the down side of NZ: there is so much fun stuff to do. Besides my climbing, mountainbiking, snowboarding, I want to start diving again (my new flatmate James is into that too!) and maybe potentially surf with Susan and Julia and now kayak...Not too forget my biggest hobby hiking...

Loads of pictures, all not taken by me (no waterproof camera) but by Berit, Volker, Simone, Kylie, Steve, Vern, Katrin, Heather and Mike. I tried to put some on, but the computer and I just had a massive fight, so I suggest you go to Patrick's or Simone's site...


Tuesday, 9 December 2008


As all Dutch people know Sinterklaas is very important in our society. I'm not very patriotic, I don't really feel Dutch (colleagues call me a 'wannabe kiwi with an Irish accent'), people don't guess me as Dutch (different accent and I am not tall enough...) but I love Sinterklaas, the Zwarte Pieten and the culture around it. I love the things we do in our family with the teasing poems, the fake presents and of course a real present at the end.

Naturally I told my friends about it, handed out chocolate 'Sinterklaas' [yes, they have it in the supermarket, at the Dutch section...'is there a Dutch section?' I can hear people think? Yes there is. So what's in that Dutch section? Well, speculaas, Dutch mayonaise, Dutch pickles, knakworsten (yup, the real ones), stroopwafels (yup, the real ones) and now chocolate Sinterklaas]. And of course I told some of my colleagues, I got some pictures of the Internet and summarised it in an email (for the non-Dutch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas)

Now. So what. Well, get this. The past few Mondays I have been co-ordinating some development work with some tutors. I don't really know them, I'm just guiding them in the innovative process, but we get on quite well. This Monday, Kirsten says at the end that she has something for me...Much to my surprise, she reads out a Sinterklaas poem!

Maaike is an outdoors woman,
she really knows her stuff.
Rafting, hiking, camping, tramping,
she's no Paddy's piece of fluff!

To NCALE, she's dedicated,
she's thorough and she's committed.
But without 5 decent coffees a day,
she smiles, but through teeth gritted!

This Christmas away from her Dutch home-land,
missing family and friends too.
Merry Christmas from us all at CPIT,
to Maaike,a new kiwi true-blue!

I felt really special, or better said: I still do. To make it even better, Kirsten sends it to my manager, her head of school and some of my colleagues. My office partner Heather response was this:

Maaike is a rafter,
a biker, and a hiker...
Maaike's eating speculaas, dancing jigs, doing Haka!

Maaike tells us that she likes,
to eat a lot of bread.
If she can't get any,
it makes her crazy in the head!

Maaike was a tomboy,
climbing all the trees.
Clamboring up the roof tops,
with a monkey-like ease.

Maaike thinks she's Irish,
but I bet she never met at dawn,
a wee green mischievous man,
we call a leprechaun.

Perhaps that is because
she's really one of them
in heart and soul and accent
a true multi cultural gem!

I have fantastic colleagues...again!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Arthur's Pass

to be a bit more precise: somewhere around Edwards hut and Hawden hut!

About a month ago [yes, I know, I should update more, but I hate sitting behind the computer!]I went hiking with Steve and Michelle, Myra and Graham and Patrick and I. Three days of nature, camping, steady walking pace, great company, fantastic weather, freezing water (and river crossing of course) and yes snow.

I truly enjoyed it: we had some good laughs, some scary moments (we had to climb almost vertical up a slope with little to hold on to, just grass...) and some painfull moments: do you see the picture where Patrick jumps on a mini gletser above a river? We had to cross it later on and I reckon his jumping sabotaged the snow, because I fell through. In a 'extremely agonizing' way (I'm joking...a bit...): just one leg, heavy backpack on my back and no way to get out. Thankfully there were people around me to help me out after they stopped laughing ... and after Myra took pictures...

Anyhow, pictures are better than words. The one picture of Steve on his knees: Steve is a entemologist (let's call him Dr. Bug). He just found a rare species...