Saturday, 15 August 2009

Girls weekend in August

I know this bunch of outdoorsy girls and once in a while one of us gets an itch and organises a girls weekend with some proper challenges! Cheviot was the plan this time round but no outdoors stuff...So it turned out to be a real girls weekend...lots of lazying, zipping wine and eating food. And silly chats and silly moods.

Simone and I sneaked off at one point to a nearby beach and I did my best to copy Simone at taking photographs. I didn't do too bad, but in all fairness, Simone is a professional photographer...Check her blog for random and gorgeous pictures!

These pictures are mine though...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Winter: miss daredevil!!

Somewhere in August Patrick and I went away on a wee little trip into Mackenzie country: the beautiful area of Twizel. Some people say there is nothing in Twizel. Those 'some people' should definitely stay away so Twizel stays like Twizel!

The mountains are amazing: they look strong, powerful and invincible. There is solitude. Quietness. Real people live here. Patrick and I went there to relax, away from the mad place called work, but in reality we ‘slaved’ away on the snowfield of Ohau and mountainbiked around the lower mountain range. Good food, nice wine and early bed. Enjoy the pictures...

Some other weekends have been used for the close by snowboarding (meaning daytrips from Christchurch: superb!); this winter I've been enjoying some off piste trips. Conquering some really scary icy parts, but totally worth the fresh snow, the views and the adrenaline of going of the main route. I become miss daredevil as soon as powder snow kicks in. Bless the inventor of the helmet. Especially my helmet...

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Some catching up to do...

Favourite past time: work
My work has been very busy. Good busy, but some days were a bit 'mad'. Working at a school means that I have to go along with term breaks. So when teachers teach, I teach as well and when they have holiday (term breaks) I can catch up on developing sessions, project administration and just breath. At the moment we have 4 groups of tutors doing the professional development and jeesz, I’m juggling my time.
Work has been good though; my teaching has really kicked in and I love it. It will always be challenging: tutors are known to be the worst students to have. And hey, I know, I am one of them. But, in all honesty: I do love it!
We also organised a big conference about adult community education; or better said I helped out. It was all in accordance with Maori culture; so my first powhiri (welcoming ceremony) with one woman from one tribe welcoming (singing/talking) the other tribe and in the meantime checking out whether you are friend or foe. When both tribes sat down, some stories were shared and finally it was time for the hongi (pressing the noses) to personally say hi to everyone. New to it all I had decided to be on the visiting tribe, although my tribe(our school) was hosting it. So when I did the hongi, I was jokingly told off by the Maori tutors I work with...I was of course suppose to be on their tribe...
Besides this amazing experience, the conference was a big hit. Lots of it was in Maori, very interesting workshops and my workshop was well visited (probably due to the news that the new government cut all funding for 'hobby' courses if it hasn't got literacy or numeracy in it....yes, literacy is the flavour of the month). I stayed over at the Marae (Maori community centre...sort of) and helped out there too: I have learned so much, I met so many interesting and warm people. Afterwards I really felt (again) that I really need to know more about Maori language and their culture. Don't get me wrong: I have already learned heaps in the last year. I cannot get around not knowing some language but also the philosophy around it, is very essential within education. Anyway, it has resulted in signing up for a certificate in Maori Language...

Another rogaine
My ankle has revived a bit since the last 24 hour rogaine. My physio has given me some exercises after she told me 1) I was getting older (meaning: you don't revive that quickly after a long event) and 2) I totally walk 'un straight'. So good that I am a 'good girl': I was already doing yoga, I got orthotics for in my shoes and I started my strengthening exercises. Result is that I'm constantly aware of how I walk and now my back is bloody sore...

Anyhow, another rogaine (6 hours) was still to be done. This time with Patrick, on a freezing cold winter day with the regular cloud/mist, frosty rain and slippery, very slippery slopes. I really enjoyed it, even more so that I could show Patrick that I can indeed navigate. For some reason he always thought I was hitching along with others (even though I told him otherwise)...I showed him right...lovely! (expect comments from him...)

Spring challenge
Amy, Michelle and I have entered the spring challenge which is in 2 months (team event which entails biking, running and rafting). We are going for maximum fun and no glory, but to maximise the fun, we have started some action. Sort of. Action in the sense that we went for one Wednesday eve walk and a long bike ride in the weekend....we are getting there...
On the bike front I have shocking news: my finally well equipped commuter bike got stolen....While I was in the supermarket for 5 minutes, even though it was connected to the bike stand. I felt like being home again. Bloody hell. So, I needed to buy a new racer. Which I did: a nice second hand hybrid bike (mountainbike frame and slick tyres) and I must say I have never biked that fast. It’s great, I’m very jealous.

The snow is back: and it is great! I had 2 attempts in the last month but the weather wasn't out to play. Weekdays of snowboarding seem to be the way to go though. So when friends ask ' is looking good...what do you think...wanna go...boarding?' I am happy to say yes with my arms wide open. Result: I had amazing days!! And due to the previous mentioned amount of work (meaning: overtime) it was easy to plan in without taking days off!!

This winter time I decided that I should get my own board and boots. A world of difference: Patrick's old board is 14 cm taller than what I should have. Ok ok, I could still have used his board, but going down a blue field takes some effort and skill and trust me: with my new board taking turns is smooth like butter!! And immediately I noticed that I have learned some bad habits last year due to the too tall board...ah well. Live and learn!!

And with a little bit of luck and hard work this week, I will be taking a week off next week to enjoy the snow even more. Yay!

Homeless...Not very surprisingly, but bad timing; Susan (my flatmate) has decided to move in with her boyfriend. She was basically living there already for the past 4 months (with every month a week in our house) and they have now decided to stop pretend they don’t live together. So, since this is Susan’s house and it is basically too expensive for individual tenants, she has come to the conclusion to rent it out. Don't get my sarcasm wrong: I totally understand her point of view and I've been asking about her plans for some weeks now, but it is just bad timing: my brains are just overflowing with work already...Anyhow, what are the solutions?! I can move with them to the sea side (bit far for me to bike to work every day), so I think I prefer to stay on this side of town, close to the hills. Thank God this is not the Netherlands: plenty of nice houses and rooms to find. It is just a matter of finding a nice, cosy one at the right place. To be continued...

Last weekend Val, Dom, Patrick and I went to Auckland. The main reason was to see Circus du Soleil, but –maybe, don’t tell Patrick- I enjoyed hanging out with Val, Dom and Patrick more. It was just an amazing weekend; we stayed at Dom’s mother and she is a very warm, smart and cheerful woman with a fantastic smile. Staying with a family, having nice wine (even in the hot tub!) and enjoying good food and engaging chats made me miss my family. In a good way. Happy way. And yes the circus was cool too, but maybe....maybe the best bit at the circus was having Patrick sitting next to me shouting out phrases like ‘no way’, ‘that’s amazing’, ‘wauw, look at that!’...Like a 5 year old. That definitely made me laugh!!

So, wee little catch up. I end by saying that I got residence as well, so yay I can stay in the country even if I lose my job (which I am not, but still...)...all good!!