Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas in Queenstown

We are so grateful for the spirit of Christmas. This year has been quite different for Nick and I and we truly appreciate the love and cheer that we have felt. It has been a whirlwind week with Christmas parties, holiday hiking and then our Christmas vacation to Queenstown.
We had our work Christmas party, themed Pirate’s of the Caribbean. Nick dressed up as a HOT pirate and I put on a stick-on-mustache and called myself a pirate. Our efforts were in vain. Compared to our co-workers we weren’t dressed for the occasion. They had rented costumes, borrowed from theaters, bought wings and make-up and truly looked like pirates. Nick and I were just a boy and a girl that put on a bandanna and a fake mustache pretending to be pirates.
Towards the end of the night we were able to sit on “Santa’s” lap and receive a present. I use the word “Santa” lightly because “Santa” was more in fact a native bush man who was half naked, dressed in a grass skirt, bone earrings and necklace who had painted himself black. I sat on “Santa’s” lap and collected my present and was glad that this “Santa” couldn’t see me when I was sleeping or awake.
The next day we went on a 6 billion hour hike. Fine, I might be exaggerating a little, but not by much. We literally hiked for 6 hours through the mud to a seal colony. The hike was beautiful and took us through a mines tunnel, the mud, more mud and extremely steep stairs. When we finally arrive at the seal colony we couldn’t see any and it wasn’t until we started to leave that they finally decided to make an appearance. Did I mention though, that we hiked for 6 billion hours?
Nick and I decided to spend Christmas in Queenstown, which is considered to be the adventure capital of the world, and it truly is. It has jet boating, helicopter flights, bungee jumping and rafting. Basically whatever you consider adventurous, Queenstown has it. Our first adventure took us to the small branch that was held in a funeral home. We met the missionaries and watched the Christmas devotional given by the First Presidency. We left Fox Glacier around five in the morning to arrive in Queenstown by 9:30 to make it to church on time. I drove 95 percent of the way; the short distance Nick drove he was pulled over and given a ticket for going 118 km. Bad luck if you ask me considering I was speeding the entire time.
Our second adventure took us on a helicopter flight, a luge and gondola ride. Might I add that it was all FREE! We also went jet boating down the Shotover River. Holy cow, it was amazing. Our jet boat was within inches of the canyon walls, speeding over six inches of water and spinning 360 degrees. We had a blast and couldn’t believe the maneuverable of the jet boats, we were truly awestruck. Later we went bowling and I bowled my all time high, 105. Nick, in contrast, has no comment about his scores. That night as we went to bed we dreamed of Santa and hoped he would be able to find us on the other side of the world.
When we woke up we were pleasantly surprised to find that he had found us. Santa had paid for Nick speeding ticket, I received $30 and a pair of earrings and we both had a wonderful vacation in Queenstown. Nothing was open Christmas day so watched Christmas movies, feed the ducks and window shopped. We had a perfect Christmas and are so grateful for the holiday season. The next day we called our families to find them opening presents, went to the movie and drove back to Fox Glacier. Ticket free might I add. Meri Kirihimete!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rain... rain go away!

Wow, what an incredibly boring week. I spoke too soon is saying good weather was on its way for Fox Glacier. It has been raining for the past seven days straight, expect for yesterday. So basically for the past week we haven’t been able to do one activity. On rainy days, such as this entire week, Nick and I have been keeping ourselves occupied in many different fashions and the more rain we receive the more creative we become.
I usually check a book out from the Elementary school. It has a total of 30 adult books, half of which are John Grisham books. I plan on reading the entire adult library and have about 25 books left. Nick on the other hand researches basketball on the Internet, especially the Utah Jazz. He’ll read reviews, comments and anything and everything dealing with basketball. When the Jazz play he’ll listen to them live while I read, yet another John Grisham book. On creative days we’ll take walks in the rain, play card games for hours and shop at the local gift shops. We are so sick of being cooped up in our room that we’ll come up with any excuse to leave.
After this week, Nick swears he’s going to go on a fast from the Internet. I told him he’d never last if the Jazz were playing. So, instead he said he’d fast on a day the Jazz weren’t playing. I said I don’t mind going on a book fast, I could use a break from John Grisham. Currently I’m reading The Street Lawyer; not bad for my first John Grisham read. We’re just hoping that the raining subsides soon. We don’t know how much longer we can last; it’s so gloomy and grim.
Only nine days till Christmas! We’ve decided if the weather continues as it is, our Christmas won’t be much different from yours. Instead of snow though, it’ll be rain. Instead of snuggling by a fire, we’ll be snuggling by an electric heater. Not much of a difference at all. We’re excited for Christmas though and have been spreading good cheer everywhere. Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year!
Yesterday, seeing as it wasn’t raining, we walked to the Fox Glacier. While we were there was saw huge ice chunks falling from the thermal face. It was amazing and sounded exactly like thunder. We also talked about our hobbies. Nick wants to be involved in photography and music, whereas I want to make jewerley. I’ve made jewerley before and absolutely loved it. Now I’m writing this down so when we actually get time for hobbies we’ll remember what they were. It was a lovely walk and showed us how out of shape we’ve become.
Anyway, a pretty uneventful week in which nothing really happened. We’re determined to have a more eventful week and we are keeping our fingers crossed for better weather.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Kayaking woes

Another week passes as we become more and more like are kinfolk, the kiwis. We’ve picked up much slang, but are still unable to understand each other. No matter, we’ll just keep trying until New Zealand is in our blood and becomes our second home.
Working has become quite an adventure as well as drama central for the, might I add, male pilots. You thought females created drama? Wait till you get six pilots with different agendas and personalities, then that drama. Somehow Nick and I even became part of the drama seeing as we did everything wrong and needed being told, or so we thought. No matter, all is well down under and we’ve learned to steer clear of all pilots when they’re being dramatic, which happens to be more often than not. Not all is lost though for the pilots; we do have a few who love us bloody Americans. So everything is as good as gold.
After our stressful day of doing everything wrong or again, so we thought, we headed out to Okarito for a nice relaxing day of kayaking through the peaceful lagoons. Not so. It was a painful and beautiful experience. We had a two-man kayak and together paddled around the most stunning scenery and heard every bird call, but after about an hour we were tired. Next though, we had to paddle against the tide to some more stunning scenery, which was pretty much the same as before. Most of the time we felt more like we were moving backwards instead of forwards due to our paddling against the swift tide. After an hour or so we reached our next lagoon, which was probably only 100 meters further than the first lagoon we saw.
Our hands and arms were hurting so bad. Nick’s were more than mine seeing as I got tired faster so stopped paddling half the time. Maybe that’s why we were going so slowly? Nick didn’t know this though, as I was behind him. I steered the kayak as Nick navigated. Eventually he caught and made me switch places with him so he could make sure I was paddling my fair share.
After paddling around the lagoon and lunch we headed back to shore. We could hardly paddle for longer than 10 strokes and took more breaks than was needed. The whole trip was supposed to take us under four hours, not so for us. We’re surprised we made it back at all. Once we did I fell in the mud trying to pull Nick to shore. All he did was laugh and couldn’t stop. All in all it was a wonderful experience and another relationship lesson. If we hadn’t got along and worked together we would still be paddling against the current straight into a head wind, which almost happen. So what was supposed to be a nice relaxing kayak trip was actually a four and a half hour exhausting experience. We woke up the next day with everything being sore.
The weather is beginning to turn beautiful. Not as much rain and a lot more sunshine. It’s actually been hot a few times and with Christmas only being 17 days away it’s feeling more like summer than winter, which it actually is. Nick and I are counting down the days of Christmas with a homemade paper chain. We decorated it with stickers and Christmas drawings. Holidays aren’t big in New Zealand like they are in the states, which is sad but true. We did get to decorate the company Christmas tree though. I’ll eventually decorate our room with hand drawn pictures of Santa, a Christmas tree, reindeer and anything and everything else having to do with Christmas.

We are at the beautiful Pancake rocks. It was very cool.

Mariah resting after hours of kayaking. We are just about to have lunch before our kayaking journey back to our car.

Me doing all the work as Mariah takes pictures and watches for birds.

We haven't had a place all to ourselves lately, nor have we had such a big bed. As you can see Mariah loved it!

Us at the Pancake rocks again, look at that blue water!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Days

Mariah and I with our sweet New Zealand ride. It gets us from A to B and that's all we ask of it!

Ice climbing was a blast, we recommend you stay indoors though because its tough and very tiring.

We loved the wonderful weather in Nelson. We got to go on a catamaran and explore the Able Tasman National Park.

Three adventures down, still many to go.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our first REAL vaction

Wow! Nick and I had an amazing week. It did have some down points though, one to be exact, but first I’ll start with Thanksgiving. We were completely out of idea of what to cook, so our kiwi employees offered to host Thanksgiving dinner for us. What a bunch of slackers we are. Stephanie, our fellow employees cooked us chicken, vegetables, cheese and crackers, potatoes and mud pie. She invited over the pilots as well. So in exchange for her hospitably, we taught them the meaning of Thanksgiving and thanked Stephanie for hosting her first Thanksgiving dinner for us. Happy Thanksgiving!
Now the bad news, Nick got his hair cut. I was planning on cutting it, but Barry, a pilot, ended up doing it by accident. We borrowed Barry’s clippers, which only had a number 4, and I was just going to take a little off the top. Well, when Barry got a hold of the clippers he took Nick down to a 4. Tears were shed, but not by Nick. I love Nick’s curly hair, but I’m slowing liking his new look. It’s not bad, but it was just so different that I couldn’t hold back. Just a side note: I have never once cried over my hair and I find it highly amusing that I cried over Nick’s.
Since we have officially been in New Zealand for a month, we treated ourselves to a holiday. We took four days off and drove 6 hours to the sunshine capital of New Zealand, Nelson. It was a perfect vacation. We booked ourselves a hotel with a king size bed, a kitchenette and a jetted tube and both of us agreed it was the best thing we did in Nelson. We went shopping, walked around the town center and ate at a very bohemian restaurant. The next day we went on an all day catamaran, sailing in the Able Tasman National Park. Able Tasman was a Dutch explorer who first discovered New Zealand. Fortunately, he wasn’t able to claim the land because the Maori natives drove him out. A few years later Captain Cook, an English explorer arrived and claimed New Zealand. Anyway, it’s so beautiful there with golden beaches, lush greenery and aqua blue water. It was such a clear day and the weather was beautiful. That night we ordered pizza and enjoyed our television.
For the next day we made our own Maori bone carvings. The process was from start to finish. We drew out our design on paper, transferred that to bone, cut it out, sanded it smooth and added all finishing touches. It was fun to be able to handcraft a Maori necklace. Mine is a Maori fishhook, which symbolizes our journey through life and I added two carvings representing me and Nick. Nick made a teardrop, which symbolizes the power of emotion and he dyed his a tea color. Both are very unique and designed especially by us. Later we went to the beach, searched for seashell, walked along the coast and watched the sun set.
Sadly our holiday came to an end way too soon. We drove home taking the scenic route. We stopped off at anything that looked interesting. The only attraction the proved to be wroth it was the pancake rocks and blowholes. It’s exactly as if sounds, basically thin rocks stacked on top of each other to create a look of stacked pancakes. It was beautiful and although it took us an extra thirty minutes, even Nick finally agreed it was worth it. This week was perfect and much needed. It was nice to see the sun and get out of the rain. We relaxed, had a wonderful holiday and I eventually got over Nick’s hair.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Here we come New Zealand!!

Wow, all of our wedding jitters are over with, and we are moving on to bigger and better things. We have loved spending the last few weeks with are families and friends. We are heading to New Zealand and we feel like we can't get everything done in time. We will do our best and hope that we have everything we need when we get there. We aren't to excited for the 20 hour flight ahead of us, but we will bear it as long as we can, but we are excited to see the beautiful land of New Zealand and can't wait to let everyone know how it is. We will try to update our blog frequently as we wont be able to talk much. We love you and will miss the good times. Remember to email us about any exciting news, and never forget that we are just a 20 hour plain ride away and we would love to see as many vistors that are up for it. So until a new year has come, Good Day to ya, and here we come NZ!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What a wedding and honeymoon!

Mariah and I are finally married!! What a great wedding we had. The day seemed to run so smoothly and everything seemed to fall into its proper place. We both looked dang sexy, or at least I had a beautiful bride to make me look so good.
We had such a wonderful time being with all of those whom we love. We are both glad we decided to start our day in the afternoon as Mariah had more time to read her books and I had more time to get my bags packed for the honeymoon and make sure I had everything ready for the wedding just hours away. None the less the wedding started at 3:00 at the Salt Lake Temple and was wonderful. We soaked up every minute of it.
After taking many pictures we headed to the Lion House for our dinner. We loved all that was said and all that went on during our dinner. Thanks for joining us on our fun filled day.
The day didn't end at the Lion House. We still had an awesome getaway from the Lion House on our own two feet. Yes, we walked to our hotel room and loved it. People on trax waved to us, and a cop even told us congratulations.
After the wedding day the real fun began. Mariah and I headed to San Diego to catch our five day cruise. It was awesome. We visited two ports. Our first port was Ensenada and our second port was Cabo San Lucas. No matter where we were we had a blast playing in the water, eating lots of food, relaxing and doing whatever we wanted. One thing Mariah didn't enjoy was getting sun burnt. She did all she could to keep her skin white and burnt free. Needless to say, we had an amazing time on the cruise and we loved every moment of it. We would totally suggest anyone who hasn't gone on a cruise to make plans for the future and don't forget to invite us along! After finishing the cruise we stayed a day in San Diego and enjoyed the day at Sea World. I have never seen Mariah so happy to see cats that knew how to do tricks. She loved it. She couldn't get enough of all the sea animals and their amazing tricks. Yes I loved Sea World too, it was so fun! The honeymoon rocked in all aspects and it went so well. This was only the beginning adventure of many to come. We loved this first vacation together so much that we can't wait for everything else left to come in our amazing life together. Remember, come back soon when we have more good times to talk about.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wedding Love

The time is coming much quicker than expected for the both of us. In less than a week we will be married. I must say we are both very excited for our special day, not to mention getting rid of most of our stress will be great. We haven't had time to relax and be with each other which is expected planning a wedding. None the less we are super happy to be married so soon and can't wait to start our lives together. We are going to have so many adventures ahead of us and we cant wait. We must say that we are grateful to our families for their love and support during this stressful and exciting time. Soon when we have more time we will try and put up pictures of our different adventures so come back soon!