Thursday, February 28, 2013

Visit home: Arizona

After leaving Oregon Mom and Rudger picked me up from the airport.  We ran a few errands, Rudger bought a truck, and then mom and I headed up to Lakeside.  Mom's good friend Karen came over on Tuesday and we went to lunch with Cynthia at Sal and Teresa's a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Show Low. 
The food was SO good...the chips and salsa...the enchilada...mmmmmm...I must say I left with a full tummy and a smile of contentment!  Can you tell I love spicy Mexican food? :-D 
Then after lunch we went shopping...Found some cute shirts and other clothes that will come in handy shortly when it is winter in New Zealand.  After shopping, I went for a run, to try and work off some of the calories that I've eaten...hehe...
Then after dad got home from work and had dinner, we headed up to Bridgette's to see her and the kids.  I am amazed every time I see them how quickly they grow up.  Bryson is getting SO big and he even ran up to me for a hug!  SO love my nieces and nephews and I miss them so much when I'm gone.  I look forward to the day when I have my own kids and they get to know their cousins.  Family is such an important part of my life.  And it is important to me to spend important moments with them.  That is why I've come home at this time.  Lexie's baptism and Tyler's temple endowments are two life changing events that I want to share with them.  I want to show to them how important I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is and by coming home to share these events with them, I hope that they will know.

Visit home: Dinner with the girls

When I lived in the Phoenix valley, I came to be very good friends with CJ, Mindy, Kim, Valerie, and Lonnie.  Then we started going to "birthday dinners" together.  These are times with very good friends that I treasure.  And since Ruth and I moved away, any time that she or I come into the valley we still get together to have dinner.  This Monday only CJ, Mindy and I could make the dinner, but it was still a wonderful time with very good friends.  And we went to Tia Rosas (because I HAVE to get my fill of Mexican food before I head back to New Zealand) which I'd never eaten before but it was very yummy!
Thanks CJ and Mindy for being able to get together!  Love you girls!  Hugs!

Visit home: Oregon

When coming home for Tyler's endowments and Lexie's baptism, I was going to be home long enough so I flew up to Oregon to visit Vonda and the kids.
After arriving in Oregon, we did some shopping and had dinner at Chipotle.  Then Saturday morning I went with Vonda, Kendra and Braydon to Braydon's basketball game.  They won the first game.  And the second game was close.  They'd score, we'd score, they'd score, we'd score.  Then after the start of the second half, they pulled away and our team just struggled to score.  But it was a lot of fun to watch. 
Then when Vonda has a treat for the kids, she calls it a "purple dragon".  So after a quick lunch we headed into Portland to find out what the purple dragon was.  Kendra, Braydon, Gabriel and I made a few guesses but we didn't guess it.  When we got to the city, David dropped us off and then went and found a parking space, and Vonda, the kids and I headed into the arena.  As we got inside, I heard a familiar tune!  They took us to a Harlem Globetrotters game! 

It was SO awesome.  The players were quite funny and the kids had a great time.  I'd never been to one, but really enjoyed it.  The players were so funny!  If you ever get a chance, I say you should go!

Here we are sitting enjoying the game.  The smiles show how much fun we had! :-)

We couldn't help but get up and "dance" to "The YMCA".  After dinner we went to Olive Garden.  It had been so long since I'd eaten at Olive Garden, but their salad and bread sticks are still SO good!  I was stuffed when we left but it was fun.  And Vonda wouldn't let me pay for anything, so it was a real treat.  Thanks sister!
Then on Sunday, I went to church with them.  This is Gabie and me before heading off to church.  They are great kiddos, even if Kendra is going through a "teenage don't take my picture"...just like her great-grandma Helene who didn't like her photo being taken!  But Kendra is a cute, wonderful girl, and I'm sure she'll outgrow this phase too.
Then on Monday Vonda drove me to the Portland, Oregon airport after doing some shopping at the scout shop for me to head back to Arizona.
Thanks to the Reinholds for a wonderful trip!  See you next time!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Napier region day 3

Day three had me heading out of Napier and back towards Wellington.  I LOVE waterfalls, I just think that they are so beautiful, so if I am near one, I stop to see it!  And there was one just out of Dannevirke which was on the way back to Wellington. 
When I finally found the waterfall, it was almost an hour outside of Dannevirke because the road was very windy.  It would've gotten a 5 smile on the motorcyle map!  Lol.  The falls is called Waihi Falls and this is a picture of my car after driving down the dirt needs a wash! :-D
Here is the waterfall.  It hadn't rained very much so there isn't as much water coming off the waterfall as it would if it had just rained, but pretty nonetheless.  Funny thing is that this photo was taken behind a sign that says "Danger beyond this point" lol.  There is a steep drop off but just enough room for one to take an awesome shot! 
Here I am at the bottom of the waterfall.  I had to do the best I could with a shot of me since I was alone.  One other drawback of traveling alone.  But every once in awhile it is nice to spend time just enjoying and contemplating the nature and the beauty.
It was a wonderful trip and I have another couple of "check marks" on the list of places to visit in New Zealand!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Napier day 2

So the second day in Napier I went to church only to find out that it was their stake conference.  So luckily a member was at the church and was able to let me know where the stake center was.  A lady at church told me that there would be a free airshow on the beach around 2 pm.  How cool is that?  Plus their stake conference was what I needed to hear.
The city of Napier had a major earthquake in 1930 and they rebuilt the city. So every year they have a festival and the people dress up in 1930's style clothes.  Its great to see the city get so involved and even dress up!  Here are some people having a picnic on the beach. 
A Rolls Royce Silver Ghost...enough said! 
A statue commemorating the era.
They have gardens in every city and this is the "Sunken Garden".  I love all the gardens and how beautiful it is. 
An anchor on the coast...kind of cool, huh? :-) 
I'm not sure what this statue is commemorating, but I thought it was cool and loved all the flowers and that it was on the beach.  You can't see it from this angle, but there was a little boy playing in the fountain.  In New Zealand it isn't against the law to play in fountains...kind of cool! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thoughts and experiences

I'm not sure why, but lately I have wanted to do one of my "non-travel" posts.  I have been in New Zealand just over six months.  As many of you know, I love to travel and so joined the State Department so that I could live and work overseas.  I've had quite a few varying experiences traversing the world (lol, well almost!  I still have a few places to visit).  But I would say that this hasn't been only a travel journey, but it's been a journey of discovering me and allowing my personality to blossom. I'm still basically the same person, but as my family says, "just MORE me".  Lol. 
I looked forward to experiencing other cultures, traveling to exotic locals, some of which I'd always dreamed of going to!  Some have lived up to my expectations, and others aren't quite so "romantizied" in my mind anymore.  There are places I thought I'd never go and that I will never go back to.  There are places that I didn't think I'd go to but would LOVE to go back and visit. 
One can't help tying personal experiences to the places that you visit.  This includes the people that you meet along the way.  I can say that I have some amazingly wonderful friends from every where I've lived.  Some people have come into my life for a brief moment, been a HUGE part of my life at that particular moment and who I will never see or speak to again in this life.  Some of it is by my choice, some if it is by their choices.
Throughout this journey, I've dated guys, both members and non-members and I still haven't found that person that I can share my life with.  I know that one day I will, but right now, I am still looking.  I guess I feel a need to write this post because once again, I've fallen for a guy who isn't the "one".  And I'm saying this in that the "one" is the one we BOTH choose to be the "one".  For a long time, I thought I was broken...that I couldn't love someone the way I'd need to, in order to be able to overlook the little things.  The truth is, I can love someone that way, but I tend to fall in love with ones who don't deserve me or treat me the way I deserve to be treated.  It's been hard, but I've learned to move on from those people.  It can take a very long time, or it can take a couple of weeks.  But the thing is, I learn and grow from each experience.  And I don't always make the best choices, which sometimes leads me to fall for the "wrong" guys, lol, but I know that even if I mess up, it's ok.  I can move on, hopefully wiser and more experienced. 
Going through a break-up, a heart-break from unrequited love, or any other time one experiences love that doesn't last, is difficult.  We all go through a mourning period where we don't want to do anything, where we don't know if we can go on.  The truth comes around that we can go on, because we have to.  Then we start feeling strong again, then moments of happiness start appearing, and then we go through a period where we are happy to be alone.  Much different than the weeks or months previously, where we missed that other person SO much, we didn't know how we'd ever come to a point to be happy again.  And some of this is about choice.  The things we do make our choices easier or more difficult.  If there is someone who you are suffering from unrequited love, what you have to do is change your routine to ensure that you don't see them.  When thoughts of them come to you, do whatever it is you need to stop and change those thoughts.  For me, praying, reading the scriptures and listening to music helps a lot in this stage.  I have some great songs that will help if anyone needs some advice! ;-)  But music can be cleansing.  Just as the scriptures say that the song of the righteous is a pray unto heaven, a song that is able to showcase what you are feeling or thinking, that you can identify with, can bring you strength.  At least it does for me.  And the most important choice is to know when to stand up for yourself and say what you want.  If saying "I want a relationship of respect" isn't well received, then you know that person isn't right for you.  Cut it off earlier rather than later, because they WON'T change.  Not that they CAN'T, but they have to want to change.  And by standing up and saying what you want and accept, and then sticking to it can be hard.  It can be one of the hardest things you'll ever do, or at least for me, it's been one of the hardest things I've had to do.  But I grow stronger every time I do it.  And I'm not looking for someone perfect, but someone that is perfect for me.  And the one that is perfect for me will want similar things. 
Sometimes when you are going through a break-up or a heart-break, it feels that romance and love is an illusion (or at least that's how I feel sometimes) but I know it isn't.  I've seen romance and love between others that I know.  And I know that one day I'll find that person.  I already give everything to the person that I fall for and am simply looking for someone who will give the same.  Sometimes it's not easy to remain strong and not just "date" someone so I'm not alone, but that isn't honest with them or myself, so I look to friends to help fill the time until I can spend time alone and remember that I am worth loving...and one day I'll find someone who feels the same, and things will all come together, the timing, the attraction, and I will have my "eternity"...
Looking forward to that day...more than most know...

Napier New Zealand

Ok, so this post is out of sequence.  I have other posts to do, but since this is current, figured I'd write as I go.  So for President's Day, I had a three day weekend, so I decided to head out of town.  I hadn't been to Napier yet, so I got in the car on Saturday morning and headed out.

This is me having lunch (Subway lol) in the gardens of Palmerston North.  One of the great things about New Zealand is that they have a garden (or two!) in every city.  Usually around the center of town, and it's a place that people come to enjoy the summer sun.
These are some windmills in one of the windmill farms.  New Zealand gets a lot of wind, lol, so it makes sense to have windy mill farms as a form of alternative energy.
This is one of the many rivers and gorges that dot throughout the country side.  The camera doesn't do the scenery justice!
This is the garden in Napier.  I was looking forward to getting out and walking after a four hours drive (even though I did break for lunch 1/2 way in Palmy as the locals call Palmerston North lol).  But my foot has been giving me problems lately and today is no different.  So instead of a nice long walk, I only walked through the gardens and to the beach.

I'd forgotten the camera in the car :-( I know right!?  Any way, when I got back to the car, which was parked by the garden I got some pictures.  This is a water fountain in the park and one can see the profusion of flowers.

I went ahead and walked through the park and ended up by the "start" of the art deco.  Cool huh?  I will definitely remember my camera tomorrow because it's a festival weekend and a lot of the locals dressed up in 1920 style clothes!  SO cool!
And a little information about the park.  A good start to my Napier travels, even if I am alone.  This is the first trip I've taken by myself since when I first got here.  I got so used to traveling with others, it is weird to be "alone" on this trip.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

IRB Rugby Sevens Day 1

So one big thing about New Zealand is rugby.  Most of the nation are rabid fans...I'd say it's safe to say that most of them are fanatics!  Lol.  And shortly after getting here I heard about the Sevens.  My friend Gillian is a fanatic and so we decided to get tickets and go.
The thing about the Sevens is it is also a big dress-up party.  Some people go all year planning their costumes.  So we decided to dress up as nurses.  I think we look pretty authentic. :-)

Here is a photo of some of the rugby.  I still don't understand rugby because there are rules that don't make any sense.  Like the fact that the time doesn't end when it runs out and some other things but I still had a great time.

I thought this was a clever group: Conel Sanders, Ronald McDonald, Wendy and Burger King!

Loved the "Nemos"

Delwyn, Gillian and Gillian's dad Stan enjoying New Zealand playing (even though they lost)

Me supporting the US team...but they lost. *Shrug, eh*

Loved the Hulk Hogan, HAD to get a photo!

The parade of teams, and the US team. :-)

The fans starting to fill up the stadium towards the end of the day.

My friend Sofia who dressed up as Strawberry Shortcake!

I LOVED the Carebear as a kid so I had to get a photo with this Carebear.  I loved the fact that so many adults enjoy dressing up for a rugby tournament. :-D

New Plymouth, Mt Egmont, and Whanganui

For Martin Luther King, Jr. day a friend and I drove up the coast to visit New Plymouth.  We stopped at Whanganui (pronounced "fan-ga-new-i") and climbed up a tower. This was the view of the Whanganui River and town.
From inside the tower.  It was pretty windy up here!

Then we stopped at Dawson Falls.  This is the pools.  SO pretty!

A good shot of the waterfall.

Another fall futher down.  This is Andrew Heath a friend that I met through church.

This is the view from the cabin we stayed at.

This is Mt Egmont which is the Lonely Mountain in "The Hobbit: An unexpected journey"

This pretty bird is the pukeko.  The family of five were our neighbors at the cabin.  We feed them and they seemed to like us! hehe..

This is Mt. Draper Falls.  There are so many beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand and I'm doing my best to see all of them! :-D

This photo is at the top of this rock that is on the sea in New Plymouth.  The climb to the top is quite steep.  I do have a bit of a fear of heights (I actually say its the crashing to the ground that I'm scared of) but I made it and it was worth it.  However, you can see just how windy it was!  My hair was standing straight up!

This is Stony River Bridge, another small little walk, which New Zealand has countless of.