Our Quote

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Kiwi Flag

Kiwi Flag

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hot Damn!

First of all, let me apologize it has been WAAAY too long since i’ve done an entry. We have been doing well. Enjoying the wonderful summer months.
This is my third summer here in Blenheim and I am SO lucky to live here. One of the issues that we had before living “down South” was the utter lack of Summer. Don’t get me wrong, Invercargill had a summer…but not in the actual summer sort of understanding. Summer in Invercargill would be one week of temps in the 70’s followed by a week of freezing temps. Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT cut out for winter. I do not like the cold. I don’t do snow and I definitely can’t see myself living anywhere that the white stuff stays on the ground for more than a couple of days. I’m allergic to cold. Like seriously. Being cold changes me and makes me crabby and difficult to live with. Ask my husband :)

Anyway, Blenheim has been a nice change from the summer-less deep South of Invercargill. It is hot here. Like super hot. Like Africa hot. I was totally caught off guard with this heat. Many people have told me that New Zealand is precariously positioned right over the lovely hole we have in the ozone layer. I’m not sure that is true but the scientist in me tells me it is entirely plausible. First of all, I have never burned so much in my life as I have here in New Zealand. That makes NO sense. I’ve lived in Phoenix, Arizona where the daytime highs from May-September approach “On Fire” degrees. I have done my runs in 110 degree heat (I have paid dearly for that stupid idea) and I have watched unsuspecting plastics melt from the unrelenting heat of the sun. Phoenix felt like you were under a hair dryer…every day. As hot as it was, I thought Houston was worse. That sticky, thick humid heat made you feel like you were breathing through wet towels. It was insufferable (but still my favorite place on the mainland USA that I’ve lived :) All those hot places well known for hot summers never were able to char broil my skin like good ‘ol Blenheim. 
The interesting thing about the sun here is that everyone knows how dangerous it is. People take their sun protection seriously. All children have big, floppy sun hats that they wear during the day and have large vats of sunblock that gets liberally spread all over them anytime they go outside to play. I’ve never seen that in the US.
My friend surreptitiously tried to encourage me to make use of a big hat and sun block. I didn’t catch the hint.

She: I know your skin is brown but do you burn?
Me: Nope, only once in my life after a 12 hour stint on a beach using baby oil as lotion
She: (looking horrified): Baby oil?? That is an accelerant. Trust me, I think you need some sun block…and a hat.
Me: Yeah, I don’t think so. I have melanin so we don’t burn easily. I’ll be good
She: (looking skeptical and watching nearby plants catch on fire): Ok, if you say so….

She was right. I decided to go out and work in the yard. It wasn’t even hot that day but a brilliant clear sky. I even had on long sleeves. After about 2 hours of being outside I smelled something sizzling. I felt a funny, prickling sensation on my face. I went inside and I swear I thought there was smoke coming off my face. I was cherry red/brown and my face was so HOT. Damn! I burned in 70 degree sun??? I want a refund on my melanin!!! its broken!
So I learned my lesson the hard way. After the peeling subsided I started dousing myself and everyone else in my household with SPF 50+. 
We had a couple of trips to the beach and the interesting looks we got while we were slathering on sun block made me smile. I’m sure people were thinking that if we burn there is no hope for anyone. :) 

Summer day in Picton 

Summer in the Marlborough Sounds

The remainder of the summer was full of days with the air temperature being in the mid to high 80’s but the actual temp was much higher. I’m sure you’re thinking, why is she whining about some 80 degree weather? It was shocking to me too! I swear that there is a conspiracy with the reporting of temperatures here. Either that or my house is the hottest place in New Zealand. Our thermometer registered 90’s several weeks in a row. Still not impressed? How bout you hang out with us for 2 months in 90 degree heat with NO AIR CONDITIONING. I thought I was bad with the cold!!! Things like ceiling fans and floor fans aren’t really common around here and honestly, a fan blowing hot air at you doesn’t really help that much. The summer heat made sleeping in our house a little difficult at times. Thankfully, I have an air conditioned job and we were able to enjoy several days out at the beach and river to cool us down. I’m sure I’ll be nice and toughened in preparation for our next summer here :)
Complete with my SPF 50+ and my big, floppy hat :) 
Cooling off at the Wairau River

My favorite summer pastime

Monday, November 23, 2015

I think I saw a Turkey...

These are words whispered by American expats throughout town. Turkeys are hard to come by. Really hard to find and HORRIBLY expensive. Like Hope Diamond Expensive. But, as I tell myself we only eat it once a year so it is worth the splurge.
Yep, I just paid $56 dollars for about 7lbs of turkey. I am a desperate turkey girl

You have to realize when you are in a place that has NO idea about the super holiday Thanksgiving it can be hella hard trying to plan a meal. Actually, it isn't impossible but it takes planning. This is how we plan:

1) One month before Thanksgiving pull out all of Mom's recipes and write down ingredient list
2) Go to store and realize most things you need aren't on list
3) Go back home, get on Internet and find things needed on list
4) Spend days on ingredient list trying to figure out whether or not Amazon will get a certain ingredient to you in time. If not, go to website #2 and then #3 to see if you can get certain ingredients
5) Realize that one ingredient isn't sold in New Zealand so then go back to Internet to research hacks on how to make ingredient from scratch
6) Get ingredient list for hacked recipe for the actual ingredient that you need
7) Develop anxiety about going to store so close to Thanksgiving
8) Get to store and realize it's empty like normal because no one knows its Thanksgiving
9) Find ingredient for hacked recipe and rejoice
10) Go home and wait for box to arrive with all other ingredients so you can put together a proper Thanksgiving meal

Oh and did I mention Turkeys are hard to find? And when you do find them you get sad. Really sad because their turkeys are about the size of a large chicken back home. So I usually spend about an hour grumbling about the price of the turkey and then seriously concerned about the sickly size of the bird. I have to admit, it makes it SO much easier to thaw, brine and cook!!! Hubby smoked ours last year (mostly because it was tiny and able to fit in his grill)
No, that is a turkey...not a chicken.

What really sucks is that living in Hawaii, we had really good sized turkeys wandering around in our yard ALL the time. We could have had free Thanksgiving turkey every day!
Wild turkeys in our yard in Hawaii

With my two years worth of research and now one Thanksgiving and two Christmases under my belt I feel that I am an expert of finding stashes of American goodies that are necessary for a good Southern style holiday.

If you are interested in finding Turkeys in New Zealand here are two great places that have them:
Crozier's Turkeys
Canter Valley Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!