Sunday, May 30, 2010

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 weeks. 8!

That's all. Eight weeks is all I have left in lovely, beautiful, hilly, wet, caffeinated, wonderful Wellington, New Zealand.

It's begun...the scramble of events leading up to the harsh reality of actually having to say goodbye to a place and people who've come to mean so much. AND the sweet reality that on the other side of my journey lies home & my family who I miss a lot. How is it even possible to dread and look forward to the same moment? Hmmm.

The next couple of months hold lots of to-do's, wrap-ups, & miscellaneous tid-bits.

I am of the sentimental sort so I tend to be the person who wants to leave having given each person I've met a personalized little something or other; card, photo, etc. I am also of the creative sort so it needs to know, creative. Lastly, I'm of the "I'll probably have overweight luggage and need to pay the fee" sort so my sentimental creativity needs to be costly cheap, not cheaply cheap. I'm happy to stress here. I have an idea and it's halfway done. Yes. Check.

Back up a bit...luggage. This is my biggest stress at the moment. My bags were overweight when I arrived and I got away with it, crazily. They were even maxed out overweight. Honest to goodness I did not bring that much stuff!! To LIVE in another place on the other side of the world and only bring 2 suitcases, a guitar and 1 carry-on. I should get a medal. And airlines should get real. Regardless, I have to downsize. The madness.

Travel. I head over to Melbourne, Australia on July 21st for about a week & then spend my final week and a half in Wellington before road-tripping it up to Auckland where my flight to LA departs from. I'll then stay in LA visiting friends for a week {and where my sister is meeting me!}, then finally to Minneapolis. Oh, I have a layover in Tahiti. Tahiti!! Anyone else get red mustaches from those syrupy sweet tahitian treat drinks as youngsters? I sure did. We're there only for a wee bit, but long enough for a drink in their open air-airport. Ahhh...

I'm also teaching an after school photography program for high school students during these final 2 months as well. We've met twice now and it's been great. The kids are cool and the challenge is needed.

Oh, and I have lots of coffee to drink before I'm nowhere near a flat white of any sort, photos to take, places yet to see, people to spend time with, 3 little boys to cuddle lots before I'll leave and they'll grow up fast, and a wedding I'm very much looking forward to...Stu and Fritha-my cool employers.

That's me for now.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seasonal Associations & Favo(u)rite Things...

The earth has revolved around the sun per usual and as June approaches so does winter here in New Zealand. With the ringing in of the season, jackets, hats, layers, hot drinks, I am ready for Christmas. 'Tis the season to be jolly' comes hand in hand with winter, it's a seasonal association. It seems a bit anti-climactic to have such cold weather with no holiday cheer to warm our hearts and help us forget that we can't feel our toes. But just as I was in December when BBQ's and flip flops were in full swing, I am reminded that the world is much, much bigger than just how I've known and experienced it. A simple swap of seasons has opened my eyes to the fact that normal to one is not always to another.

Cheers to that.

I have compiled a little list with photos of some of my favorite things here in Wellington & it goes a little something like this...

Delicious. Feijoa trees bear a seemingly endless supply of these things when they're in season. Just cut them in half and scoop out the middle.

Frankie, Ted & Sonny.
The 3 wee fella's I hang out with a few days each week. They are beautiful little guys.

Flat White's.
To stay. Or, to take away.

Roti Chenai.
'Nuff said.

Cuba Street.
Has it all, including my favorite cafe's and people watching benches.

Public Transportation.
I've actually loved my car free year. Trading a car for the bus, less convenient? Slightly. Less stress? Ummm, YES! All I have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride while the driver battles traffic and getting through town. My biggest stress is deciding what to listen to on my ipod.

The Novelist.
A Wellington band that happens to be made up of 4 friends. Tim, Matt, Travis & Rene. Check them out at

The sky.
More often than not it's beyond amazing, especially if you catch it at sunrise or sunset.

Always interesting.
Always fun.

City, sea, bush...all within an arms reach.

There are many more favorites, but these will do for now!

Love, Rachel

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coffee? Yes, Please.

Growing up I never understood why my mother loved coffee so much. It looked, smelled and tasted not so great to me, yet she almost always had a cup in hand. Even up until last year I wasn't really into it. I'd get it when someone would do a Starbucks run at work, but I wasn't at all a daily devotee of the liquid poison.

Shortly after arriving in Wellington I realized that I truly am my mothers child. Wellington is THE place when it comes to perfectly roasted, perfectly ground, perfectly pressed, perfectly frothed, perfectly made coffee. They are serious about their coffee & it's amazing. I've crossed the line & now feel a bit off when I don't get my cup. I'm a grown up. I'm the grown up I looked at when I was a kid and wondered why or how they could drink so much of that no good stuff. Funny.

Not only is the coffee here quite grand, but the cafe's are also very much a staple to the culture in this city. Cafe's are to Wellington what Pizza spots are to Chicago. You don't go to Chicago and not get a famous slice of chicago style pizza. Just the same, you wouldn't come to Wellington and not indulge in the coffee. Unlike back home where there's a Starbucks nearly every 10 steps...there are only 3 (that I know of or have seen) in this entire city. They just aren't up to par and I'm pretty sure that most of their customers are school kids getting Frapp's and tourists who don't know any better.

The menu's are simple...notice in one of the shots below a list of most popular coffee's. Flat White's are my favorite. Sometimes they come in glasses, and sometimes in bowls (for the American visitors...ha). But the standard is just a regular little mug with a moderate portion. Just right. They also roast most of their coffee beans right in the city and a lot of the cafe's are fair trade friendly. Major plus.

I've started my coffee addiction at the top and I think I may have, by default, become a bit of a coffee snob. In a nice way, of course.


Saw this in the bathroom at one of my fave
cafe's. I just love it so I wanted to share...