I haven’t been very good at keeping up with this blog over the last few months. I considered scrapping the whole thing all together and focusing on my Vegan Blog instead but decided at the last minute to keep it up and running. I’ve broken up with so many online journals over the years and have always regretted not keeping them going so I’m going to work through the lack of motivation and see where we end up.

We had some visitors from Perth here with us this week and it’s been really lovely. It’s really nice to live somewhere that people actually want to come and visit, we are so lucky to live in this glorious holiday destination, it’s so easy to forget. Anyway, Amy and Conrad arrived on Tuesday afternoon in Queenstown and we had dinner and coffees and caught up after over a year of not seeing one another. It was fabulous to sit in my favourite coffee shop with actual people, instead of just sitting with my head in a book like I usually do. They slept in town and explored the city for a couple of nights before heading out to our little house by the lake.

They stayed here two nights, and didn’t once complain about the smorgasbord of vegan food we had organised for them.. which was a relief, it can be a little intimidating inviting omnivores to stay! After two days here we headed off on a little road trip together to explore some parts of the South Island. Last night we stayed at a great little place in Te Anau. We explored Milford Sound by day and by night we ate Italian food and watched dodgy old bond movies on telly. This morning we ate breakfast in a local bakery and then they drove off into the sunset, continuing on their adventure and leaving me here, waving frantically from my deck as they sailed away.

The house feels strangely quiet now that they are gone, but it makes me even more excited for our next set of guests who are arriving in May! Anyone else want to visit us? While I will feed you vegan food, I promise not to attempt a conversion of your meat eating ways (although Amy and Conrad DID depart as new recruits to the vegetarian lifestyle, I promise, I had nothing to do with it!).

Here are some pics of the mini adventure:







Advertisements

I’m very excited today, I am IN FLOW, totally focussed on researching and planning my upcoming trip to India. My very wonderful friend Phi has once again astounded us with his generosity and, as an early 30th birthday present for the two of us, has funded (with his frequent flyer points) a very fabulous trip to India in April of next year. I think everyone needs a friend like Phi.. and not just because he’ll fly you to India for your 30th birthday!

I’m very very super excited about it, especially since I have had an imaginary India itinerary in my head since 2005 when our backpacking trip came to shuttering halt in Vietnam when we realised that we had run out of money and had to come home (I am way too much of a sucker to have ever learned how to successfully barter, and I kept giving all our money away to grubby children and poverty stricken schools!).

I am also excited because it means I will be able to cross two very big things off my list:

#29. Visit at least one new country
and
#65. Celebrate my 30th birthday by doing something fabulous

Technically my birthday is at the end of March, and we aren’t flying out until April 7th, but I’m still going to count it because it IS a birthday present, and we would have been in India for my actual birthday, except Luke has to work over the Easter long weekend.

So, now I am in the zone planning and researching and getting all excited about all the things we will see. I think I actually enjoy the planning of our holidays as much as I enjoy the actual holidays, I’m strange like that I guess. I’m very excited to be dusting off our backpacks and money wallets and heading back out into the big bad world. I only wish it could be longer than 3 weeks!

So, who among my beloved readers has been to India? Any?
If so, tell me all about it! Where should I go? What should I avoid? What did you love? Tell me everything!

 

PHOTO CREDITS TO LONELY PLANET

I was thinking yesterday about my 101/1001 list and how unmotivated I’ve been lately with crossing things off. Admittedly I have been working pretty hard on my NaNoWrimo – which is number 48 – and that definitely counts for something, but I thought it was about time that I took a stab at something else on the list. So, early this morning, just before 2am, which is about the time that Luke and I are starting to think about going to bed, we decided to take a drive to Dunedin and watch the sunrise at the beach.

Watching a sunrise was one of the things on the list but I also had to visit the beach one more time before I could cross number 42 (visit the ocean at least four times) so we decided we may as well cross both of them off in one go. I frantically made up some roadtrip CDs, grabbed T’s work in progress CD, a picnic blanket, some water, and my book, and off we went.

For those of you who don’t know New Zealand, I’ve attached a map so you can see just how much of the country we covered. We got home about an hour ago, so we actually covered this distance twice today:

Picture 1

The sunrise itself was pretty disappointing, after driving all through the night, chugging down Red-bulls and singing (badly) to keep ourselves awake we arrived at the beach to discover POURING rain and freezing cold gale force winds. It was so cold that my feet are STILL thawing out 10 hours later. So, we snapped some photos to prove we were there and watched the sunrise from the warmth of the car. We explored the city for a couple of hours, then had some breakfast at a local vegan cafe (Why don’t we have one of those in Queenstown?) did some op shopping, and then drove home again. We had beautiful weather on the way home which was nice after the freezing rain in the morning. It was a really great day, but now I am exhausted, so instead of telling you about it, I’m just going to post some pictures!

IMG_0419

IMG_0468

IMG_0522

IMG_0505

IMG_0437

IMG_0451

IMG_0459

IMG_0533

IMG_0535

IMG_0545

IMG_0599

IMG_0610

IMG_0611

IMG_0630

IMG_0632

IMG_0634

IMG_0659

IMG_0676

IMG_0682

IMG_0699

This one’s for you Sharni!!

sharni

And home sweet home

IMG_0713

So, that is two more things crossed off my 101/1001 list, even though technically we didn’t see the sun actually rise, because it was behind clouds, I’m still counting it, because we did watch the night turn into day, so I think that counts!

I’ve also crossed off number 13 on the list, which was to have 101 vegan meals, because as of three days ago I’m officially 100% vegan. I’ve been vegetarian for a few years now, but I have been eating vegan 95% of the time, it got to the point last week where I realised that I was hanging onto cheese and chocolate as a bit of a crutch, so I’ve eliminated them from my diet completely (except dark vegan chocolate!) and from here on in I won’t be eating any animal products whatsoever. It’s quite a feat! You never really realise how many things have animal products in them, today on the way home I picked up a packet of Salt and Vinegar chips only to realise they had milk in them! I looked through every single chip flavour in the place, and in the end the only one that was vegan was the plain salt.. very strange!

Anyway, that’s news from me. I haven’t slept in 30 hours so I’m going to bed!!

It’s Monday morning and I’m back at work, though the countdown has begun (5 weeks!) which makes it easier to bear. I had a really wonderful weekend, Saturday in particular was one of those perfect kind of days where everything seems right with the world.

On Friday night I met M & B for dinner in the city, we ate vegetarian food at Gopals on Swanston Street, saucy Kofta balls and rice with loads of salad. One of the nicest things about it was the fact that when we hugged goodbye at the end of the night, I wasn’t actually saying goodbye, which is usually the case after dinner with these two, usually I’m in town for a day or two, or they are in Sydney for the weekend, we eat a meal, fall in love with our friendship all over again, plan to change the world, or move into a commune together, and then go our separate ways. This time we said goodbye with a carefree hug and kiss on the cheek because we would be seeing each other the following day. What a wonderful feeling that was.

Friday night I spent some time of the phone with my lovely husband who was at home in our furnitureless house (what a lonely image), watched a movie on my laptop (Swing Vote – surprisingly enjoyable), and finished off ‘The Reader’ which I loved – and which was also one of the books on #60 of my 101/1001 list (1o1 books I own that I haven’t yet read) so I was able to cross another thing off there, then I fell asleep

I slept well in the hotel bed, especially in comparison to my previous night on the floor at home, and woke up to an sms from the lovely Chris telling me he’d meet me at ‘the clocks’ at midday.

We met under the clocks – he was early, I love that about him – and we hugged hello, tightly, like old friends, he grabbed my dreadlocks and flapped them around “they look great!” he said and I basked in the thrill of seeing him again. We walked to Degraves Street and he bought us some take away coffees, and then we walked. We walked most of the day, through the streets in the sunshine, talking and laughing and smoking (well he smoked). We went to the Eureka Tower, which was still being built when I left Melbourne. He took me to the viewing deck and we wandered around drinking it all in, he pointed out landmarks as we wandered and talked. He took me out onto The Edge – a glass viewing booth 88 floors up which creaks and groans and shakes as if at any moment you will fall into the streets below, it was scary and thrilling at once. After The Edge, we had coffee in the sun and looked out over Melbourne – one of our shared loves. Once we were back on solid ground, we caught a tram to St Kilda and had lunch, minestrone and gnocchi, a table for two, we ate outside – another tick off my list for #99 – and then walked along the beach (another one for numbers 9 + 42). We caught a tram back to the city, walked through the streets in search of more coffee and ended up back in my hotel room. Totally innocent of course. Five hours we spent together and it was really just perfect. We laughed so much, we shared some secrets and sad news, we confided in each other and joked at each others expense. Sometimes we stood close enough that his arm rested against mine. We took photos of our various reflections, in the windows at Eureka so it looked like we were floating through the air outside, in domed mirrors designed to save cars from precarious corners. We laughed at our differences, me with my impulsive moves and hairbrained schemes, him with his order and neatness and control. When we said goodbye he hugged me tightly and then he was gone, him back to his world and me back to mine.

That night I met with the gang for dumplings and beers. We ate at Camy’s where the waiters yelled at us for taking too long to order and refused to bring us menus. It used to be my favourite spot, but the service was just atrocious! It was kind of hilarious though too, when we were being scolded by the waiter like kindergarten children, or when one of us ordered a beer and they walked away in a huff and then came back and slammed a beer on the table and stalked off without waiting for anyone else to order, which just meant they had to keep coming back. The dumplings were as good as I remember though, and there was a queue out the door and into the alleyway beyond, so I guess they can afford to be rude. We ended up getting kicked out the second the last dumpling past our lips, “we need the table!” they shouted at us and shooed us out the door.

From there we went to Section 8, a funky little bar/carpark next door to Camy’s which is a newish edition to the Melbourne scene (this just means it arrived since I moved away). It is basically a fenced off parking lot with a bar in the corner (nice way to get around the non smoking laws), filled with stacked pallets (for seats) and graffitti and trees. The music was excellent, the seats were surprisingly comfortable and I felt surprisingly in my element there despite the fact that I’m essentially just a loved up housewife these days and rarely go out. We spent hours there huddled in our little corner booth under the gas heaters, smoking and drinking and bopping and laughing at the world. It was lovely and wonderful and excellent. I cuddled with the gay boys, laughed with old friends about the ridiculousness of our youth, planned future weddings, pep talked a friend going overseas for the first time, encouraged illicit lesbian affairs, discussed the effects of ‘teeny weenie willies’ and other such humiliating sexual experiences, the list goes on. One by one my friends slowly trickled away and soon it was just D and I bopping along to Michael Jackson tunes and having deep and meaningfuls until the early hours of the morning. Later on, once it was ‘that’ time of night when the boys in the start hitting on everything that moved we left our cozy little booth and wandered into the alleyway and walked home (one married woman and one funky little lesbian does not make a good pick up opportunity make). She dropped me off at my hotel and wandered on home and that was that. I couldn’t sleep for a long time after I got home – most likely all those coffee’s I’d consumed with Chris since I am normally a coffee non drinker. I called my husband, waking him from his sleep, and rambled to him for a while about our friends and the day I’d had, but eventually he went back to sleep and I was left in my hotel room on my own to ponder my day.

Sunday wasn’t such a wonderful day, in fact after only getting a couple of hours of sleep I woke up with a nasty headache (though I only had half of one alcoholic drink so who knows why!). I packed my things and trudged my way to the airport where I spent the day reading my book (The White Tiger – very good, but unfortunately not on any of my lists so I can’t cross it off!) and waiting for my flight. Eventually, after 6 hours at the airport, I got on a flight and headed on home. My favourite thing to do on a plane is watch the other travellers as they file in and pick the people I’d like to be friends with; the boy with the top hat and the sparkly red shoes, the girl with the purple dreadlocks almost to her knees, the man with the swirly tattoos all down his arms and the backs of his hands, the woman who is lost in her own thoughts and has a secret little smile in the corner of her mouth. Last night though there were suprisingly few, perhaps I was just too tired.

There is something really wonderful about coming to Melbourne. I find it so empowering to return here year after year. Though I only lived here for 5 years, it feels like home. Right now I’m holed up in my hotel room, a little seedy, with a view of another persons window less than a metre from mine, but just a few steps from degraves street – the hip coffee hub of town – and just a few minutes walk from ‘the clocks’ at Flinders Street Station, the ‘meeting place’ for friends and lovers alike.

Although I lived here for such a short time, those years were so filled with life. My Melbourne years were very much my ‘coming of age’ years and I will always treasure them. Most of my current day friends are friends I met through my first Melbourne job where I was receptionist in an international student accommodation building for 2.5 years. I still have friends all over the world from that job, not to mention that I met my 3 closest friends in those walls (room 519!). Of the 20 guests at my wedding, all but seven of them could be traced back to that job, and the people I met there.. in fact if I had never met them, I wouldn’t have met my husband. How different life would have been without that job.

When I first moved here I was running away from my small town upbringing, I craved the anonymity of a big city, the freedom to discover myself without a whole town watching. I moved here with my friend K and her 3 year old son D. I’ve no idea why they agreed to come with me but I’m so thrilled that they did. We shared a house in the suburbs our first year here, when I wasn’t working nights, or studying at TAFE, I would come home and read bedtime stories to D and he would fall asleep in my arms. But I was working in the city, and studying full time as well and making new friends in town and K was feeling abandoned. When our lease came up for renewal K decided to move in with her folks and so I moved out on my own in Richmond into a tiny flat in a crumbly old building. I loved that flat and it became the scene for many a party over the next few years. What started out as just my little place turned into the crash pad for a cast of thousands, soon there were three of us living there full time (the two gals from 519 and I) and various boyfriends and friends and interstate visitors pulling up a patch of floor whenever they needed to. There was always people, and music, and drinking and love in those four walls. The three of us – three girls, all out of towners and the very best of friends – were inseparable, we did almost everything together, and the times that we weren’t together we would be texting each other frantically about whatever it was we were doing. We were so close that when they went home to Perth for summer holidays, I would go with them, meeting their parents, partying with their school friends. It was heaven.

These days the three of us live in three different states. We see each other once or twice a year if we are lucky, though I still consider them my very best friends. One of us is married with two young daughters, it’s incredible to believe that we were once these three young girls, so lost and trusting and full of life, living at full speed every single day, drunk on freedom and passion and $5 bottles of pink ‘champagne’.

So coming into Melbourne – the skybus trip from the airport to Spencer St station specifically – brings back so much of that for me. Not to mention the years that came after, the early years before my husband was my husband and was just the cute boy I had a crush on, Melbourne was the scene for the first couple of dizzying years of our relationship when we were so desperately in love and lust and totally intoxicated with each other. Our first home together was a high rise apartment with city views which we shared with various people from the big hearted pommie boy stoner turned marathon runner to the crazy but lovable psycho girl and her equally crazy (but remarkably less lovable) boyfriend who would scream at each other in massive arguements long into the night. The parties we had there, with countless people smoking and drinking on our ginormous balcony – almost as big as and running for the entire length of the apartment, New Years parties, Australia Day parties, Orphan Christmasses for the people we knew whos families were a world away, or not worth visiting; Birthday parties and farewell parties and ‘oh look, I got a great deal on ecstacy’ parties.

My life here was always so varied and interesting, from drinking competitions with the USA frat boys to dancing up a storm in a dark and smoky goth club, my Melbourne years shaped me in a way that no other phase of my life has to date and I think that no matter where I go, no matter how many cities I live in or countries I move to, I will always think of Melbourne as my true home.

And what better place to do number 12 on my list “take a trip by myself”. I have left hubby at home for this little holiday, choosing to explore the Melbourne of my past without him. I’m here to eat at my favourite restaurants, meet with old friends, and wander the streets and I reminisce about my history here. It feels good to be here on my own, free to do as I please, and free too, to miss him a little as I go about my day, I think that’s so important in a marriage, to long for each other a little, it makes going home to him something to be treasure just a little bit more.

I am not one to shy away from a challenge so I was pretty pleased to discover the Blog This website through another blogger (The Lovely Leila). I suspect this is just going to become another way for me to procrastinate – if you know anything about me, you will know that when it comes to procrastination I need no assistance! – but I’m going to give it a go anyway.

Here is the challenge:

Everyone loves Holidays. Everyone has had a holiday – be it a great big backpacking adventure, a luxury weekend away,a caravan trek as a kid with the family taking in Big Bananas, Big Prawns, Big Pineapples et al, Camping in the neighbours yard under the stars for a few nights. Elaborately planned holidays, impromptu ‘let’s get out of here’ holidays. Blog about a holiday you’ve had that stands out – adventure, relaxation, family, friends, disaster, hilarious events! Who were you with? Where did you go? What made it so memorable? Share a photo if you want!

I am a huge fan of holidays. My friends are always picking on me about the fact that I am either on holiday or planning my next one and they are mostly right. As I type this I have 4 holidays ‘on the go’ in my planning book; The ultimate year long campervan adventure around Australia, The spiritual journey through Peru, The whirlwind backpacking adventure through India and Nepal, and the foodie paradise European jaunt. I’m hoping that at least two of them will happen in the next 48 months, and I expect that one – either India/Nepal or Peru – will be the backdrop for my 30th birthday next year, fingers crossed anyway!

It’s hard for me to pick a holiday to write about, because each holiday holds such special meaning for me and each of them has shaped me in some way. My first holiday with my husband (back when he was just ‘that cute boy I like’) where we quit our jobs and packed our lives into his car and spent 4 weeks driving from Melbourne to Perth and camping on the side of the road, before the car broke down in the desert leaving us stranded. My first time overseas – Christmas bungee jumping and drinking beer in Bali. ‘Finding myself’ by spending six months backpacking through South East Asia. Long weekends of foodie bliss in Melbourne. Sweltering summers filled with parties and drama with my Perth crew. Exploring rural Vietnam on the back of a motorcycle. Skydiving weekends in Temora NSW (lol – not the best holiday destination, I wouldn’t recommend it).. the list goes on, and they have all stood out, for some reason or another. Friendships were forged, memories made, heartbreak witnessed.. there was adventure and discovery and wonder.

I guess the most special holiday – of recent times anyway – would have to be my wedding and honeymoon earlier this year, it had everything: six weeks, 3 countries, family, friends, luxury, fun, disaster:

One of the problems with being a nomad, is that it involves a lot of leaving people behind, you spend a lot of your time saying goodbye. Because of that, getting married was very much about being able to get all the people we love in one place at one time. It seemed silly to have everyone travel to Sydney for the day, when we could travel somewhere new and interesting and since the (now) husband and I love to travel we decided that we would choose somewhere that none of us had been before to have our wedding. We decided, in the end, on sweltering Far North QLD, specifically the Daintree Rainforest. Our friends and family flew from all over the country and we all spent the week before the wedding in Port Douglas, drinking and eating our days away, lazing by the pool, having nanna naps in the afternoons. Each morning we would meet for breakfast in the hotel restaurant, dragging tables across the room to form an island where we would kiss each other good morning and eat toast and eggs while comparing hangovers and planning the day ahead. During the days we broke up into groups and did various activities, we scuba dived the Great Barrier Reef, went whitewater rafting, scoured markets by the water, did road trips through the cane fields and rainforests, had massages and facials, went shopping. It was wonderful.

The wedding itself was perfect, the setting was beautiful, and the whole day was lovely. Having our closest friends and family by our side, our short – but lovely – 4 minute ceremony, exchanging rings, the nerves and excitement, the ridiculous music requests at the reception, the food, our friend’s altered tuxedo, Mum walking me down the aisle, everything about it was exactly what we hoped for. Well except for the part where I cried all the way down the aisle, that was just embarrassing!

The morning after the wedding running on 3 hours sleep, my new husband and I woke up well before dawn and drove from our beautiful cabin in the rainforest along the windy coastal road to the Cairns airport. It was steamy, even though the sun was still 2 hours from rising, we drove with the air conditioner on full. We flew from Cairns to Sydney, caught a train to transfer us between terminals before getting on a flight to Fiji. Our first night we spend on Nadi mainland – we were exhausted and there was no point wasting a night at our super expensive resort when we had arrived so late and were so beat – but somehow there had been a miscommunication with the hotel and they had lost our booking. Luckily people tend to be extra nice to honeymooners and we managed to get a room where we promptly fell asleep.. how romantic!

The next morning we caught a bus to Denarau, spent an hour on the ferry and then were whisked from the ferry to our new – very luxurious – resort in a tiny little boat with an outboard motor. The Fijian men, shiny and smiling, pointed out parts of the island as we approached, the sun was shining, everything radiated with beauty.. it was like a brochure. The water was so clear we could see the colourful fish swimming along side the boat. We arrived at the resort and it was like the whole place existed just for us. A band met us at the pier singing the ‘welcome song’ and we were greeted with cocktails and ferried to the restaurant where we were placed in a quiet corner and bought the lunch menus. I’m ashamed to admit how much we paid for this holiday, I can’t even think about it without feeling overwhelmed but it was worth it for the special touches, like the personal menu they made up for me when they realised I was vegetarian, the chef created it specially for me when we arrived and a new one was created for me each morning. We were taken to our room – in a golf buggy – a huge and beautiful bure set right on the beach, with our own private plunge pool, a day bed set up with champagne and strawberries.. what bliss!

We spent 3 incredible days, eating unimaginably good meals, stuffing ourselves silly – huge buffets for breakfast, 3 course lunches, 4 course dinners. We had massages and walked along the beach at sunset, ate warm cookies delivered in the afternoon by the restaurant staff. It was absolute heaven.. until the rain came.

I have never seen anything like it, I was sure that the roof was going to fly off our Bure at any moment. Coconuts flew from trees and crashed on the ground, branches fell, waves crashed so ferociously that I feared we would be swept away. We were on the edge of a cyclone, though we didn’t know it at the time – no TVs in paradise. Then, as if the weather wasn’t bad enough, I got sick from the water, I couldn’t get out bed, except to crawl the bathroom and back. Eating was out of the question. I spent 2 days lying in bed moaning and listening to the rain and the wind. On the third day the manager of the hotel came and knocked on our door, worse weather was on the way, we were being evacuated. They gave us 20 minutes to pack our things but I was still sick and I hadn’t eaten in days so hubby did all the work. They wrapped our bags in big black garbage bags and off we went, huddling under a tiny umbrella as we rushed to the pick up point. They piled us into a tiny little boat with a tarp overhead (you think I’m making this up don’t you?) and we climbed aboard. They started her up and took us out into open water. It was black and raining, the wind howled and our little boat rocked and pitched. I watched the lightening in the distance and wondered if this was how I was going to die. I fought back nausea – from my illness as much as motion sickness – and waited. We sat there like that – our shiny Fijian men now as solemn as we were – for over an hour while we waited for the ferry to come and pick us up. I could have cried with relief when I saw it.

All the islands had been evacuated so the ferry was filled to the brim with soggy tourists, I briefly wondered what we would do if the ferry sank, we were clearly over capacity. In my mind I saw the news story complete with crash footage but I was too exhausted to dwell on it. I found a dry spot in the corner of the ferry where the bags were stowed and sat down – I couldn’t have stayed standing if I tried – I closed my eyes and waited. After what seemed like hours the ferry docked back at Denarau. I’d never been so happy to see dry land – even if it did seem soggier than expected. We picked up our bags and started heading to where we could get a taxi and find the hotel which the guys at the resort had booked for us in advance but as we turned a corner we saw hundreds of tourists milling about looking worried. A man – Australian – stood up on a box and shouted for us all to be quiet. He told us that Fiji had been hit by the worse storms in 20 years and that Nadi was completely flooded. He told us that there was no way off Denarau, that he didn’t know how long it would take for the flood waters to recede, that all the accommodation was already booked and that if you didn’thave accommodation you would have to sleep where you stood. I sent up a quick thank you to the gods of likuliku for having the foresight to book us somewhere in advance (and sent them a huge tip once we were home safe and sound) and got bundled into a taxi who took us to our hotel. It was more like a disaster zone than a resort, filled with worried locals who had been working and unable to get home for 3 days straight, and tourists wondering if they would ever get dry again. We were still drenched from the adventure in the little boat and we had to wait 2 hours for our room to be ready but we didn’t care.

When finally we got to our room we ordered room service (steamed vegetables for the sick girl), had showers and hung our clothes around the room to dry before falling into a catatonic sleep – what a day! The next day we woke up to find a note slid under our door from the management of the hotel. They still didn’t know when the roads would be opened. They had no way of getting fresh food to the hotel, we were on food restrictions until further notice, no more room service, instead they were having 2 buffets in the restaurant one at lunch and one at dinnertime using whatever provisions they had. I survived the next few days on mashed potatos and bread rolls – sometimes being a vegetarian can be very inconvenient and this was one of those times – practically everything on offer had some kind of meat in it. I was getting pretty weak after my illness and not eating for days and I briefly considered eating some chicken stirfry for the protein but chickened (haha) out when it came time to actually eat it. I couldn’t bring myself to put the meat in my mouth – I was feeling sick anyway and idea of eating meat was making it worse so I stuck with the bread rolls and hoped that we would get out soon. We stashed bottles of water in our backpacks from the mini bar and the shop downstairs just in case things got worse.

After 3 nights at the hotel we got notice that the roads were open and that although it wasn’t completely safe yet more rain was expected so if we wanted out we should get out now. Our flight wasn’t until the next day, but we didn’t want to risk getting stranded again so we made a break for it, even though it would mean spending a night at the airport. Driving through Nadi was devestating, the town was in tatters, and still very much submerged. The whole place was littered with rubbish and bits of houses and trees. Peoples homes were destroyed, schools in pieces. It was like a war zone – a wet one. We made it to the airport in one piece and settled in for the long wait until our flight the next day.. for 30 hours we waited and then finally we were on our way home. Well technically we were on our way to New Zealand where the second part of our honeymoon started, but you get the drift.

The one thing I can say, is that through it all the Fijian people were amazing, they were so considerate and wonderful to us. These people were watching their homes get destroyed, they were cut of from family and friends and not once did anyone treat us with impatience or rudeness. They were truly wonderful, though that isn’t really enough to convince me to visit the country again. The next phase of our honeymoon was really great, it was that trip that convinced us to make the move to New Zealand full time (though, I’m willing to concede that maybe it was just so great in comparison!). But I have to admit that I am still a little traumatised by bad weather, if I wake up in the middle of the night and it’s particularly rainy my heartrate raises a little, and after that holiday I have changed my ‘ideal home’ plans, before Fiji I always thought it would be so beautiful to live right on the beach like that, but now I realise that the ocean can be a very scary place and that the sound of waves crashing on the shore can be as terrifying as it is relaxing.

There are some people who have heard the story of our honeymoon and feel so sorry for us, I’m sure that some of them even think it is a sign of bad juju in our marriage but I feel quite the opposite. I figure if we can survive something like that in the first week of our married life then we can survive anything. And truly it really was a wonderful feeling to know that no matter what was thrown at me that week, my wonderful husband was right by my side holding my hand and carrying my bags and making sure that I was going to be okay. That’s a pretty great feeling.

Here is a bit of a photo montage of the holiday
(NB: the photos of the wedding day were taken by Shaun at Port Douglas Photography).

PC270004

PC280065

P1030001

-44

-366

-420

-462

-517

P1060049

P1060053

P1100050

10012009(001)

P1130007

P1130003

P1130009

So hubby has headed off for a job interview and I’m camped out in our giant bean bag in the loungeroom listening to my favourite songs and waiting for Ben to come online so we can chat.

The job thing is a bit tricky, he is looking for a kind of in between job, next week is the last week at his current job which he quit and gave notice for before we decided that we were going to move to New Zealand, so now he needs to find a job for the time before we move which – once we come back from our holiday – is only going to be 6 or so weeks.

The holiday was also something we planned before we decided to move, but I’m excited about it none the less, we’re flying over to NZ for 10 days. It will be the first time we will see the house we’ve rented in person, which is exciting, and also a little terrifying considering we have signed a 12 month lease and paid a bunch of money for a house we have only seen pictures of. We’ll also get the chance to see some of the sites we didn’t get a chance to see last time we were on the South Island in January. I’m really hoping that we have a great time. We have only been to New Zealand once before and the decision to pack up our lives and move there was a pretty spontaneous one so hopefully the Queenstown area is as beautiful as we remember.

Anyway, instead of sitting here in our giant beanbag and waiting for Ben to come online so we can chat I should really be cleaning our house so that the removalist company to come in and do a survey and give us a quote for the move.. so maybe I’ll go ahead and do that.. before I sign off though, some photos of our NZ house which we’ll be seeing in person in about 10 days: