Easter bunnies and morning sunbeams

Hey everybody!

SOmetimes I wonder how many people actually read my blog, but then again, I am writing first of all for myself. In five years time reading about my life in NZ (and elsewhere) will be an intense and nostalgic experience, but it will leave a smile on my face. These are memories I want to have on “paper”, written somewhere, retrievable.

Wohow it’s so sunny outside! A nice walk and grocery shopping at the market on the waterfront really makes your day. It was very windy though, the windiest day I’ve ever experienced in Welly so far. The ‘tents’ of the stands at the market were shaking so hard that at some point I almost thought they were going to fly away. People were holding on the poles in order to keep them on the ground, and a Japanese tourist was making a video of the whole thing of course.

Anyway, le’s carry on right where I left off: a few days before Easter time.

Friday, April 22 was a wonderful, sunny day (even though some friends of mine told me the opposite…I wonder whether there are two distinctive space/time dimensions in Welly). I went oout for a run along the waterfront, and instead of going back the way I had come from I decided to go all the way around Mt Victoria, running through Hataitai and arriving right behind my house. I brought my phone with me, in order to keep track of where I was and the rout to go (thanks Google maps!). Nonetheless, I managed to get lost in the forest on Mt Vic and what was supposed to be a nice morning run turned out to be a bit of a hike, for a total of 2 hours. My friend Marika is right when she says that I am a blind hamster..all I can do is laugh (both with and at myself), it was a pretty comic situation after all.

Anyway, on Sat morning Sarah and I took a bus to …. (no way I can remember such a complicated name), a little beach town, where some friends of hers had rented a house for Easter. We had brunch together (scrambled eggs, toasted bread, avocado, tomatoes, and bacon) and then took a walk on the seashore. It was cloudy and a bit cold, but nice overall.. a very relaxing day.

At about 4pm we took the bus back to Wellington, finished up packing, then Kris to picked us up and we drove to her parents’ home, in a little town about 30 min from Welly. We stopped at the supermarket and bought all sort of stuff, so much food (60% junkish and 40% healthy) for our week-end away. We had dinner at Kris’s parents and slept there, and on Sunday morning we left for Martinborough, a city in the Wairarapa region, about 2 hours from Wellington. We had rented a little villa close to the city center for one night, and the plan for the two following days was very simple: wine and relax.

The house was the cutest thing on earth, very rustic (see pictures), cozy, and warm. The owner had provided toilet paper, bed sheets, towels, and basic food (seasoning, coffee/tea and milk)..we brought the rest. Once we settled in and made tea, we realized that we were all extremely tired and abandoned the idea of going out that night, replacing it with a match of scrabble (or was it the following day?), reading, chatting, napping and eating lots of chocolate. Kris and I still made it to a winery, where we had some wine tasting, including a chocolate and blue cheese matching one. It was very intersting! I had never done any wine tastign before coming to NZ, and I am really starting to enjoy it (and to appreciate good wine).

On Monday, on our way home, we stopped in another winery for some more tasting, along with some bread with olive olil and seeds dip. So so good and genuine! I also made the acquaintace with one of the furriest and biggest cats I’ve ever met (see pics). It made me miss my fat Raja…prrrrrrr

After Easter break, we enjoyed another short week at work (only four days), which culminated with an office get together on Friday evening. Everybody was quite looking forward to it, because there hadn’t been an official Rugby New Zealand + NZ 2011 Office “drinks after work” get together in a while. I guess we were all also looking forward to an opportunity NOT to talk about work, and get to know one another a bit better outside of the usual working enviroment.

We went to Brujaus for a beer and nibbles (most of us took advantage of a coupon we had bought on one of those ‘one day deal’ websites), then picked up some ouf our colleagues at the Green Man, a sort of Irish pub (I’m saying sort of because it didn’t look soo soo Irish to me), and then, at about 11pm, we finally arrived at D.’s place, where we stayed until late, chatting with people we had never met before and with complete disregard of the Royal Wedding, which happened to be that same night (oh well, I recorded it and watched bits of the ceremony the following day). Andrea, a friend of my dad’s that is travelling throughout NZ, tagged along ad we all had lots of fun.

I have to admit, the following morning my head was hurting a little, but a nice chat with Sarah and some reading at the waterfront made everything alright.

Dinners, dinners, and mo’ dinners.

Last Sunday Andrea and another friend of mine, who lived for 2 and a half months in Busto Arsizio, came over for an Italian dinner. Andrea proved to be an excellent cook and made risotto with pears and gorgonzola cheese. It was EXCELLENT, and I was able to live off leftover salad/veggies and cheese for most of the following week.

Another event I had been looking forward to for weeks is the Flat dinner we had last Friday (two days ago). I made risotto with saffron and my flatmates made pizza. Guests brought booze and cake, and we all had a good time. I was looking forward to it because it was the first real flat dinner, with the 5 of us. In fact, Trelise, the 5th flatmate, had arrived on New Zealand on Monday, after spending 8 months in France.

I’ve been very lucky, both with the flat and with the flatmates. We all get along and, even though we have our separate lives, we all enjoy doing things together every once in a while, whether it is dinners, movies, or going out for a drink.

At the end of the month there will be ANOTHER dinner at a friend’s house. She’s a graphic designer and made beautiful invitations. Again, Italian dinner, but it’s going to be a bit more fancy than the one I had at my house. Well, a bit more organized at least, since there will be about 20-25 of us.

Talking about quality time, I had a couple of very random and pleasant afternoons with a friend of mine. They started off with a coffee in early afternoon and ended way beyond midnight. Nothing planned, just ideas and things coming up as the time went by. Yesterday we went to Te Papa museum for the exhibition of Brian Brake, a Kiwi photographer who traveled around the world in the 50s and 60s, taking pictures for international magazines as LIFE. The pictures he took in India, Japana nd New Zealand were particularly impressing, both for the subjects and for the technique, so detailed, so colorful, especially when taking into consideration that there were no digital cameras or sophisticated editing programs at that time.

I have so many things to say and write, every day is different, and every day deserves a special thought because it IS special, but it’s time to go out and find a coat (the weather is getting pretty cold here).

I want to say a special thank you to Lambton Harbour and to the Cook Strait. Every morning, on my way to work, I walk by the sea and the reflection of sunrays on the water, the breeze, the clean air, they give me put me in sucha  good mood, I feel at peace, and I walk into the office with the sensation of being in Heaven.

Peace

Benny

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