The Pleasure of Birding in New Zealand

two kaka playing

Before we moved to New Zealand, I never really paid too much mind to birds. Birds were just something that were there. Flying around in the sky at the edge of my mind.

When I think back on our year in Korea, I can’t even remember seeing any birds. Surely that can’t be true though. A whole country without any birds?!

Here in New Zealand, birds are impossible to ignore. For a start, they’re so colourful, so flamboyant. They prance around screaming, “Look at me! I’m fabulous!” You’re forced to stare and enjoy them.

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Why do People like Camping?

Camping out of a car in New Zealand.

So, you want to pack up all of our stuff? Nods head.
Sleep in a tent outside, even when we already have a perfectly comfortable bed inside?Nods head.
And be disconnected from our laptops for a whole five days? Nods head.

Camping. It has always been such a foreign concept to me. The idea doesn’t seem like the most tempting thing to do.

So why is it considered a vacation?
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A Short Letter to My Noisy Neighbours

A house in Wellington, New Zealand.

Dear Gay Guy Who Lives Upstairs,

It’s with much regret that I must inform you that you are not an owl. I’m sure this will come as some surprise to you. After all, you seem to spend the majority of your time hooting loudly. Still, from what I have seen, you don’t possess wings or feathers, so I assume you could try to spend a little less time shrieking.

It saddens me that the only way I can describe you is as “gay.” I don’t wish to make this about your sexuality. In fact, I don’t even really know if you’re gay. I’m just guessing. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve listened to you singing Disney songs at the top of your feminine lungs every day for the last 6 months. Or possibly because I can hear your high-heels stomping across my ceiling.

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Visiting Lake Waikaremoana in Te Urewera National Park

girl sitting on rock looking out on lake waikaremoana

Over the last few years, Jamie and I have started a tradition. Each year, between Christmas and New Year we’ll head off on a trip somewhere for a few days.

This year we decided to head to the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand’s North Island for a few days. We’re leaving the North Island soon and we’ve yet to travel up the east coast and knew this would be our only opportunity. We decided to spend a few nights of camping in Napier exploring the surrounding area. Then another few nights in what used to be Te Urewera National Park.

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The things I missed (and didn’t) about America while in Korea


Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, South Korea.

It seems like just yesterday I was counting down the days until we could leave South Korea. (Surprisingly it has already been nine months!) With the controlling head teacher, the disruptive kindergarten kids, and the very few breaks we had away from those aforementioned kids, I couldn’t wait to leave. I don’t know how I did it, but I somehow survived a year in the Land of the Morning Calm. Of course it wasn’t all that bad. In fact, there are things I have started to miss about my time in Korea.

And some, well, that are long forgotten about.

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The Bad Trip in Amsterdam Part 4: Visiting the Rijkmuseum

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 1895

This is part 4 in a series of posts about a trip to Amsterdam, part 3 can be found here.

Part 4: Visiting the Rijkmuseum

After my bad experience with an overdose of space cake, I decided to spend the rest of the trip sober. I never again wanted to be pushed towards the edge of madness by drugs.

We spent the rest of the trip cycling around the canals of Amsterdam, taking photos, looking in art galleries, relaxing in the park. My friend Chris, having experienced no negative side-effects from his own drug taking, continued to smoke for longer and longer each day.

Our aims for the trip drifted further apart. I now had little interest in drugs, only culture. Chris on the other hand was so stoned that nothing could interest him for more than 30 seconds.

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Wellington Walks: Somes Island

The East to West ferry docked at Queens Wharf in Wellington, New Zealand.

When I saw a for round-trip ferry tickets to Somes Island, I immediately bought it for Daniel and me. It has been on our list of places to visit since moving to Wellington.

Somes Island, also known as Matiu Island, sits in the Wellington Harbor. In fact, it’s so close to the city that I still had 3G on my phone. (This wasn’t the case for Kapiti Island.) But still far enough away to escape the sounds of the city.

somes island from mount kaukau wellington

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The Bad Trip in Amsterdam – Part 3: Finding God

blurred face

This is part 3 in a series of posts about a trip to Amsterdam, part 2 can be found here.

Part 3: Finding God

Falling back into the bed, the drugs took a stronger hold of me.

I was still somewhat aware of where I was – a clean modern room in one of Amsterdam’s nicest hotels. Yet, my arms couldn’t feel the softness of the sheets and my eyes couldn’t enjoy our view of the city. My head span, so I closed my eyes and lay, trying to focus on nothing.

Within moments my whole body started to shake, out of control. My limbs quivered back and forth and my teeth rattled. [Read more…]

The Bad Trip in Amsterdam – Part 2: Losing Control

Damrak Street during day Amsterdam

This is part 2 in a series of posts about a trip to Amsterdam, part 1 can be found here.

Part 2: Losing Control

If you ever have a good idea and it includes taking drugs, then stop. Take a moment to think. It’s not a good idea.

Our “good idea” was so perfect that it didn’t warrant discussion. Wake up, eat breakfast. Early morning joint. Head to a smart shop. Buy some magic mushrooms. Go to a coffee shop, another joint. Have lunch, then back to the hotel to take the mushrooms.

That was the plan. But it all went horribly wrong. [Read more…]

Wellington Walks: Whitireia Park

Another weekend, another walk. This time we decided to check out Whitireia Park located in Porirua, a 30 minute drive from Wellington city. Daniel must have picked this walk with me in mind because it was pretty damn short and easy. There were hardly any hills to walk up.

The beginning of the walk at Whitireia Park.

Although you would hardly notice, the path is shared with cyclists, pedestrians, and four-legged friends. One thing I love is that the trails in Wellington never seem to be filled with people. There is the occasional mountain biker zooming around the corner, but that’s usually it. Nice and quiet.

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