So here it goes.
And since drinking coffee at the Staff Club ranks up there as one of my favorite past-times, this seems like a good time to comment on NZ's coffee. It's delicious. And here's my take on it. Coffee culture in NZ is relatively new. So when they did "import" it - they did so directly from Europe. You'll pay more for it, but the espresso is strong and the milk is fresh, local and creamy. It seems all Americans go through withdrawal without a single pot of drip coffee in sight in NZ. But give it time. You will come around to see the magnificence of having a delicious espresso drink less often. Quality over quantity. (And if you order a "long black with a side of cold milk" then you'll just about have yourself an Americano with cream. Yum.)
These next few photos depict the art of road-tripping in NZ. James and I both missed jumping into the car and going for a long drive while we were in Alaska these last two years. The longest road in Juneau is just 47 miles long. There are no roads in and out of Juneau and that, in my opinion, is a critical factor in its unique character. But it is a bit clausterphobic at times. In NZ, we hit the road every few weekends - for any reason at all. To see friends, to camp, to hike, to bike, to swim or ski. These are photos of our first "weekend away" upon returning to NZ.
|A typical view...|
|Changing scenery and lighting as the day goes on.|
The next day, we get to do one of our favorite things in NZ: buy a few local commodities along the roadside. This part of the road crosses the famous Otago Rail Trail - an old railroad track that has been turned into a gravel cycling track. Right at this juncture, this family sells the honey they make right there from their home. It's delicious. We bought 2 kg's. Later in the day we also buy free range eggs from someone else's home. Soon, we'll be able to by all sorts of stone-fruits along the way too.
Back home again...
Though it's only the beginning of summer, we're preparing for winter. Well, James is anyway, and thank god for that. He gets wood from the trees on his parents farm and brings the rounds to our house. He's been chopping wood on and off for weeks, with a constant grin. What is it about boys and chopping wood? He has missed wood-chopping while we've been living in an Alaskan apartment with electric heaters! He's stacking it here against the sunniest side of the house to dry out a bit before we'll restack it in our leaky old woodshed. Ha. Unlike most places in America, and certainly unlike the way I personally grew up, this is our main form of heating here. We also now have a heat pump but energy is expensive and the burnable kind, thanks to his parents farm, is free. It's been a learning experience for me, to have to think so consciously about producing and maintaining a warm living space. But that's enough commentary for now because home-heating in NZ is definitely a big enough topic for its own blog entry another time!
The sight of the USPS label in the postbox or at our doorstep is such a welcome sign. These are boxes full of James' tools that arrived just a few weeks after I did, back in NZ. When the local courier pulls into our cul-de-sac, he could be going to any number of houses with whatever parcel he's delivering. But when I see the blue and red USPS label, I know it's for me. It feels like a piece of home has been shipped to my doorstep. Well, it has! If I get this excited over the sight of a box or envelop arriving from America, just imagine how excited I get when I see what's actually inside!!