A Travellerspoint blog

Perhaps the longest blog in the history of time...

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Wow, have I got a crapload of stuff to talk about. Where better to start than the beginning...

Okay, so on Saturday the 31st, I had my last shift at “The Gables”. And thank God for that. It was also Aki’s, Rosie’s and Arnaud’s last shift. We went out to the Swordfish Club and the pub after work. Good times. Here’s a photo of me with Rosie and Aki:

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The next evening, we got to come into “The Gables” for dinner. Bernard treated us. I had a salad, panfried salmon and a tirimisu. It was all wonderful. We had a good time just hanging out and talking and it was so awesome to walk into that building knowing that we weren’t coming in there for work. It was a giant sigh of relief. YAY!!!

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That last one is with Bernard's friends, Oli and Nico. They've been friends for 10 years and they met up with Bernard in Russell to work at his restaurant. They are total sweethearts.

After dinner Aki and I walked home and I had to pack as I hadn’t done any of it at all. I figured it would be a late night anyway. I was surprised that all of my stuff still fit into my suitcase. Apart from some Christmas gifts, I really didn’t buy anything new so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. I still have a huge suitcase, though. But anyway. Aki and I had to get up at 5:30 that morning as our bus was leaving at 7:30. And it was the only one to Auckland so we had no choice. Suckage!!! But we did it anyway as we were happy to be leaving boring Russell. Our friend, Nick, picked us up from our flat and took us to the ferry. He’s a sweetheart. Got on the ferry, got off, got on the bus and headed to Auckland. It was so nice to see a big city when we finally got to the Auckland area. So we got off the bus, got our luggage and waited in the bus stop area only to find out that we were gonna get back on the same bus anyway so we didn’t have to even bother with taking all of our stuff off of it. Annoying!!! So we lugged our suitcases back on and got back on the bus. The Naked Bus buses are incredibly uncomfortable if you get an old one. So it was hard trying to take a nap on it. And we really wanted to considering we only got 2 hours of sleep. But eventually, you’re so tired that even if you aren’t comfortable you fall asleep anyway but you keep waking up every 10 minutes. Annoying, again. Then we got to a town called Hastings and it was there that we had to switch buses again because we were told that a Naked Bus somewhere else had broken down and was delaying everything and that they had to situate everyone and put them on other buses to get them where they needed to go. Total pain. So we had to switch buses again. Got to Rotorua about 2 hours after that and switched buses AGAIN. Twenty minutes into the drive, the emergency exit alarm starts going off by itself and won’t turn off. So the driver pulls to the side and calls up the dispatch center and then tells us that he’s ordered another bus to come out there and get us ‘cause he doesn’t want to take us to Taupo with the alarm going on and off ‘cause it would drive us and him crazy. By this point I was ready to commit suicide. I just wanted to get to a bed. But we had to switch buses yet again and within 45 minutes we had finally made it to Taupo. Oh, by the way, if you book a Naked Bus and the plate has this number...

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...I wouldn’t get on it. It’ll drive you nuts.

In Taupo, we stayed at “Urban Retreat Backpackers”. Pretty nice. The room was a bit small and hot but the hostel itself was nice and clean. Free internet. Always good. Aki and I just got our own twin room as we didn’t want to worry about sharing a room with strangers after 10 hours of traveling. Can’t be bothered. So we forked over the extra money for our own room. After a quick rest and a shower and all that good stuff, we went out to explore Taupo. Got something to eat and had some dinner. Took a few photos:

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Okay, just one photo.

That night we slept like babies. It was SO nice. The beds are really comfortable at that backpackers. We got up and went out to do some shopping and more exploring. I got a new pair of jeans for 25 bucks. WOO-HOO!!! That was nice. Had some Thai food for lunch. That was good. After about 5 hours of this and that, went back to the hostel, called my mother and then Aki and I took a nap. We woke up about 2 hours later and started to get ready to go out for a few drinks. It wasn’t really that busy in Taupo. To be fair, we were there at the beginning of the work week so I guess one shouldn’t expect it to be that busy anyway. We decided to go to the Base Backpackers bar called “Element Bar”. It’s quite nice there and they were playing really good music. We had a few drinks there and we met a few girls from Wales who were quite nice. After that we went to an Irish pub called “Mulligan’s” which was also quite nice. Went back to the backpacker’s afterwards and went to bed as both of us had to be up early.

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Aki had to leave at 9:45 a.m. and my bus didn’t leave until 1:45 in the afternoon so Aki and I said our goodbyes and I roamed around the town a bit more to kill some time. I was well ready to get on the bus and get the heck outta there. I was relieved to see my bus finally arrive and I was also relieved to see that it was a proper coach bus with reclining seats and air conditioning and all that wonderful new age stuff.

So, you would think I’d be able to get on the bus and just enjoy my ride to Wellington, but no. After leaving the stop the bus driver called me up front saying that he can’t find my reference number for my booking to Wellington and that he’s called the dispatch center and they have nothing with that number or any record of my name at all. He told me that I had to call Naked Bus ‘cause he works for a company that works alongside Naked Bus but is not employed by Naked Bus so it was my responsibility to get a hold of them and take care of the problem. ARGH!!! I had no number for Naked Bus and I didn’t have a print out of my ticket as Rowan didn’t own a printer and it said on the website that if I didn’t own a printer I could just write down the reference number and that would be good enough. So I had to text Rowan to ask her to look online to find the number for stupid Naked Bus. So, I get the number. I call it. It tells me “The number you have called is bad.” Lovely. Cheers. So since there was nothing I could do about it, I had to pay the walk-on fee of 60 dollars even though I had already paid for my stupid ticket. I was so enraged. I got the driver’s name and bus number and a receipt of my payment and I will be finding a way to get a hold of Naked Bus to make them refund my money as I don’t just have 60 dollars to throw away for nothing. Typing this up now gets me well angry all over again. But the bus driver was so nice and you could tell he felt bad about what happened. He said he was sorry but he had to do his job and I said it’s cool, I understand, blah, blah, blah.

Moving on...

The drive to Wellington was beautiful. Way different from the drive between Christchurch and Queenstown. I passed the mountain that they used for Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings:

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YAY!!! So awesome. When I finally arrived in Wellington it was a bit rainy but it was so cool to finally see the city. Especially since I’ve been wanting to go there for seven years now. When the bus came to my stop I got off to get my suitcase and this other girl asked the driver where BASE Backpackers was. I told her that I was going there as well and the driver said that if we wanted to wait, he’ll drop us off right in front as he parks the bus there over night. Perfect!!! So we got back on the bus and started to talk. Her name is Hannah and she’s from Newcastle, England. When we got to the Backpackers we found out that we were staying in the same dorm. That was really nice ‘cause then I wouldn’t be walking in there a complete stranger. We got to the room and there was two people from Ireland named Sean and Sinead, and a dude from Scotland named Ken. We all hit it off right away so that was really cool.

All the Base Backpacker’s Hostels have there own bars attached to the hostel itself and we decided to go check it out. The one here in Wellington is called “BASEment Bar”. It was really chill and they were playing really good music. Anyway, right before we were about to go down there, I realized that I had misplaced my card holder. It had my license, credit card, debit card and efptos card in it and I was so freaking out. I couldn’t find it at all so I went downstairs on to the internet to email my credit card company to cancel my credit card just in case it was stolen. I was so annoyed and aggravated and all that. I couldn’t believe the bad luck I was having that day. Oh, and then I also realized that I misplaced my key to the dorm which I put a twenty dollar deposit on. SO over it. By that point I didn’t care anymore and I said let’s just go out.

Out of all the BASE bars that I’ve been to this one is the best. Just me, Sinead and Hannah went out. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in one night. Hannah is a crack up. What’s the best way to describe her??? Alright, let’s just say that if Jack Black was a woman, it would be Hannah. She even makes faces like him and looks like him sometimes so they could be brother and sister. Some people might find that offensive but I actually think Jack Black is quite good looking.

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It was great fun. The guys missed out, if you ask me. Oh and I remembered a place that I forgot to look for my card holder and I went back up to the room to check and guess what??? There it was!!! I was so relieved. But now the REALLY annoying thing is, is since I reported it stolen it is canceled completely and they have to send me a new one. So first I have to wait for it to arrive in the states so my parents can then send it to me here. I am SO over it!!! Better safe than sorry but really, come on.

The next morning I got up early as I had an interview at 1:00 and I wanted to give myself enough time to get ready and to go find the place ‘cause it sounded confusing. (By the way, I also found my room key buried in my suitcase.) Everyone had gotten up early anyway as there was a parade they wanted to go see for the “New Zealand 7’s”. The “7’s” is a rugby tournament that takes place around this time once a year and apparently it’s a HUGE deal. It starts on a Thursday and that’s when they have the parade. Then Friday and Saturday is the tournament with celebrations ending the event on Saturday night. And during those two days everyone in Wellington dresses up. I don’t know where the whole thing happened where you had to have a costume but that’s what everyone does. And let me tell you, I saw some good ones. But more on that later.

When we were heading out, I told everyone to keep a look out for this restaurant that I was supposed to go to. While we were looking I received a call that I had just missed so I checked my voice mail. It was the guy that I was supposed to interview with that day. He was calling me to say that he had already hired all of his staff because they were already in town and he had to have his staff hired asap. He said I could still come in if I wanted but there wouldn’t be much point. You could tell he felt bad but whatever. So I get off the phone and I say “Well, it looks like I’m going to the parade with you guys”. In which case, I told them what happened and I was all “Whatever, who cares, let’s go have fun.” So we went to the parade. Here’s the photos I took:

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Those last 2 are Sean, Sinead and Hannah's travel buddies. You put them in a photos wherever you go traveling. I need to get myself one.

It was a good time. After that we headed back to the backpackers to get ourselves situated and figure out what we were gonna do next. Ken went out and got “7’s” tickets and came back and Hannah tripped out and said “Where did you get those?!?!?!” (She plays rugby back home and is well into it) He told her and I went with them so she could go buy herself some tickets. Just for something to do. Found some cool movie ads in the city:

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Took a few other photos as well:

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This sign was in the harbor but I have no idea what it means.
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This statue was made by Weta in memory of some dude.

I then asked if she would be down to see a film. “Slumdog Millionaire” was playing at the Embassy which is the theatre that had all the Lord of the Rings premieres!!!

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We texted Sean and Sinead to see if they wanted to go and they didn’t get back to us for awhile so we thought that maybe they didn’t want to go. But then we get a text an hour later and they had bought tickets and were already going in to the show thinking that we were doing the same. I told them that we were waiting for their response which is why we hadn’t gotten any tickets. And it was too late for us anyway as we were to far away from the theatre to get tickets in time for the show. Gutting, gutting. So they went anyway and they said it was really good so I’m excited to see it. Especially at the Embassy which is directly across the street from the Backpackers!!!

The next day, Sinead and Sean had to work (they are here on an internship) and Ken and Hannah were going to the “7’s” so I decided to explore the city a bit. Did I ever pick a good day to do that. It was the first day that all the Kiwi’s were out and about in costume. I saw some crazy costumes. Some of my favorites were a group of guys as the ninja turtles. And they weren’t just some home made crap costumes, people go all out for this they were REALLY good costumes. I saw a group of like 25 guys all dressed as Elmo:

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It was so funny. Whenever little kids were walking by they would wave at them and say in a high squeaky voice “Hello!!! Come and give Elmo a tickle!!!” Don’t know of that’s cute or scary but whatever. I kept running in to them all day and I couldn’t help but laugh every time. Sometimes they would sing the Elmo song that goes “This is a song, la, la, la, la, Elmo song!!!” SO FUNNY. I saw a group of people dressed up as the playing pieces from the SORRY! board game. That was creative. I saw a lot of Jokers and Supermans and Batmans. Later on when I met up with Sean and Sinead we ran in to some Nacho Libre’s:

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Those guys were hilarious. In fact, I saw them earlier in the day and they were some of the first costumes I saw. They were across the street from me and in front of me on my side of the street there were three dudes dressed as Spartans. The Spartans saw the Nacho Libre’s and went “Nachooooooooooooo!!!” and then the Nacho Libre’s yelled back “This is madness!!!”. Those who have seen “300” will know what I’m talking about. It was such a funny day. Saw lots of hippies with afro wigs. Oh, there were also a lot of Smurfs, too. Even Hannah and Ken dressed up before they went out. Hannah took the sheet off her bed to use as a toga:

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That’s the crap version. And here’s the not-so-crap version:

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And then here’s Ken and Hannah ready to go:

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Funny.

Later that evening when I met back up with Sean and Sinead we went for a walk on the waterfront. We ran into this group of people who looked like they were doing a show. It was these people dressed up as frogs and they started to sing and what not. I don’t know. Don’t ask. We had a hard time figuring it out ourselves.

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It was a good laugh, though. When we got back to the dorm I had another missed call and it was the dude who I was supposed to interview with the day before. He said he had someone drop out as they got another job that offered them more so there was a spot available. He said I could come in the next day and talk with him if I wanted. So that was nice of him to still keep me in mind.

Continued in Part 2... yes it's THAT long!!!

Posted by Squarabara 17:45 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Slight change of plans and a load of other crap...

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Hello faithful blog readers!!!

Since my last blog there's just been a slight change of plans. Aki will no longer be going with me to Wellington. Her poor grandmother is sick so she will be going back to Auckland in case she will have to fly home last minute. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers. She will still go with me to Taupo but instead of heading on to Wellington she will just take the bus back to Auckland. If things start looking better she will head back down to Wellington and get a hold of me. Let's hope for the best!!!

On a more positive note.....

I find myself surfing the net a lot more lately. Maybe 'cause I have an internet connection now, go figure. But anyway. Today I decided to see if the actor/writer Simon Pegg had an official website and he does. You can find it here: http://peggster.net/ I was very excited to find the following blog entry on the main news page:

"After months of speculation and bare faced denial, I can finally say yes, Nick and I will be appearing as the Thom(p)son Twins in Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's forthcoming motion capture adaptation of Tin Tin. It's been on the cards for ages but because it hadn't been announced by HQ, we couldn't really confirm it. It's weird when you have to be so clandestine about something essentially so ephemeral but I guess it comes down to making the announcement when the time was right and not simply because the scoop hounds are barking. I've actually been working on another movie for over a year now without my involvement being announced. There's even a trailer in theaters. I'll be able to tell you all about that soon. Just got to wait for the nod from the PR bods.
All this will in no way affect Paul. We are still due to start shooting in spring and our commitments to the quiffed, Belgian, boy reporter will be over for the time being by then. Nick and I are off to LA in a couple of weeks to start rehearsals. I'm really looking forward to working with Andy Serkis, who aside from being a prodigiously talented actor, is one of the nicest chaps you could ever wish to meet.

And in case you're wondering how on earth Nick and I are going to play virtually identical twins, as I said over on Peggster.net, let's not forget we will be working with the technology that transformed Mr. Serkis into a messed up hobbit and a 40 foot gorilla, two things which have coincidentally been used on occasion, to describe myself and Nick.

Hope 2009 is being good to everyone so far. And to our LA contingent, you will soon able to see Nick and I doing homoerotic work outs on Santa Monica beach.

Sxx"

How freaking awesome is that??? Why is it that all of my favorite people end up working together in some shape or form??? Now the only combination left would be Steven Spielberg with Ricky Gervais. A devoted Jewish man and an evolution believing atheist who shuns any type of Godly beings. I smell a sitcom!!! But for real, this is really cool. And random considering that I just got the "Spaced" series on DVD for Christmas (thanks, mom!!!) and have started to get back into Simon Pegg. Unreal.

Speaking of TV, I've mentioned before that New Zealand is a bit behind when it comes to American sitcoms. (So, in that case, no one mention ANYTHING about LOST until I have said that I've seen it. I don't want any spoilers!!!) We may not have season 5 of LOST yet, but New Zealand has been treated to the new MTV show "Paris Hilton's: My New BFF". You've got to be kidding. I saw it on the telly at work when I walked in for my shift. What a joke. One of the episodes, Paris sends them to an amusement park and she says "I have to see who looks the hottest upside down on a roller coaster ready to blow chunks." Are you for real??? What has American television come to??? We are so desperate for new material that we have to watch Paris Hilton pick out a new best friend??? Okay, one... whoever "wins" this "competition" will be seen with Paris for probably one week after it's done and then she/he will be old news. Two... all of those people are actors, and crappy ones at that. So none of it is real in the first place. Three... all the people on there are carbon copies of Paris but they threw in one ugly Asian girl to make it look like they were being fair at who they were choosing to be on the show. I'm tellin' you, my IQ was lowered from watching 5 minutes of that program. Stay away from it if you want to save brain cells. After work that night, when I got home the 2nd Pirates film was on. Normally I would've changed the channel or put in a DVD but because of the utter disgrace of a television program that was on earlier, I had no problem watching this film. At least you can say that they were being creative when they made this movie. And by creative, I mean the art department. Everything else about that film is crap. I feel about the Pirate sequels the way Star Wars fans feel about the prequels. One could also argue that they were being creative when they wrote the screenplay for it. Although they were probably shrooming.

Oscar noms have been announced. I can't wait to get to Wellington to see some of them. I have yet to see every single film that has been nominated for best picture before the Oscars have aired. I would like to do that this year but I don't think all the films will be playing in New Zealand. I know that I'll be able to see "Benjamin Button" and "Slumdog Millionaire". That's a surprise, that one. Donna and I were saying how Danny Boyle is not an Oscar picture director. So the fact that he has a film up for best picture is extremely intriguing and I can't wait to see it. I love all the films that I've seen of his.... "Trainspotting", "28 Days Later", "Sunshine", "The Beach". He's quite good. So I'm super stoked to see it. The other films are Frost/Nixon, Milk and The Reader. I haven't hear of Milk before. All I know is Sean Penn is in it and he's nominated for best actor. I like Sean Penn. I'm a bit disappointed that "In Bruges" only has one nomination. That's one of my favorite films from the past year. AND it's from Focus Features. But it is nominated for original screenplay and that's cool. Better than nothing. I went on the Oscars website and they have a section for movie posters of best picture winners and it says "See posters for every movie that's won a best picture Oscar" or something to that effect. The picture that they had for the link was "The Return of the King" poster. Ah, memories. Here's something to make you feel old... Curtis, Donna and Melissa... "The Return of the King" Oscar Party was FIVE YEARS AGO. How sad is that??? It also makes me realize that they started filming the trilogy TEN YEARS AGO. I wanna put my head into a pillow and cry. But bring on the Oscars!!!

Well, that's all for now. I probably won't update again until I get to Wellington so until then, Happy Awards Season!!!

Posted by Squarabara 22:06 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Happy New Year!!!

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Happy 2009 from the country that celebrates the New Year first........... New Zealand!!!

As if you didn't know what place I was talking about.

So, I have a new plan for the new year. My friend, Curtis, has decided to postpone his trip to visit me until June. Therefore, I have decided to leave Russell one month earlier than intended (trust me, I'm not AT ALL upset about it) and go and live in Wellington until he arrives. WOO-HOO!!! I am so excited to get to a proper city with movie cinemas, Starbucks, bars, clubs, cafes, bookstores, music stores......... you name it. Three months in a one-horse town is good enough for me. It's only confirmed what I already know about myself. I'm a city girl at heart!!! Not to mention that Wellington is ground zero for 75% of Lord of the Rings production and also the upcoming "Hobbit" film. YAY geekiness!!!

My flat mate, Aki, who also works with me at The Gables has decided to venture with me down to Wellington. We are all booked. We take the bus on Monday, February 2nd down to the middle of the north island and we're gonna stay two nights in the town of Taupo. It's basically just a summer touristy town like the Bay of Islands but with a lake instead of the ocean. After our two nights there we will then take the bus down to Wellington. YAY!!! I've been planning ahead and I've already acquired an interview for a new restaurant that is opening up a week after I get to the city. It's called "Fratelli's" and as you can tell by the name, it's Italian. It's right in the heart of city center. How exciting!!! The guy that I spoke with on the phone sounded very nice and he said that he was actually gonna call me later in the day but I got to him first. At least I know he's keen. I hope I get it, wish me luck!!! Of course, I will be on the lookout for other job opportunities in the area but this is the first one that I've gotten an interview for.

We've finally gotten internet in our flat. About 3 months too late but still better than nothing. I can finally video chat with friends and all that good stuff without paying six dollars an hour for it. Lovely.

For the new year, the girls and I hung out in the garden bar as Bernard got a DJ to play there. We also got half off our drinks so you can't complain about that!!! After the new year hit we headed over to this hotel called "The Duke of Marlborough" where they had a live band playing. That place was nice. We watched some fireworks and got a free pizza from the pizza shop!!! Free food is always nice. Here's a few photos from the night:

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Suzanne and Samwise took off on the 12th of January to go to Australia. And from there they are heading on to Asia. How exciting!!! I miss them tons. But they said I am welcome to stay with them if I ever go to England. YAY!!! Love you, girls!!!

I think that is all for now. I will post some photos of our time in Taupo and once I get settled in Wellington I'll post a big blog of how things have gone so far. Cheers!!!

Sara

Posted by Squarabara 19:10 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Christmas Eve Shenanigans in Russell!!!

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Okay, here's a whole crapload of photos of us out and about on Christmas Eve!!!

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Crazy times!!! And here's a few other randoms from the past week or so:

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YAY!!! Good times, good times. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful gifts and I hope you all had a happy Christmas!!! I will be back after the New Year to post our New Year's Eve pics. YAY!!! Also, for all my friends back home........my flatmate, Rowan is getting internet set up next week so I will be way easier to get in touch with than before. And it'll be CHEAPER!!! What a relief. Love you all!!!

Sara

P.S. Grandma, I got your card the other day. THANK YOU!!! Look for a post card in the mail soon!!!

Posted by Squarabara 19:57 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Another quickie.....

.....with some photos!!!

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Here's some photos I took recently of my flatmates and coworkers:

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Suzanne, me and Aki on our way to KeriKeri to do some shopping!!!

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Our other flatmate, Rowan, chopped this tree down for us cuz we were all feeling a bit homesick what with Christmas coming around and all that. So that was our pathetic attempt at Christmas in the southern hemisphere.

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This crawled out of the tree the next day. Look at how freaking big it is!!!

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Yet another Russell sunset. They never get old.

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Even Russell has Christmas parades. It's a bit odd seeing Santa next to the beach, though.

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Samwise holding the fish tray!!! I'm so proud of her!!!

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And me with the fish tray. My arms get a good workout.

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Nick in the background and my boss, Bernard, in the front. Look at his stupid face.

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This is Arnaud, our dishie. He's also French.

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Me at the Pub after a super busy night at work.

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Samwise

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Arnaud

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Nick..........on crack. He reminds of a mix between Bret from Flight of the Conchords and Sean Lennon.

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Bernard with that stupid face again.

Just a few photos for you to enjoy. Something funny..........Bernard and I found out that we have the same birthday. CRAZY!!! Also, I've been working out with Samwise and I've lost two pounds and 3 inches off of my waist. I'm convinced that we measured wrong but we did it like three times and we got the same results. CRAZY again!!! But cool. Alrighty, that is all. Don't think I'll post again before Christmas so everyone take care and have a very happy Christmas!!! Love you!!!

Sara ;)

Posted by Squarabara 19:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

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