Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We're courting

I'll admit it.  It wasn't love at first sight.  It was more like that whole tribal print trend that I thought was so ugly at first but the more I saw it the more I was like, hold up, pretty sure I'm a few moccasins and arrow prints short of a complete life.  When we first drove through Christchurch all I saw was old buildings and littered parking lots (or "car parks" as they call them).  But the more that I see it, the more I am seeing only the big beautiful trees, the green pastures lining the roads and the history and character draped in ivy. Yeah, we've been flirting a lot lately, this New Zealand and I, a little googly eyed at times and whispers of sweet nothings so I think it's only fair to put a label on it and say we're officially in a relationship.  Maybe I should update my facebook status. It's been too cold and rainy to venture out and explore much (which is probably all for the best since right now all of our money is being sucked away into the black hole of miniature refrigerators, faux dryers and beds that smell like a Hong Kong kitchen), but I've quite enjoyed getting to know our own little hood just a little bit better.  It rained for weeks, okay, maybe only 3 days, but as soon as the forcast was dry I packed up the kids, the lunches, the shovels, the buckets, the coats, the boots, the hats and the gloves and then three hours later we were finally headed to the beach (as a side note, driving on the left side of the road no longer feels like a death wish).  It was the perfect day for building sandcastles, which we thoroughly enjoyed, until they got in too deep in the water and somewhere between the wet socks, lost glove, forgotten coat and the chaffed legs I may have called them all cry babies and swore off going to the beach ever again.  Or atleast until it warms up. 

As luck would have it, there is a library right on the beach.  Seriously, in what universe does that exist??  Can you even imagine curling up with a good book and watching the waves crash outside? We looked like rift raft washed up by the waves, but it was so nice to warm up for a bit and to temporarily put an end to the whining.

I made the kids walk with me to the end of the pier, well for Jayden it was more of a hobble.  The poor kid and his wet jeans that chaffed his legs so bad he had scabs the next day.  In my defense, I told him he could wait by himself on a cold wet bench surrounded by strangers if he didn't want to come. The view was beautiful, they got to see all the crabs caught by the fisherman and keep a vigilant watch for sharks for the lonesome surfer. I'd say chaffed legs was a small price to pay for all that, but I'm pretty sure Jayden would disagree. 

The parks here really are so awesome, you know the kinds we had growing up with the really dangerous metal slides, merry-go-rounds and swings with exposed chains that have long been banned in the US, yeah those kinds. I just love them, it's good for kids to get exposed to a little thrill and danger in their lives. And this one just so happens to be right across the street from us.  I can't wait for the sun to stay up past 5pm so we can take family walks down here in the evenings.  It has the best climbing trees, except for the one that has a chair screwed into it and smells an awful lot like pot. That one they stay away from.

I have gotten my money's worth out of these over priced "gum boots" as they call them.  Even if my brother made fun of me and said he bought a pair just like them at the local IFA that he used while shoveling cow manure.

And this is Judy.  Grandma Judy.  Yes, my new best friend is our 59 year old landlord who loves deep sea fishing, brings me farm fresh eggs and lets my kids jump on her bed. She caught us a lobster and Blue Cod on her most recent fishing trip and the more I stared at that lobster in the fridge and the more that it stared back at me, the more scared I got.  But she came over and showed me how to batter it up and prepare it and I'm going against every fibre of my natural being when I say this, but I ACTUALLY LIKED IT!  She also invited us over for a lamb roast.  Once again, I'm a little scared.

So yeah, I've decided teepees and gold baby moccasins are overrated, but this stuff...yeah this is the stuff that really makes my life complete.


Tyson and Dawn Jolley said...

Your dating life seems ideal! Hopefully this 2 year love affair won't end in tears!

Kyoo said...

You are living my dream! I came across your blog from 71toes cause anytime I see NZ my interests piqué. My husband served his mission there and we went back for a 3-week road trip around the country. Christchurch has some perks but do not leave that country without covering every square inch of the South Island! There are no snakes or big predators and it is an outdoor paradise...with a lot of rain. We ran into so many families while we were camping and trekking and it's really got the coolest vibe. My recommendations list is too long. I about passed out at the prices, even at the Pak N Save, so I feel your pain there. But there are so many things to love! And the food is much less-processed which is nice. Oh I am just so excited and jealous! I can only dream about my husband getting a job with an opportunity to move to NZ. Make the most of those winters and don't waste a second of their glorious (but still rainy) summers!

Jodee said...

WHAT!!!! I am seriously gasping out loud over here! Who are you and what have you done with my seafood fearing, sun loving friend? I think I love grandma Judy too;). She got you to cook and eat lobster!!! But with all that cheese on there what's not to love!?!? Yum!!
I love this. And the library on the beach--fantastic!
I dont know about you but the beach, cold and rainy, lots of green...sounds kinda familiar to me... ;)

Amber! said...

I am super jealous, my good cousin. Have thoughts of your favorite grand dad went on his mission to the good ole land of NZ. It's absolutely beautiful. Good luck on your new adventure!

Ali said...

Hi Jamie...

You were so kind to leave a comment on my blog. How ironic, I'm Australian living in Switzerland, and you're American (right?) living in New Zealand! All over the place, aren't we?!

We're going to have lots of fun reading up on each other's lives!

Kindest regards from the Alps

Chelsea said...

ahhh I've been anxious to have more time to be able to actually post some comments! I read these all yesterday from my phone, in my bed, kind of like the morning newspaper I tell the kids. Jer kept asking what was so funny. Your Jayden hobble/chafe/stranger/bench paragraph--hilarious. Oh as was the crybaby bit!

The library on the beach...get out. Unreal.

The surfer, in the freezing water, get out. Unreal!

BUT NOW I HAVE A REAL CONCERN HERE. "Jamie" is cooking lobster. And eating it. I am so proud and horrified all at the same time. But mostly proud. WOW! Way to branch out! I hear its delicious and I've always wished I could be one of those bib wearin, butter dippin lobster eaters.

I love Judy! How cool that your landlord is actually a friend now! and grandma type. She sounds amazing.
Looks like plenty of tender mercies are surrounding you my friend.


Kristal said...

I want a grandma Judy!!!!!! I hope our next move is as amazing as this one is for you guys. Um, and baby gold moccasins really are awesome. Vivian loves them (to play with, not to wear of coarse!) And we miss you too. I wish I wasn't in such a funk for my first year here so we could have torn this place up before you moved.

Janessa said...

Oh Jame, where do I start? Look at you all cooking AND eating lobster, dragging your kids around like true beach bums and getting all sorts of NZ mud on those gum boots. Tell Judy I love her and she is all kinds of answers to my prayers. I can't believe you are in a universe that has a library on the beach. How amazing is that?! Thanks for the updates. You know they are my lifeline. You are the best writer and cracking me up yet again. Oh, and I'm a little concerned, are you buying the tribal print trend or not. Please say you're not. Love you!

Marcee Foster said...

Ok- I don't even know where to begin! You calling your kids crybabies and swearing off the beach in frustration is hilarious. Sounds all too likely to come out of my own mothering mouth! And so witty about the tribal print comparison. Can totally hear you saying, "Hold up!" And that made me laugh, too. I'm so glad you are the world's best photographer AND writer! Makes me feel like you're not so far away because these posts are so full of Jamie! And for the shocker of all shocker! Seafood?!?!?!!!! You've opened up a whole new world of culinary excitement, my friend. Dying to hear about how the lamb experience goes off!