Sunday, February 1, 2015

ABC's of our life in New Zealand

A is for adventure Racing. Adventure racing is offered everywhere in this country, and for every age.  This was The Big Bang Adventure Race we did on the Kapiti Coast. It was a long distance cross country navigation race that involved  hours of hiking, running, mtn. biking, and tubing. We had 23 check points that we had to navigate to in the correct order with only using a compass.  The race took us 9 hours, the winning team was 6 hours and the slowest team was 12 hours. 

Lindsey and her adventure team. 
B is for beetroot. Beetroot is what we Americans call Beets. They are bright purple and taste like dirt. I have come to love them. Kiwis serve them with everything. They come on hamburgers, salads, relishes, smoothies, juice,  dip, chocolate cake. Yep, you read that correctly chocolate cake. 

C is for Cross Country. Every student at the Oakura School, and all primary schools in NZ run cross country, it is not an option not to, it is part of the physical education curriculum. It is brillant, everyone has to run, gets the health benefits and feels good about crossing the finish line. The kids love that the races are during school hours! We took a group of 11 kids to the AIMS games in Tauranga. The AIMS  Games is similiar to a Jr. Olympics. It is a week long event where the best athletes of each schools compete against each other. All disciplines are represented.

Her two friends in the background were so happy for Skylers placing. I love this photo.  
D is for dog. Harper Blue, is our new English Pointer. She is lovely, even when she eats the food off the kitchen counter. We love her dearly.

E is for Eels.

F is for family. We were so blessed to have 9 family members form the USA come out and spend the holidays with us. We had an age range of 4 to 78, and with all of the beautiful weather that we had, there was something for everyone to do.

G is for green.

H is for horses.

I is for insane roads. This is Skippers Canyon in Queenstown, and that is the Shotover River below. Brad took Lindsey on a rafting trip and this is the road they travelled down to access the put in. Imagine a mini-bus pulling a five stack of rafts behind it while navigating this crazy road. The road is mostly one -way, steep and narrow with  sheer drops of several hundred feet.

J is jumping for joy.

K is for Kia Ora, which is a Maori greeting.

L is for lambs.

M is for the  Mt. Taranaki Around The Mountain relay.

N is for no guns. Most kiwi's live their whole life without seeing a gun. The cops do not carry guns, nor are people allowed to be carrying guns out in the public. Owning or using firearms in this country requires a very strict firearms licence. Part of the process involves interviews between the police officer and applicant, interviews between two referees (one must be a close relative and the other not related) to determine whether the applicant is "fit and proper", and the applicants residence is also visited to make sure that they have proper storage for the firearms and ammunition. Coming from such a pervasive gun culture, the gun laws and common sense that prevails in this country make much more sense to us, and also help keep our kids safe.

O is for the Oakura river. Owen getting some tubing time on the river.

 P is for Puanga Festival. Traditionally, Puanga is a time to come together to learn, connect to the land and sea, to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. The Oakura school participated in this festival this year. The boys did the Haka, and the girls did the Poi. It was a competition, as each school took turns on the stage performing their dances.

Q is for Queenstown. One of our favourite holiday spots here in New Zealand.

R is for rugby.

S is for sausage sizzle. It is good to know that we will never go hungry at events because there will always be a sausage sizzle.

T is for travel. With the healthy work life balance that the kiwi's have adopted makes for lots of time with family. Brad gets 8 weeks paid vacation every year, which makes for heaps of time off to play, travel, volunteer, and explore.





South Island

U is for under water photography.

V is for views.

W is for wipeouts.

X is for xtremely handsome  husband.

Y is yoga.

Z is for zero regrets.