Archive for May, 2012

I must admit, I’ve been a bit sluggish on making any new posts in the last week and a half.  That’s partly due to me being consumed in reading four books (The Host, Catching Fire, Mockingjay, and The Girl Who Played with Fire).  So here is about our weekend adventure on the Port Hills in Christchurch.

After church on Sunday, the weather was perfect, but extremely windy.  Jeff and I decided to explore the Port Hills.  We drove up Dyers Pass Road and parked at the Visitor Center, which is closed due to the recent earthquakes.  From the parking lot you have an amazing view of Christchurch with the Southern Alps in the background.  Then we decided to walk along the Crater Rim Track, which starts at the back of the Visitor Center.  Along the track, Jeff decided that he wanted to go to the top of a knob next to Sugarloaf Mountain, so I chose to stay below sitting on a rock due to unbearable back and rib pains.  As you keep walking, the track provides great views of the Lyttelton Harbor.  You couldn’t see Lyttelton itself, but you could see the other side of the harbor perfectly where Diamond Harbor lays.  Unfortunately as we continued on the track we reached a sign that informed us that the rest of the trail was closed due to rock falls.  So we turned around, got in the car, and drove to Victoria Park.  Victoria Park also provides great photos overlooking the city.  We also discovered the coolest park ever!!! There was  a slide that was built on the side of a hill.  Of course Jeff and I had to try it out.  I rank that slide as the best, non-water slide, slide I’ve been on in my entire life! Jeff agrees.  All the kids gave us weird looks since the rest of the adults just sat on the benches nearby watching.

For the next couple of days there won’t be any posts because New Zealand celebrates the Queen’s Birthday on Monday, which is another holiday Jeff gets off.  I can’t believe he has already had 3 paid holidays since March when we arrived!  We are planning a trip to the West Coast of the South Island.  So stay tuned for more adventures.


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Man, my belly has grown!  I can’t put socks on anymore without the help of my lovely husband!  He is so awesome!  We are now in the 34th week of pregnancy.  Monday night, Jeff and I attended our second to last antenatal class. We discussed lots of things like what to expect after birth for moms, different infant diseases and immunizations, post natal depression, and getting to know your baby.

I met with Jodi again.  Baby Ray’s heart beat was 132-146 beats per minute. Jodi used this really cool wooden, cylinder device that allows you to hear the heart beat naturally.  It was really interesting. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the gadget’s name.  Jodi did say that you could use anything cylindrical to hear the heart beat. Even an empty toilet paper roll!   Jeff and I might give this a try at some point.  Baby Ray is still facing downwards with his face towards my spine.  Good news to hear!   He is still very active and growing slowly every week.  My belly is now 31 cm.  This week has also started the multiple trips to the bathroom during the night…LAME!

Here is this weeks photo:

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Upon our arrival in New Zealand in March a typical week would consist of around 2 -3 earthquakes.  Once the beginning of May came, the earthquakes died down and were very dormant for about two weeks.  Jeff and I found ourselves anticipating the next earthquake because logically the longer you go without one, the next one will be bigger due to increase pressure building up.  Ever since Tuesday of last week, we have had earthquake after earthquake.  From Tuesday to Sunday we felt 6 medium to big ones.  The biggest two were a 4.6 and 4.8.

Today, Christchurch experienced its biggest earthquake since December 2011. It was a 5.23 and was only 11 km deep.  It was actually a wee bit scary.  I had just arrived home from hiking in Sumner when it occurred.  Apparently, folks where Jeff works were preparing to hide under their desks at any moment.  It even made it to the news (most of the time the earthquakes aren’t big enough to be considered news worthy).  We also learned today that it’s mandatory for all the malls and schools to be closed until they are inspected by structural engineers when an earthquake goes above a 5.0.  Jeff went downstairs for afternoon tea at 3:00 pm and saw the structural engineers preparing to head to the Riccarton Mall to check it for damage. There was no damage reported.

In baby news, I’m 33 weeks pregnant this week.  Nothing exciting happening with the exception of back and rib pains.  We also received a package from Joseph, my brother, containing a rather girly card and a monkey stuffed animal for Baby Ray.  Thanks Joseph!  It arrived just in time for our antenatal class where our homework was to bring a stuffed animal to practice breastfeeding.  It was funny watching Jeff pretending to breastfeed.  : )

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Wait a second!  I thought were were in New Zealand, not Western North Carolina!?!??!!

Guess what folks, there is a Swannanoa, New Zealand!  It actually has a short, interesting story….

Swannanoa, New Zealand, is a small village located northwest of Christchurch, New Zealand.  It was established in 1873 by John Evans Brown, also known as Yankee Brown.  His father owned land in Asheville, North Carolina where he became wealthy mining mica.   John Brown moved to New Zealand and named the village after the the settlement of Swannanoa, North Carolina (for those not from Asheville, Swannanoa is in East Asheville). Swannanoa is a Cherokee word that means “Beautiful River.” There was a small settlement of Cherokee Indians who lived along the Swannanoa River, giving the river and settlement its name.

Just goes to show it is a small world after all.

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Our First Rugby Match

We went to the rugby match this past Saturday. We went with some friends that we met a few weeks ago at a Cinco de Mayo party. The friends names are Kit and Heather from Texas. They are very nice, and fun. They, like us, also have a shortage of friends their same age. They came over for dinner at our apartment and then we were planning on going to the game using a free bus to the game. The bus was supposed to leave at 6:50 but we got there and the bus had already come and gone. So we ended up going to Heather and Kit’s apartment where Kit dropped us off at the game and walked back to the stadium. It was great that Kit was willing to do that for us.

The game was the Canterbury Crusaders (the home team) vs. the Auckland Blues. Out of 15 teams the Crusaders are ranked 5th while the Blues are 14th. They play in the Rugby Super 15 Conference (hence the 15). So we knew that the Crusaders would have an easy game but you never know since the Crusaders had a tough loss the previous week while the Blues had an unexpected win possibly giving them the confidence needed to beat the Crusaders.

The Crusaders are playing in a “new” stadium because their stadium was badly damaged in the September and February earthquakes. I say “new” because they just added temporary stands to a field in Addington (south east corner of the city). The new stadium only holds about 14,000 while the old one held about 40,000. Needless to say, it’s hard to get tickets.

Before the game, to fire up the crowd, six horseman wearing red and black and one horseman wearing just black brandishing swords came out while loud, epic music played. They circled the field several times stopping at each section of the stands to get us on our feet and cheer. It was the greatest intro I’ve ever seen. Then the players came out and I thought there was an earthquake coming because the stands started shaking but it was everybody stamping their feet.  (Random note.  We’ve had 6 earthquakes just this past week!)

The horsemen.

Then the game started. Amanda and I had been taught a lot of rules of play while we watched the previous rugby match at a friend of Wendy and Peter’s. So we weren’t completely lost in the game but we still weren’t totally sure when to cheer, so we just followed the crowd. Of course people heckled the refs but we couldn’t understand them. If you think it’s hard to understand Kiwi accent, just wait until they’re yelling obscenities at the refs.

The Crusaders (the team in Red) protecting the line from the Blue’s attempting to make a “try.”

For every penalty, they would have a scrum. A scrum is where the players get into a huddle and start pushing each other around. They try to push the other team over the ball that is rolled into the middle of the huddle. The Crusaders are known for their good scrums and they did well on Saturday.

The Scrum.

Every time the Crusaders scored, which was a lot, they would fire up these huge flames at one end of the endzone. They were so big that you could feel the heat 60 or 70 meters away where we were sitting. By half time the Crusaders were winning 31-0. We heard on the news later that that was the worst loss the Blues had ever had against the Crusaders. The final score was 59-12 when all was said and done.

All in all it was a great night except for the bus not picking us up and Kit having to walk.

****These photos were taken with our point and shoot camera.****

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The TimTam Slam

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “what in the world is a TimTam and what makes a TimTam slam?”

Well, we have discovered the chocolate covered cookie/bar known as a TimTam. New Zealanders would refer to this as a biscuit.  It’s about 3 inches long and covered in chocolate.  There are different types of TimTams with various fillings.  We are still experimenting in this area though.  So far we have only tried the Original TimTam, the Double Cover TimTam, and the Double Choc Carmel TimTam.

Now to do a TimTam slam you first need your TimTam and a cup of hot tea (any kind works just fine).  Take your Timtam and bite off both ends of the bar.  Then you put one of the ends into your hot cup of tea and suck tea through the TimTam.  Amazing things take place at this stage!!  The hot tea melts the chocolate within filling your mouth with yummy goodness!

We saw an American comedian on TV one night and he was talking about TimTams. He said something like this, “You know what I love most about New Zealand?…TimTams! They are amazing. They don’t have these in America and it’s a good thing they don’t because people would literally eat them until they die. When I go back to America, I will discribe TimTams to my friends as a choclate covered heavenly unicorn.”

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32 Weeks

This week I am 32 weeks pregnant!  On Monday night we attended our third antenatal class.  We discussed the different types of pain relief that would be available (epidural, spinal, pethidine, gas, and T.E.N.S) and the pros/cons of each.  We also toured the Burwood Birthing Unit.  It was a very nice area and actually very quiet.  We also learned that we can stay there for 3 days after the birth of Baby Ray if we want to. 

I met with Jodi again this week.  Baby Ray’s heart beat was between 134-148 beats per minute.  My belly is now at 29 cm.  Everything seems to be going just great.

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