“Just &#^@!%* do it already” – my inner pep talks

Tonight was my first BodyCombat class here in New Zealand. And I fell in love with it all over again.

I don’t know why it took me so long to finally go. I used to go in Canada and really enjoyed it there too! It was reminiscent of my kickboxing days. I love giving a good kick.

Except when it’s one of those jump kicks done with so much enthusiasm that when your “bad” knee gives out, you drop onto the floor like an anvil in front of everyone and for a moment or two, you’re too stunned to even figure out if  you’re in pain or not.

Am I the only one that’s happened to?

This class was pretty incident-free. Minus the part where I kind of booted the person next to me while doing a side kick. It’s okay though. I know her! It was a love tap.

I still had so much energy after the class, although I was a sweaty mess. I can’t wait for the next one. I’m so glad I just went and did it, instead of making excuses and putting it off. All it took was 55 minutes of my time to renew my motivation and interest in group exercise again.


Waiheke Wine-o

It’s a rainy wintery Sunday afternoon and I’m looking through some summertime photos…I can’t wait for hot weather and sunny days and beach time!

I’m particularly excited about taking the ferry out to Waiheke Island again. I learned the other day that my team at work is planning an event day out there next month. The one and only time I’ve been out there was back in February…Marjo and I went for a vineyard tour and it was such an amazing day!

We sat in the sunshine on the top deck of the ferry for the quick trip over to the island, where we were collected along with the other guests by our driver/island guide. I realized how much I had missed this sort of touristy-type of outing. I had missed having a guide! The majority of bus drivers I’ve encountered in New Zealand are brimming with information that can’t always be found in a guide book. Before we went to the first vineyard, our guide took us on a little drive to some vista points and told us some of the standard information – that the island is just shy of 100 square kilometers with 8,000 residents (plus another 3500 with vacation homes). He compared this to Singapore, which is 700 square kilometers, with over 5 million inhabitants. Gah. And Waiheke boasts an impressive number of beaches – 95! He pointed out the surrounding islands, like Great Barrier Island, and informed us that nearby Rangitoto was a measly 650 years old.

He also told us about the permanent residents of the island – many take the ferry over to Auckland every morning for work. And there are quite a few opulent vacation homes or “baches” (cottages cleverly disguised as mansions). One home in particular has stood vacant for about 12 years. It wasn’t even completely finished being built. The story was the owner’s wife had died before they could move into their dream home. After that, he pretty much abandoned it.

One of those sad, haunting tales that I’d like to think is just gossip or a myth.

The following vineyard visits helped me forget about that tragedy for a bit. We bounced along to four or five vineyards, then Marjo and I decided to stay on the island a little bit longer to have dinner.

(I make that sound like it was a decision, but really we had no choice, as we had missed our ferry and the next one wasn’t due to arrive for over an hour.)

I didn’t want to go home. Although I find  something creepy about the thought of living on a tiny island with no connection to the mainland other than a boat, I thought it would be worth it. Ninety-five beaches and some of the best vineyards in New Zealand? I may be a bit paranoid, but I’m not completely ridiculous.



Yes, I know not everyone who has a DSLR qualifies as a real “photographer”.

But, despite my lack of talent, I still had the privilege of being the photographer at an engagement party on the weekend! I had never done something like that before and I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t a bit apprehensive about it at first. Although I’ve had my DSLR for almost two years now (and taken one beginner’s photography class), I haven’t been practicing all that much. I think I’ve used it twice since moving to New Zealand. But seeing as how “Improve my photography skills” is on my life to-do list, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to put what I’ve learned to good use.

It was such a fun night and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to interact with almost every person in the room (and there were quite a few party guests there to interact with!). I’m not sure what was going on with my voice though, because I was asked several times if I’m Irish? Maybe I had gone into character. And there were times when I felt like a creepy stalker (getting those “casual, unsuspecting” shots). But by the end of the night I had embraced it and for kicks, I  was hiding behind a curtain and peeking out to take pictures. (I’m sure this made some people uneasy, but it was at least entertaining to myself and a few others. Heehee.)

My elation at holding a photographer position for all of six hours was quickly smothered when it came to the part of sorting and editing hundreds of photos though. I knew it was a time-consuming process, but whoa. Newfound appreciation for those whom photographize as their profession!

The whole experience has definitely inspired me to take my camera out more often and learn some new tricks.


A letter to my beloved Queenstown

Dear Queenstown:

We may have been apart for almost five years, but you welcomed me back with open arms. For five incredible days, I was charmed by the love spell you cast upon me and became even more enamoured with you.

I snowboarded down your beautiful mountains. I rode your gondola to take in sweeping panoramic views at sunset. I ate my way around town – Fergberger fed me three times alone! I took in as many Winter Festival events as I could. I think the Dog Derby was my favorite. People and dogs sliding/running down a ski hill amongst unsuspecting skiers and snowboarders? I was breathless from laughter and completely surprised there were no calamities. I met wonderfully like-minded people and drank with them in many of your fine drinking establishments. I slept more fitfully than I have in months.

To say I was sad to leave you again is a gross understatement. I feel like I’m home when I’m with you. But I will always remember the amazing time you showed me. And I promise I won’t be jealous if you see other people and show them an equally good time. Your love is the kind that needs to be shared. I cannot keep it all for myself.

I forewarn you though – I will be back for more. I won’t stop at my own sloppy seconds. I’m thirsty for thirds too!

You are forever in my heart.