Wednesday, November 28, 2007


As of today, I have officially been alive in the open world for 34 years. I guess it feels like 34 years when I think back through them, although some years passed faster than others. Some parts of years felt like years themselves (e.g. - the advent season when I was 4-8 years old). All in all, I've had a really good life, and look forward to another 34 (hopefully at least 34) more years. I'm very lucky to have made such good memories!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving.

well, we just returned from our 3rd annual thanksgiving eve "planes, trains, and automobiles" party. lots of fun, and great to see everyone we haven't seen for two months. lots of catching up was done, and more will be done later today (oh dear - must get to bed).
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE! i have so much to be thankful for. :) i hope you can all be as fortunate as i am.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


so, we returned on thursday from a month long trip to new zealand. nz is beautiful, & we had a great time. i'll attempt to summarize the trip in the next posts.
we flew into auckland on oct 16, having skipped a day during the flight. the flight was smooth, and the in-flight entertainment system helped the time pass quickly. it was great to have such a large choice of movies to watch (probably around 50), and to be able to stop & start them.
we arrived around 6:30am, and unfortunately had a bit of a problem at customs. we had planned everything except the visa issue. we should have printed out a copy of our itinerary from air new zealand, to prove that we had a return flight leaving the country, but we totally forgot. if we had been foreigners coming to the united states, we would've probably been thrown in jail or sent back home, at our own expense. luckily, new zealand is a much saner, friendlier country than the u.s.a. they just made us wait for a long time while they checked with air new zealand to confirm that we indeed had a reservation for a return flight. oops! after we made it through customs, we picked up our rental car, el corolla, at apex rentals. driving in new zealand took a bit of getting used to. people drive on the left side of the road, and the driver is on the right seat. your turn signal is on the right hand, and windshield wipers are controlled from the left hand. we were both sharing the driving, so we took turns laughing at each other when the windshield wipers would go on instead of a turn signal. it took a long time to get used to - i stopped making mistakes three weeks into the trip. now that i'm back at home, i'm doing it again. i need to sit on my right hand or something! riding as a passenger in the left seat was disconcerting. it took getting used to, also, and aggravated my motion sickness. after picking up the car, we headed to our hotel downtown. this was the nicest place of all the places we were staying- the westin at lighter quay. we weren't actually paying for this hotel - we were using starpoints (from an american express card). because we're spg members, they let us check in right then, around 9am, and they placed us on the highest floor. it was so wonderful to be able to take a shower & sleep! the room was fantastic. i'd highly recommend that place if you have starpoints to use. (i don't think i'd actually pay for it, though...) after our nap, we explored auckland a little, & planned out our next day there. the first day was just basically for relaxing. new zealand is (well, now that we've turned back the clocks for daylight savings time) three hours behind portland, but a day ahead. so if it's 8pm thurs here, it's 5pm friday there. it didn't take very long to adjust to the time difference. it was basically like traveling from new york to san francisco. it's easier going east to west, than west to east. i've been having problems sleeping, now that i'm back. it'll take time. anyway, we ate lunch at a kebab place (those joints are a lot more common in nz than in the states), had a beer at an irish pub later, and ate dinner at a japanese place (called tanuki's cave?) of many small plates. good food, but nothing amazing (and no pics). the next morning i went for a run. westin always has a recommended running route. i tried doing the 5 k, but got a little lost, and ended up doing the distance of a 10 k. oh well. we began the morning at the auckland museum, which had a lot of information on the maori people, new zealand & world war 2, volcanoes (auckland is built on top of them, which WILL erupt some day), nz wildlife, and packed with displays on polynesia. we went to the sky tower for lunch, which has a rotating restaurant at the top, just like the seattle space needle. expensive food, but if you eat there, your ride to the top is free. the food was pretty good - i was expecting less. there's a bungy jumping platform above the restaurant, so we got to watch people fall while we ate. the rotation bothered me, so i think that will be my last experience of that type. we ate dessert at a french place we passed on our way back to the hotel. spent the rest of the day relaxing, except for a grocery run for dinner & breakfast supplies.

Friday, November 16, 2007

home again...

ahhhh... finally home - arrived yesterday - from new zealand. the trip was great, but i'm really happy to have my bed, my kitchen, my dishes, my grocery store, my wine, my portland back. new zealand was beautiful. will post pictures later. i had a few students today, & have been busy sifting through emails, messages, & mail. when we first got home, our water was turned off. evidently, a bill dated 9-28 didn't arrive until after we left on 10-14, so we accumulated two other notices before the water was turned off two days before we returned. $50 and the water was back an hour later. so stupid, and not really our fault. stoopid!!!