New Zealand 15 – Still the Youngest in the Office

I will officially be back in the States for a short stint in 10 days. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’d like to eat/drink once I get home. What I’ve broken it down to is have a proper Margarita (limes are not good in NZ), make some guacamole (see previous comment, I may have a lime addiction?), and eat Velveeta mac & cheese (I think NZ puts a ban on extremely processed cheese). I’ll also be finding the nearest Dunkin Donuts for a large iced coffee. It’s come to the point where I’ve mapped out Dulles airport and found Dunkins in gates A & D; however, the tricky piece is that I’m sure they will both be closed by 11pm when I arrive. Luckily I have 3 trips “home” to Massachusetts planned out during the 3 weeks I’m back in the states which will, I’m sure, involve lots of Dunkin Donuts pit stops.

Onto the weekend –

The entire weekend was filled with the great celebration of Half-Christmas (& my birthday, but a bit more of that at the end). If you didn’t catch an explanation previously–

One of my coworkers decided that Autumn & Winter in the states come with tons of goodness–football, Thanksgiving, Christmas, vacations, etc. In New Zealand winter comes with nothing. Therefore, we decided to throw a Half-Christmas extravaganza. (Little did we know that this is actually a thing in New Zealand, several northern hemisphere imports have felt the same way for a while. Therefore, it wasn’t too hard to find Christmas decor and wrapping paper in June…)

Friday night we gathered in the apartment to cook pies. Considering my pie baking is lacking, I took on the task to create decorations. Utilizing some old graph paper, I managed to make some nicely engineered snow flakes. Continuing with the movie night tradition, we appropriately watched Christmas Vacation. The night was still young, so somehow we ended up watching Goodfellas afterwards. We justified this with the fact that one scene in the movie takes place during Christmas… Nothing like a mob movie to get you into the holiday spirit.

Our colleague hosted mid-Christmas in his “off-campus” apartment (he’s one of the few that are not a part of the company’s hotel take-over); therefore, I headed over a bit early to decorate my Christmas corner–

It does the job

First order of business that night was the cookie decorating competition. I never expected everyone to get so intense about it but there were quite a lot of great cookie outcomes! I went for simple elegance which managed to get me third place. Considering the senior vice president (cheated?) and entered 5 different cookies to take home 1st and 2nd place I’m pretty sure I should have won. I’m not bitter or anything 😉

1) Decorations, 2) Tools, 3) Finished Products, 4) Third place finish (still convinced I should have been #1…)

Then came Secret Santa. I have to say, this was the best secret Santa I’ve ever been a part of. You’d assume a bunch of coworkers would just buy a token $30 bottle of wine for each other, but not with this crowd. Each person got a really individualized gift and managed to guess their gift giver fairly easily. This concluded that we spend far too much time with each other and therefore know way too much about each other.

1) Scarf clips for the engineer who brought 5 different scarves to NZ, 2) guide-book for the newbie with camping gear, 3) beer brewing materials for the beer aficionado, 4) Nando’s sauces for the woman obsessed with Nando’s chicken, 5) a white board for the VP who constantly explains everything through expo markers, 6) guide-book for newbie #2 along with his favorite drink of choice.

Then came time for food, fun, & rugby…

Pigs in a Blanket (UK Version) The U.S. residents quickly coined these “Pigs in a Pig”

Half-Christmas Dinner

No Half-Christmas dinner is complete without watching the All Blacks do the Haka

Group Shot

Sunday was my birthday. I turned 25, which basically made everyone else in the office cringe every time I answered the “How old are you?” question. Needless to say, I was very careful to not make any “I feel so old now” statements. Being the youngest in the NZ office, I tend to be aware of not mentioning my age too much–statements such as “Oh you graduated college that year? I was in kindergarten then” don’t always go over well.

The day concluded with a pretty intense rugby match before a BBQ dinner. The game was supposed to be one-touch rugby (think backyard touch-football), but considering the wetness of the grass, touch sometimes turned into shove and involved a lot of sliding through mud. This just made for a good photo-of-the-day to send Keith. Yes, I send him photos-of-the-day (no I don’t just take photos of my muddy-jeans for my blog). That could turn into a long cheesy newlywed paragraph so I’ll stop there.

Dove head first into 25 – there just happened to be a lot of mud in the way

I managed to write this whole post without mentioning any work updates. Let’s just leave it at – I finished inspecting my last church (could you have guessed Christchurch has a lot of churches?…), finished some report writing, and came to the conclusion that the next 10 days are going to be a lot of work. So on that note, I’m posting this and doing some quick report reading before bed.

Cheers, and Happy Half-Christmas!


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