FiNZ 32&33 – Turkey Burnoff

Ok guys, I’m failing at blogging the month of December. I NEVER do this! You know I’m pretty organized at getting these out weekly. So here is the quickest post ever on what we were up to during Thanksgiving and afterwards. We had a pretty sweet weekend last week in Queenstown so I’ll do another post about that…tomorrow? yikes! the end of the year has crept up so fast. Tomorrow Keith and I have to do some major packing and planning for our Christmas travels.

On Friday in New Zealand (U.S. Thanksgiving day) we celebrated Thanksgiving at my coworkers flat. It was a really great collection of most of our office, spouses, and some other expat friends. Everyone signed up to bring something and we made a pretty amazing meal.

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Table set for Thanksgiving

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New Flanders Thanksgiving Tradition – Meat Pies

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Feast!

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The Gang

On Saturday a group of us went to Adrenaline Forest to burn off Friday’s gigantic meal. Adrenaline Forest is a local establishment full of zipline courses and ropes course challenges. You get a harness, are taught how to use it, and just go! You can keep moving up levels until you can’t handle the height anymore or you use up your allotted 3 hours.

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Learning the ropes (pun intended)

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Weee!

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Keith walking the line

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The extent of the height Adrenaline Forest handles

The following weekend was the South Island Food & Wine Festival! This was in Hagley Park – aka, our backyard. So it was a lot of fun to check it out and enjoy the pseudo warm day. I got to sit through a reisling and a pinot noir seminar and learned a bunch about both types of famous New Zealand wine.

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Pinot Noir Seminar

On Sunday we went to the airport to pick up ANDREW–our first visiting friend to NZ! Keith’s friend from high school has been traveling the world (literally) since June and thought he’d take the opportunity to spend some time with us and travel through New Zealand. We all had a lot of fun adventures over the next week. I will attempt to get to that post soon!

Cheers to all. How is the Christmas shopping coming? I must say it was super nice to just order all our gifts online this year and ship them out to our family. Although we may have waited a little too long…because none of you will receive your packages until mid-January 😦 apologies.

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FiNZ 31 – Summer Sizzlin’

Happy Thanksgiving all! This year I got lucky and my company got a surprise extra holiday. Therefore, us in the New Zealand office decided to utilize that during Thanksgiving. We have Friday off and most of us will be getting together for a tasty meal tomorrow.

Last weekend Keith & I stayed in town, and the weather predictions were overdone per usual. The weather was beautiful (at least until the evening), so Keith and I headed out to Taylor’s Mistake for an afternoon run.

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Running is always easier when there is a fear of rocks falling on you, right? It was a beautiful backdrop for the day. After a nice run we went to the beach and decided to try the water. It was FREEZING, but everyone else swimming looked like they were having a great time.

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Keith suggested doing the Mt Oxford loop trail on Sunday (within an hour of Christchurch) and I reluctantly agreed. I had previously heard it was a strenuous climb but we figured it would be a nice workout and good excuse to be outside. Because we did not bring any food, I may have forced Keith to pull over at a gas station so I could load my bag with granola bars. I’m glad I did…

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The first couple hours were great–rolling hills, we went to a waterfall, took some photos, then we started climbing…

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Mt Oxford doesn’t look like much considering it’s on the outskirts of the southern alps, but in relation to our minimal east coast mountains, it is rather high! At 1300 m and an elevation gain of 1000 m it was not quite a Mt Washington climb, but at least something like climbing Mt Monadnock…twice.

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I have never felt so exhausted hiking in New Zealand. It got to the point where I would literally trudge 3 steps and then instantly forward fold and catch my breath. We tried to tell ourselves this was good training for our upcoming Kepler Track walk.

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In the end it made for some great views. However we both agreed you can hike with far less effort in New Zealand for the same or much better views.

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We like to make a point of beating the times shown on all the Dept of Conservation (DOC) trail signs. New Zealand trails love giving you an estimated time it will take you to get to a certain point. We typically crush the DOC time. The uphill was one of the first times it took us a bit longer :-/ We did, however, crush the downhill and even jogged a bit of it (you kind of had to since the trail was so steep!). Half of my speed was probably my need for water (yes, I went through my Nalgene far too quickly in the beginning of the hike).

Overall, a lovely 7 hours of exercise on Sunday afternoon!

With Thanksgiving dawn upon the east coast, I’d like to state that I’m thankful for you who check in on us/send us emails/texts/read the blog, experiencing this gorgeous country with Keith, and for the mini string of visitors we will have over the next few months! Enjoy your friends, family, homes, and meals today. Until next week…

Where do I start?

Ok.  To put this post in a nutshell:

Thanksgiving in Ithaca went fabulous.  This is Gary, he tasted great.

Turkey all cooked up

The guests brought several colorful meals that filled up our table.

Thanksgiving SpreadThe rest of the night involved lots of eating, some beer, wine, and the ever popular party game of salad bowl.

The real thanksgiving weekend was first spent at home for a couple days and then in the woods of New Hampshire for the rest of it.  There are many great things about being in the woods of NH, one example being that you’re away from communication tools such as the internet.  This equates to more time spent with actual, living, breathing people and not freaking out so much about the outside world.  I think that’s a big reason why I’ve always like NH so much.  Not that it doesn’t have internet…I’m sure some nooks and cranny’s of NH have internet; however, no place I have every resided have been lucky enough.

And this just all boils down to the fact that it’s my favorite time of year – The Christmas (or in the politically correct fashion–“Holiday”) Season.  In celebration, I plugged in the apartment evergreen and set the t.v. to fire-and-light-jazz mode. hmmmm, I can feel the warmth!

Christmas has begun at the apartment