Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summers End - Part Two

Alas, the time has come. One chapter is coming to an end and a new chapter will begin.

Change is hard and as we write this we remind ourselves that when we started this blog over 5 years ago- yes it has been five years- we were facing the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

Looking back we remember how difficult it was saying goodbye to all our family and friends, packing up our home, and moving across the planet. Of course it was also exciting. Going to a new country with lots of unknown ahead. When we left we thought it would only be for a couple of years. Little did we know how much we would love New Zealand, what amazing friendships we would make, and how utterly entrenched in a life here we would become. 

We did not know it was possible, but we honestly have two homes now. New Zealand will always be a place we travel back to. To visit and to see friends. We may even return again in the future; we can. We now have Permanent Residency status. We will have to renew our drivers licenses in 2020, -lol. But it is time that we head back to the States. Time to reconnect with our family and friends there. Our parents are not getting any younger, and we wish to be closer to them at this point.

Our return plans are still being sorted, but we are looking to be back the end of June. At this stage, we do not yet know where we will be settling back in. We don't have jobs lined up and that will eventually determine the where. We will start with landing in San Diego for a bit and start the search from there. Perhaps a job offer will come between now and then and we will adjust the plan. There are a few irons in the fire, but nothing for certain.

We have Myztyc our kitty  to transport along with some of our belongings. We will be selling a lot of our furniture and our 220v electronics (as they are useless in the states) and starting fresh. We are looking forward to that. 

We are expecting this to be a bit of a shock to the system. Similar to learning to drive on the other side of the road and understanding the kiwi accent. It takes some time...

While we have continued to visit the U.S. over the last 5 years, visiting and living are very different.  Eric and I have shared a single car for the last 5 years. We will now need to get 2 cars upon returning.  And we have no idea what the current rate is to insure two cars and drivers, but I bet it's not $350.00 NZD per year. We will have to sort out medical insurance - certainly not looking forward to that.

So we find ourselves thinking about all the differences, all the things that we will miss about New Zealand. And we try to think about the things we will look forward to. Yes there are those too.

Neither place is perfect, they both have great aspects and both have their faults. We are often asked in our travels what they are. Some are small, little things; others are larger more significant things.
Here is a partial list- And I am sure we have left some things out.

We do not need pennies and nickels -they are useless
We can drive and parallel park (mostly) on the other side of the road
Traffic circles are better than four way stops
Meat pies are okay sometimes
Cicadas are cool, we love the sound
Bird songs are unique and cool
I wish I had a kiwi accent
Less is sometimes more
220 power is great when you want hot water/ electric kettle instead of 
stove top teapot
Insulation is better when not just a concept 
The Metric System is MUCH better and can be learned - eventually
Whitakers Chocolate is sooo good
High fructose corn syrup is evil
Reasonable Portion sizes
Eggs are brown and don't need to be refrigerated
Quality of life isn’t about things
Healthy priorities

The U.S. has a sense of entitlement, and decadence that can be embarrassing 
Too materialistic 

Too much time is spent sitting in traffic

We will look forward to:
Central heating and air
Double pane windows
Screens on the windows
Books!  And the Overall cost of goods being much less expensive 

And if course some our favorite foods- 
In-n-Out Burger - burgers in general
Mexican food
Frozen yogurt

But if you ever get the opportunity to travel and live someplace outside of the U.S. for a period of time. We highly recommend it. It gives you an amazing perspective, and will change your world-view and highlight all the various things you take for granted. You’ll notice things you never noticed before, and learn things about yourself you might not otherwise learn.

For our last few weeks we intend to soak in as  much of Wellington, New Zealand as we can.

The zepherometer has been repaired and reinstalled -a favorite local icon.

One last dessert (for now) feast at Strawberry Fare
A walk along the coast
Hot chocolate at Scortch-o-rama

We will spend as much time as we can with our remarkable friends and make plans to Skype them regularly although it won't be the same. 

And we will be bringing back with us a little reminder of our amazing 5 year adventure - we have each gotten a tattoo designed that is our memento. Yes I- Ms. needle phobic, braved it. Yes it hurt! 
But I love it and am glad I did it. It is on my ankle and the tail wraps around it, and of course it is a dragon but in a style more traditional of New Zealand. (photo taken just after a few days so it is still slightly red)

Eric's is more Middle-earth/Tolkien focused  and incorporates both Dwarven and Elvish writing. Thank you to Daniel Reeve for his beautiful caligraphy work. It says "There and back again a Middle-earth adventure. The road goes ever on. And thank you to the talented artists at Sinatra Tattoo - Nathan and Damian.

So what will become of this blog? Not sure. Might continue it for a few months back in the states to be able to end it with where we land…or not. Might try to transfer it into a photo book to keep as a journal of our last 5 years. 

We hope that those of you that have been following along have enjoyed it. We have loved the adventure! 

We are looking forward to the future, to our next new adventure wherever it may take us.

Love to all,
Poroporoaki hoki inaianei
(Farewell for now )

Stacy & Eric

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Another NZ Summer - Part One

Alas, another NZ summer has come and gone.
Time has once again moved along and we find ourselves saying where did it go?

It was a good "New Zealand" summer.
Plenty of nice warm sunny days mixed in with the Wellington usual.
We did of course miss the single hottest week in Wellington as we had traveled back to the States to do our first show of 2015. 

The show was in Portland, Oregon so we were able to head over a little early and stop in Seattle. We had a great 4 days catching up with some family and friends. We even got to watch the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl from the comfort of Dad's sofa on Bainbridge Island. And what a game it was. Unbelievable...Truly insane final 10 minutes.

We then drove down to Portland to begin set-up for Portland Wizard World. The show went well and we had a good time. 

We stayed a few extra days and caught up with our good friends Shari and Cami who had recently relocated to Portland from Wellington. We visited Powell's Books and indulged in a dozen Voodoo donuts. (oooo belly ache) We also got to catch up with some of our other friends at a lovely dinner that Lee Moyer and Venetia hosted at their home. = Good friends + good food and much laughter shared.

We finally returned to Wellington to enjoy the remaining days of summer. Which included a fun evening of Star Trek in the Park. - "There are Klingons on the starboard bough" (you know the words)

At the beginning of March Eric sister Sheila came to visit NZ for the first time, so we took some time off to spend with her and showed her some of our favorite places. We met her in Rotorua and visited Hobbiton in Matamata, went Zorbing, and spent a few hours walking through Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. 

At Hobbiton we did get rained on a bit, but that didn't slow us down and were even treated to the appearance of a rainbow over the Green Dragon Inn towards the end of the visit. The Ale, Cider and treats were amazing as well. 

Sunday morning we dropped Eric off at the airport as he had to get back to work. Sheila and I drove the scenic 5 hours back down to Wellington with a short stop at Lake Taupo. 

In Wellington we got to show Sheila all around the Weta Workshop, the two of us spent a nice day shopping on Cuba Street, and she got to spend some time exploring the Te Papa museum. 

We then all flew down to Nelson for a long 4-day weekend. We had great weather and spent our time strolling around the shops and galleries of Nelson. We spent one of the days in the Able Tasman National Park. (one of my favorite places) Before heading back to the states, Sheila went on for a few more days exploring the west coast of the South Island and Queenstown on her own.

It has been really nice having our friends Cassie and Chris be able to take care of Myztyc while we have been traveling. They are really enjoying New Zealand and working at Weta Workshop. They also drove up to join us in Matamata for the visit to Hobbiton. Chris captured the best shot of the rainbow.

It has been a very busy start to 2015 for the Workshop and most of the crew has been working long hours, 6 days a week.

At the beginning of April we were once again off on travels. I headed to Melbourne, Australia for our first Supanova of 2015. This was the first show where I was training our new Events Manager. From there we went to Calgary, Canada where Eric also joined us. Both shows went well and we had a good time. Warren Dion Smith - one of Weta's Prosthetic/Make-up artists has been traveling with us and has  been doing prosthetic demos at the shows.

After Calgary, Eric and I got a short break and headed off to Los Angeles and San Diego to see some family and friends (and grab some In-n-Out Burger) before heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota for another show. Apologies to those we did not see. It was a quick visit and we will be back again in July.
We also managed to miss another Wellington earthquake (5.8 - 6.2)while we were stateside. A good shaker but no damage we were told. And completely overshadowed once the Nepal quake hit. 

Next stop was Minneapolis. We got to catch up with a friend and his his family. We originally met in Seattle and then he and his family managed to visit us in NZ our second year here. It was good to catch-up and see a little bit of the city. 

Someone will have to explain this one to me at some point

The show here was a smaller show, but very well received by the fans. The media had some fun as well.

Before leaving to go back to NZ, I did make a stop to see the Mall of America. The thing is immense. Even Peeps has it's own store. Really?

I learned that Charles Schulz was born in Minneapolis, MN

I have now returned to Wellington. However, Eric will be back around the 27th as he is doing two more shows. One in Philadelphia and the other in St. Louis. He will have a short break between the shows and will head back to San Diego for another quick visit and no doubt a few more In-n-Out Burgers.

Wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing Mom's we know.

Stay tuned for new news and Part Two.

Stacy & Eric