Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Picture Story... My Birthday Abroad!

Louise and I returned to Nelson on the 16th and we spent a few days trying (once again) to figure out plans for what was next. We headed to the library to use their free wireless and were surprised to find heaps of people lined up, waiting to get in when the library opened! I was intrigued as you would probably not encounter this in the states, but then we realized they were all lining up to put their name in for a computer slot!

It was too nice of a day to spend indoors, so we took a walk to a local swimming hole and encountered a good ‘ole California Redwood along the way! Yes, I realize Pennsylvania is a long way from California, but it still gave me a bit of nostalgia for home!

We tried to go climbing but apparently had the gym hours wrong (school was not back in session yet) so ended up on a long walk with Lou’s friend who had met up with us.

There were some interesting encounters along the way. 

And each had our favorite chocolate blocks waiting for when we returned!

Mmmmm… It’s amazing the simple things that keep you going when traveling!

The next day we moved hostels again and spent the rainy morning trying to contact WWOOFing or working opportunities. I must have called about 50 different places, but nobody had anything immediately (or very soon) available. Nothing until March. Booked through April. Nothing. It baffled me because I never thought working holidayers planned that far in advance! Louise had made plans with her friend to leave on Wednesday (my birthday) and head up to the North Island so they could climb Mt. Egmont together, so we decided to celebrate a night early!

In the evening we went climbing and thought about going out on the town, but were advised that nothing interesting would be happening on a rainy Tuesday night. Instead we stopped at the grocery store to buy some cake ingredients. We got a bit soaked on the walk back to the backpackers and since I was already wet, I took full advantage and puddle jumped all the way home!

I’m not sure drenched quite describes the amount of water that covered us!

Once we changed clothes and dried out a bit, we set to making a birthday cake for yours truly! (Yes I helped, but Lou had never baked anything dairy-free before, and baking in a backpackers is always an interesting experience!) 

She did, however, surprise me with decorating and adding candles she got from the hostel owner!

We spent the evening hanging out playing dominoes and trying out some balancing puzzles. It was lovely to spend time hanging out with Louise (despite the German guy who just kept talking to us!) 

Wednesday morning Louise took me out for a birthday brunch (yum!)

 We went to Morrison Street CafĂ©, which has quite a few dairy-free options to make my life easier (though finding out exactly what I could eat still served to be a chore!)

We had a few feathery visitors around our outdoor table!

After brunch, we took a walk up to the Centre of NZ since Louise had yet to see it! It was a beautifully clear day (albeit windy) and we enjoyed a brief afternoon together before she had to catch her bus to Picton! 

That afternoon I Skyped with my parents and got to see Sadie (though she was a bit confused as to who/why/how I was talking to her!) I also Skyped with Keith and then Kimberly the next day (since it was still my birthday according to EST)!

(By the way, my siblings enjoy playing with their webcams and don't always look like this...)

In the evening I took a nice long walk around town, treated myself to a Turkish kebab for tea (the word for dinner around these parts), and enjoyed a glass of wine back at the hostel. Though there was nothing particularly thrilling about the events of my birthday (I had originally wanted to do something crazy and awesome like skydiving but it didn’t work out), I still enjoyed it nonetheless! I was lucky to have a good friend to spend some time with! The next day is when I found the position nannying in Motueka (see post about fruit trees and furry friends) and I headed up there after a couple days of climbing, hanging with climbers, and running errands in Nelson. 

Thus concludes my catching-up for the month of January and hopefully from here I will be able to continue in chronological order! Cheers J 

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