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Posts tagged ‘New Zealand’

Miles’s Adventures at Mount Maunganui Primary School

In Mount Maunganui, I go to Mount Maunganui Primary School (MMPS). I’m here for the first term of their school year. Because the seasons are reversed here, it was late summer in February when we started, while it was mid-winter at home. I am in year four, what my friends back home would call “third grade.”   Read more

Coming Round the Mountain

In my early hiking days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with my high school boyfriend’s family, I thought you had to climb up something for the hike to be worthwhile.  But I’ve come a long way since then, and when Vance came back from walking around Mt Ruapehu and reported it as interesting, rugged and blessedly quiet after the madness of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, I was intrigued. Though I had my chance going solo a few weeks ago on the Lake Waikaremoana Track, I was jonesing for something a little more challenging and thought the 5 night, 66km route might fit the bill. There may have been a touch of “anything you can do I can do better,” but also I was restless. With the weather less settled the kids have been particularly hard to budge on the weekends, and knowing that the time of less comfortable travel is coming we’ve let them indulge in graphic novel reading on the couch. I, however, wasn’t quite ready to move on without one more hike to get New Zealand well and truly out of my system…for now. Read more

Still Here

There hasn’t been a lot to report around here lately, absorbed as we’ve been by our low key routine; school lunches, kids to school, a little housework but not much for this teacup sized place, a few groceries, a walk on the beach. Our only after school activity is Della’s Tuesday afternoon surf class and if all after school activities included an hour where you could sit on a gorgeous beach for an hour reading, looking up every once in a while to watch your daughter catch waves, I wouldn’t be so crabby about driving to them. I’ve been cooking a lot, but keeping it simple because ingredient mix ups continue to plague me- I cannot find unsweetened chocolate to make the chocolate buttercream of my cravings, or white marshmallows for a batch of rice crispy treats (the bags always, insistently, contain white and pink both) Thai basil for my favorite stir fry and even a request for a chuck steak for this simple recipe left the butcher scratching his head (I need a translator app for cuts of meat apparently.) I have been taking advantage of our quiet after school window to get the kids more involved in the kitchen, chopping cucumbers, mixing up apple crisp topping, stirring the sauce for homemade macaroni and cheese, our most important ancestral recipe. The kids for their part are happy with the slow pace; an after dinner bike ride around the neighborhood or frisbee on the beach is plenty far afield for my homebodies.

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There are so many flavors and ways to organize a big chunk of time abroad, we were dizzy with the possibilities when we started planning. It was fascinating to read how other people had done it (in books) or were doing it in real time (via blogs) so we followed the progress of several families rattling around the world and shamelessly gleaned ideas and tips. A contact through my daughter’s summer camp led us to the Demers, in the midst of ten months of travel with their three daughters and, maybe because of their similar ages, reading their entries made our own upcoming travels feel much more real for Della. She watched for their updates eagerly. We were astonished when we saw they were stopping for a school term in, of all places, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand.

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Hiking the Routeburn, an 8 year old’s view

Hooray! We’ve been in New Zealand for a few weeks and are having a grand old time. I have plenty to report eventually, but in the meantime, for a change of pace, Miles agreed to help me write a post about our recent 4-day trip hiking the Routeburn Track. He dictated, I typed. Enjoy.

I’ve done some overnight backpacking before at home in Washington, but I had never gone on a 3 night, 32km walk before this trip. My mom really wanted to do this walk called the Routeburn, though, and signed us all up. The Routeburn is one of the eight Great Walks of New Zealand. Great Walks are overnight, giant hikes that have nice huts that you can stay in with bunk beds, fireplaces, kitchens and bathrooms. My Mom and Dad had been telling me about it a lot and getting ready for a long time. I had to carry my clothes, sleeping bag and pillow, rain gear, some of the snacks and food, and I picked two of my stuffed animals. I have a good backpack and I’ve been carrying it around for months, so I’m used to the weight.  Read more