When the usually sunny and warm Mount Maunganui gets hit with a blustery, windy, cold and very rainy day, what do the two kids from Victoria, Canada do to entertain themselves? Go for a rainy, windy trek to the point closest to the massive rolling waves of course! 

Moturiki Island has been a point of interest for Luke and I since we moved here two months ago, and yet, we had yet to adventure out to it. It is the beautiful"island" just down from Mount Maunganui main beach, a very popular spot for travelers and tourists to explore. I guess we figured since we're now locals, we'd wait for the perfect opportunity to trek out and see what Moturiki has to offer. Clearly we waited until the rainiest and windiest of all days to explore it! 
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Moturiki Island from the Mount Maunganui Summit (on a sunny day)
The trek out was lovely, a very easy stroll along a well-kept path with beautiful natural scenery. We were lucky that parts of it were sheltered from the wind, as once we got out to the tip, closest to the big waves, we had to stay low and step very carefully to avoid being blown into the ocean! 
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The fantastic scenery on our trek on Moturiki Island
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Having a spot of coffee at the tip of the island, a safe distance from the crashing waves
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Luke demonstrating the strength of the wind
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Mount Maunganui from the tip of Moturiki Island
The best part of the entire trek was, it made us appreciate the weather instead of complain about it! Sometimes the only thing you need when the wind is blowing and the rain is pelting down is to step outside, geared up in appropriate attire, and just experience the weather. You'd be surprised by how much you can laugh while being blown around, laugh while trying to see through a torrential downpour and become awestruck by the colossal power of the waves!
 
 
As the four month mark passes by on the day that we first stepped foot in New Zealand, I thought it was time that Luke and I reflect on our trip a bit, share some of our favourite memories, and update everyone on what our lives are like now, living in Mount Maunganui. I'd say overall the homesickness has not been an issue for us, if anything, we simply wish we could bring everyone here to experience it with us!! There have been many dreams of "If I had the money, I would fly you here tomorrow". New Zealand is such a beautiful, friendly and exquisite place.. I almost feel guilty enjoying it all to myself instead of sharing it... almost!

  From the Unknown ........... To the Everyday

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March 2012 | Vancouver Airport
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July 2012 | Mount Maunganui Beach
What is your favourite city that you visited? Why?
Luke: Wellington. It just had such a nice welcoming feel to it, I felt like I was home. Probably had to do with the hippyish type people and that it is very similar to Victoria. 
Deanna:  Wellington. The streets were filled with funky, yet very friendly people. There were heaps of unique cafes and restaurants, a lot of "hole in the wall" type places. It was the kind of place I could see myself living and loving.
What is your favourite photo, where was it taken, and what makes it awesome?
This photo was taken up in the Coromandel Peninsula near New Chums beach. It's my favourite because this beach was amazing, me and Dea had such a great time here, and then this picture was taken and Dea looks like a monkey....and we almost cried laughing so hard.
This photo was taken at 7am on top of Mount Pukawhakataratara at Mana Retreat Centre on the Coromandel Peninsula. It was a challenge to get Luke out of bed to hike up a mountain for 45 minutes in the black of morning - but the beauty of the moment was worth it in the end! I was so worried about the amount of clouds that were present, but it turned into a beautiful, eerie, misty morning.  This photo reminds me of what my time at Mana represents to me - freedom and inspiration.
What is your favourite New Zealand experience story to tell?
Luke: I like sharing our wwoofing experiences at Mana Retreat Centre and Terri's because I think it is just a fantastic way to travel and meet people. 
Deanna: I really like sharing our stranded on 90 Mile Beach story. Its good for a laugh at our stupidity... and is a fun memory!!
Is there anything that you desperately wish you had brought with you and forgot?
My bro and sis
Bandit...
What would be your advice to anyone traveling to New Zealand?
Buy a car, it's just way easier to see everything, plus once getting here you realize you don't really have a home and having a car is just your own little home if you need it.
Keep your plans wide open so you can jump in with someone else's travels when the opportunity presents itself... and ask everyone everything.. the people are friendly!!
What individual, activity or place has impacted you the most in New Zealand?
Individual is tough because Mana retreat is just this amazing place away from the world, once there you forget about everything around you. You become more relaxed and just have more room in your head to think. Then there is Terri who really took care of us when we needed it the most, trying to find a home wasn't the easiest process for us, and to have someone to just let us come back not just once but on plenty of occasions is amazing. So I guess you could say wwoofing again.
Terri - she has such a warm, inviting and real way of living her life. Terri has fed us, taught us, laughed with us, laughed at us, fed us again, taught us about life in New Zealand, embraced us into her family, and even recently helped us find work! She loves her family above everything else in her life, which I respect so much and enjoy being able to be a part of. To allow so many random international travelers into your home on a constant rotating basis... you need to be a unique, open and wonderful type of person. Terri is all of these things!! <3
Would you say that you have changed at all in the past four months?
Yes definitely, I think being here has opened my eyes more on what's out there, I really want to see more of the world now, and meet more people.
I've become happier, more relaxed and laugh more freely. My life has much less drama! :)
Can you describe what its like living in Mount Maunganui?
So far like a dream - living on the beach, surfing, long boarding, and its only the winter, I can't imagine what summer is gonna be like.
Paradise! 4 blocks from the beach, sunshine almost every single day... perfection!
What are you doing now? For work, for fun? 
Well I was doing electrical work which was very interesting to see how different it is from our country, but now I'm just helping in construction which is still interesting meeting different people. As for fun like I said surfing, long boarding, just walking on the beach with dea, and going on little adventures.
Since moving to the Mount I have been working with my roommate at a hotel in downtown Mount Maunganui, cleaning toilets, making beds, scrubbing floors.. all the fun stuff. Also, thanks to Terri, I have had a few shifts with a catering company that I am really enjoying, and I had my first "trial" shift at a coffee shop... which I was ecstatic about!! For fun I've been really enjoying the gym in our apartment building - mainly because its free and always empty! I've been having a GREAT time with my blog (thank you to everyone who reads and comments! you keep me going!) and just writing in general. And of course, my fun day trips to the library or beach!! 
What is the biggest change from living in Victoria?
Not having those familiar faces and friends that we hung out with all the time. 
Agreed! Not being surrounded by a group of friends that are ready and willing to partake in fun adventures on a regular, almost daily basis.. its a big change. And there's no Auntie Sue here.
What is exactly the same?
Hahaha this is the toughest question for me, not very much is exactly the same....I mean even the coffee is different, playing guitar is different because I have more time and feel like I am actually getting better. Driving feels the same now but it's different seeing how I'm on the other side of the road. I would have to say although work is somewhat different, I guess the people are somewhat the same, they interact the same, make the same kind of sick jokes, and overall Kiwis are friendly like Canadians, while you still get the odd jackass, just like in Canada.
I find living in the Mount feels as though I could be living in a part of Canada. There are obvious differences - like tropical trees in every yard - but because there are many pieces that are similar, I often forget that there is a body of water separating me from my home. Many days I find I feel so comfortable here that I forget I'm in a different country. I think being here with Luke really helps.. makes it feel like home.
What is your favourite part about your new living situation?
Well instead of my roomies pretending to have a British accent they actually do, and it's hard not to mock them. Also our apartment is awesome with a pool and hot tub, and the best part: it's cheaper than what I was paying back home.
We live in a b-e-a-uuuutiful apartment!! I love it. I am able to walk to and from work - which I have always wanted! And I don't have any money... I enjoy seeing what I can do without. It feels a bit refreshing and grounding, although at times frustrating. 
Is there anything that you desperately miss from home?
Friends and family.....oh and timmys of course.
Bandit... and all of the above!
Is there anything that you thought you would miss desperately but you've been surprised that you don't?
Not really. I guess just Canada in general, I mean, I miss it but I guess I just know it will be there when I get back and being here makes me appreciate my country more.
Work. 
There you have it! A reflection of the past four months through the eyes of Dukey and Dea! Anything else you're curious about? Anything you'd like to share?
I hope you've enjoyed reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy sharing them!
Sincerely,
Sweet Dea & Dukey
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Papamoa Hills Summit - that mountain is the background is "the mount" - Mount Maunganui - our new town
 
 
Yesterday Luke and I enjoyed another day of constant sunshine with a different view of our favourite mountain. We drove out to  Papamoa to hike the hills. The hike up was a good steady climb in a beautiful foresty area that teases you with small glimpses of sunshine through the trees. It was ever winding so you never quite knew where you were headed or where the summit was. which is helpful to "trick" yourself into thinking the summit is "just around the corner"
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Luke and The Tall Trees
After our 45 minute hike up, and many many "hellos" "howsits" "howyougoings" and "g'days" from a friendly group hiking down, we saw our summit! A beautiful grassy top with 360 degree views of the Papamoa hills. 
PHOTO OP!
After our much quicker hike down to the carpark and toilets, we decided to head back to downtown Mount Maunganui for a delicious treat!! Anywhere at the base of the mount is a great place to get a delicious treat! From freshly made waffle cone engulfed ice cream, to lattes to fresh and hot fish and chips. And all treats can be consumed while looking at the beautiful ocean view or looking up at the monstrous Mount Mauao!  
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Main Beach, Downtown Mount Maungaui
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Main Beach, Downtown Mount Maunganui
Luke and I opted to enjoy the rest of the afternoon down on the beach, a few km's away from the busy and bustling Main Beach of Mount Maunganui. This activity is beautiful, comfortable and free! There is plenty of people and dog watching, wave watching, friendly conversations with passerby's and a chance to catch up on that book or some well-deserved snooze time!!
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The beaches best accessory: hunky man + guitar
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Bliss.
 
 
The game plan for Luke and I when we first decided to bring New Zealand adventures into our lives was to travel for a few months, or however long our somewhat limited Canadian funds would last. After the traveling, we would partake in the true kiwi way of life, we would find a flat and earn some dough! Real working kiwis we be! The place to do so: Mount Maunganui! A beautiful small town on the East Coast of the North Island known for its long, white sandy beaches, cafes and restaurants and Mauao, a local hike with beautiful mountain top views. Logically, when one's funds are low, it would make sense to find a job before a home...however, Luke and I aren't often logical... and so... we found a home! This is the story of how it all began...

It was apartment hunting day and we had three appointments scheduled - one for a basement suite all to ourselves, one for a beautiful second story apartment with friendly flatmates and the third one we knew absolutely nothing about. So, smiles on, sunnies on, off we went to find our new home. The simple act of driving around the Mount on a sunny day is enough to put anyone's worries and stress at ease. We took a few moments to take in the big rolling waves of the ocean, the people bustling about in the shops and cafes and the big, beautiful dormant volcanic cone, Mauao, or The Mount. "ahhhh" escaped both of us as we realized that this city was a wonderful place to be, regardless of what apartment we chose. 

Once all apartments were visited and we had foolishly claimed we would give them a "yes" or "no" by the end of the day, Luke and I set out to find a seat by the ocean to have a drink and a think. With lots of discussion, we opted to eliminate the basement suite because it was just a tad too "eclectic" for our taste. We opted to eliminate the friendly flatmates simply because they lived quite far from town. So, by the process of elimination, we chose the mystery apartment. 

This apartment was stunning! It had beautiful large windows, two balconies, a big, open living area and was very nicely furnished. The flatmates would be a friendly couple from Chili with broken English. The only thing weird about our new place was this really strange, uncomfortable feeling that something wasn't quite right...

I have had quite a few moments of "I KNEW that was going to happen... OMG... I have intuition... that works!" throughout my life. Because of these moments, I paid attention to this little twang of unhappiness I felt regarding our new home and contemplated about it. Luke thought I was completely mad for not being as excited as him about our new place. The moment we walked out of it, before we had even seen all three places, he had an ear-to-ear grin and was ecstatic about the beauty! "This is the nicest, fanciest place I'll ever have lived in." And I'll be honest, I wasn't so sure that I wasn't mad. It didn't make sense. Like I said, this place was beautiful!! But, I kept my feelings to myself, we drove back to Terri's house and we got geared up to move into our new home the next day. 

The timing of our scheduled move-in had been a bit vague but was for sometime in the afternoon the next day. So, after doing a bit of work around Terri's place to show our appreciation for all that she had done for us, we put on our job hunting duds, packed our car full of all that we own (which really isn't much), and made our way to The Mount. It was about 2:30pm and the plan was to drop off some resumes, scour the town for "help wanted" signs, move into our new home and crack our bottle of celebratory champagne. wooohooo!!

As we drove in to town, we received a text from our new "flatties" stating that move-in time was 8:00pm... clearly a bit later than we were anticipating. I responded asking if it was alright to have the landlords downstairs let us in but was told, "no" and to "please wait for us...we will be home 7pm now". We were definitely a bit peeved at this change in plan and couldn't figure out a reason that we would need to wait around town all afternoon and evening instead of just talking to the landlords. Now we couldn't take sweet sunshiney moving-in photos. Fail!

In an attempt to keep our moods high, we decided to start on the job hunt. We both went in to a number of places, and both came out with upside down smiles on our faces as none of our prospects were promising. We ended up feeling even more defeated. Fail!

It was finally close to dinner time so we decided to buy a cheap bottle of wine and find a BYOB restaurant to enjoy a nice long, time-passing dinner at. Turns out The Mount has none. Fail!

Sooo, what do you do when all else fails and you're broke and feeling defeated... hit up the BK Lounge, grab some grub and park by the ocean to watch the beautiful sunset behind the mount. Finally, while chowing down on our greasy burgers, we felt happy and our smiles came back. Success!

 
 

a wwoofer's morning adventure

Wake up at 6:30am to boys yelling at each other in other room, hear mom tell them to stop it, fall back to sleep. Wake up at 7:00am to boys yelling at each other in other room, hear mom tell them to stop it, fall back to sleep. Wake up at 7:30am to boys yelling at each other in other room, hear mom stirring her coffee, think: "Time to get up!" Take a moment to scratch the heck out of my likely to be forever bruised, battered and scarred legs due to a disastrous amount of unrelenting "sand flea" bites. Get up, put on grubby jeans and grubby shirt and grubby sweater (none are actually grubby.. but have deemed them this due to line of current work), join the family in the other room. boys seem very happy to see us, even though in the back of mind I'm thinking "you woke me at 6:30 you mongrels". I smile politely.

Make a cup of coffee, two scoops of instant crystals, one sugar (sometimes two), and a dollop of milk from Licky the cow. Sip coffee while reading a chapter of current book on the beautiful back deck in the crisp sunshine. Finish coffee, realize its much too hot out already for jeans and a sweater, go change into grubby shorts and grubby tank top (same rules as other "grubby" items).

Grab gumboots (there are a few pairs for wwoofers to use) and bucket for chicken feed, wander down towards the chickens. Enter first paddock that is empty, see all chickens at the fence, happily awaiting the arrival of food, pretend they're just excited to see me, try to get them more excited with a few high pitched "chicky chicky chicky" calls, feel happy that they're suddenly jumping on top of each other trying to get closer to me. (clearly it has nothing to do with the food in my swinging white bucket!!) Enter the chicken pen, feel overwhelmed with the amount of clucking chickens surrounding my feet and making it very difficult to walk without stepping on one and feeling bad for the terrible "SQWAK" I'd hear, then thinking "Hey! I'm the boss here, outta my way chickens!" Sadly, the chickens are clever little buggers. They know that white bucket = chicken feed, therefore they try not to let it out of their sight. I try tricking them by throwing a handful of chicken feed over to the left, then I quickly scurry over to the mini chicken-trough and start pouring the chicken feed into it. Usually as soon as I begin to pour the chickens are climbing on top of the trough and bucket and themselves.. so I devised a plan. Now I pour a little into the trough, get them all excited and munching away, then I secretly scurry away to the other chicken pen (which they have full access to, I'm not that tricky!) and pour the rest of the feed into the other trough. Usually over at this trough is my little chicken friend that I call Dementee. (maybe not PC... but hey, I'm on holidays). She had an accident of sorts. Her beak is all wonky and one wing is itsy bisty... kinda like Nemo! Her top beak bit always points West while her bottom beak bit always points North. Don't know why she's like this, but I get a little happy feeling inside when she's the only chicken in the other pen, so she gets full peck at the chicken feed trough while the others are climbing ontop of each other trying to get a few kernels in the other trough. "hah, dumb chickens" we laugh together. (likely just me laughing.. but I like to believe she gets me). Then while the chickens are all happily pecking away at their breakfast, I watch Luke feed the piggies. We got new piggies the other day, after the other much larger and "porky" looking piggies got "sent away". These newbies are much more shy and timid. Luke heaves a bunch of scraps and yuck stuff over the fence into their trough... and almost automatically, a few chickens come racing over to see what's going on with the pigs. There are usually one or two chickens in the piggy trough, pecking away at old vegetable scraps, bread, meat, leftovers, etc, along with the piggies! Silly chickens. Don't they know I gave them plenty of chicken feed?
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Chicken Run - "i don't want to be a pie, i don't like gravy"
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Piggy Piggy Piggy Piggy Piggy Piggy

Deanna's Random Thoughts

Lately I've been reading a new author, Marian Keyes. One of the books I read is very similar to what I wrote here, very short, basic and to the point. I have found that at night I now dream about my days in this style, so I thought I would try recording it. Quite fun to write!

On the topic of reading.. since coming to New Zealand I have managed to read five books! Quite a lot for me, as I never read very often in Victoria. Must be all this free time and free space in my brain :)

is it bad that i'm really really excited for my birthday in 5 days? turning 25 doesn't mean I'm now too old to get excited about it right?
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woooohoooo!
Have you ever taken the time to notice how your brain receptors adapt? I have been in one place for over two weeks now..the longest in one place since arriving in New Zealand.. and just today I was reflecting on the things that I noticed when I first arrived here, and how they now slip past my radar. I often imagine that as a "newbie" to an area (to a country, a region, a situation, etc) the things that your brain records as observations can often be completely different to what it records after some time. Once seeing something a few times, it just becomes normal, not worthy of consciously recognizing. So then it led me to wonder, am I still recognizing it, and my brain has simply decided that I have already given myself time to think about it, so there is no longer a need to do this again? Or do I just no longer recognize it?

.... these are the random thoughts that I have to hold myself back from waking Luke up in the middle of the night to discuss with him... he doesn't seem to find life quite so interesting and mysterious as I do at 2am. Hmmmm

Music for your ears :-)
 
 

Short but Sweet
Raglan & Rotorua

Raglan was amazing. The moment we stepped off the bus and into the small downtown area... my entire body breathed a sigh of relief and relaxation! The air was still, the town was quiet, you could tell this was a place that didn't possess a lot of clocks! It was wonderful!

This little surf town on the west coast of the North Island prides itself on its ability to relax, let go and enjoy life! After a few days in the active downtown Auckland area, and a few hours and a few buses on our travel day, we were very pleased with just how relaxing Raglan felt already!

I have stories and stories to share about Raglan, but those will be saved for when I have more time on a computer.. and hopefully when my laptop decides to un-break itself... it happens right? hah. We spent five nights in Raglan and although we were ready to take the next step on our journey when the time came, we both decided that it is worth a re-visit within our year here in New Zealand! One thing I learned there, I really, really enjoy a relaxing morning sitting in the sunshine in an outdoor table and chair out front of a coffee shop in a not-too-busy downtown, sipping a delicious latte and just... being. It's wonderful. Exactly what I needed/wanted/dreamed of!! yay!

We tried to buy a car in Raglan.. a Toyota Camry Station Wagon... it was perfect for our needs! Not too old, big enough to sleep in if needed, cheap and within our price range, and being sold by a guy from Tofino... perfect? I'd say so. Sadly.. he sold it to some other guy before he even let us talk to him... in Luke's words "Where's the backpacker love?" Sooo, after many complaints between us about how much that tofino guy realllly screwed up our plans, we changed our plans. (haha, as per usual when backpacking right?) We figured out how to bus to Hamilton, then on to Rotorua. [row-toe-roo-ah]
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First night in Raglan
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Gorgeous!!
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Raglan Sunset Love
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Raglan Rain Forest

read about our bus mishap below...

We spent 4 hours in the bus depot in Hamilton, and after such a wonderful time,  we clearly wanted more.. so we missed our bus to Rotorua... by 3 minutes... due to an intense card game! True to style for both Luke and Deanna. We just laughed at each other. ridiculous! Soooo, we spent another 3 hours in the bus depot (Hamilton didn't seem to have too much to offer, and we had all of our gear too) avoiding playing cards again, until we finally gave in to setting an alarm so we couldn't miss the next bus.

Sue had warned me that Rotorua is really smelly. Really smelly is an understatement. It STINKS! Literally. It has to do with the geothermal activity across the entire city, and the smell is of sulphur, stinks like egg! bleh. But so far we've really enjoyed it. Lounged this morning in a natural hot spring while getting to know our new friends from France and Ireland.. who we now are going to be travelling with. They have this bright green campervan they've rented.. like NEON green!! All 5 of us are going to roadtrip together from Rotorua to Wellington (the bottom of the north island) with a few fun stops inbetween.
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sharing a beer in a natural-sourced outdoor hottub
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This is what I look like when I hike!!
I have oodles more to share but will do so at a later date! We're having a fantastic time and are very happy we're here! Today was the first time we brought up Tim Hortons!! The coffee here is expensive and it seems to be rare to find a cup of regular coffee, always espresso. So Luke hasn't been too impressed. We reminised about a big delicious cup of Timmies, two milk, one sugar for me - double double for him. It felt nice.

I have heaps of photos and videos to share.. will do down the road.

xoxoxo
Sweet Dea & Dukey

this song was on repeat while I wrote this so I thought I would share it ... probably for the younger audience only ;)
 
 

Auckland! Auckland! Auckland!

Auckland is a very unique city! Before arriving here I had hear it was quite comparable to Vancouver, so this is what I was expecting. I guess in some ways it is. there are lots of people, all over the place. There is a beautiful waterfront, right on the ocean. Some of the buildings are really quite gorgeous and the weather can change in a matter of moments! 

One thing that I always notice about a new city is what people wear. There really is no standard here. You'll see tow girls walking together, one dressed to the nines, decked out in sky-high heels and jewels all over her, and her friend will be wearing a messy sundress and converse sneakers. It's a bit random, but it definitely makes me feel better about my backpacker wardrobe!  

The buildings are unique! Really really old character buildings in among brand new all glass towers. There are palm trees all over the place and it is very humid. Their trees are massive!! Not really tall like in Vancovuer, but very very wide and big. It's quite neat to see. The drivers are very entertaining, just honking and honking for what appears to be no reason at all. 

Our hostel, ACB Base Backpackers, was right off of Queen Street, the main strip of downtown. (Thanks for the heads up about Queen Street Sue!) It was nice to just wander up and down the street, looking at all the shops and people. My favourite part of downtown is at a busy intersection. The traffic lights stop cars in all directions and a big mass of people walk in every direction in the middle of the road. It's beautiful chaos. You have to be careful though, this only happens at a few intersections.. and seeing as they drive on the other side of the road, we're still adjusting to which way to look first before jetting out into the street. 

Realizing that we aren't really downtown people, we did some fun day-trip excursions, exploring the outskirts of downtown Auckland. We went trekking to One Tree Hill - a historical monument on top of a hill, Mount Eden - an old volcanic cone, and wandered along the fancy Parnell Village. Everything here is just so BIG!! The green spaces are massive amounts of rolling green hills, all very lush still for it being the end of their summer. 
We saw our first sheep up on One Tree Hill. This was a very exciting moment for the two of us! We baaa'd and raaam'd and ewe'd ... just like on Babe, but the sheep weren't big fans of that. We learned that we haven't quite honed our sheep-speaking abilities yet - all the sheep just got up and walked away from us. Give it time, they will come! We'll make friends.. just you wait!! 

New Zealand, at least Auckland, is definitely more expensive than Victoria. Just a plain, drip-coffee, size small is usually $4! So a latte is a truly delicious and wonderful splurge! Is it wrong that I care more about a delicious cup of coffee than a healthy meal? :s hmm.. priorities.  
Internet is usually $3 for an hour, unless you find one of the few coffee shops that offer you one hour wifi in exchange for buying something. Currently I am happily seated in an Esquires coffee shop, looking at a teeny tiny adorable birdy happily bouncing around the coffee shop beside me.
It is rainy here today, but still very warm!

More on Auckland and Our Next Adventure

I have come to my own conclusion that there is no rhyme or reason as to why New Zealanders do what they do. Prices for things change randomly throughout the day. why? Just because. They never have a reason. They build brand new beautiful buildings right beside old, run-down shacks that look like they'll barely last one more winter. why? Just because. We asked four different bus drivers the same question and got four different answers as to how to get to the same place. And I think they were all wrong.. haha.. Luke just got us there with his own sense of direction. Oh.. turns out, Luke is a great day-trip planner and has a wonderful sense of direction!! I am very very verrrrrry thankful he possesses these skills!! For anyone that knows me well enough knows that , well, I get lost in my own head, let alone trying to find my way around a new city!! 

Today Luke and I begin our "around the middle of the North Island" adventure for at least 5 weeks we'll be trekking around and stopping in a bunch of neat little cities. We'll be busing on this adventure!

Raglan - a little surf town with a cool vibe
Rotorua - a unique town with lots to see and do
Waitomo - to do some underground cave adventuring
Taupo - because we heard that it's cool
Tauranga - to try our hand at working on a farm!
Wellington - because we heard its a lot like our little Victoria
 
 
Mental Preparation... for what? For continuous stress? For overwhelmingly uncomfortable places? For crowds and crowds of people you've never met. For accents, and different foods, and weird weather? For the most amazing experience you may ever have outside of your comfort zone? How does one mentally prepare themselves for the unknown?

As I sit, sipping my morning coffee, contemplating this trip that is about to begin, I can't help but dive into the thoughts of, are Luke and I 'traveler' material? I have done some traveling in my day. I am no-where near a self-proclaimed 'traveler'; however, I have lived out of a backpack for some time, and I have roughed-it in a few foreign countries. Luke has not. 

Curiosity #1 - I have a general understanding of what to expect.. and how to expect the unexpected.. and I believe that Luke does too.. but how much can one truly know and anticipate the unexpected without actually having experienced something similar in the past?

Guess how we plan to find out... by doing. Luke and I have both spent many many years of our lives working towards something, whether it be post-secondary, our careers, saving money, etc. For the first time in our so far short but full lives, we are both consciously choosing to step back, take a break, relax, and allow ourselves to PLAY!! This decision is one that I am most proud of. It takes a lot of work to:

a. prove to yourself that you can make it in the real world enough so that you are comfortable taking a break from the real world. 

b. remove yourself from the real world with enough confidence in yourself and your plans that you are truly having an adventure.. just.. for.. you! It's about self exploration. About self  realization. About fun! 

 
 

    Help Me Stay In Touch With YOU!

    In true Deanna fashion.. I assume that even though I am taking a book of addresses with me, it will become challenging for me to keep up with the where-abouts of said book. If you would be so kind as to fill out this form.. all information is sent immediately to my confidential email and I will not share the information with anyone else.. I can always ensure that I have a copy of your current address. (let's be honest.. a lot of you are likely to change your home address within the next year!) 

    ...                                                                     ...

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    If you don't already know, I am a huge support of the joys of snail mail!!!  ...and thus, I intend to send countless postcards and letters back to Canada (and a few to the states, you know who you are).  So please, help me out and ensure that you will receive a beautiful something in the mail, to let you know that I am thinking of you! 

    Thanks :) 

 
 
I'd say the very beginning of our actual trip planning began on a Saturday morning, sipping coffee and silently giggling to ourselves about the prospect of actually embarking on a move across the globe. Luke set out to call his boss and break the news, I browsed every and any New Zealand website I could find and we continuously passed glances of excitement between each other. Life couldn't be more exciting.

Than it dawned on me... to leave the country, one must have a valid...
PASSPORT!
So, we both enjoyed one more calm sip of delicious weekend morning coffee and *poof* we turned on Extreme Dea and Dukey  mode. I grabbed every piece of identification I could find, we piled into the car, grabbed Luke's information, and then searched and searched and searched for parking downtown Victoria on a Saturday. After finally finding a spot, we literally ran to the mall, searched out the passport office at the top of the building, got told very rudely that we are 'no exception and everyone must wait in line', took a number and *poof* sat down to wait. dum de dum de, tick tick tick... we really began to feel the morning caffeine going to waste at this point. 

So after hours of waiting, filling out the paper work, waiting, re-filling out the paper work, and waiting some more, we finally were able to complete our passport renewal applications. Lucky for us I trusted my intuition that it was worth it to wait all day and hand the application to a person, rather than fill it out, likely wrong, mail it off, and then have it returned a few weeks later learning that you now must do it all over again. This played a crucial time-saving role when it came time to apply for our New Zealand Working Holiday Visas