Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Home away from Home away from Home

Hello! After a nearly two month hiatus from writing, I'm back with a little update. Well, as many of you know I am back State-side. How does it feel? What am I doing now? You anxiously wait for me to answer. Moving across the world and back again is actually a bit of a wonder as to how it would feel. I shared over a year ago when I arrived in Wellington just how I was feeling then. But you know, I never anticipated what it would feel like coming back. I was seriously so very busy the last 6+ weeks in New Zealand as I was finishing up a photography class that I was teaching, spent a week in Australia, re-packed my life into a couple of suitcases (harder than it sounds), said my tearful goodbyes, and traveled back to LA where I spent another whirlwind week with friends and my sister. Once I FINALLY reached my destination back at my mom and dad's house in MN, I was in a more than slight state of exhaustion. I actually had almost no jet lag from the 15 hour time zone jump I made crossing the Pacific, but completely felt the 2 hour difference from LA to Minnesota. Nonetheless, I was extremely excited to see my family and reunite with friends back at "home"and it's been wonderful catching up with everyone. How grateful I am for the amazing people in my life. After a reunion I was highly excited about, life, as it does, settled back in for the people around me and I found myself at a standstill while the world was moving all around me. Not in a dramatic way...it's just that my time before was filled in and busy and all of a sudden it wasn't! Seventy mph on the freeway to a screeching halt. Now what do I do? Of course I had plenty of personal tasks to work on...writing, photography study, getting my photos from NZ sorted, etc. With all of the time on my hands I realized that I don't have a home. I have three of them. Each place I've lived has truly become a home for me, each in their own way, and each has taught defining lessons that I'll carry the rest of my life. Home really is where your heart is.

I started this blog at the beginning of my journey in New Zealand and have decided to keep up with blogging. I'll be using a different title and layout to make it a bit more full circle in adding tid-bits of stories, adventures and life outside of traveling. Though I will certainly keep up with all the travel I {hope} to embark on in the future! Thank you all so much for your support, love, encouragement, excitement, compliments, and dedicated friendships. You are inspiring to me and I hope this blog has inspired you in one way or another...hopefully to visit New Zealand someday! If you do, let me know and I'll help in any way I can...

See you over at www.rachelkwrites.blogspot.com

Love, love...

Here are a few photos from my last road trip up the North Island with Abi and Emma...as you can see, we had a lot of fun!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Goodbye Wellington...

Welp. Goodbye to my beautiful New Zealand has come rather quickly. I remember very vividly my first days here one year ago and it really does seem like all of that just happened. But no...lots has happened in between that beginning and this ending. I'm leaving a home tomorrow, one I'll never forget. I'm so very grateful and feel beyond blessed for such an incredible year, and while it's always sad to say goodbye, I am looking forward to the next adventure. What may that be, you ask? I've had this question quite a lot as I depart "here" for "there" & my answer is this. I'm not sure yet! It's true. I'm heading back to Minnesota through the Holidays (or longer?) & I have a few things up my sleeve as to what I might take up next. But for now I'm looking forward to seeing my family, heading to Nashville to visit my dear friends and other 'home', and living joyfully in the contentment I have knowing that God will open doors that need to be opened in the next season of la la la life! As I leave tomorrow I am taking with me one of the best years of my life...

Goodbye Wellington. I love ya.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

A few fine {f}otos

My wonderful, beautiful, talented flatmate, Abi, shot some cool photos of me on a recent outing. Here are a few of them!! This is Titahi Bay on a lovely day...


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back to the beginning...

I took this photo in Queenstown almost a year ago.

A year!

I've recently been going through the photos I've taken throughout this past year and wow, more than anything it's humbling. I'm so very grateful for so much.

I am so very sad I have to say goodbye.

It's amazing to look back at the photos I took when I first arrived & that I can remember exactly how I was feeling at that point in time. Uncertain what would happen over the year or why (the bigger reason) as to why I was even here, but completely happy & excited. So much has happened in this little life and heart of mine...I had no idea when I took this photo just how amazing the next several months would be. As I sit here, I don't even know how I'm going to be able to articulate it for you. I'll try though {in writing to come} because I want to share.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bigger than small, but smaller than big. Waves: a Surfing tale.

I had my first surfing lesson earlier this week! When I was young we'd spend summer days at the local "Wave Pool"....woooo! Besides lakes, this is the closest thing us landlocked folk have to the sea. Well, here in New Zealand the sea is almost always in one half of your view. The kiwi's enjoy life on a tiny little green gem perched in the middle of the big blue. It's grand, really. Surfing is a way of life around here.

Being that I have just over a month left here, I've naturally stressed a little bit over a few things I haven't yet done but definitely want to before I take off. Surfing is one of these things. I mentioned this to my nice friend Ben & he kindly offered to take me out one morning. We drove to a local surf beach called Titahi Bay, suited up, and headed in. I was a wee bit nervous right off the bat, but after the first test ride it was all fun. I loved it and only wish I would have started earlier! Oh, and it's winter here, so the already cold water is supposed to be extra cold at this time of the year. In all honesty, it didn't feel cold to me at all. Must've been a pretty cozy warm wetsuit!

Things to do... 1. Surf NZ. Check.

My instructor, Ben.

I almost got up a few times, but attribute sore arms from the gym as my biggest hurdle. It was hard to be quick!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 weeks. 8!

That's all. Eight weeks is all I have left in lovely, beautiful, hilly, wet, caffeinated, wonderful Wellington, New Zealand.

It's begun...the scramble of events leading up to the harsh reality of actually having to say goodbye to a place and people who've come to mean so much. AND the sweet reality that on the other side of my journey lies home & my family who I miss a lot. How is it even possible to dread and look forward to the same moment? Hmmm.

The next couple of months hold lots of to-do's, wrap-ups, & miscellaneous tid-bits.

I am of the sentimental sort so I tend to be the person who wants to leave having given each person I've met a personalized little something or other; card, photo, etc. I am also of the creative sort so it needs to be...you know, creative. Lastly, I'm of the "I'll probably have overweight luggage and need to pay the fee" sort so my sentimental creativity needs to be costly cheap, not cheaply cheap. I'm happy to announce...no stress here. I have an idea and it's halfway done. Yes. Check.

Back up a bit...luggage. This is my biggest stress at the moment. My bags were overweight when I arrived and I got away with it, crazily. They were even maxed out overweight. Honest to goodness I did not bring that much stuff!! To LIVE in another place on the other side of the world and only bring 2 suitcases, a guitar and 1 carry-on. I should get a medal. And airlines should get real. Regardless, I have to downsize. The madness.

Travel. I head over to Melbourne, Australia on July 21st for about a week & then spend my final week and a half in Wellington before road-tripping it up to Auckland where my flight to LA departs from. I'll then stay in LA visiting friends for a week {and where my sister is meeting me!}, then finally to Minneapolis. Oh, I have a layover in Tahiti. Tahiti!! Anyone else get red mustaches from those syrupy sweet tahitian treat drinks as youngsters? I sure did. We're there only for a wee bit, but long enough for a drink in their open air-airport. Ahhh...

I'm also teaching an after school photography program for high school students during these final 2 months as well. We've met twice now and it's been great. The kids are cool and the challenge is needed.

Oh, and I have lots of coffee to drink before I'm nowhere near a flat white of any sort, photos to take, places yet to see, people to spend time with, 3 little boys to cuddle lots before I'll leave and they'll grow up fast, and a wedding I'm very much looking forward to...Stu and Fritha-my cool employers.

That's me for now.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seasonal Associations & Favo(u)rite Things...

The earth has revolved around the sun per usual and as June approaches so does winter here in New Zealand. With the ringing in of the season, jackets, hats, layers, hot drinks, I am ready for Christmas. 'Tis the season to be jolly' comes hand in hand with winter, it's a seasonal association. It seems a bit anti-climactic to have such cold weather with no holiday cheer to warm our hearts and help us forget that we can't feel our toes. But just as I was in December when BBQ's and flip flops were in full swing, I am reminded that the world is much, much bigger than just how I've known and experienced it. A simple swap of seasons has opened my eyes to the fact that normal to one is not always to another.

Cheers to that.

I have compiled a little list with photos of some of my favorite things here in Wellington & it goes a little something like this...

Delicious. Feijoa trees bear a seemingly endless supply of these things when they're in season. Just cut them in half and scoop out the middle.

Frankie, Ted & Sonny.
The 3 wee fella's I hang out with a few days each week. They are beautiful little guys.

Flat White's.
To stay. Or, to take away.

Roti Chenai.
'Nuff said.

Cuba Street.
Has it all, including my favorite cafe's and people watching benches.

Public Transportation.
I've actually loved my car free year. Trading a car for the bus, less convenient? Slightly. Less stress? Ummm, YES! All I have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride while the driver battles traffic and getting through town. My biggest stress is deciding what to listen to on my ipod.

The Novelist.
A Wellington band that happens to be made up of 4 friends. Tim, Matt, Travis & Rene. Check them out at www.myspace.com/thenovelist.

The sky.
More often than not it's beyond amazing, especially if you catch it at sunrise or sunset.

Always interesting.
Always fun.

City, sea, bush...all within an arms reach.

There are many more favorites, but these will do for now!

Love, Rachel