New Year's Eve
The sun returned to us on Wednesday, so Matt and I have spent the last couple days of 2010 soaking up the brilliantly bright sunshine. On Wednesday the wind was still up so even a short walk on the beach proved chilly, but back here at the Wavehaven it is much more sheltered, so we spread out towels in the backyard and lay in the sun tanning for an hour or so in the afternoon. The sun was HOT! A nice change from our weeks of rain and storms. On Wednesday night we went to see Fat Freddy's Drop, New Zealand's most well known band. They are incredible, and while they can sell out huge venues, they like to play the little small town places, so we only had to drive the 3 km into Oakura to see them! It was a glorious concert, they are absolutely stellar musically, a really seamless group that plays a fusion of funk, dub, electronica, and reggae using various keyboards, guitars, and a fantastic brass section. We had a great time, but all the smoke in the air under the big tent at the venue led to me waking up with a full blown cold the next morning. I had been fighting off a minor one since Boxing Day, but the late night and the smoke put it over the edge. I feel fine besides my clogged up sinuses!
We've been staying pretty busy here at the hostel. Almost every room was full up with Jono's family and other guests for the days after Christmas, but everyone cleared out on Wednesday so we've had plenty to do with sorting out the rooms, making beds, and doing load after load of house laundry. We're now enjoying the company of four guys who are staying a few days, from Scotland, England, and Canada.
Yesterday I got up early to find Matt already up and making me a delicious breakfast of streaky bacon, a very tasty omelet, toast with lemon curd, and coffee- a wonderful surprise! After breakfast on the sunny deck, we headed off for Back Beach, where Matt put in over two hours of surfing while I had a lovely ramble along the beach, discovered a trail along the top of the cliffs over the beach, and sat in the sun on the rocks.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
Back Beach is surrounded by some really amazing cliffs.
Paritutu Rock at the north end of Back Beach
View south from Back Beach. The very furthest headland is the point at Weld Road, near the Wavehaven.
We will ring in 2011 tonight here at the Wavehaven in good company, and those of us down here in New Zealand get the privilege of being some of the first in the world to greet the new year!
2010 has been quite the year. It's been a year of amazing growth for me and Matt, and included the marriage of my brother to my awesome sister-in-law, plus the weddings and first babies and other big life changes for many of my friends. It was the year I was accepted into graduate school. It has been a year of gardens, learning new skills, fun jobs, new friends, surfing, family reunions, camping, and all kinds of great memories. It has also been the first full year in which I have blogged regularly! There have been ups and downs this year, of course, but it's the good stuff that stands out. Particularly, 2010 was the year in which Matt and I decided that we were game for the challenge of living abroad together for 8 months, and dove into the work it took to make that happen. We quit our jobs, packed our U.S. lives away into a storage unit, and flew 7,000 or so miles from home to chase summer. Now we've spent over three months in Aotearoa and have had the kinds of adventures and experiences that we'll remember forever, and seen some of the most incredible places in this corner of the world. I'd say 2010 has been a success.
We will spend most of the first half of 2011 here in The Land of the Long White Cloud, going home at the end of May, and I will start working towards my Masters of Public Health at the end of September. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess what 2011 will hold for us. I'm looking forward to finding out!
So here's to the old year gone, and a fresh new one on the doorstep, full of potential. I hope you all enjoy your next trip around the sun, and may it include friendship, laughter, good health, adventure, and happiness for all, mixed in with the hurdles that will undoubtedly test all of us along the way.
"We twa ha'e ran aboot the braes & pu'd the gowans fine
We've wandered many a weary foot sin auld lang syne.
And here's a hand my trusty frien' & gie's a hand o' thine
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet for auld lang syne..."
Happy New Year!