"Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image."

Saturday, September 23

Back in the US of A!!

Hi all! Well, we've made it back to the states in one piece! We had a great last few nights in Wellington with the flatties (minus a phil dickens and plus an equally hilarious frenchman and german chick!) and those few nights will have to stay with us until everyone comes to visit us here!! :) (okay, so CP might not visit unless we live in Colorado or Utah where they have some kick ass mountain biking, but hey, one can hope!). It's weird thinking that NZ is really in our past, especially the 29a flat! It seems that we left and went back there so many times that this last goodbye was just another temporary one---really gutted knowing that it's not. The ride to the airport was weird---molly and I both felt like we were going to throw up. Ugh---but anyways, onto the happy stuff!!! Our stop over in Fiji was great---a little rough around the edges the first few nights but hey, that's the price we were willing to pay to have our own little slice of paradise! We had 3 days and 2 nights on Kutra Island where we had our own "bure"---sounds nice doesn't it? haha...don't be fooled!! The location was awesome and the Bure was definitely "doable" but lets just say that we checked under the covers for creepy crawlers before going to sleep! The island "resort" was run by locals and not only did they cook 3 meals a day for us, but they were constantly playing and singing music for us and giving us a peek into their traditions and culture. We spent the first day lazing on the beach soaking up the sun and snoozing in the hammocks. It didn't take us long to get into "Fiji Time". We didn't sleep much at all that night--expecially after hearing something scrurry across our bag! And because the island was run on a genreator, there was only power between 6pm and 11pm---so the best light we had to try to find what made the noise was the light from our camera. Haha...we passed the time until sunrise by telling stories that in no way involved large bugs of any sort!! It was a bit cloudy in the morning but we still made the hike up to the island summit for the sunrise and it was beautiful.

Later that day we went to another island where we hooked up with a Dive company! We didn't think we'd be able to squeeze a dive into this trip but are THRILLED we did!! It was BEAUTIFUL!! I was slightly nervous---especially since it was my first "flip backwords into the water from this excuse for a boat" dive. AND since we couldn't understand a damn word our dive master was saying!! haha! But it was really cool, b/c as soon as we got underwater, we understood him perfectly. It's such a cool thing having this underwater language across boarders! And it was only the 3 of us which was great. Saw some great coral, lots of clown fish (I heart Nemo's!), a really big moray, and a HUGE lobster. I'm still SHOCKED at the size of this thing---and according to our guide, that was a small one!! Pretty sure we would have heard the underwater screams of Ron and Dad if they were lobstering and spotted this thing!!! I can't even tell you how big it was!!! Can you tell that I'm just in amazement?! haha! The next day we did some kayaking and visited the nearby village (2 islands away) where they still follow the traditions of their ancestors (well, most of them anyways!). We took a trip to the school which I just loved! The kids were running all around us and just kept coming up and grabbing our hands and saying "Bula" (Fijian for Hi). Too cute! For our last night in Fiji (and the last of our time abroad) we decided to splurge!! We stayed at the Sheraton Fiji Resort and it was worth every penny!! Of course it wasn't as untouched or remote as Kutra but it was great to have a nice shower and a GREAT night sleep! Not to mention full range of all the pools and bars!! Our plane left last night at 10pm and we pretty much slept for the whole time. We're now in LA at my friend Ronnie's and tomorrow we are taking the train to San Diego to see Jules!!! (wouldn't it just be crazy if MB, Megs, and Jarrod were there too?!??! :) JUST SAYING!!!). We'll be making the rounds here for a few days before heading to Philly. If you need to find me, mol's cellphone works: 812 322 3960 but we probably shouldn't kill all of her minutes!! So I'll do my best to find you all in the next few days/weeks!

WEIRD!!! :) lovelove

Sunday, September 17

Is this really the end?!

(More pics are up at http://photos.yahoo.com/mollyfoos under "end of NZ")

Hello all! We have made our way back to christchurch and will be staying in our old flat until we head off to Wellington--which is in 4 days! Our "last horay" around the south island was great. We managed to re-visit our favorite places (Lake Tekepo, Mt. Cook, Milford Sound, Wanaka, the Glaciers) and do a few things that we didn't do the first 2 times around! We visited the Caitlins for the first time but unfortunately, the weather and the tides were working aganist us. But seeing as we only has a few days of rain, we were okay with that. But even with the yuck weather, we were able to get really close to 2 yellow-eyed penguins at a hide (same one we were at mom and ry) and were just loving that!! We got to see some great sunrises and sunsets and I've become quite addicted to dawn and dusk!! We drove the 2 hours from Te Anau to Milford Sound (and had to get chains for our tires--we didn't get to use them but it was fun nonetheless!) and b/c it was rather wet and rainy, we were SURROUNDED by water falls! We did an overnight cruise in Milford and while it didn't come close to our Doubtful Sound cruise (how could we top that!?) it was still awesome. We got to see a handful of Fiordland Crested Penguins (the rarest in the world) for the first time and the waterfalls were just pouring out all around us. The weather cleared in the morning so we got a nice view of all the snow covered peaks and our drive back to Te Anau was beautiful! We met a girl from Scotland on the cruise (she tried to convince us to jump in the water--then wussed out herself!!) and wound up giving her a ride back from Milford. Always fun picking up an extra for a little bit! After Milford, we made our way to Queenstown, where, you guessed it---we flung ourselves off of a bridge!!!! It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I couldn't help but think of those crazy boy cousins of mine! Johhny and Michael--you would have LOVED IT!! After the bungy jump, we headed off to the Glaciers and set up a day walk on Fox Glacier. Complete with spikes on our boots and walkng picks, we made our way high up onto the glacier. I have to say--it was nothing like I expected! I had this image of a nice leasurely walk across the flat part off a glacier---um, no! Our guide was cutting "steps" as we walked, and we were stepping (or jumping if you happen to be short like me!) across these big crevices that were either filled with water, or went down for hundreds of meters! I have to say, it got my heart racing more then once! Good times! We ended our trip with a fabulous tour around Monteith's Brewery and for 10 bucks, it was WELL worth it!! Especially since we got to taste 8 beers afterwards and had free range of the bar for a few minutes!

So now, it's all about living up our last few days in christchurch---and selling everything we possibly can!! Our car (tear--good ol mills!) was a success and after only a few hours on TradeMe (kinda like Ebay), someone came to look and offered us a fair amount for it. I'm sure we could have gotten a bit more if we waited it out but it's nice that it's done and as it works out, we got to have a car for almost a year for $250 bucks each. Not too shabby! We have 4 days to make everything we have fit into small bags! If you saw the 2 rooms we've taken over with our stuff, you would only be able to laught at us!! It'll be a misison for sure!

Hope all is well at home! Hope everyone is keeping their eyes open for jobs!! Especially if it involves soccer or ski slopes!! God knows I'm not ready for a "real" job just yet!!

Thursday, August 31

Spring has Sprung!!

Hello all! Well, according to our trusty weather people spring is offically here! You know what that means don't you? That's right--This FLORIDIAN survived her first ever winter season!! Way to go me :). Seeing the beautiful snow-covered mountains on the way to work each morning made it really difficult--but hey, I stuck it out! :). The girls (me, mols, and don't forget our car mills!) are down to our last 2 nights in Christchurch! We are pretty shocked--espcially thinking that in less then a month, we will be home-bound. Crazy! My last day of work is tomorrow and we'll spend Friday night packing up everything we own, preparing for one last whirlwind adventure around the south island! Unfortunately we'll have to part with our beloved Russel (the tent) for this part of the trip but I think we'll manage! So...the plan: We're leaving Christchurch on Sat and will spend the next 2 weeks traveling around the south island (Lake Tekapo, Mt. Cook, The Catlins, Milford sound,Queenstown,and the Glaciers for those of you keeping track). We've seen most of it already but are looking forward to going to a few of our favorite places as well as a few places we missed the first 2 times around! Then, it will be back to christchurch for a few days when we will desperately try to sell everything and anything we own (phones, tent, car, boots...). A bus and ferry ride later, we'll be having one last horay with the Wellington crew and will then be boarding a flight bound for FIJI! We'll spend 5 days lounging on the beaches before Destination: LA! A few days in LA with some friendly (and much-missed)faces (Jules, Ronnie, and Christel!!). And if we are extra lucky, maybe the Ellen tickets we requested will come through! Fingers crossed! So, it's official! I will be stepping foot in the US or A on Sept 28th. And while I'd like to think that I'll be seeing and/or talking to everyone soon after that, I'm sure the fact that I'll have no car, phone or money will make that a bit more difficult then I'd like! But hey, I'm cool with being a wonderer! So if you have a floor space, I'm there :). Just wanted to give you a bit of an update before we take off again. We probably won't have a computer much at all. I'll try to get one more blog up with some pictures of our trip around the south but other then that, I'll probably be in touch once I return from this fairy-tale world I've been living up for the past year. Hope this finds everyone well!

Sunday, July 30

The End is Near...

Hanmer Springs...
Our city at sunset...

Cathedral Square

(below) Our home...(64 Scruttons)
and... Girls at All Blacks game

Hanmer Springs...

Hi All :) Well, here we are with only 2 months remaining in our visas. Wow! Where in the HECK has the time gone? The last few weeks have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster--thinking about leaving this place behind is such a weird feeling. I'm excited to see everyone at home but I know leaving here is going to be a very sad day. But I know this is just the beginning---so much to explore! Perhaps even starting with my own backyard (there has been talk of a big road trip across the US of A!). Other then the emotional-ness of "where do we go from here", things have been great. I think I left off with the All Blacks rugby match. Me and a few friends went and it was great! Our seats might as well been on top of a freakin mountain but we had a clear view of the entire pitch. The coolest thing may have been seeing the Haka live---it was incredible. The next weekend, we had an international dessert night at the hostel with a RIDICULOUS amount of food! It was all so delicious and I think we were all stuffed for about 2 days after! Molly got back safe and sound (and tan--no fair!) even though she missed her connecting flight in LA and had to wait a full day to get to NZ. Very unfortunate circumstances all around---poor thing. But, she had a great time at home and in cape cod for her cousins wedding. The weekend she got back, we drove to Hanmer Springs and enjoyed a day in the natural springs hot pools---it was perfect! It wasn't too crowded at all and it snowed LOTS the entire time we were sitting in the hot pools. Couldn't have asked for a better day to be there! The next day was fine (clear as...) and we took a little walk up to an overlook and got to play in the snow a bit (even made an itty bitty snowman). Then, that night, we had an international Christmas night (I think this winter weather makes us all think of x-mas) with lots of food yet again! But sadly, it was probably our last international food night b/c all our friends that we met at the hostel have started going their separate ways! But it was great while it lasted! Other then that, it's been work and soccer as normal--both of which have been great. My last day of work is on 1 Sept and then we'll be packing up Mills (and getting chains for her little tires!) and traveling around the south island for about a month. Our goal was to have tickets bought by this weekend--but we failed! But we should have tickets and a final plan worked out REALLY soon. As of now, it looks like a trip around the south island, a stop in Wellington, a few nights in Fiji, a few nights in Cali (Christel, Mike, Ronnie...what's your schedule looking like in Oct.?), and then it all gets fuzzy. NY, PA, GA, TX, FL--all necessary stops sometime soon! Hopefully I still get airline benefits. I think I might of gotten a year older since I left--who knew?! :) Hope eveything is going well on the home front--Miss you all!

PS. Ry, you may like to know that Molly came back with the first 2 seasons of 24!! OH BOY!! haha :) I may be able to appreciate your obsession sometime soon!

Wednesday, July 5

An Update (for the mother!)

OKAY! Here I am! My mother has been hinting at me that she's ready for an update and I suppose it's over-due.
Since the last time, Phil came to Christchurch to run the half-marathon (he needed a break from the full ones!) and we finally got to see his race. We had a blast chasing him around (in our car), with map in hand trying to beat him to any given point. We may have been in a car, but damn it was tough keeping up with him! He came 22nd overall---way to go Phil! Just being at the event was amazing and so motivating. I'm really looking forward to running one someday--perhaps I'll talk the big bro, aunt and uncle into it! The weekend after Phil's visit, me and molly took a trip back to Wellington to have one last horray before Phil left us for good. The plane ride over was beautiful! So much snow! It was great being back at the flat (though there were lots of new faces!) and the first night we managed to stay up for 3 world cup games (1am, 4am, 7am)--needless to say, we were sleeping until about 5pm. It was a bit emotional when the crew dropped us off at the airport--we're missing our little Pom already :(. Life in Christchurch is going well. It's been freezing and we actually had a really great snow a few weeks ago. The city was white as and I was like a little kid while we were driving to work. We have a great view of the mountains on our way to work and it seems to make me say "ahhh" everyday. The job itself is pretty good. The days typically fly by, the people are cool, and I actually have to use my brain--so all in all, it's good stuff. Soccer is great and I'm so excited to be playing again! One of the teams I play for is full of 15-16 year olds so it's a bit painful playing for them---I just can't relate to that age anymore!! But the other team is a bit older and sweet as. The flat is great--but as of today, we no longer have a kitty. Aaron's ex girlfriend took her in the "divorce" and I couldn't be sadder. But other then that, it's great. Last week, a Sarah F and a Connor P came to visit and we had a great few days with them. I think me and sarah are offically addicted to the casino after our night there (I played blackjack for hours and broke even. It was too fun!)! Aaron introduced us one drunken night to the Eye-Toy on his playstation and that entertained us for hours!! I think we were all SUPER sore the next day! I would highly suggest playing this any time you are drunk! Molly went home on saturday for her wedding and she'll be gone for about 3 weeks. So, I'm left to fend for myself for a few weeks---can't wait to hear all about the wedding and see my beanie in her dress. I'm sure she's just stunning. After we dropped molly at the airport, me, sarah and connor took a drive towards the mountains until we were surrounded by snow! It was fabulous!! We even got out and had a bit of a play in it---though it wasn't quite wet enough to make a snowman. I've been doing my best to follow the worldcup--even if it means waking up at crazy hours. Kind of like how it was 4 years ago! This morning me and Cristina (the German girl we met at the hostel) met up at 6:45 and went to a German cafe for the game. Tough loss. Events that are yet to come---I think friday I may be going out with some girls from the soccer team, then saturday me and the girls from the hostel are off to the ALL BLACKS game!! WHOO!! Super excited about that one! Then, who knows after that. Another week of work and then maybe a little weekend trip to somewhere with snow. I'll try to do better about keeping this up to date!

Johnny, congrats on graduation! I can't believe you're graduating! It seems like yesterday when we were were all in the back seat driving to our next summer destination---and you're feet weren't able to touch the ground (come to think of it, neither were mine!). Hope all is well on the homefront!

(It's killing me to not mention the most exciting news of all!! Can someone please let me know if the secret is out to everyone yet so I can spill it all!!!!!!?????)

Monday, May 29

The latest from Christchurch!

Before I forget, here is the land line number that goes with our new flat: 3(city code) 376 4610

We've only been in the new place for a few days but it's been great so far. Our flattie, Aaron, is great-- as is our (his) kitty, Cleo! Molly started her job last week and my job as an accounts assistant starts thursday! It's about time for a little income! Our first NZ job has held us through almost 4 months! I've also joined a few soccer teams which I'm super excited about! The team is Burnside and I'm playing for both the division 1 team and the premeir team! Don't let the names throw you off--the teams are nothing flash. But it's great to be back in it and the girls have been really accepting so it's all good. I also have an indoor team I can jump in with if practices are ever canceled. Last week, I played 2 back-to-back indoor games and had practice the next day. Then, I had 2 games this weekend. I feel like a train ran me over---a few times. It's almost sad how much I let myself get out of shape. Though it really puts in perspective just how fit I used to be!! The games slowly but surly coming back and hopefully I'll have my legs back soon. But regardless, it's nice to re-join the world of smelly shinguards and random bruises.

Next weekend is the Queen's B-day and the Phil will be gracing christchurch with his fast-running-ass. He'll be kicking some booty in the marathon and we're super excited that we finally get to see him doing it! Then we'll hopefully make it back to Welly for a fun weekend with the crew before he head's back home (*tear*). There will be plenty of World Cup action to keep us awake and no matter what C.P says, he will be watching with us!

Me and Mol also met a great group of girls at the hostel we were staying at. We all went out to watch the Super 14 Rugby Final on Saturday and had a blast and are planning an international dinner night this week (we got me and mol, 2 irish girls, a german, and a finish).

That's about all I have to report for now! Hope all is well with everyone!

Tuesday, May 23

Christchurch it is!

Okay, we have yet another address!! But this one should be for at least the next 2 months!!

64 Scruttons Rd.
Heathcote Valley, Christchurch

We'll be moving into the flat this weekend---it's a really nice, fully furnished place! Complete with great views, our own section of the house (our own bathroom), and an ADORABLE kitty!!!! We're just a LITTLE excited that we won't have to steal a cat from the neighbors to fill that animal void of ours!! The jobs are coming---hopefully sooner then later! More later. Hope all is well with everone!

Congrats to all the graduates in my life! Jessica, Stevie---I can't believe it! I'm so proud of you guys!! Amanda and all you Rice peeps---I can't believe how fast this year flew by!! CONGRATS! ;) (oh, and ash, congrats on your 1 year in the real world!)

Thursday, May 11


It's possible that we'll need to say goodbye to this beautiful little place we found here in Wanaka so if you were planning on sending anything to our new address, hold off for a bit! Things pretty much shut down for the next month until the winter crowd comes through and we're not sure we can wait that long to start a job. So, we may need to pack our stuff up and head to a bigger city where we know we can land jobs. Everything is up in the air right now so I'll let you know what the plan is as soon as we know.

hope all is well!

Okay, so the decision to move to Christchurch is just about final and if all goes according to this (new) plan, we'll be there in the next 2 weeks or so. Now for those of you that are bummed (on our behalf) about this little side-step, don't be!!! Yes, we are a little saddened to leave this beautiful town and cute little apartment (which had a view of SNOW PEAKED mountains this morning) behind, we've weighed everything and feel like a move to chch is a good one! Although I'm sure we could get jobs here eventually, we'd have to wait it out for at least a month and a half and while we aren't completely pressed for money yet, we can't really afford to be out traveling around either. So we'd basically be waiting, doing nothing, until a job comes up. So, we are going to go to chch, get a job and make some money, find a flat (although we love our place here, it'll be good to have flatmates again not to mention internet and a landline), and get into the culture of a new city. Then, when molly comes back from the wedding (she'll be gone for july) we can hit up some ski mountains and see the south covered in snow. So, we're excited about this little hiccup and love the fact that we have the flexibilty to do this. So, DON'T be bummed for us b/c we aren't bummed at all!!!!

We may be heading to queenstowns this weekend so we can throw ourselves off a bridge for Molly's b-day! Happy's Mother's day to all the mother's (and especially mine! :)).

Thursday, May 4

Wanaka, New Zealand

Greetings from the little ski town of Wanaka in the south island! The mother and big bro have successfully made it back to the US of A after a great 10 day visit to me and molly (which happened to fall on my birthday! What a great gift! :)). Despite a few days of mucky weather, the trip was great and the weather seemed to clear up at the perfect times. We loaded up everyone into mills and gave ry and mom a little taste of the traveler's life! It didn't take long for them to completely lose track of the day and time---that's the way we like it round here! Once again I can't possibly write about it all but our first time visit to franz joseph and fox glaciers was a definite highlight, as was our walk around Matheson lake in which we could see a beautiful reflection of Mount Cook in the water. The weather held out just long enough for us to see the snow-covered peaks of the mountains and then poured down on us for our walk to the terminal face of fox glacier. But there was no stopping us! Not even the rapid streams (which would probably be all but nonexistent in fine weather) could stop this crowd---, and the rain made the rainforest-like surroundings of the glacier breathtaking (waterfalls everywhere!). We had 2 days of rainfall when we stayed in Wanaka but the beautiful cottage we had (what-up Roge!) made up for it! Then I ALMOST convinced ry that jumping off a bridge was a fabulous idea but time was just not on my side! I nearly had him convinced and the lady came out announcing "last jumps" and I just couldn't get it down it time! I'm sure he regrets it already :) There will be other times. After our brief visit to Queenstown, we took off to Manapori where we loaded onto an overnight cruise through Doubtful sound. Somehow, as soon as we got out to the sounds, the weather turned brilliant (it must have been the beachy music and sunnies in the car ride) and stayed that way the entire trip. Nearly as soon as we starting sailing away, a big pod of dolphins started running with the boat and only attracted more!! We were entertained by dolphins jumping LIKE CRAZY for a good 30 mintues!! Dolphins make me happy!! And these guys were out to play for REAL!! We had an amazing sunset that night (and have a ridiculous amount of pics to prove it!), a beautiful star-filled night sky, and then a great sunrise the next morning. Everything on the boat was great! After the crusie, we made our way back to CHCH stopping at Dunedin for 2 nights (where my poor bro FINALLY got to go out for a little bit!) and then at a little town where we saw 2 ADORABLE little yellow-eyed penguins! I could watch them waddle and hop around for hours! It was great having you guys here!!! Miss you already! :)

It is now back to me, mol and mills and we have made our way back to Wanaka--where we now live!! Despite the competiveness of this place in the winter, we managed to score a great little flat. Well, it's more of a unit then a flat. It's just me and molly living there but we have 4 people our age living right above us. It has everything we need (aka, a self-contained unit), though there has been talk of building our own shelves and table! It's small but really modern and has ridiculously awesome views of the mountains. We can only imagine what it will look like when the mountains are covered in snow. So, our new address:

77 Matai Road (downstairs)
Wanaka 9192 NZ

We are still waiting to hear about jobs but have made ourselves known to the ski places and are prepared to be a thorn in their sides until they hire us! :)

also, there are new pictures up under janelle's family visit

Thursday, April 20


We put some more pictures on the website under South Island


Mom and Ry get in this afternoon so I'll probably be away from email for a while!! Hope all is well on the homefront!


Monday, April 10

Livin' it up down south

Greetings from the end of the road (quite literally) holiday park near Farewell Spit. The woman here felt sorry for us b/c apparently it's too wet and cold to sleep in a tent--so she handed over the keys to a small trailer for the price of a tent site. Think white trash trailer. Are you thinking about it? Fabulous---that's where we will be resting our heads tonight. No worries, we already took pictures. Anyhoo, jumping back a bit. The Foos fam arrived safe and their 10 day NZ adventure has come and gone. Talk about a change of pace! The girlies got spoiled! From the hotels with awesome views (be it over a glacier, a lake or some ginormous mountain) to the flights over top Milford Sound and Mount Cook, to paragliding (translation: running off a cliff and hoping your parachute catches the wind. Ok, maybe a slight exageration :) ) , to the boat rides with beautiful views (not to mention cute dolphins!), to great meals, and great company. All in all, it was fabulous! And no worries, through all the spoiling, we never lost sight of our "roots". We have plenty of shampoos, soaps, creams, sewing kits and whatever else from hotels to prove it! Pretty sure Mrs. Foos even helped us stash away a few rolls of toilet paper so we'd be prepared when we returned to the wilderness! We miss you guys already and it was great spending time together! Abby, we miss your jokes (she's the funny one folks! ;) ).

Me and mol have since made our way back to the top to the south island where we spent a few days in Marlbourgh Sounds, and then moved on to Nelson and are now as far as one can go on the Northwest side of the south island. We haven't been up to too much lately. A lot of flat and job hunting mostly. We are pretty sure we want to settle down in a flat and get a job for the winter season. We're hoping to work at a ski resort or ski mountain or something of the sorts but it's tough to get in so we aren't getting our hopes too high. Tomorrow we are heading to the Abel Tasman national park and the following day we're doing the coastal walk that is meant to be one of the best! We've been slacking on our tramping lately and have cheeks to prove it :) So, it's back to climbing mountains and hills for us! Such a rough life! The mother and big bro are due in on April 21st! Whoop whoop!!! :) Super excited for that! I'm so stoked that my brother is coming that I'm going to be ever so kind and let him have his pick: jump out of a plane or jump off of a bridge!! :)

Okay, off to the trailer home! I'll be in touch again soon! Hope all is well! Love and miss you guys.

Sunday, March 19

Home sweet home!

The girls (that includes Mills) and Russel have made it safe and sound back to 29a Monowai!! We were dancing in the car for the last stretch of the ride b/c we were so super excited about getting back and seeing our long lost flatties! Connor P...check. Sarah F....check. Misty...check. New, cute, orange cat....check!! There is a Pom (one Philip Dickens) missing from 29a but after he gets his fill of the Common Wealth games in Melbourne, he'll be back with us! For the time being, he was nice enough to hand his room and oh so comfy bed (our old room and bed) over to me and mol! So, for the next few days, we'll be here--catching up on email, doing laundry, unpacking and repacking, cleaning the heck out of Mills (who has been such a trooper for the entire trip and must have an inch of dust built up inside and out from all the gravel, dirt roads she oh so ruggedly conquered)...and just enjoying time with the flatties!!
Just a note that we "fell back" last night so we are now only 17 hours ahead of EST and you guys should be ready to "spring forward" soon so then we will only be 16 hours ahead of you! A little confusing but I'm sure you'll get it!! Oh, I almost forgot to write about the last few days of our trip! I'll try to keep it short! We did a trip in the Waitomo caves which involved getting dressed in a RIDICULOUS outfit, abseiling down a shaft to a huge cave below, floating around in the dark and getting an upclose look at all the glowworms (which were awesome! It looked like a planetarium), squeezing ourselves through some small limestone formations, and then rock climbing oursleves back out of the cave! All in all, a great trip!! We then made our way back to Taupo where we took a plane 13,000 feet above the lake (and it was such a clear day we could see clear across to the coast) and flung ourselves out. See mom, aren't you glad you didn't know about it until AFTER I was safe on the ground? That's gotta be worth something!!! It was awesome!! I reackon even better then the first jump (on my 18th b-day). This time around, I had a better grasp of what was going on and was able to focus more on the fact that I was falling at 170mph to the ground below. A great feeling, really! Molly loved it and spent the rest of the night beaming (after having a few glasses of well deserved wine) "I jumped out of a plane". It was awesome and one day I'm going to convince the big bro to do it...no sense arguring ry, it's gonna happen. :). The next day, we lounged by the lake before driving over to Turangi--got an early nights sleep and woke the next morning at 5:30am. We were shuttled to a dropoff point of the Tongariro Crossing (a tramp that is listed as 7-8 hours that takes you over 2 active volcanoes, to an altitude of over 1600 meters, down to the craters, past the crater lakes, and over the hot springs) and started the day long tramp before the sun even came up. By the time the sun came up, we were about an hour along and had a beautiful view! The most difficult part of the Crossing came soon after that and we spent a couple hours climbing over the loose, steep terrain. By the time we reached the top, the temperature had dropped a ridiculous amount, the fog had rolled in, and we were straining to stand up aganist the wind! Before long, we had layers of clothing on, complete with gloves and hat! We reached a part that is known as the scree slope and we basically dug our heels in and slide down. The weather cleared a bit a few hours later and it was a great view but I think the challenge of it was the best part. We got to the end nearly 7 hours later and are still feeling the fatigue in our legs!! Okay, I think that pretty much covers it!! We have a hungry Sarah F here that we need to feed!! Hope all is well!!

Love and miss you!!
PS-feel free to call the house number (64 4 934 4580) for the next few days!

Monday, March 13

Boats, boats, and more boats :)

Hello again! We've made it to the well known surf town of Raglan on the west coast and I thought I'd take some time to give some updates! We've done lots since the last time I wrote, got a nice luxurious stay at the Hyatt Hotel courtesy of Mols sister and husband and actually got dressed to go out for 2 meals. It was a nice change! Took the ferry to Waiheke Island (off the Auckland coast) where we hired bikes (and when i say hired, I mean we got them free!! Sweet!) And rode out to Vineyard Valley for some vineyard tours and wine tasting. Lets just say that riding back down the steep gravel driveway was a bit of a laugh! Once again, I can't possibly get into all that we've done but I have to write about the boats. About a week ago we got out to the tiny town, (its more of just a marina) of Tutukaka and planned a dive trip out to the Poor Knights Islands. It's ment to be the best diving in NZ and we just couldnt pass it up. Though, we werent expecting too much b/c NZ really isnt known for its diving spots. It was an all day trip with two dives and the weather couldnt have been worse! It was raining down on us the whole day and choppy is a huge understatment. The company we were with was the only company that went out that day. Neither me or mol are susceptible to sea sickness but we were definitley feeling it that day. But enough of the bad stuff! Once we got under the water, it was amazing! We decided to go with a guide and she was totally kickass! We were only in a group of four and we had a blast! The color was amazing and a huge 5 meter (tip to tip) Manta Ray gave us a little visit. They are super rare here and it was the buzz on the boat. One guy even burned both his tanks on the first dive. Back on the boat it was freezing and raining but it wasnt long before we were back in the water for our second dive--which was even better than the first:) We swam through a tunnel and were able to surface on the other side of it in this little cavern type thing. It was beautiful!

After our trip we drove up to the Bay of Islands where we had reservations on the Rock, an overnight cruise aimed at backpackers. It was another highlight for sure! We loaded up at 5pm, got in our rooms (bunk rooms) met the crew, and our fellow cruisers. It was a young group with the majority of people being Brits. Soon after we started sailing we had a shooting competition with the target being a plastic bottle tied to the back of the boat. Good fun!! After about an hour or two of crusing around the islands (as the sun was settting--it was amazing) we anchored up and started fishing for our dinner (snapper). Mol was the first to catch a fish and she got a free drink for it(but it was too small to keep). I brought up the first keeper!! Me and mol were reeling them in like crazy but most were too small to keep. About half way through our fishing, a pod of dolphin swam all around the boat. If i didn't know better I would swear they were straight out of SeaWorld! They were jumping, flipping, and diving like it was there job. They gave us a good 15 min show, it was awesome!! We had a grin from ear to ear:) We did a bit more fishing before getting ready for dinner. Steak, sausages, salad, veggies, mussels, and the snapper we caught. It was a late dinner and by the time we were done it was almost 10pm and time for our night kayaking trip. Our guide took us out to a spot where the phosphorescent were crazy! For anyone who has read Deception Point, these were the things glowing in the extraction hole. That part of the book made so much more sense after that little adventure. The paddles of our kayaks lit up like they were sprayed with 'glow in the dark'. As the moon went down a bit (around midnight) the more daring of the group jumped in for a night swim (cold, really dark and shark stores...Would you be keen??!) When I went in there were only 2 others in and we did the slowest lap ever around the boat, and this isnt exactly a small boat. It was a bit freaky but such an awesome feeling. After a bit of convincing, Mol joined in---though she didnt bring herself to make the swim around the boat. The phosphorescents were even brighter than before and my body glowed as I swam, i was pretty mezmorized! The next day we had breakfast waiting for us and soon after had another pod of dolphin visit us. They werent as active as the other but got closer and swam right under the boat! Nearly enough for us to reach out and touch them. We crusied around for a bit before anchoring up and taking the kayaks over to an island where we walked up to an awesome lookout, ate our lunch, and did some snorkling. It was a really full trip and we had such a blast! The skipper spent a good amount of time with us and a map---giving us pointers on where to go next.

So we made our way further up north for some awesome scenery and some sandboarding. Sandboarding, for those of you who are clueless is basically sliding down giant sand dunes on boogie boards. The dune we were on was probably about 20 meters high and steep as hell when looking down from the top. But you just have to get a running start and flop yourself down on the board---trying to keep your eyes open and mouth closed before skimming out on the water. Hilarious!! We then decided to take a bit of a detour and drive back to the other coast for another dive trip. We loved it so much we just had to give it another go! The Poor Knights has a crazy amount of dive sights and we were able to go to 2 different places than our first trip. This time around Mol and I went off without a guide. It was awesome! We still cant get over how colorful it was. The first dive had a pretty big surge going on, so it challenged us a bit---but it was only a small little hicup. Saw some great fish, huge rays, and lots of different moray eels. But we were in love with the life on the walls ( I have a new love of nudibrachs!!) It was like nothing we've seen. Another great 2 dives and if we had the time we'd probably do it again and again. We had a drink and some dinner with the guides from our first trip and got the whole scoop on their kickass jobs (as dive masters) We are now back on the west coast with about 7 days to go before wanting to be back in Welly. Next on the list?? Black water rafting (going on the underground tunnels on an inner tube---looking at the limestone and glowworms) skydiving in Taupo, and doing a 7 hour tramp on the Tongoriro Crossing. Before we know it, we'll be back in Welly catching up with the flatties (who we miss too much!), our little Misty (who better not have been replaced by the orange one) and awaiting the Foos family! Hope all is well at home, things couldnt be better here! Ron and Karen, I'm more addicted than I was a few months ago--if thats even possible. Hope you are prepared to handle the fanatic that I'm turning into!


Saturday, February 25

Alive and Well :)

Hello, Hello!!! Not that I’m counting, but we’ve officially spent the last 22 nights sleeping in our tent (who is tenderly known as Russell or Russ) and living out of Millie (that would be our car). And for those of you who have ever doubted my camping skills, you may like to know that it even rained on us the first 9 nights. Despite the muddy nights & mornings, the girls and Russell pulled through & we now consider ourselves campin’, trampin’ fools! Our lifestyle has been such that a 10 or $12/night tent site at a holiday park (they have kitchen, shower and toilet facilities) is a luxurious treat. Holiday Parks are fabulous but we try to stay at the cheap “basic” campgrounds—which range in price from free to $9/night. Our record so far? Nine days w/o a shower! Now, b/4 you go and get too disgusted, we were camping right on a beautiful river—which became our bath for several days. It’s amazing how clean you can feel after a dip in a chilly, freshwater river!
I can’t possibly give details about all that we’ve done but it’s all been amazing. We feel so free & most of the time, don’t even know what day it is. After all, everyday is a weekend in our world! Not sure how I’ll get a job after this! We’ve had some great scenic drives (just wait until our mothers see some of these excuses for roads!) & had our first NZ road block (picture seeing a sheet of white in front of you and then realizing you have to stop in the middle of the road to allow a herd of sheep rush past you) the 2nd day of the trip. We’ve done some serious tramping—hours at a time & sometimes multiple times a day—past beautiful waterfalls, streams, rivers and trees to some awesome views and lookouts. We spent a lot of time in Lake Taupo where we attempted to jump out of a plane for V-Day but the weather wasn’t cooperating & we decided to hold off for a while. The Lake itself was beautiful—nothing like the lakes I know at home. The water was crystal clear and the backdrop was amazing. Lake Placid crew---you guys would LOVE it! We even found an awesome hot spring that made for a nice treat after all the bathing in the freezing river! Did a white water rafting trip which was a good mix of peaceful, scenic, and adventurous! Mol might try to convince you that I fell out of the raft but there are no pics to prove it and we were assured before the trip that only 3% of the ppl fall out—so no need to listen to her ridiculous stories! Both Taupo and Rotorua (our stop after Taupo) are high geothermal areas so we saw (and smelt) our fair share of cool geothermal activity-- Boiling mud pools, hot streams, geysers, steaming craters, and colored lakes & waterfalls. We also went to “White Island” (off the coast of Whakatane) which is NZ’s only active marine volcano. Complete with hard hats, gas masks & instructions on what to do in case of an eruption, we got a tour of the island and all its active volcano components. We’ve seen some beautiful beaches, each one different from the last. We attempted to do a dive trip near Cathedral Cove but the visibility was crap and there was a pretty big swell so we have to hope to get at least one good diving opportunity before we leave. Our last road trip took us to the very tip of the Coramandel Peninsula to a campsite at Stony Bay. It was an hour drive on a narrow, windey (ya know, lots of curves! Have I gone my whole life thinking that was a word??!!), gravel road and was absolutely beautiful. It was so remote & untouched. The stars were unreal and the views from Russell were breathtaking. We cooked our dinner over the fire (no worries CP, we usually use our cooker!) and ate while we watched some dolphins playing and jumping out in the ocean.
As for now, we’ve made it to Auckland and have just about a month to do the rest of the North Island before we meet the Foos family back in Welly. We’ve put some pics on Yahoo---(http://photos.yahoo.com/mollyfoos) unfortunately, they don’t do anything justice (and they are not in order! No time for that, sorry!) but I guess that’s always the way it is. Hope all is well at home—you’re all in my thoughts and of course I miss you! Thanks for all the phone calls (ash-that was the best surprise!) I’ve been getting—keep them up!

Hugs and Kisses J Take care of you
(and Dawn, I’ll try and check out your old house and get a pic for you!!)

Tuesday, January 31

And we're off!

Just wanted to make a post to let everyone know that the time has come!! Me and Mol have managed to pack up all our stuff and have loaded up the civic! It was no small task---we have stuff hidden all over the house and needed an entire box just to put our UNEEDED shoes in. We brought SO MUCH stuff with us!! The majority of which will be kept here at Monowai storage while we go off around the north island. :).

For those of you who want to track our progress around the north, our first stop will be in Masterton (which is not even a 1.5 hour drive! But there's lots to see and we want to take our time seeing everything!). We'll probably only stay there for a night then it's off to Napier where we'll prolly stay for about a week or so. From there, we'll be playing it by ear. We are armed with every possible map of NZ, our pocket knives, and our camping gear---and are ready to have some good times!! We won't be in touch as much but we'll have our cell phones and will be able to update the blog every now and then. We plan to camp most nights but we'll definitely "splurge" on a hostel every now and then. And once we get to Auckland, we have a certificate to stay in the Hyatt Hotel courtesy of Mol's sis and hubby!

Take care!! Love and Miss you :)

A reminder about my cell phone--if you use an international calling card, the number (including the country code and stuff) to reach me is:
011 64 27 335 0824
Incoming calls are free but for us to dial out is whoa expensive! So for those of you who I've been able to call pretty often, you need to step it up the next 2 months :) Especially those of you who have the number to my calling cards!! They'll expire by the time I get back to the states so use 'em!!!

Thursday, January 19

Tuesday, January 10

Think left, think left, think left (side of the road that is)

Our new baby!!!
Come on Ash, do you think I would have forgotten about your picture??!! This one's for you dear!! :) (we had to take about 5 before molly could get her tough face on!) The swing bridge at Kaitoke---the freezing river below!
Our little Misty--who is currently snoozin on the couch as I type! She's going to be hard to leave behind! Even miss "i don't really like cats" (aka Molly) loves her!!! She's just a little one Ry!!!
Well, as you can see, WE DID IT!!! We got a car!! Our third visit to the auction proved to be successful and we drove away in our new Honda Civic! We are currently trying to come up with a name so if you have any suggestions, throw them this way! She's been good to us so far and we can only hope that she treats us well for the next 8 months or so. We had our first offical driving lesson last night courtesy of the one and only Sarah F :). She was a fabulous teacher and calmly explained everything to us---from making it through a roundabout safely to giving way to the correct cars from the correct directions. It's a bit weird driving on the "wrong" side of the road and I reckon it will take some getting used to (for example, the blinkers and the wipers are on opposite sides--) but it's awesome!

Hope everyone's Christmas was great. We had a great holiday over here--and were oh so spoiled! Sarah and Connor got us tons of cool camping stuff for our upcoming adventure, and sarah put lots of little treats in a stocking for us and put it on our pillows. When we turned down the covers to go to sleep, we were so surprised---there might have been tears in our eyes it was so cute! We had roast chicken and veggies for our x-mas eve meal and a big egg and bacon brekkie on x-mas morning. Of course it was tough being away from the fam, but it was a special holiday nonetheless. The day after x-mas we had a special little visitor that I'm sure someone brought to us to fill the animal void we've had in our lives lately. This cute little kitty ran into the house and has hardly left since. She belongs to the neighbors but I'm pretty sure she is here more then there. We've named her Misty (even though the neighbors call her LuLu :) ) and she was just what we needed to fill that little void we had! She's been sleeping at the foot of our bed through the night and she plays with us every day after work (she's really entertaining!).

On Boxing Day (day after x-mas), we went to Kaitoke with all the flatties and had our first new zealand camping experience. The park was beautiful and we spent time swimming in the FREEZING river, lounging on the rocks, and playing frisbee! It was a nice little getaway.

We have recently got our sleeping bags and our tent!!! We were super excited about this and wasted no time in setting it all up! As soon as we got home, the tent went up in the living room! We love it!

Now that January has rolled around, so also has the summer festivities in Welly. They have heaps of free events going on around the city that we are pumped about. This weekend we went to a beach volleyball pro tour that was going on at the city beach. Some of the teams were awesome and it was lots of fun to watch!! The American girls team actually made it to the finals. Crazy. There is also live music going on for the next month or so in the botanical gardens (which also has a sepcial light show going on).Rreally looking forward to an X-games type event going on at the waterfront and a graffetti competition. We also have a fabulous, luxurious, getaway to look forward to thanks to the parentals and big bro! We are SO excited about our upcoming massages and manicures! Not to mention our stay in an awesome hotel, complete with dinner and breakfast the next morning! Do you think the hotel staff will believe that we really are backpackers!!!???

JULES and JARROD are coming in Thursday and we can't wait! HURRY UP AND GET HERE GUYS!!!

That's all from here for now (even though I feel like there is SO much more! Sorry for slacking with the blog!) Only 7 days left of work and not many more here at 29a.

love and miss you guys!