Monday, 31 December 2012

Almost time to go.....

My time here down under has flown by. Good times with family and catch ups with a few friends. The summer holidays mean that many are out of town so I won't get time with them this trip. Noah has been lots of fun. In the toilet training phase and doing really well for a small bloke. He's a real character, how could he not be with his heritage. He's off on a South Island tour as soon as I leave, a long drive with stops in all the good places.

I've enjoyed being here, very relaxed and social. Enjoyed eating my favourite foods like whitebait, hot smoked salmon and tasty NZ tomatoes and cherries, washed down with a nice crisp white. I suspect I'm a little too relaxed, going back to work in a few days is not exactly a prospect I relish. Think of me over the next day or so, Christchurch to Brisbane to LA to Miami and Cayman. Seems easier to write than to do.

It's the last day of 2012, at least it is where I am, and tomorrow we awaken to a brand new year full of promise and excitement; full of travel and change; full of family and friends. What more could a girl ask for. Happy new year where ever you are in the world.

Fun times at the botanic gardens

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Sumner

Today was one out of the bag, a lovely Christchurch go to the beach day. We headed to Sumner to enjoy the sun, sand and surf. Noah loved the waves, very brave for a small person as he ran in and splashed around. Tim got the surf board out and Noah had a turn, he loved it as the photo shows. We finished with an ice cream, what more could a small boy want. More soon, this tired grandma needs some sleep. I'm also a little sunburnt by New Zealand's fierce sun, certainly got my vitamin D today.

Monday, 24 December 2012

It's been busy!

It's been lovely getting some Eve time, lots of Eve time. We've played with her new tea set, eating cake and drinking tea; we've rolled and chopped her dough; we've been out walking and shopping; we've entertained her cousins; we've laughed and giggled and played. Fantastic fun! Nineteen months is such a lovely age. Eve is very chatty, copying words and saying plenty of her own. She calls me manga, with a soft 'gna'. It's kind of like grandma, a bit backwards and despite me saying grandma, it's stuck. Much to the delight of her mum.

"Where's manga?" Eve asks in the morning. Tomorrow will be the last morning for a while. I suspect she'll be a little preoccupied with her Santa haul and her cousins Milla and Ana. I can't wait to see her face when she sees the playhouse outside, complete with real flowers in the window boxes. It was funny listening to Kieran and Sasi putting the house together, reminiscent of the days when I had small children, those late Christmas eve nights getting things right for the morning. At least Eve was asleep early.

Today there was some last minute shopping, the mall quieter than I expected, the strawberries as expensive as gold. Tomorrow will be a treat, starting in Brisbane and ending in Christchurch. I'm sad to be leaving, sad it was my last evening of Eve. I can't wait to see Noah, Tim and Sarah at my next stop and share the gifts I bought for them. My trip to Sydney on Saturday was eventful, I met a pack of angry people after Jetstar had cancelled our flights. That's a story for another day, an emotional roller coaster of a day the highlight of which was meeting Liberty and her mum Sonia.

Eve and Sasi taking tea

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

On holiday

Brisbane's been a bit of a treat. I'm getting plenty of Eve time, enjoying getting to know her in person. She's a bit of a character, 19 months old and very chatty, very entertaining and knows what she wants.    We've been for a couple of wanders around the new neighbourhood and played out in the back yard of their new place. We got some Christmas gifts today, a doll to bath and some clothes for the big day. There's an amazing selection of children's clothes here, some really expensive some an okay price. Spoiling Eve is my top priority, not a bad one to have.

I'm meeting up with Nick and Liberty in Sydney on Saturday, a day trip down to see them. After the Brisbane Christmas celebrations it's off to New Zealand. Quite a few hours of flying racked up this trip. The flight over was very long, the next few will be a piece of cake. Happy holidays!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

LAX

Well this is a first, being able to get on the Internet in LAX via Skype. I'm on my way to Brisbane, a long flight that makes the almost 6 hour from Miami look like a commute. Oh well, at least I'll I should get some sleep. It's actually nice to sit here and not be bored, to keep myself awake at almost 2am Cayman time, to be able to get messages to Sasi and arranging my arrival, to catch up on email and messages. All very important.

It does make me smile though. I must be the only one around who still reads a real book, the paper and ink kind. Most people seem to have Kindles and iPads and other electronic things. It's amusing to watch people eating a meal and engaging with their electronic goods rather than with each other. I'm not the only lone traveler it seems. I had an amusing time ordering food here. Vege foods is uncommon and the lovely waiter at Chillis laughed when I asked for the chicken salad wrap minus the chicken. I told him he should have that on the menu, he smiled as he gave me my GnT.

So I'm taking the long trip again, this time a much easier stop in LA, three hours instead of the usual 6 or so. It was lovely to fly over the US at night, the cities lit up down below and the big cities glowing on the horizon. I bought an iPod in Miami after forgetting mine, left on the bench along with my NZ cell phone. It's a cute little Nano touch screen. I just need to upgrade my iTunes so I can load the music.

Boarding soon, next stop Brisbane.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Only 3 more sleeps...

Until I fly and today it was Christmas shopping, Cayman style. This can be done in a couple of lunch hours when you know what you want and where to get it. I managed to get most bought for, not a bad effort for today. I also found myself a Christmas present, a lovely handbag to travel with. My red one is tatty and I can't carry it while wearing orange shoes, the others are too small for my camera. I suspect I'll get that tomorrow lunch time.

I had a rare day off sick yesterday, the dreaded tummy bug others had suffered hit me. Not very usual for me, I usually don't suffer the indignity that is a tummy bug. A sleepless night with a griping tum is not much fun, the sleep in the next day was much needed. Renee brought me some coconut water, natures great re-hydrator, and that helped me to get some energy back.

I'll need all the energy I have to get through the rest of the week, tying up the loose ends, preparing for the work Christmas party and getting set to travel. I'm not looking forward to the very short connection time I have in Miami, I will be running to make the LA flight. Then it's clear sailing, well clear flying, straight to Brisbane and lots of Eve time. I can't wait. On the list for tomorrow, that large handbag. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A merry Christmas crew

Jo, Didge, me and Dean
Christmas fashion on the water!
Yes, we did race dressed like this on Sunday. Jo and I spent time on Saturday making the outfits from santa sacks we had bought in Miami. Bruce and Mark who are looking on from Yahoo found it all highly amusing. My outfit was surprisingly comfortable to race in, some padding for the rail. Mayhem ended up with red fluff as the outfits began to disintegrate towards the end. I wonder if mine will be okay to wear to the work Christmas function on Friday, I suspect not!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Home again

And my next two trips booked. Miami reminds me of why I'm not exactly a city person. All those people, all those queues all that racket, all those cars and the grimness that is those for whom the US of A is not exactly the land of milk and honey. People wanting money at the lights, the sad flower seller, the people in the bus stop and the ones under my hotel window. Others seemed excessive, huge servings of food delivered and devoured, queues of people with more than might seem reasonable.

Although they may have been from Cayman doing their Christmas shopping, I say to justify the 11 pairs of shoes Jo and I managed to buy between us in a morning at one DSW and a few hours at another. I haven't bought shoes in ages.......I just may be exaggerating there. I did buy a couple of pairs recently, red and shiny ones. The 6 I managed to buy were fantastic, excellent brands and very good buys. I even managed to get some Seychelles, one of my favourites, and a pair of sparkly blue heels to wear with my gold and silver dresses. I've been looking for them for a while.

So excessive shoes, well not really. I wear them every day and need some variety. Okay I could justify for New Zealand. I also got work clothes, clothes that fit. Trousers and tops and shirts and a jacket. All good, all on sale. The best time to shop for summer is in winter I've discovered. Well, it was lovely to try on the white winter coats, sigh and put them back knowing they are not needed and then move to the sales tables.

I had a fantastic time, time off the rock with no emails and a complete change of pace. My Blackberry died on Saturday, the replacement not up to the job. Blissfully so.

Oh I almost forgot my next trips. I'm off to Australia and New Zealand on Saturday 15 December and I can't wait. A family Christmas in Brisbane with Kez, Sasi  and Eve and Sasi's mum and dad. I'm so looking forward to meeting Eve's other grandparents, they must be lovely to have a daughter like Sasi. I'm in NZ very late on Christmas day until New Years day to get some Noah time. I hope he enjoys the Mickey Mouse collection I bought him in the Disney store in Miami. I also hope to catch up with Nick and Liberty, yet to be organised.

The other trip is one to New York, yes New York City! In springtime! I'm very excited, many exclamation marks excited! There is an opera to attend, some Broadway shows, jazz and blues clubs, the Empire State building, Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Jimmy Choo's and many other treats. I'm traveling with a New Yorker so will get the insiders guide. See why I'm excited. Photos and stories there will be aplenty.