Monday, 25 January 2016

Good start to the year of my Big Birthday

Welcome, welcome. The first month of the new year is almost gone, so it might be a bit late to welcome you to 2016 (the year in which I turn 27 on the 27th!). But welcome anyway. We made it. Survived the Holidays, the New Year's Eve celebrations (I was home by 23h30), and I am sure most of us are eternally grateful that we've made it to payday.

I spent the first few days of 2016 working on a telescope proposal and unpacking boxes after moving into my new flat. It's noisier than the previous place and I'll be pleased when my bedroom fan gets fixed (hot, humid Durban summer and whatnot), but overall it's pleasant. The first thing to be put in place? My bookcases, and their charges.

Then the fun began - my first proper holiday, to the other side of the world: New Zealand. Friend of 9 years was getting married! Still an embargo on the wedding photos, not that I have any, but it was a spectacular time. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the old group from the UKZN computer LAN, playing card games (discovered vile things about Humanity, killed kittens, and wrestled over some candlestick thing), and meeting new people. Funnily enough, many of the Kiwi's I met were ex-Saffas AND previously from my home town. Minuscule world we live in. Anyhoo, I got misty-eyed at the wedding (yes, me) and had a great time. Even played croquet for the first time. And lost.

Then it was off gallivanting with said friend's aunt, who I'd met that weekend. Five days making our way from the wedding venue back up to Auckland...

[1] via Taupo (skydiving, sail-boating, geothermal sightseeing).
Yes, that's me, intentionally falling out of a plane.
And after it's all over, exhilarated, w/ my tandem master, Sam.

Sunset sail on the Fearless. We got a little wet.
First time on a sail boat. She was beautiful.

[2] Via Rotorua (which I still apparently don't pronounce properly). I had a brief catch-up with another old friend (also about the 9 year mark) who I didn't even realise lived in the country. The joys of social media. Up until he got hold of me the day before I saw him, I had been under the impression he'd turned himself into an Aussie. Thank goodness, no :P

[3] Finally, via Coramandel (tourists digging holes in a beach, and Narnia's train entrance).


Cathedral Cove - apparently this is the one the kids
enter Narnia through in one of the films. Good walk
to get here. Down and up and down the cliff side.
Remnants of some of the giant gat's tourists were digging on Hot Water Beach. Some of the water coming up
was scalding!

I said goodbye to my travel buddy in Auckland and spent a wonderful few days with ANOTHER old friend and his housemates, who graciously tolerated me in their space for four nights. I met a lovely dog who plays fetch like a pro and is quite discerning about her tennis balls. I built mini-castles in the air and smiled at my silly self re a new acquaintance.

All-in-all, a fantastic time. NZ has been the first country I've visited where I could actually picture myself living. Previously it'd been SA or nothing, til the day I die. I wonder if I could get a job there...

Now it's back to reality, to revising my thesis post-examiner squizzing, and to starting my new job as an actual employed person. Goodness gracious. If I can fit healthy eating in there too, and getting back into dancing now that I am no longer hobbling, well, that'd be splendid.

Here's to a happy 2016!