STW Roundup: Months 16 and 17

May in Wellington has become a lot colder with a lot more rain.

The first day of June was officially the start of winter, and it truly feels as such now – I’m wrapped up in lots of layers snuggled by the heater most evenings! However, we have still had some really sunny but very cold days – the best kind of winter days if you ask me.

If there’s one thing I have learnt this winter it’s that I am a true Brit when it comes to the cold. Houses in New Zealand aren’t often made from bricks, and they are not even insulated – we basically live in a glammed-up shed. Our windows are only single glazed and there is no central heating – instead, we have a plug-in fan heater in our bedroom, as well as a heat pump in the hallway which you have to keep turned on all day because its just so cold! If I ever moved here permanently I would bring my double glazing and radiator with me…!

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You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.

Anyway, the last couple of months have been pretty awesome and I have loads to share with you. Unfortunately, James was ill for most of May with an infection and a chesty cough. He ended up going to Port Nicholson Medical Centre on Taranaki Street to get a prescription for antibiotics. This cost him $85 for the appointment and $15 for the antibiotics – times like these make us grateful for the NHS back home! Then came June where the fun began; the first weekend was my birthday, so we had a weekend away in Taranaki, then I had two weeks off work – we went to Bangkok, home to the UK and I flew to Spain to visit my sister, before flying back out to NZ. Here’s the best bits…

Council Ball

On the last Friday in May, the Council had its very own ball at the Foxglove on Wellington Waterfront. I was not planning to go since the tickets were quite pricey ($40 each!) but ended up being roped in on the morning of the ball. The theme was ‘The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe’ though of course I didn’t have a costume with it being such late notice – I drew on some whiskers and went as a half-hearted attempt at a lion… Nonetheless it was a fun evening with lots of dancing and laughter.

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A lion and a snow-woman…
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Great lion costumes…!

Taranaki

For the bank holiday weekend (which was also my birthday weekend!) at the start of June, James and I rented a car for the weekend and went to Taranaki, the western-most region of the North Island. We spent the weekend on the walking tracks, eating great food and exploring Mount Egmont National Park. You can read more about what we got up to here.

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Maunga Taranaki from a lookout at Lake Mangamahoe, New Plymouth
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Ski huts at Manganui Ski Field, Taranaki

Bangkok

We booked a flight from Bangkok to London way back in December last year, when we didn’t even know our travel plans. We didn’t know if we would extend our visas for NZ (due to expire in May), but I was adamant I wanted to go to my good friend Holly’s wedding. Bangkok seemed a likely place we could fly home from if we were still over this side of the world! So we flew to Bangkok for three nights before travelling back to the UK on the Tuesday. Having already visited Bangkok in February last year, we spent our first day revisiting some of our favourite sites as well as new ones in the city; our second day was spent in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, a 2.5 hour train journey from Hua Lamphong station in central Bangkok. Here’s a post I wrote about it.

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Wat beautiful detail you can spot in Bangkok (I’m so punny…)
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Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Ayutthaya

 

Home

This was mine & James’ first visit home since we moved to New Zealand in May 2015! It was SO good to be back, if only for a short while – I was on a tight schedule with only two weeks off from work, so I only spent a total of 6 days in the UK but managed to cram in a surprising amount of things! I did the boring stuff like the opticians and doctors, and fun stuff like catching up with family and lots of friends, having all my girlfriends over and seeing my fellow languages graduates at our good friend Holly’s wedding. And the wedding was perfect – with a beautiful bride, delicious food and a great band. It was a lot of fun and such a privilege to see Holly become Mrs. Adlem! Our visit home also coincided with Fathers Day, which is celebrated on different days in the UK and New Zealand so I often get mixed up. I was treated to a belated birthday cupcake platter and presents from my parents too! Also, my family got a new puppy! She’s the most adorable border collie who is very small and very excitable. We’ve named her Teasel (Tia) Maria Moto Bosworth Bishop… naturally. I was a bit gutted to have to leave the country so soon after she joined our family!

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James and I at the wedding
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Our little ball of fun, Tia

Spain

I then flew to Spain to visit my sister Becka who is currently working as a conversation assistant on an English language course in La Linea de la Concepcion, in southern Spain. We had a fantastic few days soaking up the sun, visiting Gibraltar and enjoying the wonderfully European ‘café culture’. It was great to see her and where she’s living, but hard to leave! Being in Spain reminded me of my time in Italy a couple of years ago – come l’Italia mi manca!

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Bec at lunch in La Linea
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Playa de Levante, La Linea de la Concepcion
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View from the Rock, Gibraltar

The UK’s departure from the EU

Becka and I were blasted with this dreadful news the day I left Spain – two blows in one day! I’m not particularly interested in politics but this is such a huge decision that will undoubtedly affect my future. I have no idea what the future will hold for the UK now we are no longer a part of the Union. I am disappointed that the majority of young people supported the Remain campaign, yet it was the voices of our elders that were heard. I feel a mixture of sadness and anxiety of what’s to come, as I am sure many other young people will do, but only time will tell.

Work

After a full-on couple of weeks, I landed in Wellington on Sunday afternoon and was back at my desk at 8am on Monday morning – though the jet-lag was surprisingly easy to get over! Work is busy at the moment as we have just moved over to a new IT system and there are lots of projects on – but I much prefer being busy to sitting twiddling my thumbs. July will bring a change of job for James, whose contract at ANZ finished the week before we flew home. He’s back on the job hunt and I’m hoping he finds something soon! As for me, I’ll be working at the Council until December and we plan to fly home for Christmas.

On the blog

My site has been down for a few days for maintenance because I have some HUGE news… Spin the Windrose is now officially self-hosted! Most of you probably have no idea what that means… Basically, before, STW was owned by WordPress. Now, I own it!! Wahoo! This is a big step for me as I love writing this blog, it’s my project, it’s my baby and it feels so good that its now all mine!

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Taranaki / Mount Egmont

What’s the longest you’ve been away from home for, and how did you feel when you returned? Have you been to Gibraltar before? What are your views on the EU referendum?

Thanks for reading and happy travels,

abbi-signature-spinthewindrose

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2 Comments

    1. It was so good to see you too! Such a beautiful day. Hope you are enjoying married life! Your honeymoon looked SO amazing xx

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