The clock just doesn’t stop

Auckland!So even though I’ve fallen behind in keeping my friends, family and strange but awesome people who read my blog and keep up to date with the life and times of this temporary kiwi, life has kept churning along.

I’ve seen a few more rugby games, visited the aquarium and even traveled to a new country for a weekend. Oh yes, tuck in, this post is going to be ALL over the place!

BrisbaneShortly after my friends left Auckland, Andrew went back to Australia, where he was working. But fortunately, Oz is only a hop, skip and a jump from Auckland, which also means it’s an affordable flight. Woo! So a little over a month ago, instead of heading home after work on Friday, I went to the airport. Andrew was working in Brisbane and met me at the airport. I’d never been to Australia before, but this was a short visit. I let Andrew do all the planning and just put my feet up and enjoyed a short introduction into the toasty city of Brisbane and the beachey Gold Coast. I arrived in the middle of the night, so after we finally crawled out of bed the next morning, we meandered down the beautiful city streets in search of brunch.

What is this?This place was instantly relate-able! This was a city! It was no Chicago, but there was lots of traffic, sirens, and people bustling places; there were tall buildings and even the smell of carcinogens in the air! I may love the landscapes and scenic views in the country, and I’m fond of my temporary home in Auckland, but I can’t get enough of big cities! Really big cities. Ones that move and operate like intricate gears all turning with precision to accomplish many important goals, where everyone has purpose. Fun and work and life happens and crashes into one another day in and day out and at every moment. Even at midnight when the taxi driver drops you off, the lights are left on for you! No matter what time you roll out of bed, breakfast is hot and available. And the people-watching is great!

Beach!But, of course, after brunch, Andrew took me out of the city. No complaints here as we were headed to the Gold Coast beaches. This was a weekend for relaxation and Andrew knew where to find it. A train and bus ride away, we made it to the beach. Surfer’s Paradise, not to be confused with South Beach, Miami, was a fun place to spend the weekend. We had so much fun sipping drinks, eating and relaxing! So much fun in fact, that I forgot to pull out my camera more than once or twice. We even met up with an old co-worker of Andrews from Auckland just up the way at Broad Beach for dinner. A great vacation spot if you’re looking for lots of food choices, hotels and beaches. Absolutely a tourist trap, but it’s a tourist trap for a reason. Sometimes one stop vacationing is all you need.

One of the more exciting parts of the trip happened on the way home. While staring out the train window at the fields and farms and suburbs, I spotted a kangaroo, just munchin’ on some grass. Aw!

Penguins!Shortly thereafter, Andrew made it back home to Auckland. In the time he’s been back, we’ve visited the aquarium and I caught my 3rd Blues vs Redsrugby game. I think I’m officially becoming a Blues fan! And the penguins! The aquarium had an awesome penguin display and a cool aquarium with sharks that you can walk under, but was lacking in information compared to my hometown aquarium, the Shedd, back in Chicago. One of the drawbacks of growing up with such great museums in my backyard is that I compare everything to them! I think Auckland’s Kelly Tarltons is worth a visit if you like penguins, or really want to walk under a tank with sharks, but just make sure you adjust your expectations. Many of the exhibits utilized water from the bay, and it was rather cloudy, so perhaps a day with clear water might have elevated that experience to receive more praise. Aw!The Kalepenguins were cute though!

Let’s see, what else have I missed? Andrew and I made a photo book with the landscape photos from our South Island trip. I was pretty pleased with how that turned out. I painted a pot and planted a kale seedling. Hopefully if I keep working on my gardening I can turn my black thumb green. Though, don’t hold your breath.