Sunday, November 24, 2013

Painting or Picture?

I know we have already shown you pictures from our ski trip to Queenstown, but I couldn't help but show you a few more.  The view was so incredible, when I got home and looked at the pictures they almost looked as if they'd been painted.  These ones are worth clicking on and enlarging.  I won't comment on them, and just let God's majesty speak for itself...

Game Face

About a month ago, we went up to Dunedin for the All Blacks test... aka a rugby game starring the world's best rugby team, the New Zealand All Blacks. this was part of a stellar weekend we spent with the Martyn and Lynda (and we actually just got back from another reunion weekend with them! always a good time!). I believe Rebecca already posted all the other highlights from that weekend, and alluded to the fact that the rugby match would eventually get its own post. So here it is! Read on and feast your eyes on that was arguably the best face painting in the entire stadium:

Any proper showing of team spirit requires team colors, and ideally face paint. A good face painting requires planning.  As you might guess, the primary team color for the All Blacks is.... well it's black of course. and white. So that's easy enough to work with. The face painting took a few google searches ahead of time to find just the right mix of sophistication, tribal influence, ferocity, and awesomeness. I think we nailed it.

If you want sharp lines, I recommend scotch tape.  this is such serious business!

It gets better. It's always darkest before dawn.

The intensity was tangible. 

This is how far we got with Aaron's before we had to leave for supper at a delicious Japanese restaurant. every superfan needs nourishment.

Rebecca went for a subtle lady fern. We went for tribal warfare. Yes, we went to the restaurant like this.
Getting Aaron all finished up before the game.  Surgical precision required.

almost done.

Martyn opted for a dignified NZ. He is the picture of dignity and refinement...

Wouldn't want to meet him in an alley!

You can run, but you can't hide.
Lynda and Martyn. The guys behind them were hilarious/drunk and we each got about the equivalent of 3 whole beers down our backs by the end of the game.


Game Time!

The Wave exists in NZ, and they're really good at it. Too good at it. It made at least 6 full rounds, with each round only gaining in force. Note the flying cups and beer rain. These people really commit to the wave!!!  This was definitely an experience to remember. 

And, of course, the All Blacks won. I'm pretty sure our face paint, wave, and cheering really clenched it for them. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Birthday Season!!!

Rebecca and I both recently celebrated the big 3-0 here in New Zealand. It's an interesting feeling turning 30, and it's also an interesting feeling celebrating your birthday thousands of miles away from home. Luckily, we could band together and go roaring into Dirty Thirty together. Of course, we both received lots of love and well-wishes from our loved ones around the globe, which always makes you feel good. Here's a look at each of our Birthday Parties:

Rebecca was up first: November 6!  However, we both clung to an extra day of our twenties by insisting that it wasn't our birthday in the states for 19 hours after it started here. the clinging was futile though. Thirty came anyway.

Excited for Presents!!!

That isn't a typo: Aroha is Maori for Love.

That's 30 candles on that cake. Aaron made that double-decker, by the way. I tackled her supper of choice: Asian Lettuce wraps. both delicious.

Not saying she's full of hot air, but she destroyed those candles in like a millisecond. I can't believe I even caught her mid-act it was so fast!

So that was Round One of the birthday celebrations. A week and a half later, My big day rolled around. Meal of my choosing: Meatloaf!!!!!  with mashed potatoes and corn. You can take the boy out of Missouri.....

I stayed for another round after Aaron and Rebecca were all finished. Don't worry, I saved room for the amazing cupcakes Rebecca made for me (filled with strawberry filling!) and covered in 30 candles.

Birthday Boy

Southland Stags Short Shorts! Explanation: All the men down here wear short shorts. The farmers, manual laborers, athletes, everyone wears short shorts all over the place. Often with muck boots and sweaters. It's pretty interesting. We've commented on it a lot, and I've had my eye on venturing into this world with a pair of Southland Stags shorts, because if there's one thing the men of the Southlands love more than their short shorts, it's the Stags. So these are basically THE men's shorts of the South. And they're all mine. Well done Whitings!

Nailed it.

Overall, a very successful birthday season down here. Thanks so much to everyone for the messages and well-wishes. We really do appreciate it. We also love to get feedback on our blog and really any messages from home!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Deer, what deer?

Since it is spring down here, rain comes and go pretty often.  When we got here it seemed like we were getting a little rain almost every day.  After a period of 2-3 days straight, I walked down to the Aparima to take some pictures before work.  There is a small trail that goes around Otautau, and I got some more good pictures.

Takitimu's from the river trail, some fresh snow up there.

River was nearly to its banks, I know it's hard to tell, but almost twice as full.

Snow on the trees up in Longwood Forest that morning too.

Livestock is everywhere up here.  Back roads are always getting closed for animal crossings.  Saw some cows on the way to Longwood Forest one day.

Cow crossing.  We see sheep on the roads too a lot.

Bouncing along the back roads, I was driving while Rebecca and Cole were enjoying the scenery.  Out the right of the car was nothing but fields where I was looking.  Out of the left of the car where they were looking was a paddock full of deer being raised for their meat (there are fenced deer all over down here!).   Anyways someone shouted "deer!"  I slammed on the brakes, "Deer!?! WHERE!".  They laughed and laughed, I still haven't lived it down.

Deer?  What deer?

They were VERY interested in us.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dunedin (Duh-need-in)

For the first couple of weeks that we were in Otautau, Cole & Aaron had another doctor (Martyn) that helped them figure out the New Zealand medical system.  Martyn is married to Lynda, and they are lovely people that have taken us under their wing a bit.  They live in Dunedin, which is a coastal city 3 hours east of Otautau, so we went to visit them a few weeks ago.

  Our gracious hosts along the coast in Dunedin.

The coastline by the Royal Albatross Centre, the only mainland place in the world to view the Northern Royal Albatrosses in their natural habitat.  We haven't been lucky enough to see the albatrosses yet, but I haven't give up! 

The seals blend in with the rocks shockingly well.  It was a bit like a "where's waldo" picture trying to spot them on the cliffs.

St. Clair beach.  There were surfers as far as the eye could see.  I don't really understand how they weren't constantly crashing into each other.

The shark warning bell above the surfing beach.

Martyn and Lynda have 2 daughters, and one of them works at the Otago Museum which has a Tropical Forest full of butterflies.  This butterfly decided to pose as a lovely hair accessory for Lynda.

We also went to a Rugby game while in Dunedin, but that deserves its own post, so I'll just leave you with this teaser:  intense face paint was involved

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stewart Island - Take 2

Stewart Island was a beautiful place.  We took several hikes around the island and  always had the lovely birdsong to keep us company.

The brightest and most complete double rainbow I've ever seen.  This was the view from our porch, with the harbor at the bottom right.

The boys just couldn't resist a good Tarzan moment.  Unfortunately, it was a little chilly to be swinging into the water.

Acker's Cottage, one of the oldest buildings in New Zealand, built in 1835.

Mr. Acker had quite an amazing view from his cottage.

A group shot, courtesy of Mr. Acker (or I might have used the timer).  

Can't get enough of the beautiful glistening water.

We took a water taxi over to Ulva Island, a bird sanctuary.  The ride was pretty choppy, but well worth it.  We actually didn't see many birds, but they were certainly singing away.  

Tree hugger.
Cole demonstrating our high-tech measurement system for tree size comparison.  This was the winner for the day.  

Black Oystercatchers.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How To Spend a Day Off, Cole Scherder-style

I've probably mentioned before that, unless we're on call, Aaron and I get 3-day weekends. It's luxurious, and I'm very grateful for it. Aaron gets Monday off, and I get Friday off. So last Friday, I decided to needed to do it up right.
  It started with a trip to Winton with Rebecca to stock up on groceries and some other essentials (like a pair of gum boots, a bucket, and a light-up snowman that plugs into a USB drive for my desk at work for this Xmas).  
  the trip was quick, because I had to get back to Otautau for a lunch-time interview with a local journalist who is doing an article on the two new doctors in Otautau.  He also happens to have found our blog, and is an avid reader!  Shout out!  So it was a fun interview. We'll see how it compares to the article about me that was in the Trib back home a couple months ago.... I don't think I will have 4 pics or be on the front page this time..... which is fine with me. that was a little much, but funny  : )
  Moving along.
  After the interview, I decided I was just going to head towards the Fiordlands, and check out a big lake over there. Lake Hauroko was my target, and it turned out to be a pretty good one. See for yourself: 
Lake Hauroko, the deepest lake in New Zealand, over 1000ft deep, I think. that's scary deep.

I went on a little hike to have a look around, and was rewarded with beautiful views.

this was part of the path, just along the lakeshore.  Pretty awesome.

As I was wandering around, another vehicle pulls up, and it's a couple of guys in their 40s-50s and they start chatting with me. Nice guys. turns out, they used to live in Otautau, and we talk about mutual acquaintances and such. They are planning on meeting a bunch of Otautau guys there at the lake to take off out of the lake down the Wairaurahiri River to go Whitebaiting (see previous post!) for the weekend. It was really a weekend to hang out with the guys and drink a lot. So after talking with them for about 10 mintues, they are like "did you bring a sleeping bag with you?" I said no, that I was just out running around for the day, and they were genuinely disappointed because I 'should have just come with us for the weekend!' that's how nice the people are here. You meet them for 10 minutes, and they are inviting you on weekend fishing trips with the guys. So I missed out on what was surely a pretty entertaining weekend alternative, but I still do alright for myself. they passed me a few secret hunting spots back near Otautau at least. 
  So off I go, slightly disappointed that I missed the whitebaiting guys weekend, but I drove down the road about 15 minutes, and this was the view:

And as if that weren't enough, 30 minutes later, I see this:
Rainbows are a dime a dozen down here. But still exciting! This one was actually right next to the coast. I was near the town of Tuatapere, and I saw a sign for Blue Cliffs Beach, so of course I decided to see what that was about. After winding around on some gravel roads for a little bit, I finally got to a little tiny, but very steep, road that went right down to the beach:

So this is Blue Cliffs Beach! Worthy of some signage all 15km away. I battled that little rain shower for a few minutes, which was totally worth it.

So after leaving the beach, I went back to Tuatapere to meet Aaron and Rebecca for dinner at this little spot called the Last Light Lodge. Aaron found it online, so we decided to meet there for a little Friday night dinner out. I got there about 20 minutes early, but was not bored at all. This place is awesome. It is the closest thing I've seen to a hipster coffeshop/bar since I've been here, and it felt good to be there. It made me glad I had on a stocking cap and a flannel shirt. There was a pet cat there and live music performed by a hippie kind of guy named Jesse that was really pouring out his soul on stage. Since I was the only person there for a while, we made small talk and the waitresses were really nice too. The waitresses drew mustaches on themselves in honor of Movember/No shave November (prostate cancer awareness month!) Everyone was just super chill. jesse also showed me a bowl drum that he has (total hippie instrument)  Aaron and Rebecca arrived and liked the spot a lot too. And the food and drinks were good! I definitely see myself heading back there on a weekend or Friday night again to just lounge around, pet the cat, listen to the live entertainment (which eventually expanded to include a violin accompaniment for good old Jesse) and just chill out. 
  So the day off was a huge success. Definitely scouted out some places to head back to. the rest of the weekend was equally nice, with probably the best weather we've had since we got here. More info on that at another time. This post is already pretty lengthy. thanks for sticking with it if you made it to the end! If anyone has requests for topics for posts, let me know. any burning questions about New Zealand?