New York

January 29, 2007 at 6:02 am (general)

We were pretty proud of our efforts on arrival in New York. I hadn’t really gone to sleep the night before because that is what I do when I get excited, especially if I know I got to get up near the middle of the night. I’ve got used to that though, every exciting/stressful/big (and not so big) event type thing I have done has usually been preceeded by little, if any, sleep the night before; interviews, exams, marriage, holiday, christmas… So we got up early, and were the first people to walk on the snow, and got our four and a half hour bus to New York. We passed through the Bronx, and Harlem, and then arrived in the middle of Manhattan. Immediately in a new place you look for what it is like, what is different, what is the same, what is it like? I loved what we saw of New York. It had a real city feel, it felt vibrant and proud, and sort of tough.


Time Square

Our hotel was near ‘Koreatown’, and we shared a bathroom with the other guests, and a little family of cockroaches, which was okay because I didn’t think to much about the time I found a cockroach nest in the back of a second-hand fridge in an old flat, or the vision of the pile of eggsacs which still pop up in nightmares. We had a view of the roof of a building and the high walls of all the other buildings. It was nice though, and had a TV which was a novelty, we got to see all the advertisements for pharmaceuticals which could treat anything from heart disease to your legs feeling a bit funny before you go to sleep, which is evidently a medical problem treatable by a course of drugs…


Little Italy meets Chinatown

We had planned our days out a bit and did everything we had wanted to do – we got student rush tickets to Les Miserable on Broadway the night we arrived, which reminded me of the lovely Sarah Lee, and Josie Burdon because I somehow remember them singing the songs… We marveled in Time Square; walked the whole length of the island, wandered and ate our way through little Italy and Chinatown; by Brooklyn Bridge where Will Smith was shooting a movie; passed by the WTC hole; rode the ferry to Staten Island by the Statute of Liberty; and ate dinner in Soho. We met some friends from Cambridge for a coffee, and visited the MET and MoMA, of which MoMA was my best. Seeing some of the paintings I had loved in real life was a highlight. MoMA also gives you a little thing you can listen to which explains the paintings. It was interesting to hear an explanation of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, though the room with a light going on, and then off, was a bit of a stretch.


Appreciating some art. 
We road a lift to the top of the Rockefeller Centre which cost a right pinky (Mark gave up his)  but was worth it, and saw the place where Diego Rivera’s painting would have been. Winter really arrived while we were there, it got down to -15C with a wind chill of minus a million. We figured out wearing two scarves was a useful way to not freeze the inside of your nose, and that making a list of the ten people we’d invite to hang out with for a weekend (anyone in the whole world, but must be alive), and the ten worst people is a good way to pass a long bus drive home.



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How to halloween up your pumpkin

October 21, 2006 at 2:11 pm (general)

We carefully choose this big one from a pile on the back of a trailer down in Easton. It took a long time and this one was choosen for it’s roundness, sturdy stalk and good orange colour. It is all together personal choice, the lady next to us was looking for a tall thin one.


So we have our big orange pumpkin. This picture shows the bad side, but don’t worry we’ll cut on the good side, plus it will be dark so whats the difference. You’ll also need a knife, one big tough one and one little one. We used a swiss army knife and it worked pretty well. First you have to cut a hole in the top so you can scoop out the guts. Like how we did in the photo below;


Next start pulling all the seeds and stringy bits out. If you want to go for the full experience you should roast those seeds in the oven and eat them. This is hungry work.  You might be surprised to see how dry and gross this pumpkin looks inside. You’ll quickly loose the idea you had of making a million pumpkin pies out of this baby. This pumpkin’s innards are like straw.


Next is the fun part. Choose your face. Some clever people do shapes, like whole cats or witches stirring a cauldron. Be spontaneous but don’t get ahead of yourself. We decided to do a cat face. If you want to be true to tradition you should do a scary dead man face because the story is that some guy sold his soul to the devil, wanted it back and walked around the earth with his head in his hands trying to find it. Anyway we did a cat. It is a good idea to scrape out as much of the innards of the side you are going to carve on as possible. It makes it easier to do. Draw the face on first and cut around the bits you want to light up.

Lets skip that hard and tricky part and go to the end result…


Voila! A very unscary cat. We munched his face up a bit – we should have made it a bit higher up! But if you turn on a torch, (a candle is even better) and put it inside old pumpkin head and turn out the lights….




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Walden State Reservation

October 1, 2006 at 12:30 pm (general)







Our best American day so far.  We walked right around the pond with chipmunks scattering along the path, and watched a man catch rainbow trout from his dingy.  It was even warm enough to swim, the water was heated up by that hot summer and so clear.  Like Lake Taupo, but warm…

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happy birthday

September 6, 2006 at 5:44 am (general)

We went out to a bar on Sunday night for Mark’s Birthday, and stumbled upon half price dinners. I don’t think a wine has ever tasted so good as the ones I had at Glendals Den. It was New Zealand wine, I like the idea of drinking grapes grown in New Zealand soil, arg idealising New Zealand, which is pretty easy when you are far away. It comes in part from listening to Fat Freddy’s Drop and Fly my Pretties to often. Anyway here is a photo of Mark’s Birthday Cake, which was pretty nice and eaten on Saturday night, which was New Zealand Birthday day, followed by American Birthday day on Sunday. Yay for time zones and two birthdays. Can’t make it a big picture because I am on a Mac and can’t understand where the html button is…


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August 23, 2006 at 3:12 am (general)

At Trader Joe’s you can buy a huge tub of these biscuts called “chocolatey cats” for two dollars.  They are like tiny teddies but cats in all different poses and they are delicious to eat. This morning Mark ate his breakfast in our room which was weird cause we usually eat it on the floor of the lounge (we have one chair and a lamp in our lounge).  I went in there and he was drinking a glass of milk and munching down on a huge handfull of chocolatey cats. He eats them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  They are pretty good!

Today is another hot day, although there is a breeze so I put on jeans.  Maybe that is why they think winter here is the devil incarnate.  Because they are so used to this hotness.  I am sort of looking forward to winter (remind me of that when I start whinging about how COLD it is).  I want snow.  heaps of it.  i don’t even mind if I get trapped in my home.  What excites me is that no parking signs around here also have in red letters NO PARKING IN A SNOW EMERGENCY.  What is a snow emergency?  I don’t know.  I can’t wait to find out.

Our lunch out at Jamacia Plain was fun, the woman (a friend of Joe’s Dad’s Friend) was really nice, and so great to talk to, and has introduced me to all of these housing organisations.  So I am happy as Larry.  Also, I have the forms to join my ‘partners’ clubs.  If you say ‘partner’ over here they assume you have a same sex relationship and are surprised to see you don’t.  I was pretty excited to see that in October the Harvard women’s group is going out to a farm in Lexington where you will see a real working market and farm.  Freaking awesome!  I also get to buy produce and flowers.  I can’t wait. They also have some craft thing where you show crafts from your country.  Oh the friends I will make… I will also find pumpkins to carve into Jack o’laterns.  We may have a competition (mark and I) and I will post the results. Maybe you can vote and I will find out who reads our group email blog!

See you later, xoxooxxo sarah

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A week so far…

August 20, 2006 at 5:02 am (general)

Today we have caught the subway over to Boston, and have found the Boston Library which is beautiful.  It is cold stone and has really high ceilings, with ornate paintings and millions and millions of books.  Mark is doing his NZ masters right now and I am wandering around looking at all the books and things to do, and using my hour of free internet I booked in. It is so nice here, I might come across to study some days, they have big study halls, like you see in the movies. 

Last night we went out for dinner to a little mexican restaurant that was both cheap and delcious.  We had burritos that were huge and full of avacado, beans, rice, salad, sour cream, salsa and delicious cheese.  I also got a homemade lemonade which was so nice!  We will be going back there for sure.  Last night we watched a DVD that Awhina and Chris gave us as a wedding present, called Natures Best.  It was fun to watch old music videos of the the Herbs, Crowded House, and Dave Dobyn who seemed to pop up in a million bands with his funny ginger mop…

It is really nice just wandering around today and spending a bit of time here in Boston. We are starting to settle in a bit more, and are looking forward to moving into our new house down the road. Hope you are all really good and love hearing from you!  xox sarah

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a hot summer day…

August 15, 2006 at 5:39 am (general)

I am sitting in the university law faculty using their free internet.   I don’t know how hot it is today, but it is my perfect temperature.  Outside it smells like mown grass and the sprinklers are all going. It looks really pretty, and makes up for the university police who prowl with guns.  What is with that?  Mark sometimes looks a little nervous… not sure if it those Po-lese men or the chance that squirrel will drop from a tree onto his shoulder.  He he.

Anyway, yesterday things got heaps better.  Not that they were bad it was just hard to find our way around, and we thought we lost about $200 which didn’t help when we went to buy things for our house and couldn’t help doubling the price of everything to see how much it was NZ.  We ended up finding a sale at a place called something like finliees… and got a kettle, a dinner set which is okay, a big cast iron frying pan and a pot.  We felt totally awesome about that!  We also got lamps BECAUSE strangely enough, flats here do not have lights.  Yes sir.  They only have lights in the kitchen and bathroom.  So we sat in the dark our first night.  I made little bed side tables out of the boxes that some of the things came in to put lamps on and unpacked our clothes a bit too.  We put up some photos and played fly my pretties and felt sort of like we had a homely home.  We also found the money. 

We got food too.  Food is important and I was at risk of going crazy eating donuts and chips all day.  Lots of nice normal things like vegetables and beans, popcorn and strawberry water.  Well better go, we can’t wait to put photos up or get our internet so we can email and skype more –  Mark is joining us up to internet right now! I also can’t wait to go and find friends.  There are two clubs I can join, one is ‘Harvard women’s club’ (read harvard wives club) or the student spouses club.  I think I will join that last one.  I think I am slightly obsessed with making friends with people.  Maybe I will scare them off with my enthusiasum! 

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July 17, 2006 at 12:37 pm (general, Uncategorized)

Ok.Mbear here. I better write something, as Sbear has been writing most things lately. The chicken post was great; how we love that chicken. I just hope I’m not the one that finally bursts the ‘egg’ and gets wierd chemical ‘yoke’ all over me.

 We are on holiday up here in Paeroa. It is nice and sunny. I should be writing my dissertation, but maybe pulling a few late-nighters and maybe an all-nighter might give it more of an edgey feel? I guess we’ll see. It is getting exciting thinking about getting on the plane and ending up in that pop-culture Mecca that is the US of A. Like going to find out the reality of the Disneyland fairlyland. And then going to class with the US law students like in Legally Blonde or The Paper Chase (which I haven’t seen and want to).

 I added some links so that I can go through this page to my daily procrastinating websurf. Maybe you like them too?

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trying it out

July 16, 2006 at 6:20 pm (general)

Friday was a practice.  We were stuck in the air, circling Raglan for an hour with only ham croissants and a music show that featured Allanis Morrisette and Robbie Williams for sustenance.  The fog was so thick that when we moved up over Auckland all you could see was the sky tower poking up above the clouds.  It would have been a great time to be up there; you’d look out and only see white fluffy clouds.  My Aunty who lives in Raglan went for a run that morning and noticed a low flying plane going in circles.  That was us. It felt like we had been up there for hours, and the plane started to sound a bit clunky.  I was happy to be on the airport bus on our way to the consulate.

The US consulate was like a watered down version of US customs.  I am not sure how watered down yet because we haven’t been through the real thing.  I am imagining orange sports water vs. pulpy orange juice.  There weren’t any guns, I don’t think.  I couldn’t see the man in the box with tinted windows that well though…

It was complicated by the strange guard who checked all our stuff.  The lift doors opened and there was an x-ray machine and a man who asked us for our passports.  It was weird.  I was thinking getting a visa would be similar to when I got the dole, sitting down with someone at their desk, where you could ask questions about things and chat and they’d stamp stuff.  I had some questions to ask.  Like whether it was okay we just put our flatmates down as referees, including our new flatmate we only met a little while ago.  I also wanted to know if I should have ticked the ‘i want to work’ box.  Or if writing “I will” in answer to who will pay for my trip was okay.  We had to talk through some glass and line up facing the counters and wait for them to call our names out.  There were photos of George W, C.Rice, and some others on the back wall.  It went fine though. We had enough money to fly all the way up there, and didn’t have anything that could go against us really.  They called out M’s name “and family” which I got over because technically I am getting into the States as a ‘dependent’.  It wasn’t the time to really take that up with the guy anyway.  I asked him about our flatmates and he reckoned that was fine because it would only be one stop for them to get them in the middle of the night.  I thought that was a funny joke, sort of.  He asked me a bit about my thesis so I was glad I was out of the “what is my research about” stage. 

I think we did okay and should get our visa this week.  Then we will be on our way in not much time more!  We had a fun time up in Paeroa. We had a mid-winter christmas dinner with all my family on Mum’s side last night.  I got a chicken key ring that lays eggs.  It is freaking awesome in a disgusting sort of way.



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June 19, 2006 at 9:50 pm (general)

Shall we stay here, or here, or here?  A collection of cosy American bed and breakfast places that don't serve breakfast.  The beds all look so 'American'; squishy and quilt covered. Sbear

In other news, we have a crappy webcam that is such stink quality that it is like a bad puppet show or a badly dubbed film when you are having a voice conversation: you say things, but your lips don't move. Oh well, people can just see our puppet faces. We will have to try to have a conversation on Messenger with Paeroa soon – your webcam surely must be better than ours! – Mbear

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