More Mahjong and Good Food

We basically lazed around at home again today, with the rain continuing into its 3rd day today. Ah Ming fried luncheon meat with eggs this morning. So i had banana cake and luncheon meat with bread for breakfast today. Ah Ming had to submit his application for working holiday visa so the 2 of them went out this afternoon. While K and I drove around for a car shop that could renew our car's Warrant of Fitness. We stopped at the first one, and realized that the Warrant of Fitness was not due until the end of July. Apparently, i had gotten the date wrong and set alarm for the wrong day.. hehe.. So we decided to head home.

On the way, K wanted to check out this "Atomic Events Center" place, so we went there and got a guided tour of the center's facilities by one of the ladies working there. This place has an indoor skate park, netall court, basketball court, rooms for watcing movies and even a small cafe. It's basically a place run mainly on government funding, by volunteers, for youth to hang out and participate in the many activities that the center organizes. K was very inspired by the success of this "Atomic Events Center", cause this is precisely what RAAD ! (which K started few years back) was about, but RAAD! never took off.

Anyway, we reached home around 4pm. Ah Ming and A weren't back yet. So we decided to start watching a DVD and make some food to munch on. K had the cold pasta and sausages, and i had oven baked hash browns, cheezels and caramel coated pop corn. Super unhealthy, i know! = P

Just finished 3 rounds of mahjong with K, Ah Ming and A. We had dinner at home again today (not that i am complaining!). Ah Ming made chicken herbal soup, which was so sweet and delicious i was literally lifting up the entire bowl to finish every drop of the soup. He also stir fried vegetables in a different style this time, with anchovies and wolf berries. And last but not least, pan fried chye poh omelette, requested by yours truly. = ) And as usual, i wrote all the recipes down in my little blue notebook.. Ah Ming is so nice, he always asked us what we want to eat. So i kinda get to choose one dish every time lah.. Sometimes i choose, sometimes i don't. Don't want to choose every time lah, not so nice.. it's not as if he's my personal chef or something right?!

After dinner, we had green and golden kiwi fruits and bananas for dessert. Then about 2 hours later, we had piping hot steamed kacang puteh as a snack while playing mahjong. I never ever imagined i would be able to enjoy kacang puteh (of all things) in New Zealand. So that was a really nice treat for me! = )

I think we all ate too much tonight. In fact, i was so full i had difficulty breathing. So the boys made tea for us to digest.

The weather forecast predicted rain again tomorrow, so Ah Ming and K sat down and planned for tomorrow's activities just now. Not sure what they have in mind, but definitely looking forward to it! = )

29 June: The Wet Spell Continues

9:56 AM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
Monday morning, and the rain continues... Never seen such a long lived rain before.. K woke up at 6am, saw that it was still raining, and went back to bed. I smiled, knowing that everyone won't be going to work today..

I woke up around 1030 today, and made french toast for breakfast for K and myself. Ah Ming and Adreana had scones. We lazed around a bit, then K and I drove out to search for a pharmacy to get my pregnancy supplements and have lunch. Ah Ming's sister had made some chicken porridge for them, so they had that for lunch.

We bought one box of supplements containing 100 pills that will last me for 3 months. Then we went to this bakery with award winning pies for lunch. I had chicken while K had minced pie. It was not very nice. We also ordered bacon and vege soup, which tasted horrible. All in all, not enjoyable.

After lunch, K and I headed to Video Ezy and rented another 9 DVDs to last us for the week. = ) We headed home, and left again about 30 mins later to play golf and baseball with Michael and a few other China men who also worked at the vine yards. We paid $18 and got ourselves 100 golf balls and 35 baseballs. We took turns hitting the golf balls at the driving range. I didn't like it cause i think i don't know how to hold the club properly and it gave me abrasions on my left palm. Plus, i can't hit the ball properly. As for baseball, needless to say, i can't hit the ball at all, keep getting Strike Outs.. Ah Ming wasn't too bad though. I think he's the only one who can hit the ball high.

We headed to the cinema after that, to check out the timing for Transformers 2. We ended up buying tickets for the 7pm show, and headed to the supermarket to buy snacks for the movie.
Then we headed home for dinner.

Dinner was again made by chef Ah Ming. This time, we had my favourite ABC soup, which i asked for.. = ) Potatoes, carrots, onions and fish slices.. Adreana and I helped with the preparations and cutting, while Ah Ming cooked. I have been writing down all the recipes and learning from Ah Ming how to cook for the past few days. So hopefully i can cook by myself here and back in Singapore. We also had Ma You chicken, and K cooked up his remaining lamb meat with butter chicken sauce. We had a quick dinner, and left the house around 630pm for the movies. Because the cinema was free seating, we had planned to reach early to get good seats. But when we reached the cinema, everyone was still waiting to get inside the theatre. Nonetheless, we got pretty good seats.

Transformers 2 is on average, a pretty lousy show. Too complicated and messy. It's like the directors are trying too hard with all the bombing, firing and mass destruction. And after the female lead got voted last year as FHM's sexiest woman, she is being cast in this movie as a full grown woman who is oozing sex appeal.. I didn't like that. Kinda losing the essence of what Transformers is all about.

The movie lasted for 2.5 hours. We headed home around 930pm, had green bean soup that Ah Ming prepared, bathed, and played one round of mahjong. Adreana had checked the weather forecast, which predicted more rain the next day, so most probably no work again.

We had wanted to continue, but i think everyone wanted to sleep earlier, just in case they had to work and wake up at 6am the next day. So we all turned in at 1230am. I have just finished my Jodi Picoult book, and will start on another book soon. K keep making fun of how big my tummy looked for a 10cm baby.. Sickening.. I am beginning to lose sight of my feet bit by bit.. I wonder when i will totally not be able to see my feet.. haha.. = )

28 June: Chocolate & Honey

9:03 AM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
It started to rain today. The 4 of us lazed around in the house for a bit, uncertain where to go or what to do in this mood-dampening weather.. We ended up visiting the Silky Oats Chocolate Factory / Museum, one of the so called "Tourist Attractions" in Hastings.

Before that, the guys decided to make a pit stop to check out this place called U Drive, where you can play Paintball and drive around a circuit in your own car and do all the drifting you want. The chocolate factory / museum was quite pathetic. The so called "factory" was just a small bakery kinda set up, and their museum was a self guided tour of the 3000 years of history of chocolate. For a fee of $8 per person. Which was why we ended up eating (again) at their cafe. We were surprised to see a small crowd at the cafe, and began to realize that's where all the cars were coming for. At first when we reached the factory, we saw a lot of cars parked outside, and had thought the factory / museum must be quite a popular place. Turns out it's the cafe that's popular. Haha..

Between the 4 of us, we ordered a slice of deliciously sinful chocolate cake, a slice of cheesecake, one banana muffin, one cheese scone, one hot and one cold cuppa chocolate and one cappuccino. Before we left, the cafe waitress gave everyone complimentary chocolate truffles. It was overall quite a nice treat. = )

We headed to the honey factory next, and learnt about the bees and honey. K and I watched a video on bees. There were even real honey combs with bees buzzing about for us to observe, and microscopes with slides of bee specimens etc for us to see.. I felt like i was on a school excursion. = ) I never knew that bees had 5 eyes: 2 big compound eyes at the sides, and 3 small eyes on top of their heads. And i now know how to differentiate between a worker bee, a queen bee and a drone bee (the male who mates with the queen). = )

We headed home after the honey factory visit, after running out of places to visit, and just too bumped out over the never ending rain.

Ah Ming made dinner for us, and it was both nutritious and delicious. We had stir fried brocolli and carrots with my fave golden mushrooms. The sauce was so nice it tasted like those coffee shop stir fry dishes.. Then there was steamed fish with chye poh (malaysian style), and lamb stew (which i skipped). I loved the steamed fish. My dinner was so delicious i finished up my whole plate of steamed rice. I just felt so homely you know, 4 of us sitting down and eating dinner like that.. It was very nice = )

After dinner, we all helped to wash up, and then started a game of mahjong. Adreana seems to be hooked on mahjong already now.. haha.. but i am not complaining.. I was the sole winner for today's game = )

The rain continued throughout the night, and according to the weather forecast, will continue into the next day. So most probably there will be no work tomorrow. I think i am the only one who will be truly happy, cause at least i won't be so bored at home! = )

27 June: Mourning Over Michael

I still can't believe Michael Jackson is dead. It's still quite a shock to me. K and the rest went to work today at the vineyards, so i am alone at home again..

I woke up late as usual, around 11am, had my breakfast, then sat down and started to do some internet research on my blood test results. Basically find out what the heck all those medical terms meant, and what vitamins / minerals i am deficient in.

For lunch, i cooked fish porridge for the first time. Ah Ming and A had recommended that i put ginger to bring out the flavor in the porridge. I did, and it tasted delicious. Never knew how adding one simple ingredient can make so much difference. But i also had my fishball and fish cake thrown in so.. = )

I had the TV switched on while eating my porridge, and Michael Jackson was on. In fact, it was a whole hour of Michael's MTVs. I just sat there, and danced to some of the MTVs (that was my exercise for the day), but i knew all the songs that were playing on TV. I smiled when Thriller came on, and reminisced the time when K and I did the same dance at our wedding 3 years agoo.. I also surfed the internet for news on Michael's death. I think everything just culminated, and i started to cry. I was sad that the world has lost such a talented man, a man who was troubled and bankrupt, but yet so beautiful and talented at the same time. I literally grew up listening to his songs, and even chose to dance to his song on my wedding. So there is a part of me that will definitely miss him.

Not long after the hour long MTVs ended, K came back. He asked me to research what there is to do in Hastings so we could drive out and get some sun while it's still bright. Turned out there isn't much to do, so we ended up licking ice cream at Rush Monroes, one of the recommended places to visit in Hastings because of the nice garden that the ice cream cafe was located in. I shared a banana and chocolate nut ice cream cone with K and we chatted about our timeline, when we neeed to go back to Singapore, my pregnancy etc. We stood up to leave around 515pm, and realized that we had been locked in. The employees there had been dumb enough not to check if there were any other customers around before locking up. I went around the counter, which had its shutters closed, and started banging on the shutters. Fortunately for us, there was one lady still hanging around, so we managed to get out. K was prepared to call the police otherwise.. = )

It had turned dark when we left, so we decided to head back. I made fish porridge again for dinner cause K felt like having it. But i didn't eat much cause i was a bit sick of it having had the same thing for lunch a few hours earlier. Tomorrow is supposed to be an off day, so we will be hanging out with Ah Ming and Adreana.. Still haven't decided what to do yet..

My Baby..

K and I went for my first ultrasound scan yesterday morning. Our appointment was supposed to be at 9am, but we were still having breakfast at home at 830am. In addition, the nurse had asked me to drink 1 litre of water one hour before to fill up my bladder, but i was still sleeping at 8am... haha..

Anyway, we managed to reach the radiology center 5 minutes before 9am. There were about 5 people already waiting in line by the time we got there. We waited for about 20 minutes before my name was called and we were led into the ultrasound room.. K went inside with me. My ultrasound technician was a lady called Gaye. Gaye asked me to lower my pants and lie on the bed. She then put on some gel like and very cold cream on my tummy and started the scan. Gaye asked if i wanted to see the scan. I nodded and she switched on the TV in front of me and started to roll the metal rod device all over my tummy.

And there it was on the TV screen, my baby.. During the procedure, Gaye took measurements of my baby's head, stomach, legs, hands etc. We also saw its 5 little fingers, and its little heart pumping.. K and I watched in awe as our baby's full form appeared on the TV screen. It was only 10cm, but definitely alive and kicking inside my stomach. It was so miraculous that i started to cry halfway through the scan. Gaye looked at me and smiled, while K held my hand, smiled and asked me to stop crying.. I think i made him tear a bit too.. = )

Gaye complained jokingly that my baby is a "jumpy" one, cause it was so difficult to capture a still shot of my baby. It was rolling and moving around so much, lying on its back at one time, then rolling to its side at another.. = )

The scan was over in about 15 minutes. Gaye confirmed that my baby is 14 weeks old, and my delivery due date to be on 21 Dec 2009. Everything is normal, but Gaye said it is too early to get a more detailed analysis of the baby's anatomy. She recommended that we do another scan into the 20-22nd week of my pregnancy, when the baby is more fully formed.

We left the clinic about 940am, paid $190 and got a CD with all the scan images. Here are some photos of my baby from the scan.. Isn't it just so so adorable??!

Baby lying with its two hands to its face

Baby's spine

Baby lying on its back with his hands raised slightly. You can see its 5 fingers..

Baby's tiny head, which measured only about 2cm..

K and I went grocery shopping at the only Asian supermarket in Hastings after we left the clinic. I finally got my fish balls, which i had been craving for for the longest time. We also bought bee hoon ( i intend to fry bee hoon next week), luncheon meat, fish cake and thai sweet chilli sauce. Then we headed home, made lunch, finished up 2 DVDs, and took a 2 hour nap. Lunch was baked Salmon, crumbed fish, sausages and the fried vermecelli that Ah Ming had cooked in the morning and left for us.

Initially, we had planned to visit this honey factory, but by the time we woke up from our nap, it was already 5pm and getting dark. So instead, we headed out for dinner at Macdonald's, and went grocery shopping again at Pak N Save. Before that, we visited the clinic to collect the results / report on my blood test and ultrasound scan. I had been craving for Macdonald's, cause yseterday while surfing the net, i accidentally clicked on something, and the Singapore Macdonald's webpage popped up with all these delicious looking burgers, nuggets and french fries that made me drool... I didn't have my favourite cheeseburgers though.. After watching "Fast Food Nation", i don't think i will ever have beef burgers again. So we had 2 filet-o-fish meals with fries and fanta orange, which was delicious. I wanted to take away one more large fries cause the one we had was too little, but K refused to let me buy.

We reached the motel around 8plus, and K suggested to go into the games room to play table soccer before going back to our room. We played table soccer, which K won, and then table hockey, a game that is quite common in the arcades, where there is a table that emits static and wind, and a small disc. The objective is to slide the disc into the opposite goal. I used to love playing that at the arcade. K said i am so fierce (cause i keep attacking him) that he gave up playing with me after a while. It was fun.. = )

Ah Ming and A were already home when we opened the door. Ah Ming had cooked lamb chop, hash brown and mushroom soup for dinner. And as usual, A did not finish her dinner. In fact, i think she barely touched it. Sometimes, i get so frustrated cause this girl has a boyfriend who is a such a good cook and always cook nice food for her, but she always don't eat much. If i am her, i will devour everything.. haha.. Anyway, i kinda finish her hash browns for her, and K had her leftover lamb chops. So everyone was happy. = )

The 4 of us played one round of mahjong after dinner, and Ah Ming won. We all went to bed after, cause they have to work the next day. There goes one day of the weekend! = (

House Moving

Right now, i am munching on chicken biscuits and drinking chocolate milk. Made mee sua soup again for lunch. I had lunch much earlier today at 12pm, compared to the past few days when lunch was 3-4pm. Super hungry today, cause i didn't eat much for dinner yesterday, and breakfast this morning was crappy. Honey coated cornflakes and Milo. For some reason, i couldn't find Honey Stars in the supermarket, so i bought this Nestle's honey coated cornflakes, which sucked.

I was supposed to wake up at 8am this morning so i could pack up and check out of the room by 10am, and move to the unit upstairs. But i couldn't get myself off the bed, so woke up at 9am instead, rushed through breakfast, packed up the last few bits, and started carrying box after box of our stuff upstairs.

When i went up, the landlords were there with a few other people, moving the furniture, and tidying up the place. They were replacing the single beds with double beds, and giving us a couple of sofas in the living room. It took a long time before everything was done. I climbed about 5-6 times up and down before everything was moved into our new unit upstairs. Apparently, there was something wrong with the balcony door, and two men came up to fix it. First of all, they wore their shoes and stepped all over the carpet. Then all the drilling left so much dust and wooden bits on the carpet. So i had to vacuum the whole place just now. I also vacuumed the sofas and wiped the furniture clean cause they looked really dusty.

At least now it looks better. Here are some photos of our new 2 bedroom unit.

Kitchen and bar counter
Common toilet with shower
Our bedroom
Living room

The heaters are finally turned on now that it's 430pm. The heaters in the motel only turns on at certain hours. From 430pm - 12 midnight. Then from 6am for another few hours. I have been quite cold the entire freaking day, cause we only have one pathetic portable electric heater, which wasn't enough at all to heat up the living room, much less the whole house. And the house hasn't been occupied before we moved in, which means it hasn't been heated up for god knows how long now.

I am going to try and bake some Nachos with cheese, baked beans and cornbeef. And of course salsa dip to top it off.. I've been having this craving for Nachos lately. Hopefully it will turn out well. = )

Tomorrow, K will be taking a day off to accompany me for the ultrasound scan. I am so excited to see my baby for the first time! Wonder how it will look like. Will post the scan results up soon!

24 June: Home Alone Part 2

11:49 AM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
I stayed at the motel the whole day again. Went online, searched for more stuff on pregnancy exercises, and did some static exercises while watching the TV. K says i have to strengthen my legs to carry the impending weight of the baby when my tummy gets bigger. Then strengthen my arms so i can carry the baby when it is born.

For lunch, i cooked chicken porridge, it was not too bad. = ) My backache came back again, perhaps due to long periods of sitting on the bar counter chair without support. I got so bored lazing around that i was actually looking forward to going to the supermarket with K when he comes back from work. We were running out of ingredients for cooking so i wanted to stock up. K came back at 6pm, right after i watched the comedy "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "The Simpsons". He was totally exhausted from work, and extremely hungry. He told me he didn't feel like going out. I was so disappointed cause that was kinda like my highlight of the day - to go out. So anyway, K cooked instant noodles and sausages for his dinner. I didn't cook anything for myself cause i wasn't hungry. Besides, i had wanted spaghetti but needed to buy ingredients before i could cook it.

So i waited for K to finish his dinner, rest a while, before we headed to the supermarket. As usual, being him, K insisted we go to Pak N Save cause they are the cheapest. I keep telling him that Pak N Save always don't have the things i want. And true enough, when we reached there, i couldn't even get the first thing on my shopping list. Bananas. They had run out. No cucumbers either, which i needed to make K's cold pasta lunch for work tomorrow. So in the end, we bought less than 50% of the things on my grocery list and left. I had a fight with K over the prices of the things i bought. He was upset that i bought the whole tin of Milo instead of the refills which were cheaper by 20%, and upset that i did not buy the cheapest brand of pasta but the mid range one which was $1 more. Me on the other hand, was just desperate to go out and have some retail therapy, so i didn't notice the Milo refills, and i did not want the cheapest brand for everything. K thinks i do not bother to be price efficient. I think he's a miser. = (

We did not talk the whole journey back and even in the motel. He logged onto the internet while i made my dinner - cold pasta salad. I had totally lost the mood to make spaghetti by then, so i
figured might as well kill two birds with one stone, and prepare my dinner and K's lunch together.

We had gotten the key to the room upstairs before we left for the supermarket. Our landlord, Janine had been kind enough to let us start moving some stuff upstairs tonight. We chatted, and when we told her i was pregnant, she shrieked and gave me a big hug. Her reaction is my favourite one so far. I guess being so far from home, i was sad that i couldn't share the news with loved ones and see their expressions and hug them instantly. After our first hug, Janine told me she's pregnant too, and we both shrieked and hugged again. She had just gone for her first scan today, so we're about the same timing. It was all so girly i loved it! = )

My plan was for K to help move some of the heavy stuff upstairs while i cook so as not to waste time. Especially since we had planned on watching another DVD and he had to get up early ford work the next day. But he just sat on the chair and glued to his laptop. For some reason, i was angry with him. I know he is very exhausted from work and just want to rest, but i felt miserable too staying at home the whole day with a hurting backache. And there is so much things to do. But i didn't tell him. Ah Ming came over then, and chatted with K about the day's work. I sacarstically commented how he still looked so energetic and fresh, while K looks half dead.

After Ah Ming left, I had a few bites of my dinner (no appetite), then started to move the stuff upstairs myself, still pissed off with K who was still checking his email. I didn't want to move the things too late cause it might disturb the other residents, but tired K just wanted to rest.

I managed to move 70% of our stuff upstairs, and then went to shower. I heard K move the biggest bag we had upstairs during my shower. By then it was 10pm. We still didn't talk much, but i told him i didn't want to watch the DVD anymore cause i was tired. We called B to wish him Happy Birthday, then went to sleep..

Until now, i still don't know what went wrong between us today. Maybe i am just having mood swings, or going crazy from boredom. I am also not looking forward to waking up earlier tomorrow to move the remaining 30% of our stuff upstairs by myself...

23 June: Home Alone

This morning, i heard K woke up at 6am and prepared to go to work. I smiled to myself secretly, glad that i could still laze in bed for another 4 more hours. I am beginning to feel like the traditional wife already, staying at home and tidying the house and cooking while the husband goes and earn money. Haha.. = )

I woke up around 11am to someone knocking on my door. It was Edwin, the landlord, here to collect my trash and old towels, and give me some fresh towels, and a new trash bag. I was embarrassed that he had to see me in my pyjamas and worse still, know that i was still not awake at 11am.

I made myself some french toast for breakfast, which turned out quite bad, cause most of them were slightly burnt. So different from what K makes! I think i didn't put enough oil in the frying pan. = ) Breakfast was so heavy i couldn't have lunch until about 4pm. I basically spent the whole day online, researching on pregnancy. What are the exercises i should do, the food i should eat etc. I also attended some online classes to learn more about pregnancy. Then i researched on the hospital prices / fees in Singapore, and also the parenthood rebates and incentives that the government was giving. It was all very intensive. I also called and made my ultrasound scan appointment this Friday morning. They didn't do evenings and weekends, and i want very much for K to be there when we see the baby for the first time, so i guess K won't be able to work on Friday.

I also delivered the good news to several people today. First, i called my grandmother. She didn't seem to understand what i was saying at first, cause there was no reply. But when i asked her again, she told me she knew. I asked if she was happy, and she replied yes. = ) Then i told my sister on MSN. All the questions came out. When i was coming home, what kind of food i should avoid etc etc. It was all really delightful for me.. = )

Then i text my mom and dad, who congratulated me and asked me to take care. I told my dad he needed to get well soon so he can carry my baby when it is born.. Hopefully this will give him the push he needs to recover from his 2 year stroke. I did not tell my in-laws cause i had wanted K to tell them himself. K came home at 530pm, and we drove off to the clinic for my blood test before they close at 6pm. We reached there at 545pm, had 3 tubes of my blood taken for $75, and left the clinic slightly past 6pm. We headed to the video rental store next to exchange a DVD that was faulty. Yesterday, K and I had rented 9 DVDs at $1 each for a week. Super cheap! 2 of them were about pregnancy. "Juno" and "Knocked Up". We've watched "Juno" already, and it's super damn good. The art direction and script writing is really fantastic work. So good that they don't need any big shot actors to sell the film at all.

We reached the motel around 630pm and text Ah Ming to come over. We were supposed to cook noodles / porridge and finish up the tempura / deep fried stuff from our leftover Jap dinner on Sunday. But this naughty Ah Ming replied and asked us not to cook anything cause he was frying noodles. So we just heated up the Jap stuff in the oven. About 30 mins later, they arrived with a big pot of fried maggi noodles with fish cake, cabbage, egg, and some other stuff. It was not too bad although i would have preferred bee hoon.. haha..

We chatted over dinner about the accomodation, work at the vineyards, and my pregnancy. Adreana didn't seem keen on getting the motel for $400 mainly because it was upstairs and she would have to climb up and down everyday. But she changed her mind when we went up to view the unit after dinner. The room was much much bigger, had a living room, and the 2 bedrooms were opposite rather than beside each other so there was privacy. Also, the stairs weren't much of a climb, and there was another staircase leading to the carpark so we didn't have to walk one big round. The other thing was, the unit would be booked for 2 days on 1 and 2 Aug, so we would have to move out to other rooms for 2 days and move in again after. But we didn't mind. So it was set. We will move in this Thursday / Friday. And since i wasn't working, i would be moving the stuff bit by bit in the daytime.

Ah Ming and A left around 9pm, and K and I showered and started on our 2nd DVD "Men on Fire" starring Denzel Washington, Marc Anthony and Dakota Fanning. Marc is such a lousy actor i think he should just stick to singing. Fanning can act 10 times better than him! = )

22 June 2009: Our 9th (and the Best!) Anniversary

9:33 AM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
Exactly 9 years ago, K asked me to be his girfriend. And 3 years ago on the same date, i became his wife = )

Today, K and I celebrated our 9th Anniversary of being together as a couple, and 3rd Anniversary as husband and wife.

Our "celebration" started late as we lazed around and woke up only around 11plus. We skipped breakfast, dilly dallied a bit, then left the house eventually around lunch time. Our first stop was to look for brunch. K had researched on the web and found this nice cafe in Napier called "Clive Garden Cafe". It had some good reviews so we decided to give it a try. Before that, we stopped over at the information center and took some brochures on things to do in Napier.

The website mentioned that the cafe overlooked the garden, but when we got there, it overlooked the road instead, with the garden still a distance away beyond the road. Food was delicious though, and we got 2 free cups of coffee when we presented a coupon in one of the tourist brochures we took earlier. We had nachos (which wasn't too good), mushroom pancake and chicken kebab with rice (both were good). I also ordered a banana smoothie, which i didn't like so K finished it instead. We went through the brochures, read some magazines and eventually left the cafe around 2pm.






We didn't stay in Napier after lunch and do the things that the brochures recommended, mainly because our highlight of the day was to visit the doctor's. So after lunch, we headed back to Hastings in search of a hospital.

There are 2 hospitals and a couple of clinics in Hastings. The first hospital we visited couldn't help cause we didn't have an appointment. We were lucky with the second one cause we had a doctor called Jane who agreed to attend to us. I couldn't really get used to the whole process, cause whenever i told the receptionist /nurses that i wasn't a resident, the first reply i get is that i have to pay. It was like, if i am not a resident here, it's really difficult to get a doctor. Then they will start asking questions like if i was gonna have the baby here, whether i have medical insurance. K and I had to keep repeating that we were willing to pay, that we are going back to Singapore soon, and that we just want to know the baby is fine while we are still here. It was quite exhausting (at least for me!).

Anyway, at the second hospital, doctor Jane had me lie down on a bed and lift up my shirt while she switch on this device with a metal rod and rolled the rod all over my tummy. The device emitted strange buzzing noises. I came to realize later that it was scanning for my baby's heartbeat. Jane took such a long time rolling the metal rod and listening for the heartbeat that i began to worry if i was even pregnant. I asked her a few times if there was anything and she just shook her head with a puzzled look. After 30 seconds later, the device emitted a different sound, and Jane told me that was my baby's heartbeat. It was so beating so fast! When i heard the heart beat, i turned and looked at K, who smiled at me, and i wanted to cry.. = )

Jane asked me when my last menses was after the scanning, and calculated that i should be 15 weeks pregnant with my due date being 13 Dec this year. She also recommended that we got ourselves a midwife to arrange for ultra sound scans and run some blood tests. We left the hospital shortly after with a list of midwives from Jane for us to call.

K and I decided to go pay a visit to one, but nobody was in the office / house when we went there. So we headed back to the motel to call using the land line cause it's cheaper. I also text a few other midwives with hand phone numbers. No luck. Either they didn't reply, or they were all fully booked up until next year.

So eventually, K and I decided to go to a clinic and consult a GP instead. We went to the clinic in the city center (recommendation by the nurse in the first hospital) and waited for 20 mins before we were attended to by a Doctor Jeff Green. As usual, the receptionist asked us the same questions, whether we know we had to pay etc etc.. K and I went for a walk during the wait, and along the way, we went into an information center. I kinda confronted him on how he felt, cause
i was actually disappointed that he wasn't more emotional when he heard the baby's heart beat and had confirmation that i was pregnant. He was more like expression-less. To me, he seems much more excited when he sees a nice looking sports car on the roads. I told him how i felt, disappointed and all. I wanted him to show more emotions, emotions that he is so happy and so excited. He explained to me that when he is really truly happy, it is inside him, and he don't show. Besides, he had been absolutely sure all along that i was pregnant. He also told me that he had waited so long for this that he is definitely happy, and that he cried when he first "knew" i was pregnant. I kept asking him when he cried, but he refused to tell me and asked me to stop cause he want to cry again now.. For a while, we just stood there side by side and let our eyes water a bit with happiness.. = )

Then we walked back to the clinic to wait for our turn. I felt so strange sitting in the waiting room which was full of their locals - both whites and the Maori people. Somehow, i could feel them looking at us, the only Asians who stuck out like a sore thumb. Doctor Green didn't go much for us except issue 2 referral letters - one for my ultrasound, and one for my blood tests. Both results will be sent back to him. We had to call and make the appointments ourselves. Those 2 pieces of paper cost us $60. Not long after the visit, we got calls from the midwives., and realized we could have gotten the same letters for $35. But it was too late..

K and I left the clinic around 630pm and went to the supermarket to buy more groceries. Then we drove around in search of our celebratory dinner. I had wanted Japanese, but we couldn't find any. So we ended up having Thai food again (same as last month's anniversary).

The restaurant, "Thai Oaks", advertised on the tourist maps, and claimed to be authentic. So we decided to give it a try. The owners were a caucasian and thai couple. I had pineapple fried rice,
K had curry with rice, and we shared an appetizer. It was so so, not the best i've had, but i love the cutlery though. Very exquisite. I also loved the way they shaped K's white rice into a cute little heart shape! = )


The pathetic 5 piece "Combination" appetizer that cost us more than $10


We reached the motel around 9pm, and Ming came over to discuss with us regarding the accomodation. We told our current landlord about the $350 serviced apartments, and managed to get her to lower her price from $500 to $400 a week for their 2 bedroom unit. I personally preferred the one we are staying at now, cause firstly, we won't have to move our stuff too much cause it's just upstairs from our current unit, and secondly, they change towels everyday, and bedsheets every week. Ming seemed cool about it, so we decided to take a look at the 2 bedroom unit when he and Adreana comes over tomorrow.

Today marks a significant milestone for me, and definitely the best anniversary i've had so far. I'm sure there will be better ones to come!

21 June: Good food and Great company

Last night, I dreamed my grandmother died. I woke up telling K about it, and ended up crying. Just called her and relieved she is fine.

We met up with Ah Ming and A today. Our plan was to drive to Palmerston North and visit the weekend Asian market for some fried you tiao and soya bean milk. Before that, we went apartment viewing again in the morning. We met another property agent Richard, a rich young chap who races in Porches and family is in the property development business. We saw 2 apartments, both of which were built by Richard's family business. But they too were not furnished. So we will have to pay extra to rent furniture. The second one we saw was lovely. 3 bedrooms, wooden floor panelling and huge. After viewing, we went to pump petrol and came across a row of serviced apartments that was advertising. We decided to go in and take a look. A guy named John took us into one of the units, and we fell in love with it and thought we will most probably get this one for the next month or so. The apartment was like the lodge we are at staying at now, except that it has 2 bedrooms and much cheaper at $35o per month. Where we are staying now was charging $500 for a 2 bedroom unit. The thing was, we had to pay one month's rent in advance, and they didn't really "service" the apartment. Towels and sheets will not be changed.. Strange why they call themselves "serviced apartments" though!

Anyway, we didn't decide there and then. Rather, we thought we would sit on it for a few more day and think it through. After all the viewing, we finally started our 2 hours to Palmerston North for some Fried You Tiao and Bean curd soup at the Asian weekend market.

But when we reached there, we went into a small Asian supermarket and asked the shop lady, who said there weren't any Asian markets on Sundays.

So anyway, we left the supermarket and proceeded for some delicious dim sum at this restaurant called "China Town". Initially we were still dubious as to whether the dim sum would be authentic / nice. But when we walked it and saw that the restaurant was almost full house, we took a table and sat. And never regretted it. The dim sum was 10 times better than the one we had at Sky City in Auckland. And the wait staff just keep coming out from the kitchen presenting trays after trays of delicious looking dim sum. Yummy.. I had my BBQ pork buns, chee cheong fun, porridge, BBQ pork pastry, pan fried carrot cake and deep fried calamari which was so good we bought another serving as take away to snack on. Here's a snapshot of what we had.


Before we left the restaurant, we spoke to the lady boss, who also said she didn't know of any Asia weekend markets around. Looks like we have been given wrong information by Ah Ming's friends!

After our delicious lunch, we drove around Palmerston North city center a bit, went to the information center to get some brochures, and then ended up in a shopping center. I bought a scarf, a singlet and 2 night gowns from Cotton on Body, which was having a sale. Then we walked around a bit more, and ended our shopping with some delicious Gelato ice cream. Ah Ming, being the overall mini golf winner, got his double scoop Gelato ice cream treat from us. = )



We headed too the bowling center after that, and booked ourselves 3 bowling games. I won the second game and got myself a dinner treat. Ming won the last game and got himself the next dinner treat. We did not bet on anything for the first game. Everyone kinda got bored after the first 2 games, so during the last game, we also played pool.






By the time we left the bowling center, it was close to 7pm. Because i was having the dinner treat, i got to choose the food so we ended up having Japanese at this Fujiyama restaurant, which looked dubious at first (cause it was not owned by a Japanese, prices were quite cheap, and there weren't many customers). But it turned out to be above average quality! = ) We ordered too much and had to pack some for take away. I had my salmon teriyaki, and this time the teriyaki sauce tasted normal without the sour plum taste. K had this set meal, which consisted of tempura, sushi, teriyaki chicken, potato salad, miso soup and chawamushi. Which i thought was totally delicious and a great deal at only $16.



We drove back to Hastings around 9pm after our dinner. By the time we reached home, it was 11pm already. Everyone was so tired that we fell asleep in the car, while poor K drove us home. K is already snoring in bed now, exhausted after the 4 hour drive today.. Poor baby..

Tomorrow is our 9th Anniversary. And K and I are going to visit the doctor's to confirm if i am pregnant. I am having mixed feelings inside me now, excited and worried at the same time.. A complete blur of emotions.. = )

20 June: Sports Day!

8:57 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
K and I had planned to laze around in our motel today, since we are both not working.

But as usual, K's natural alarm clock woke him at before 9am, and he was already watching videos on his laptop when our handphone rang. It was Ming and Adreana. Apparently, it had rained this morning, so work at the vineyard was cancelled. They were supposed to do pruning work at another vineyard cause the one we worked at yesterday had no work over the weekend.

And so 1.5 hours later, Ah Ming and A came over to our place, and we drove over to Napier to spend the rest of the day.

Our plan was to have Asian for lunch, but when we drove to the restaurant that Ah Ming and A recommended, it was closed. So we had KFC (which was next door) for lunch instead. We ordered a big feast meal of hot and spicy chicken, 1.5 litre Pepsi, coleslaw, buns and whipped potato to share. We chatted, Ming spilled Pepsi all over the table, and i enjoyed the piping hot buns. I loved how the buns here are so hot and soft, unlike those in Singapore, which are usually cold and hard.

After lunch, we decided to play a round of 18 hole mini golf. One game cost us $8 each, and that took us 2 hours to complete. We had agreed that the overall winner will get a free ice cream treat from the 3 losers. Ming won with the least number of hits and a hole-in-one. I was the overall loser, all because of one stupid hole, which took me 19 hits to get the damn ball in. There is this slope on the green, and the stupid ball just keeps rolling downhill.. = (









After our mini golf game, we went back to Hastings for a quick dinner at this place called Noodle Canteen, which had franchises all over New Zealand. K and I had curry laksa, which was horrible.

We were supposed to have an apartment viewing appointment at 6pm, so we kind rushed through our dinner which started at 530pm. We drove to the place, met the agent Jim, and viewed the 2 bedroom apartment. There was one other Caucasian guy in the apartment talking to Jim. We didnt really like the apartment, cause firstly there was no furnishing, and secondly, the neighbourhood didn't look too inviting. The Caucasian guy eventually took the apartment and everyone was happy. Jim told us he had another unit across that has 3 bedroom and fully furnished, but he had to arrange another day for us to view. We agreed.

After the viewing, we went back to change clothes. Michael and a few china men had organized a badminton session and Ah Ming had invited us along. We were supposed to play table tennis and basketball as well. I was totally looking forward to that. = ) We drove about 20 minutes and reached a school building where the badminton courts were.

First, we went to the table tennis place. It was very crowded. Michael kinda waved us along and assumed that me and Adreana were playing table tennis. Then he went to check out the badminton courts. Like he has a pre conceived notion that girls can't play badminton. I told Ah Ming i wanted to play badminton so we followed Michael to the courts.

There were 4 courts in total, but all were fully occupied. There were so many people there that i got all hyped up. Haven't seen such a sight for a long long time.. = )

We each paid $5 to play. Rackets and shuttlecocks were provided. And they were of much better quality than the ones we had in Auckland. There was a rotating timetable, where each court will change players every 15 mins. So after 15 mins, a buzz will sound, and the next group of people will play. K and I played with Ah Ming and A, while Michael played with 3 other China men. They were quite good, and i was secretly hoping to play with them, but didn't have the chance to. Until the last 5 minutes where the person in charge gave us extra 5 mins. Michael asked me and Ah Ming to play a game with him and another china boy. Although it was short, it was good. K, Ah Ming and I then played a bit of basketball while the in charge cleared up the courts and keep the nets and poles etc. I actually perspired, but it was a very good work out.. A said i looked much more radiant and energetic when i exercise. = ) I definitely want to play again! Unfortunately, they only have the games every Saturday. Can't wait!

19 June: First and last day @ the Vineyard!

I woke up at 430am today and couldn't get back to sleep, for fear that i will over sleep and be late for my first day at work.. About an hour later at 545am, i got off bed, brushed my teeth and prepared breakfast. I can't even remember when was the last time i woke up at such an unearthly hour! = )

K woke up shortly after and we both got ready. We were going to use our car to drive Ah Ming and 2 other China men staying at our motel lodge to the vineyard. According to Adreana, we will be working for THE biggest vineyard in the whole of New Zealand. Cool!

We finally (and very reluctantly) stepped out of our room into the freezing cold at 630am. When i checked the temperature reader in our car, it said 0 degrees!! Still can't believe i went to work when the moon was still visible and in such freezing cold weather!

The drive to the vineyard took about 40 mins. When we reached there, the sun was not even out yet. We headed to the office and spoke to one of the employees there, then started working at the vineyards.

This is the vineyard at 720am. The sun wasn't even out yet, and we could still see the moon.

The vineyards were organized into blocks / plots of land with alphabets. The 5 of us were supposed to finish blocks U, V and W by 430pm today. Basically, we were given big plastic bags and a pair of plier scissors, and were supposed to cut off the plastic sheets that were wrapped around the roots of each grape vine plant.

There was plenty of bending and walking involved as we passed by rows and rows of grape vines. I did about 10 rows for the entire day. One row had about 50-100 grape vines. It was fun at first, but got really tiring for me after a while. I actually perspire a bit cause of the hot sun, and my lower back was hurting like crazy. By 330pm, i couldn't even walk properly without my back hurting me. K had to force me to sit in the car and rest, cause i felt a bit embarrassed to rest while every else was working hard. But i had no choice. It was too painful. I couldn't even get in and out of the car without hurting my back!


One of the many rows of grape vines that we worked on. You can see the green plastic sheets we had to cut off.


We had lunch around 12pm. Lunch was the cold pasta salad that i had prepared the day before. I ate in the car with K, while Ah Ming and the 2 china boys lay plastic bags on the grass and had their meals there. There was no way i could sit on the grass and get up without pain.. = )


This is the view from the block of grape vines we were working from. Gorgeous isn't it?

And that's K and me taking a break and snapping pictures.. I had to wear the UV hat that Ruby, June and Jasmine bought me, otherwise i think i will get skin cancer!


Oh, and this, is the portable toilet that we had to use to relieve ourselves. We had to drive like a few minutes to get there. For the entire day from 730am-430pm, i only went to the toilet once. I simply couldn't bring myself to use it. It had no toilet roll, no flush, and no water to wash hands. I could see all the urine and faeces in the toilet bowl, and they only had a hand sanitizer which was empty. My god..


This is a picture of the view we got at another block of vineyards we worked on. It was the last block, and i was resting in the car. There were so many cows that were so close to the car. The only thing that separated us was a pathetic wired electric fence. With my bright red jacket, i was so afraid one of them would come charging towards me!

Anyway, it was really interesting to observe the cows. I've always thought they do nothing but eat grass the whole day, but during my observation, i saw them "interact" with each other, and trying to mate even! There was this particularly horny male who kept hopping onto another female, but kana rejected.. haha.. so funny. Then i think i saw either the father or boyfriend of the female chase one male away when the male tried to tackle the female. Quite hilarious..


By the time we knocked off and got back to the motel, it was around 6plus. K and I went to the supermarket to buy ingredients for baked potato. We had invited Ah Ming and Adreana over for dinner. They hung out at Ah Ming's sister room while we cooked. The stupid oven in our room didn't work too well, so the baked potato turned out yellowish instead of the light brown and cripsy texture it was supposed to be. Anyway, it still tasted delicious! = )

There would be no work over the weekend, so both K and I were relieved. Even K is having a back ache now! For me, today would be my last day of work. K doesn't want me to work and worsen my backache. Plus, he is very sure that i am pregnant. So i get to laze in bed for the next few weeks!! = )

18 June: Bye bye Gisborne, Hello Hastings

7:36 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
We left Gisborne this morning, after a late breakfast (our last 2 muffins!) around 1030am. Again, both Ross and Robyne had left for work. I had said my goodbye to Ross the night before, but K and I will be saying goodbye to Robyne in town later where she works.

After packing and loading everything into the car, which we are both getting really sick of already, we drove to town, met Robyne, passed her the house keys and said our goodbyes. Then it was off to Hastings to meet up with Ah Ming, Adreana and look for some work!

The ride to Hastings took about 2.5 hours. Poor K must be so sick of driving on all the stupid windy roads already. I feel so guilty not learning to drive and having a license so i can take turns driving with him.. = (

We had lunch on the way in Wairoa town. We drove past this bakery that has "Baker of the Year" on it's shop front, so decided to give that a try. I never looked back. I had chicken pie and home made vege and ham soup. The shop was adorned with so many awards for all kinds of pies, bread and pizzas that i was amazed. The chicken pie was quite good, but not as good as my favourite ones from York Hotel back home.. = )

We hit the roads again after lunch and arrived at Hastings around 3pm. Then our search for accomodation began. Initially, we had planned to stay together with Ah Ming and Adreana, cause they rented a room in a 3 bedroom apartment. But when we text them before arriving in Hastings, they asked us to look for our own accomodation first because the extra room in their current apartment was too small for a couple.

So K and Iand drove around and went in to several backpackers, lodges and motels to enquire. All of them were either too expensive, dodgy or totally cannot make it. We hunted for about 1.5 hours until 430pm, and still no suitable accomodation. By then, i was getting a bit restless and irritated. K had promised we would look for a place to stay that is like Seagulls Guest house in Mt Mauganui where we had stayed: Clean, warm, big kitchen, bathroom inside the bedroom, and reasonably priced. But after 1.5 hours of searching, no luck. We did see one motel that we liked a lot, but they were willing to give us cheapest $80 a night for one week's stay. Seagulls was $35 per night.

Eventually, we got recommendation from one of the lodge owners to visit another lodge called "Atrium Motor Lodge" nearby. Which we did. The lady at the counter showed us the room, which i fell in love with almost instantly. It was warm, cosy and very homely. And it comes with a TV and small little kitchen. All in one. The lady wanted to charge us $630 for a week. Then bargained down to 10% off. We managed to get ourselves the room for $300 in the end. We told her our story, that her price was above our budget, that we were looking for work and would stay more than a month if we get a job. The lady told us it was her birthday, and also told us she had a Malaysian guy staying who helps people look for work in Hastings. Maybe because it was her birthday and she wanted to do something good and help us, that's how we managed to get the good bargain. = )

After checking into our "new home", the lady introduced us to the Malaysian man, Michael. Michael stayed 3 rooms beside us. When we introduced ourselves as Singaporeans, Michael immediately asked if we knew Ah Ming. What a small world!! Apparently, Michael is the boyfriend of Ah Ming's sister, who also lives there. We got ourselves jobs at the vineyard and were to start the following day.

30 mins later, Ah Ming and Adreana arrived and we all laughed over the whole coincidence. How of all places, we chose to stay at the same lodge as Michael. Few days ago, Adreana added me on her Facebook and as i was browsing through her profile, i realized that we both had the exact same birthdate, only she's 4 years younger. So when we met again, we laughed over that as well.. I think the 4 of us are going to be great friends... = )

Dinner was microwaved leftover Hawaiian pizza. K and I tried to sleep early, cause work at the vineyard will start at 730am tomorrow, and we have to leave the lodge at 630am. I am so NOT looking forward to it. Actually, the plan was for K to work while i stayed home, but there was some miscommunication, and Michael had told the "boss" that both K and I would be working. So in order not to cause inconvenience to Michael, i agreed to work for one day tomorrow. And according to Adreana, work will be cutting plastic bags at the bottom of the grape vines, so there will be a lot of bending and squatting. That will definitely NOT help with my already painful lower back. Still can't believe i have to get up at 6am tomorrow!! Sigh.. I miss my beach house!!

17 June: Sight-seeing in Gisborne

6:58 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
K and I woke up around 1030am to much warmer temperatures. We had muffins and toast for breakfast. By the time we woke up, Robyne and Ross had both gone for work. It was just us and Bella the cat.

After breakfast around 11plus, we drove out and headed to the information site to plan our day. Our plan was to do a scenic drive for the rest of daylight (which was only 4 hours) and visit the Gray's Hill lookout and Rere Falls. We bought Hawaiian Pizza as takeaway, drove to Gray’s Hill lookout, and had our pizza there. We got lost for a bit, and by the time we got to the lookout point, the pizza was no longer piping hot.. still warm though, but just not hot.. The view from on top of the hill was not too bad though = )

After our pizza and coke lunch (super unhealthy), we headed to the our next stop: the 100m high Rere Falls. On the way there, we got caught in a minor traffic jam, because of cows crossing the already narrow winding road. It was so funny i couldn't stop giggling and taking photos of the cows, which were just taking their own sweet time to cross the road and grazing on the grass on the cliffs on both sides of the road. There were SO many of them! And they were also shitting all over on the roads.. It was very interesting having these animals so close up to us.. = )



We managed to arrive at Rere Falls without getting lost, and I was mesmerized at just how beautiful the waterfalls looked and just the peace and silence of the whole place. All we could hear was the sound of the water falling.. Doesn't it look gorgeous??!







After spending like the longest time admiring the water falls, taking photos, and K running as close to the back of the waterfall as he can, we left and headed to the nearby Rere Rock Slide, where people can actually bring a water slide of some sort and slide down the fast running stream. It seemed like so much fun for no cost, but wrong timing cause no one would do that in winter time. K and I hid behind a small cliff to block off the wind and i used my swiss army knife to trim his hair. He had to squat down for a long time cause i was too slow. We decided to leave after less than 5 mins of hair cutting.. = ) And headed to the supermarket to buy ingredients for dinner.

We arrived home around 5plus, and started cooking porridge and vegetables for dinner. We were going to sit down and have dinner with our hosts, but they already prepared dinner so in the end we shared the vegetables. We had wanted to stir fry bak choy again since K did it very well, but the supermarket did not carry bak choy. So we bought silver beet instead. And the result didn't turn out too well cause the stems took so bloody long to cook we threw all the stems away. I enjoyed my porridge with mushroom and carrot though. = )

During our dinner chat, Robyne and Ross shared with us their travel stories to Europe and England, and the history of their beautiful house, which appaently is 100 years old!! K and I couldn't belive the kitchen floor we were standing on was more than a century old.. They also told us their earth quakes were quite common in Gisborne, and the most recent big quake happened 2 years ago in 2007. and that damaged most of the houses in the neighbourhood, including theirs. It was a really interesting chat. But K did most of the talking. I actually feel quite glad that K is there with me, cause most of the time, the questions that our hosts asked about Singapore, i don't really know how to answer. Like how big is Singapore, what is the population, things about its history etc.. It's pretty embarrassing how little i know (or bother to learn) about my own country.. = P

After dinner, Ross showed K his shed and his motorbike collection, while Robyne and I continued with our chat into the living room. I went to take my shower when K came into the living room, and then used the internet.

That night, i went to bed slightly warmer, cause we brought our own little heater into the bedroom.

Here are some photos of the house we stayed in. The most beautiful house we've stayed in so far, according to K. He's so in love with the house that he says he wants to buy it if he can.. Me on the other hand, isn't too excited about the big house due to the risk of earthquakes, and the challenging task of keeping such a big house warm during winter.. = )

The beautiful house in its full external glory

The kitchen with the 100 year old wood flooring
Bella
The bathroom which is bigger than my HDB bedroom in Singapore. Loved the way they did up the bath tub!

Our bedroom with pure white sheets and furry b
lanket

Me playing with beautiful Bella

16 June: To Gisborne – First to see the light!

6:50 PM by Adeline Woo 2 comments
Neil cooked breakfast for K and I again this morning. It was the same bacon and eggs sunny side up. But this time, I added one piping hot raspberry and white chocolate muffin to my plate.. = )

We had breakfast together, chatted a bit, then K and I started packing up and loading our stuff into the car. We were “checking out” of the beach house (albeit very reluctantly) today, and going to the next host family in Gisborne. Neil gave us directions on a piece of paper, and a few small towns that we can consider stopping over for breaks. It was going to be a long 6 hour drive there. Initially, I told K it would be better if we stay one night at a town that’s in between our journey, but he didn’t want to and preferred to drive all the way to Gisborne.

We finally said our goodbyes, hugged and left the house around 930am. About an hour later, I realized I still had the keys to the beach house with me. Fortunately, we will be passing Glenis’ workplace and their home on the way to Gisborne, so eventually we dropped the keys with her colleague. Along the way, we also passed by this bookshop that we had visited before at Mount Mauganui, where they had a section of books selling for 50 cents. We had bought 6 books and had not even finished reading them since, but we popped into the shop and bought another 6 more that day… = )

It was a long long drive and we both read a book during the drive. K listened to the “Angels & Demons” audio tape, while I read Jodi Picoult’s “The Pact” until I got giddy reading on the winding roads.. We stopped over and parked by a beach and had lunch in the car; lunch being the free chicken wrap, vege quiche and muffins we got previously. All cold. Damn stupid pigeons must have seen or smelled the food cause a whole lot of them began to hover above and circle around our car. One super daring one even landed on the bonnet!

Our 6 hour journey continued after lunch.. More windy roads and nature.. We saw at least 6 full rainbows, one of which was the most solid rainbow I’ve seen so far (see photo below). All the colors were so clear and obvious, and the full arch of the rainbow was just so mesmerizing.. I feel so happy looking at these rainbows.. Once, we drove into a rainbow, our first time, and we just went from no rain to rain when we passed the rainbow. It was so cool! = )



We finally reached Gisborne around 530pm. By then it had grown dark. I text my hosts Robyne and Ross to inform them we had arrived, then K and I went to look for dinner. We ended up having Subway (1 foot long tuna melt) after arguing for a while. Cause I had craving for pizza or burger king, but it was too expensive.. = (

By the time we found the house, it was close to 615pm. But the skies looked like 9pm in Singapore. We drove around in circles for a while looking for the house number, but eventually found it. Cause the house number was hidden by overgrown bushes. It was a HUGE house, and really old but with a lot of character. K said it looked like a witch doctor’s house at first sight. = )
Robyne and Ross were really friendly, we chatted a bit, and Robyne showed us to our bedroom, which was big. And their bathroom is bigger than our bedroom back home. They have a really pretty cat called Bella. What a suitable name, I thought. I played with the super friendly Bella a bit and got my trousers all furry after that. She is one horny cat I think. Keeps jumping up on people’s legs, rubbing herself against people and things, and rolling over to be scratched. = )

Anyways, K went to bed early and I showered and used the internet until about 1030pm before going to bed. We had asked Robyne and Ross what time the sun rises in Gisborne, because it is the first place in the world to see sun rise, and I had thought about watching the sun rise. Ross said 7am, which wasn’t too bad cause I had been expecting a 5am sun rise. Nonetheless, we couldn’t get ourselves off the bed the next day to save ourselves, much less watch sun rise.. haha..

Our bedroom had one big heater in the shape of a 40 inch plasma TV, but it was pretty much useless. K had to switch bed sides with cause I simply couldn’t sleep with such cold temperatures. It helped a bit, but I still didn’t sleep well. I couldn’t wait for the sun to rise the next day and give me warmth..

15 June: Our First Truly New Zealand Experience

I woke up this morning, to the smell of toast, bacon and eggs sunny side up. Neil had cooked breakfast for K and I. Kinda like reciprocal since we cooked dinner last night. I didn't really like it though, but i think K loved it. It's more his kind of breakfast. I gave him my egg yolk and the fatty part of the bacon. = )

After breakfast, we left and drove off to visit all the famous beaches and bays in Whitianga. Today must have been the most exercise we have ever had since we arrived here more than one month ago. We did more than 2 hours of walking (2 way) in the forest / jungle to reach the bays and beaches. Most of the walks were on dirt tracks / walking tracks in the middle of the forest, and were full of uphill climbs and steps. So it was definitely not an easy walk for us. That was when we realized just how out of shape we were, cause we were panting and exhausted half the time.

But i was happy.. Really happy. All the difficult climbs and walks were worth it, cause of the beautiful scenery we saw along the way. It was really the most New Zealand thing we have done so far. K said New Zealand has nothing to offer except nature. And we haven't been connecting with nature too much since we came here. Cause it's either too cold, or it's raining most of the time. But today's weather was beautiful. And every time we stopped walking, our destination is always a beautiful, beautiful sight. It's either a very peaceful bay, where we just sit on the rocks and hear the sea, or a calm beach with lots of seashells, or huge waves crashing, or just an amazing view.

This beach is so full of seashells everywhere we walked we would accidentally break one

Me sitting on a tree trunk on the seashell beach
The big waves that i so love to watch = )
One of the views we got on top of some cliff / hill after a long walk


Me just sitting on the rocks and admiring the gorgeous view.. = )


For lunch, we stopped over at a little cafe at Cook's Beach. We had smoked salmon burger and nachos with hot peach tea. K and I sat there for quite long, enjoying the food and reading the free magazines there. We both read an article in National Geographic about world food shortage. It's quite worrying cause our world population is really growing too fast to feed. It's really a vicious cycle. We need more meat to feed the growing population. Which means we need more corn / grain to feed the animals to get more meat. But corn and grains are also used to produce ethanol / corn oil etc, which we also need as fuel. And beccause we need to grow more corn / grains, the farmers need more land space to grow crops. So forests are burned down to make space for growing crops. And this causes environmental pollution problems... So it's either we all die of world hunger, or world pollution. I was shocked at the number of people in the world who are dying of starvation every day, and i feel so blessed i have food to eat everyday.

We finally decided to leave the cafe around 3pm, and guess what? The cafe was closing, so the owner gave us all her unsold muffins and food! We took home 6 raspberry and white chocolate muffins, one vegetable quiche, and a chicken wrap. I was delighted at the thought of having muffins for breakfast tomorrow, cause i had been craving for it, but K refused to buy cause it was quite expensive. Haha.. looks like it's fated!

We went to 4 locations in total: Shakespeare Cliff, Stingray Bay, Gemstone Bay and Cathedral Cove. My favourite is Cathedral Cove, cause it's the most beautiful, and the waves were much bigger. It'ss basically a beach with a huge cove that connects with the beach.. We walked into the cove and K ducked into the beach before i could say anything. I hesitated for a long time, cause the waves were coming in fast and furious into the cove, and i had to literally run fast to get to the beach before the next waves crashed in. I shouted for K to come back, then we run together. And it was worth it, cause the beach beside the cove was beautiful too. We saw a few people kayaking. Here are some photos of the cove and beach.. I will try and post the You Tube video with K commenting in the background.. = )

Us inside the cove with the sea at the back..
Me safely on the beach after running from the cove..



The dash back from the beach into the cove was another challenge for me. I nearly got the waves crashing into me as i run into the cove that i screamed so loudly as i ran. And i was so embarrassed, cause when i entered the cove screaming, there was a group of people there taking pictures.. K just stood there and laughed at me..

We headed back to the car after the cove, and drove off to our last destination for today: the Hot Water Beach. This is a beach that is said to contain hot water from molten lava deep underneath the earth that had escaped through cracks in the ground. One would have to wait for low tide to dig holes in the beach and find the hot water. Low tide was supposed to be at 520pm. We reached the beach around 5pm, and was there until about 6pm, but the tide never went low. There were many people there trying to dig, but everytime they digged, the waves came and filled the hole with cold sea water again. Either that, or the spot they dug did not have the hot water. Only certain spots on the beach had hot water. So irritating. K and I also brought along a spade we borrowed from Neil and Glenis, and we too dugged.. It was fun. We managed to get the hot water for a bit, after digging a few normal holes with cold sea water, and it was really really hot, like boiling water.. So can't stay inside for too long. Anyway, we only dip our feet inside the water. There was this couple who wanted to go entirely inside the hole they dugged, cause they were dressed in their swimming costumes. Crazy people! It was so windy and cold!! = ) Anyway, the couple did manage to find a hot water spot and they dug really deep for like 5 minutes. Then a huge wave came and covered the hole with sea water. They gave up after that.

The huge wave also sent me screaming again cause i didn't run fast enough and most of my legs wet. We all got cheated cause the tide never went low. The only happy people were the surfers.. haha.. We left around 6pm and headed home to prepare dinner.

K digging hard for our hot water hole..

Me "pretending" to dig.. = P


On the way home, Neil texted us and asked if we were lost cause it was time to prepare dinner.. haha.. it was funny. Neil and Glenis had agreed to purchase the ingredients while we cooked. K and I made the same dishes for dinner as we did the first night: Stir fried vegetables, omelette and chicken porridge. And again, both Neil and Glenis were super impressed they kept complimenting us, and they even asked us for the recipe.. I think K couldn't sleep that night cause his head got too big with praises.. = ) I had ice cream again for dessert, this time with muffin.. It was yummy..

We went to bed early tonight. I finished my first book "Joy Luck Club" and passed it to Glenis. K and I had wanted to finish watching the remaining 2 DVDs, but he was too tired. We had to wake up early the next day to "check out" so in the end, i decided to go to bed too.. Tomorrow will be another long long day, cause it's gonna take 6 hours to get to our next host family in Gisborne!!