Saturday, 21 April 2012

Croon For Your Kai

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of this blog post, I wanted to give a very special and loving congratulations and best wishes to Ron and Carol, Kevin's dad and stepmum, who got married last weekend. Would you believe me if I told you that Kevin and I were in their backyard last Sunday afternoon in Langley attending their wedding? Well, we were! Virtually, of course. We wished to have been there in person, but this was the next best thing. It was wonderful to witness the love that the two of them have for each other. We were also very happy to see family and friends and share a drink over the internet.

I thought it was only fitting to borrow today's blog title from the lovely Mara's acoustic night at the Southern Cross here in downtown Wellington. "Croon for your Kai", which translates to "Sing for your Supper," just seemed like the most fitting introduction to talk a bit about our experiences with food in New Zealand.

One of the first things we noticed coming overseas was the amazing quality of food available in the supermarkets. Because Kiwis inhabit such a tiny, isolated island in the middle of the ocean, it makes sense that the large majority of food available is sourced locally. This makes a huge difference. The egg yolks are practically orange, the apples are always crisp and juicy, the dairy tastes fresh and creamy, and the meat tastes like what it is: meat. My temporary housewife gig enabled me to experiment a lot with food and what a great place to do this! Every night I get showered with thanks and compliments and Sunday mornings frequently look like this:

A weekly trip to the Harbourside Farmers Market on the water brings heaps of fresh (and cheap!) fruits and vegetables, spreads, baked goods, meats, and a great spot for a snack. It is also home to Kevin's recent lunchtime necessity: Sing Salami -- 100% NZ-made beef, venison, and pork salamis.
And what gets more local than doing it yourself? Over the Easter long weekend, we spent the afternoon fishing out in Lyall Bay. Once again, Kevin doing the fishing and me happily observing. The fish were obviously pretty darn hungry because it didn't take long before my little fisherman caught us some dinner!

 These are kahawai, which are apparently also known as Australian Salmon. Although, they are white fish, not pink... Everything down here is backwards!
 The first round turned into a delicious and spicy cajun meal.
Round two was fish tacos! Fresh veggies, homemade guacamole and salsa, and moist and tasty fishies. Mmmm!

That weekend we also indulged in some salsa-making, courtesy of Clinton's mum's infamous (and top-secret!) recipe. So while I won't give away how it's done, I have been given permission to share a bit of photographic evidence. And let's be honest, Kevin loves this stuff! It's been two weeks and I'm surprised we still have a jar or two left...

Another great discovery here in New Zealand has been the feijoa! Never before had I heard of this fruit, but man it's good! Grown solely in South America and New Zealand, feijoas are only in season for 4 to 6 weeks each autumn. Kevin is on the hunt for the perfect feijoa -- one that is not overripe and gooey or underripe and sour. I think we've almost found one! It's eaten like a kiwifruit (remember, kiwis are birds and people, kiwifruit is food -- you don't want to offend anybody) and tastes as though a guava made babies with a pear.

And finally, my dad was generous enough to ship us the perfect addition to our household: a Weber BBQ! This little baby made its way from Calgary all the way to Wellington so that, now that I've started working full-time, Kevin can start making me dinner.
 Setting up ended up being a little complicated -- engineers don't do the best engineering when they're hungover. But in the end, the pieces fit and the briquettes got lit.
And this blog wouldn't be complete without a little heep of some sheep on the grill. The perfect centerpiece to a full Greek dinner! 

Now, wipe that drool off of your lip. E noho rā!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Gettin' Paid

I hope all you little kitties had a wonderful long weekend and a family-and-friends-filled Easter holiday. Kevin had four days off, but since we don't have a vehicle just yet, we spent the weekend in the city. We did, however, get up to some fun: fishing, fish eating, salsa-making, bike riding (popping a tire was not actually fun), farmer's market-ing, swimming, yoga-ing, surfboard buying, sangria-making, sangria-drinking, and all around lounging and relaxing in the beautiful sunny weather. Photos to come soon, but here's a sneak-peek!

Fishing at Lyall Bay

But before the weekend arrived, on Thursday afternoon, I received a job offer! Yay! As of Friday, I will officially be an Addictions Counsellor!!! I have been hired by an NGO called CareNZ, and have been placed in an office just outside the city in a neighbourhood called Lower Hutt. Essentially what I'll be doing is running intensive outpatient group therapy sessions and doing individual intakes, assessments, and follow-ups for group participants. This is a HUGE step for me! When I went in yesterday to sign the contract and get a bit more info about the position, every person I was introduced to laughed and wished me good luck when my boss told them where I'd be working. She then sat me down to explain that this office is "a little run-down, extremely disorganized" and helps clients that are from much lower socioeconomic statuses, have a lot of gang affiliation, and are likely at a higher risk of violence to themselves and others. I think she used the word challenging... Now, for most people (like Kevin), their first reaction is "WTF?!? Why would she put you there?" And naturally, I'm ridiculously excited about this opportunity and see it as an incredible learning endeavour. And hey! This is the first job I've ever had working Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 5:00. Can't complain!

Beautiful and strange sunset at Mt Victoria

It's funny how things work out--I likely applied to 60+ jobs over the past six weeks, with only two of them being anywhere near relevant to my education and experience. Day after day, I was receiving rejection emails, which gets a little discouraging when it doesn't seem to stop. This worked out smoother than I ever could have imagined and I can see myself being very happy in this role. Although, I hate to inform our friends and family back home in Canada... Kevin has his dream job. I just got my dream job. Can you put the pieces together? I think some of you guys'll have to book some flights out here...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

So This Is What We Do For Fun... Part I

It rained today, all day. And while I do realize that, yes, this is the first rain we have seen in two full weeks of clear skies and sunshine, I still feel warranted in my complaints. It has also provided me with some inspiration to share with you some of the fun we've been having now that Wellington is home.

A few weeks back, Kevin and I went to a Wellington Phoenix footie (or soccer, or football) game. Up to this point, Wellington has reminded me a lot of Vancouver, or San Fran. But it wasn't until I attended a sporting event did I realize how small this city really is. The Canucks are averaging 19000 fans in attendance per game this year. The Lions, 28600. The Whitecaps, 20800. In a city that takes sports pretty seriously (and by sports I mean rugby, soccer, and cricket), I came to terms that we are living in a pretty darn small city when there were less than 7500 people in attendance at the game. I'm sure that when the All Blacks come to town, there will be a much bigger turn-out, but... really? 7500? That's cute.

In their defence, we were sitting on the more crowded side of the stadium than these photos depict... Oh, and we won! 

After Kevin's knee surgery last year, he started actively swimming at the Y. Then he became acquainted with  Chris, one half of one of the most wonderful twosomes that exist (ILU Jen!). The story goes, boy meets boy, both boys like sports, boys play sports together all the time. Chris is a triathlete and has a pool in his apartment, and the two boys spent many a man-date splish-splashing around together. Once we got settled in Welly, we learned that a) memberships to the pool are quite pricey here, b) EVERYONE in Wellington is pretty much a triathlete, and c) the ocean is right at our doorstep. So Kevin thought it wise to invest in a wetsuit instead of a pool membership. And by wetsuit, I clearly mean batman suit. I haven't partaken in this activity (Chris, Kevin is very lonely in the water without you), but I am more than happy to come down to the beach, read a book, soak in the rays, and snap some photos of very own Bruce Wayne.

Speaking of water sports, considering we live a mere 2 km away from the best surf spot in town, we saw it only fitting that we give it a whirl. Since neither of us had ever tried surfing before, we (more, I) thought it wise we take surf lessons for the first go. It goes without saying that Kevin was a natural, as he is at every sport he does, and stood up on his first try. I, on the other hand, needed a bit more practice, but was able stand consistently after my 6th or 7th shot.

And we're hooked! *Sigh*, yet another expensive activity to invest in. How many toys is too many toys? Stay tuned for Part II, for more fun things that we do here in Aotearoa, or more commonly known as, the country of "the long white cloud". Cheerio!