March 26, 2007

Driving Mad

If you're experiencing a deja vu right now, NO, this is the first time these pictures appear in the blog. Well, Piha beach has been featured from all angles and directions, all light conditions, even almost all seasons by now!!! Just that the place is so amazing and it is so easy to go there... This weekend we had quite big surf (2.3-3 meters high), so I stayed out of the water this time (pretending to nurse my chicken pox condition... :). Kaj on the other hand ventured into water both days and today, I heard, he had some really nice rides (and I was kindly asked to report that here, in the blog.. so yes... Kaj caught some really good big waves (his height and all)... :)

Chicken pox was good enough for me to soak up some sun, weather permiting. After initial scare, it seems that we'll enjoy some more summery weather this year! Great! Just that the sun goes down way too early (especially since we switched to winter time!). This weekend I also gathered enough courage to drive out into the city alone! It was a great success as long as I was driving alone to 2 different shops, 2 times!!! When Kaj sat down next to me on the 3rd evening trip, he was screaming and pointing at cars. And, I think our unwritten (and unspoken!) agreement that our driving lessons are over took power when I ALMOST drove into a ditch on the road from Piha. Well, notice the ALMOST part, we're all alive and well!!! Maybe we are just not very compatible as a teacher & learner. I guess, I'll just use oportunities to drive in low traffic (alone) and then go for a real driving class at some point.

Auckland driving style is really appalling and the roads are full of people that are too young, too drunk, too drugged up, just not capable to drive. So I don't think that I add too much to the regular mayhem on the streets. It is not rocket science (or as the dictionary in my phone helpfully suggests, "pocket science") after all!!!

Posted by gkligyte at 12:03 AM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2007

Chicken pox 2.0

So I'm sitting at home, diagnosed with chicken pox, all scratchy itchy, but not really all that sick. This is the 2nd time that I have it and it is supposed to be impossible (one should be immune after the first time, so it's not chicken pox either then or now). I'm banned from going to work for a week (!), because of the grave danger that I pose to everyone else around me. I have set up my computers so that I can browse the web while lying in a hammock. Otherwise I'm bored. Not like I could go shopping or to an art gallery without putting the society at risk!

I didn't feel quite right already on the weekend. But we still went driving North, looking for a sunny patch in the sky (and found it!). We took our snorkeling masks and wetsuites with us, just in case, and sure enough we ended up snorkeling at the Goat Island! You can just jump into the water off the rocks and immediately hover over amazing kelp forests while huge snappers swim after you. It was very windy, so the water was quite murky on Sunday. It was still good, even with chicken pox. We're coming back one day. Definitely!

Posted by gkligyte at 03:54 PM | Comments (3)

March 11, 2007

Family Matters

Yesterday we had the Pasifika festival at Western Springs in Auckland. It is the South Pacific's largest Pacific islands community event. It is a graceful bow to Auckland city's increasing Pacific islands population (at this stage, I guess we have about 6% of Pacific Islanders in overall NZ population, but it is set to grow, I read somewhere that primary schools have about 10% of Pacific island children).

The interesting thing with Pacific island people is how extended their families are. One of my colleagues mentioned the other day that a couple of relatives' children (from Samoa) were handed over to another family staying in NZ. The family back in Samoa already had lots of children and, I guess, the kids will have more opportunities (especially for education) here in NZ. I found the whole concept of handing over your children very fascinating (especially since some friends elsewhere in the world are going/have gone through adoption process the Western way). You hear about this kind of "adoption" very frequently, somebody's sister gave her newborn away to the priest's family in their community, someone grew up with grandparents or uncle's family, because their parents were too young or too busy building their lives.

I'm not sure how all this works legally, but I suspect that there's no legal adoption taking place, children just live a few years with someone else and they're completely accepted to that family. One of my colleagues has 2 girls and she would like to have a boy, but she doesn't want to risk getting pregnant again (you can't really choose what kind of baby is coming..), so she's just waiting for an opportunity, if someone in the family will have a baby boy, she will ask to have him and bring him up as her own. Easy! And from what I can see, there are rarely any hard feelings, children are brought up to know their birth parents and their "parents". Something for the modern Western families with their "nuclear family" obsession to be envious about?!?!

Continuing with the family theme, going out with the girls on Chelsea's (my colleague's) Hens Party was a great experience, because most of the women (including the bride herself) were new mothers. The party was crazy fun, but definitely had different vibes from any single female parties that I've been to!!! Cool dancing on the dancefloor (head turning performances!), eyes closed, shots swallowed, but you couldn't mention baby food or any of that stuff, because the discussion inevitably would turn to comparing pros and cons of certain brands, etc. In any case it was great fun!

And it was a nice warm up for the actual Chelsea's and Craig's wedding party yesterday! Yep, having different cultural influences definitely makes NZ an interesting place to live in. There's a lot to learn about things that matter. And family matters most of all, so it seems... So cheers to all the remote and scatered family of ours (remember, if we have asked favours from you and made your life difficult, you are considered family (family definition courtesy from Andrea).

And here's Kaj and Tai, two evil brothers!

Posted by gkligyte at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2007

We Don't Need Your Autumn!

We have only 2 weeks left of our spontaneous evening surfing after work. The days are already significantly shorter: the sun sets around 8:00-8:30pm and as we leave work at 5pm, there is just a couple of hours of daylight left (excluding 40 minutes of driving to Piha). We get to see amazing sunsets, that's great... But it is sad to see the summer go...

And we'll be moving to daylight saving time on 20th of March. Now this seems to be sheer madness to me! They will cut our evenings short by one hour just like that! Everybody at work loathes the idea, everybody's hobbies will be affected: gardening, golfing, surfing, cycling, any outdoor activities that you need the daylight for! It will be to work before dawn and back home after dusk every day!!! :( So we'll be moving into the long slumber period of pizza on the coach very soon... :(

The ironic thing is that summer is at its best now. It hasn't really rained since my mother was visiting (over a month!), the days are sunny, peaceful and warm. I still can lie in a hammock reading books after work, wear Tshirts, sleep under a thin sheet (no blanket!), take sun... Its great! Who got this idea that it is supposed to be autumn now?!?! Give our evenings, our time and our summer back!!!

Posted by gkligyte at 09:11 PM | Comments (3)