Week One at Ski School was a slow one so we’re still full of energy for fun activities on our days and nights off. My Austrian friend Kathi and me had a big (and particularly long) night on Friday so it wasn’t easy to get up early for a hike on Saturday – but I’m glad we did! We headed up Mt Roy with our two Scandinavian friends Veina & Sanna (who turned out to be hiking racehorses) and my two American flatmates Ruby & Doriana (who decided to turn around half way up). Let’s say Kathi and me settled in between…. given our shape from the night before we had no chance of catching up with our two sporty Scandinavian friends. But we promised to get in shape for our next hike! Or rather take Veina & Sanna out partying the night before…. and then we’ll see who’s up there first (probably still them). Thanks for the lovely hike, girls.
The season has barely started and Sanna and me already managed to invite ourselves to Russ’ place for dinner…. easy! Sanna: We should do a dinner anytime soon? Russ? Russ: Ahem….Okay…. Sanna: Mhm, Roast would be great! Russ: Roast it is. Sanna: I’ll bring the wine! Me: And I’ll make a cake! Russ: ….. Sanna: Thursday night? Russ: …. Thursday night. Sanna: Seven o’clock. Russ: …. Sanna: Deal. If you know Russ you also know he likes talking. But there wasn’t much talking needed, it happened so quick that he had no chance. So Thursday came – and because we thought Wine & Cake wasn’t enough to bring along we also brought housemates Steve, Veina & Mikko, Russ invited his landlord and Nico and although it was on rather short notice it was a great night… I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. And even though it looks like Dinner consisted of cake only, there was roast before that! Followed by a lesson how to make proper stock and Sanna taking the pot home on her lap. Thanks, Russ for …
Our ski field is finally open and we’re all really happy about that – especially if you consider the snow situation in New Zealand. Other Kiwi fields like Treble Cone, Mt Ruapehu or The Remarkables could not yet open and it’s thanks to our amazing grooming and snow making crew (who did magic with the 20 cm snow base) that we have slopes to teach on. First days back at ski school were good fun and were a good reminder why I love doing this so much. In between we have enough time for fun runs amongst ourselves, freshly baked muffins at the café and catching up with ski instructors from around the world. When we finally take the vans down the mountain I am most of the time pretty knackered, just looking forward to the essentials: shower, food, sleep. It’s getting better though and sometimes I even make it to happy hour for some social drinks.
When you’re wandering the streets and hills of Wanaka you wouldn’t believe that it’s actually winter time. The mild temperatures and sunshine rather feel like autumn and make for perfect hiking weather. I’ve been up Mt Iron a couple of times which has great views of Lake Wanaka and the town, walked along the lake and on Wednesday we did a little road trip to Queenstown. Nothing exciting really but a nice way to fill the time until season properly kicks off.
Cardrona is officially opening tomorrow but we took the chance to already go up today and get a first taste of winter. It was windy up there & quite chilly but so good to smell the crisp cold air. A good appetizer for the weeks to come, hopefully there’s some snow on the way!
Guess what! I finally made it all the way to my new home in Wanaka (which are great – both the home and the town). It’s such a nice feeling to finally drop those bags for a while and not worry about whether or not I can carry them all at the same time. The first couple of days here were filled with countless Hellos at Ski School gatherings, meeting old friends and making new ones, settling into our winter homes and getting used to life in a bustling winter town. Funny side fact: The bus driver on the way from Queenstown Airport to my Wanaka home asked me where I am from. When I said Austria he told me he’s going on a vacation there this autumn. And the tiny little town he’s booked his accommodation at is called Gosau, also known as the ski resort where I teach during my Northern hemisphere winter. Oh, what a small world!
The two weeks I had in Piha were outstanding overall but my last weekend was picture perfect and couldn’t have been any better. One of the reasons was Emmy turning eight last Saturday and the great birthday party going on at the house, a rainbow loom party to be precise and I was impressed by all the effort and creativity put into the party preparations by all the family members. No question that the birthday girl was really excited on the birthday morning and was up really (!) early. And what a surprise that the whole family was dressed up in onesies (and the eager readers will already know what piece of clothing that is). Most impressive was Dad’s pink unicorn costume and especially the pride and attitude he wore it with. For reasons of unicorn-privacy I’ll just show the unicorn-body as he was climbing up the porch to have a look at the waves from the roof: What a cool Dad! Or can you imagine your Dad wearing a pink unicorn onesie? Even the people not so …
Farewells are bad enough in general but they get even worse with Rob. He dropped me off at Auckland airport this morning (and I’m endlessly thankful that he got up early with made and drove me out there) and as usual saying good-bye wasn’t easy at all. Having a multi-cultural relationship / friendship comes with tough farewells by definition but today was an especially rough one since I don’t know when I’ll get to see Rob again (but I’m positive I’ll see him again sometime). What makes it even harder is that Rob’s a bit of a softy (in a good way) and is never ashamed to shed a tear or two…. I learned that during our first major good-bye at Melbourne Airport three years ago (see picture above, sorry for sharing your teary face, Rob but I know being a real man you won’t have a problem with it). Today wasn’t any different so I got out the camera for a souvenir picture before the tears came up (see picture below). And yes, the tears were flowing again …
When the surf’s not up and the kids are out of the house there are amazing bush walks around the little Piha community. Above pictures are from the magnificent White’s Trek (1), Piha Beach seen from Anawhata Road (2) and the great views down onto Anawhata Beach with its Keddle House (pictures 3 & 4).
While it’s just another sunday over here in New Zealand, it’s a special day back home in Europe, at least for all the Dads out there. I’ve just been on the phone with mine (who’s the best, obviously!) and suddenly realized: The older I get the happier it makes me to see my Dad happy. So here’s to all the great Dads out there who are always there when we need them, who cheer us up when we need encouragement, who suffer when we do, who love us, no matter what, who teach us so much about life, to the ones who worry when we are sick, the ones who come along on our adventures, from near or far, re-living every minute – no matter whether in real life or on our blogs . Stay as awesome as you are and hopefully there are times when we kids can give back to you as much as you’re giving to us. Picture above made with love from spirula shells on Karekare’s black sand beach.