29 September 2008


We've been here more than six months now, and I still get a lot of questions about how Kiwis talk. So here are a few kiwi-isms that I have noticed. (Please note that I'm NOT talking the accent or pronunciation of words. I'm actually talking about word choice).

Kiwis call it mincemeat. Americans call it ground beef.
Kiwis call them kiwi fruits. Americans just call them kiwis. (I'm talking about the kiwis that you eat, not the birds or the people!)
Kiwis call them courgettes. Americans call them zucchinis. (To be fair, some Kiwis call them zucchinis as well).
Kiwis call capsicum what we would call bell peppers.
Kiwis call it toast. Americans call it bread. (Their sliced bread is very, very thin. Their thicker sliced bread, which is still more thinly sliced than our average loaf of bread, is called toast.)
Kiwis call tea what Americans call dinner.
Kiwis call pudding what we call dessert. (Dessert of any kind is called pudding.)
Kiwis say chocolate bar where we would probably just say candy bar.

Kiwis ask, "How are you going?" Americans ask, "How are you doing?"
Kiwis tend to say, "Have you got any ______?" And Americans say, "Do you have any ______?"
In that same vein, Kiwis answer, "Yes, I have." And Americans answer, "Yes, I do."
Kiwis say, "Good on ya!" where we would say, "Way to go!" or "Good job!"
Kiwis say heaps where we would likely say lots.
Kiwis say "No worries," or "It's okay" where we would say, "You're welcome."

Kiwis call it rubbish. We call it trash or garbage.
What Kiwis call university we call college. (College for them is actually high school.)
What Kiwis call a boot and a bonnet we call a trunk and a hood.
When Kiwis say, "Do the Mexican wave!" they mean "Do the wave!" (You know, like in a football stadium. Say, at a BYU game where BYU is about to shutout their opponents. Perhaps UCLA or Wyoming. You know what I mean.)
When Kiwis say auntie or uncle, they probably just mean "adult whom I respect."

I'm sure I could think of more, but for now that I will have to do.

24 September 2008

Review: Ragged Dick or Boot Blacks in New York by Horatio Alger, Jr.

I've listened to Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island from Librivox.org now, and I've been meaning to write about them and how much I've loved them, especially the first one. The others have certainly been pleasant, but they lacked the charm and sweetness of the first two.

After reading those three books, I turned to a trusty list I once received of 900 books to read before you die. I figured of all those, surely there were some that were in the public domain and had been recorded by some kind Librivox volunteer. The list is in alphabetical order by surname of the author, which is why I stopped on Ragged Dick. Librivox had it, so I downloaded it and listened to it in a couple of days.

I had to hurry to get through it because it annoyed me so much.

Ragged Dick is about a boy named Dick who lives in New York City and shines boots for a living. As you can imagine, he is quite poor. But through his own ingenuity, hard work and good morals, Dick is able to rise above his poverty and move on out.

The tale is essentially a moral one; apparently all of Alger's books were similar in style. The characters are all quite flat- either kind, honest and hard-working or mean, dishonest and lazy.

But the most annoying part was the reader. As a reader she was perfectly fine. Actually, as a reader she was quite good. She rarely fumbled over words or anything like that. Her ordinary speaking voice was pleasant enough, although not amazing. (I recognize that I don't really have much room to talk here since my voice is rather high, and I believe, quite annoying). The problem was that this reader tried to do voices. And she just. couldn't. pull. it. off. AT ALL. It was bad beyond belief.

You know when girls try to lower their voices to sound like men, but it doesn't sound like a man's voice at all? She did that for nearly every grown man in the story, and there were several. It was ridiculous.

You know when you raise your voice to a rather squeaky pitch to sound like a little kid, but it doesn't actually sound like a little kid? She did that too.

Most annoying reader in the world.

When well-done, I find voices extremely entertaining- think of the guy who does the audio-books for the Harry Potter books. He is simply phenomenal. But, most people can't do voices. And if you can't do them, you shouldn't bother trying. Just read the dang book! (Only, don't read Ragged Dick because it is very boring).

18 September 2008

Have You Done Any Good in the World Today?

I'll admit it, most of the blogosphere isn't that interesting (although I'm completely hooked on it!). And, even worse, most of it isn't even useful- merely entertaining.

But this is great. Cass (the writer of the blog) is donating $3 to Breast Cancer Research for every comment that she gets on her blog. And to top it off, her husband's company is matching her dollar for dollar. But it gets better! Her mom, a breast cancer survivor is also matching her dollar for dollar. So, get on over, make a comment, and make other folks donate $9 to Breast Cancer Research.

Sherry Had a Little Lamb...

We had just come from Purakaunui Falls, and we were headed toward the Tawanui camping grounds. After passing the herd of sheep pictured in yesterday's post, we got stuck behind a herd of calves. The calves weren't moving very quickly, but it was actually quite entertaining to be stuck behind them. There were two little herding dogs that would run up and nip the legs of any dawdling calves. Eric and I had a good time pointing to the prettiest calves and the ugliest as well as the tastiest looking.

At the front of the calves was a man in a tractor leading the way. When we came to a fork in the road, he pulled over to the left and let the calves go in front of him as we took the right fork. As we passed, Eric spotted a little lamb on the dashboard of the tractor.

"Did you see that? It was a lamb! Let's ask him if we can hold it." Eric quickly pulled over, and I hopped out and shouted, "Can we hold your lamb?" I didn't feel at all silly, but in hindsight maybe I should have!

The farmer readily agreed to let me hold the baby lamb, and he very willingly answered my questions about taking care of lost lambs.

Q: How old is this lamb?
A: It was either born today or yesterday.

Q: What are you doing with it?
A: I'm taking it home to feed it.

Q: Then what?
A: Then I will try to find its mother, but if I can't, then I'll try to get another sheep to adopt it.

Q: Will mothers pretty much take care of any lamb?
A: No, I will have to find a dead lamb and rub its fur on this one so that the mother picks up the scent and will think this one is hers. Or else I can use the afterbirth of a freshly born lamb.

Q: We've noticed there are a lot of sheep way up in the hills, and it seems like you can't always be there to tend those and go around picking up any lambs that may have died. What do the sheep do with the lambs that die?
A: Nothing. They just leave them there.

Q: How did this sheep lose its mom?
A: The sheep got scared and ran away when I was getting the cows from the paddock. So, this one's mum ran away and left it. Sheep are pretty dumb that way.

Q: So, I've noticed that some of the walking tracks are closed during September and October for lambing. Are they closed because the sheep become of afraid of hikers and will run away and abandon their lambs?
A: Yes. Trampers really can disturb the sheep, and they'll forget where their lambs were.

That's pretty much the long and short of it. We've been seeing heaps of lambs lately, seeing as how it's spring down here (well, nearly spring, just a few days shy), and every time we see them, I shout, "Look! Lambs!" We had been contemplating pulling over and hopping a fence to see if we could catch one to pet and hold. Now that I know we might have killed one in doing so, I'm glad we didn't do anything so silly!

17 September 2008

Camping in the Rain Forest

Eric's birthday was Wednesday, and he decided on Tuesday that he wanted to go camping for his birthday. Fortunately, we live in a place where we can go camping at the drop of a hat. (That is, of course, assuming our friends, Anne-Marie and Phil, will let us borrow their gear at the drop of a hat!) Fortunately, they did, so we went.

We headed down to the Catlins. We had driven through once before and gone on a quick hike, but we didn't really get to spend the time there that we wanted. We only went one night, but it was plenty of time to see some amazing sights, especially some really cool waterfalls. Not to mention the fact that I GOT TO HOLD A BRAND NEW LAMB!!!!!! (This was the highlight of my life to date.)

Anyway, here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

Eric caught sight of some sort of water creature in the stream below McLean Falls.

A ten-second timer was barely long enough for me to get to Eric in this picture of us at McLean Falls.

Remember the surreal foliage in that post I linked to above? It's still there! It's still surreal!

Today was a bit cloudy and rainy, but it was still a gorgeous day!

These are the Matai Falls. Isn't New Zealand foliage amazing?

Here I am in front of Horeshoe Falls, which is located right above Matai Falls.

These are the Purakaunui Falls. It is the most photographed waterfall in the country.

In addition to this herd of sheep running down the road, we also got held up by a herd of calves. It was pretty exciting!

Eric got as close as he could to this male New Zealand sea lion at Surat Beach. There are signs at the beginning of the track that tell you to stay at least 10 meters away. Eric figures you can get about 5 meters away before they get annoyed.

I got to hold a brand new lamb! (Did I mention that already?) If you want the full story, throw out some comments, and I'll post about it later. (How's that for some comment-begging?)

15 September 2008

An Expletive by Any Other Name...

In New Zealand, the words "damn" and "hell" aren't really swear words. You'll hear kids say them, and nobody really thinks anything of it. I have to say, it was a bit of a shock to hear a six-year-old child say, "What the hell?" right in front of his parents who didn't even blink.

Then, in seminary one day, one of my students was repeatedly saying "Damn it!" when his classmates were beating him in a game. It was just so surprising to hear such a word in church of all places!

I've gotten used to it now, and it doesn't even phase me anymore. Most Kiwis don't even know that to Americans those words are considered "swear words."

On Sunday, my friend, Paula, came up to me and said, "I heard about your job. Bummer!" Then she got a concerned look on her face, "Uh... I mean... sorry... uh... I mean... Damn!"

"You had it right the first time," I told her with a smile.

14 September 2008

Please No Palin!

I'm really not too keen on Sarah Palin.

In fact, before McCain chose her as a running mate, I wasn't that averse to a McCain presidency, although I've been pro-Obama from the early stages of the democratic debates.

But Sarah Palin boggles my mind.

What is it, exactly, that everyone likes so much about her comparing herself to a pit bull?

And why is it so shocking that she kept her Down Syndrome baby and her teenage daughter is keeping her baby as well? Most people keep their babies! Abortions in the U.S. are not as high or as common as most right-wingers would have you think.

The bridge to nowhere? Palin approved the project until it was almost certain that it wasn't going to happen. And she certainly didn't tell Congress "Thanks but no thanks" to the money. It just went elsewhere in Alaska. (For questions, look at factcheck.org).

And to top it all off, she had NO IDEA what the Bush Doctrine was. Of course, most people don't know. Then again, most people are not candidates for the office of Vice President.

Also, living next to Russia does not equate to having any foreign policy knowledge at all.

Oh, it just pains me to think that McCain chose her! It pains me even more to think she could possibly be the next Vice President.

09 September 2008

Recession vs. Depression

My grandma used to say (according to my mom) that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job.

I hate to say it, but it's a depression for us. I got laid off today, and wow! It is lame beyond belief.

I've already begun the job hunt, and I'm confident that I can find something suitable, even if it is working at a grocery store! Actually, I don't think I'll need to work at a grocery store at all.

On the up-side,
  • We do have a little bit of savings- enough that if we scrimp and save properly, I might not even need to have a job. (We'll need to look at this a bit more in-depth).
  • We love rice, pasta, and potatoes! And, we've been pretty good about following the Prophet's counsel about food storage! (As best we can being in a tiny place for a limited time).
  • There is a couple who already wants to live in our flat and is ready to move in at the drop of a hat, so if it comes down to it, we can move to a cheaper place without having problems with our contract.
  • I have lots of great people to network with, and lots of great people to look over my resume/CV!
Sorry to those of you who found out about this via the blog. I promise that I won't tell you about any pregnancies this way. (And I especially won't be telling you about any pregnancies any time soon with this whole job-loss thing!)

07 September 2008

Swede Soup

All along the way to Te Anau and Milford Sound we saw signs that read, "Swedes- $1." "Uh, what the heck's a swede," I wondered. I figured that maybe on the way home we'd pull over, run up to one of those boxes of swedes, drop in a little gold coin and take home a mystery produce product. Alas, we drove home at night, and we didn't see any of those signs.

Fortunately, that very weekend we went to the farmer's market, and lo and behold! Folks had swedes for sale. Now that we saw them up close, we still didn't know what the heck you were supposed to do with them or, more importantly, what they tasted like. The girl at the stand said they were like potatoes, but less starchy. And they tasted more like turnips. She said you can eat them pretty much the same as a potato. So we bought one. But it was $1.50. Then we mourned those fifty cents and lamented the fact we had not bought a swede on our trip. (As you can see from the photos, swedes are a lot like turnips. As you cannot see from the photo, swedes are quite a bit larger- about the size of cantaloupes).

Fortunately that $1.50 was well spent. That same day at the market we bought leeks, and can you believe that it was my first time to buy leeks? Crazy, I know. Anyway, we got home and felt like we needed to get cooking with our new vegetables straight away. After all, we have very limited fridge space.

After much deliberation we decided on swede and leek soup. So, I found this recipe for potato and leek soup, and we set to work. I have always really liked potato soup, particularly my mom's version. We were both really happy with this recipe, and I was especially glad I added celery as celery is crucial to potato soup. I again learned the excellent value of cream. How does anybody cook without it? Everything is better with cream.

Anyway, the soup was really yummy, very easy, and quite healthy, which is why we made it again yesterday. We've still got some of that swede left, not to mention lots of leeks, so perhaps there is more swede and leek soup in our future!

04 September 2008

Seriously So Similar!

I want you to know I am NOT behind the times. Oh no, I've been following Seriously So Blessed! for a while now, thanks to Alli who introduced me to her. Even though I am only just now writing this post, I am not behind the times.

Seriously is written by TAMN (Tiffany/Amber/Megan/Nicole) and is a satire of pretty much all Mormon Wife Bloggers. And she does a pretty darn good job of highlighting all the things we Mormon Wife Bloggers blog about. In reading I realized how much she reminded me of some of my own friends and several of the blogs that I read. I won't point out which of those people she is like because I think it is better for them to poke fun of themselves than for me to poke fun of them.

In thinking about how my friends are so much like TAMN it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe I am like her too.

  • My husband is in grad school, just like hers.
  • We are Mormon.
  • We say "like" and "so" too much. Not to mention "cute."
  • We both are complete suckers for Cafe Rio. Although, we order different things.
  • We both have nicknames for our friends from our first year at college.
  • We both think our husbands are "The BEST husbands EVER!"
  • We love to share pictures of our vacations and details of our holidays.
If you think of any others, feel free to poke fun of me!

And now for a few differences, and things that I am rather proud that we do not have in common:
  • I can spell.
  • I do not talk like a Utahn. (This deserves an entire post all to itelf).
  • I do not capitalize random letters in words.
  • I did not go to hair school or major in elementary education.
  • My parents offer no financial support. (Of course, we did live with Eric's parents there for a little while...)
  • I DETEST the words "hubby," "preggo," and "preggers."
  • I do not play music on my blog. I believe that is cruel. Why would I want to subject you to music that I enjoy. You can listen to your own music.
Anyway, if you haven't checked out the blog, it might be worth a look. How are you like/unlike TAMN?

03 September 2008

The Kea Story

Once upon a time Sherry and Eric (Sheric) were driving on the Milford Road- the only land-route to the spectacular Milford Sound. The terrain was so stunning that they stopped at a scenic look-out point to get a few pictures and really absorb the beautiful environment. They happened to be the only ones at this particular spot.

Except for the kea.

"Look! It's a bird just perched on the ledge there," Sherry pointed.

"I think it's a parrot, "said Eric. "Oh, look, it's coming closer to us."

Before the car had even come to a halt, the bird waddled over.

Eric and Sherry hesitated for a moment and watched the bird from inside the car. Eric was amused at what a "friendly" bird it was, and Sherry was concerned by this overt "friendliness." After a moment, the happy couple lost sight of the bird and assumed it had lost interest in them.

Not so!

While the couple was looking out the driver's side windows, where they had last seen the bird, it perched on the passenger's side mirror staring intently (and probably maliciously) at Sherry.

Now, this is no small bird, mind you. It stood about 10 inches tall, with a long curved beak, and particularly long talons. Sherry was so startled by the bird that she let out a heart-felt scream of terror. After a few seconds she realized she needed to take a photo, but by the time the camera turned on, the bird had hopped down.

Eric then got out of the car. And filmed the bird as it followed him around. He hadn't had so much fun with a bird since his pet duck, Lewey. After a fair amount of hesitation Sherry got out of the car and took photos of the scenery, Eric and the bird. She was careful to keep her distance.

Unfortunately, the bird was not having as much fun with Eric as Eric was having with him. By this time Sheric had looked in their Fjordlands brochure to learn that this bird was a kea, an alpine parrot known for being particularly cheeky and bold.

As Eric and Sherry took in the extraordinary views the curious kea hopped on the car and began gnawing on the windshield wiper with his beak. Although the bird was (obviously) toothless, Sheric was (were?) worried about the damage the bird would do to the car. In an effort to distract the bird, Eric did the unthinkable-

He tossed half a cookie to the pavement to lure the bird away from the car. From then on the bird was particularly interested in following Eric around, and he didn't lose interest at all.
Even as Sheric loaded back into the car to continue the journey to Milford Sound the bird was still curious. By this time another couple had arrived at the look-out spot, but the little kea was completely addicted to Eric and his liberal distribution of oatmeal cookies. (To be fair Eric only tossed the bird half a cookie, but the bird was definitely hooked).

Seated in the car Eric realized he left the keys in the hatchback. As he grabbed the door handle to hop out and grab the keys, what did he behold but the kea perched on his mirror! Much squealing ensued, from both members of the party, primarily because Eric's window was open about two inches and the kea was working hard to figure out how to stick his beak in the window. They knew they needed to make a speedy getaway.

In a moment mixed with both utter terror and sheer genius Sherry forgot that she had her own set of keys in her coat pocket, so she opened her door and tossed a cookie as far as she could throw. It gave Eric just enough time to jump out of the car, dash to the back, retrieve the keys, start the engine and leave the kea in their dust.

The very next look-out point was rather small, and it had no keas, so Sheric stopped. There they saw a rather large sign displayed all about the kea- how curious they are, how intelligent they are, how friendly they are, and how humans are not supposed to feed them. Especially not their "high energy" and "junk foods."