Sunday February 24, 2013
I have been doing too many things with my life.
That\'s okay though, I have thoroughly enjoyed the fun times and the awesome people I\'ve been hanging out with over the past two weekends. Now is the time to make the most of the sun before it fades away behind the abysmal weather so typical of Wellington for ten months of the year. Summer has been great and it\'s sad (if not alarming) that it is March very, very soon.
Last weekend, we went out to Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt to watch some jousting after badminton. It\'s not particularly like what you would imagine (or what Hollywood would have you imagine). The tips of the jousting lances are fragile and break easily, and are colour-coded for each person. The idea is to land a hit against your opponent (with rules around where you can and can\'t hit - no hitting the horse!) and points are given based off aforementioned criteria. As the lances break, the resulting fragments are clearly identified by their colour to assist in the judging. There were also longbow displays and sword fighting re-enactments, but none as exciting as the jousting.
The next day, we were out at Adrenaline Forest in Porirua for part one of Ben\'s birthday celebration. Swinging, climbing, gliding and shuffling (often struggling) our way through the treetops proved quite the physical challenge at times; not so much the mental challenge I was expecting since I was so focused on the obstacles, I barely had time to look down at the ground. Unlike previous ropes courses I\'d been on, this one is more individually managed so you clip yourself onto safety ropes to traverse the trees instead of being belayed by a group of people on the ground. Additionally, you\'re equipped with your own pulley and hook system so you can clip yourself onto the wire and ride the gradient to the other side with some gravitational help. There\'s some great Indiana Jones-type swings, including one into a large spider web of ropes on course six!
Part two was competitive go-karting - teams of two doing 30 laps each. Jordan and I paired up to deliver a relatively unrisky and consistent display that landed us fourth place out of eight (not last, yay!). The karts supposedly reach 50kph and handle pretty well, though my skidding and sliding were not as masterful as I would have liked. I kept feeling like I was going to topple the kart over. There were fortunately no coloured turtle shells on the track.
I went for an improv show at the Gryphon Theatre on Ghuznee St, then to dinner at the Matterhorn on Friday night. I was last at the Matterhorn in 2009 and they have changed the menu and the style of eating since. The intention is that you order a selection of plates to share instead of having individual meals. Essentially it is like yum cha, except ten times the price. We found the concept complicated and were a bit nervous when the waitress asked us if she could have the authority to place food on our tab without our explicit permission. We shared some oysters with champagne sorbet, crispy pig tails, deer fillet with blackberry, potatoes with roast almonds and various other plates that I can\'t recall off the top of my head. The company was great and the food was good, but the messy logistics put me off and wouldn\'t recommend it - would have been much better if we had just had individual meals and maybe some sides to share.
Yesterday after badminton, we had the PikPok Barbeque at the Mt Victoria Lawn Bowls club. It was a family-friendly event, with a kids-only bouncy castle (much to the disappointment of many of my workmates), face painting and board games available. There was of course the lawn bowls outside, and in defiance of the Wellington wind, beer pong on a table decked out with some fantastic Flick Kick Football artwork. Time passed quickly and it got a bit chilly around 6pm so I left for another barbeque out in Island Bay with my church\'s family group. Though it was a brief event, it was good to catch up with various people and I was absolutely smitten with the two guinea pigs called Pip and Squeak. I ended the day over at Andrew\'s flat in Roseneath, taking one hour to set up a new board game called CO2 and three hours to play. Would not recommend.
Finally, to finish it off, I celebrated Chap Goh Mei, the last day of Chinese New Year, at Big Thumb in style, with plates of chicken, pork and seafood in dumplings, buns, rice noodles and deep fried!
Though we don\'t have the fireworks and fantastic lion and dragon dance displays that the Auckland Lantern Festival provides, I\'ve had fun celebrating Chinese New Year in my own way. This will be memorable for years to come.
<<edit>> Okay we just got fireworks. Yay!
Sunday February 10, 2013
Though I've just had a five day weekend, I feel exhausted from all the people I've caught up with over the past few days. It's been an enjoyable Chinese New Year celebration, seeing both family and friends over my time up in Auckland.
It is tradition to have Reunion Dinner on Chinese New Year. This is when all members of the family gather for a meal to bring in the new year; though the rules are a bit more relaxed as family members tend to be more dispersed around the world these days, the reason and meaning remains the same. My parents cooked some delicious food on Wednesday (we didn't even celebrate it on the real New Years Eve!), each dish symbolising various aspects of well-wishing that are common at the New Year - prosperity, abundance, wealth and happiness.
I caught up with Melbourne Dave on Thursday in town. We walked around the waterfront and Wynyard Quarter, we visited Moustache and for old times' sake, trudged up the hill to Albert Park and the University of Auckland. Seems like not much has changed, though there's some heavy construction around the Maths/Physics and CompSci buildings. Dave is doing well and it was great to catch up and see him, and hopefully one of these days I will make it over to Melbourne to visit him and the other people I know there!
I had lunch at the ever-delectable Tatsumi in Newmarket on Friday with my step-mum and grandmother. Never failing to disappoint, the "deluxe lunch" option with three main dishes, appetisers and a petite dessert was delightfully satisfying. Friday night went until 3am, visiting Jay's Tea on Dominion Road and playing 7 Wonders with the guys.
Saturday was relaxing, doing absolutely nothing all day except mowing the lawns in the early evening. I tried to organise something at night since my parents were out at a party, but unfortunately most of my friends were having their own reunion dinners and nothing eventuated.
After church at KCC and lunch at My Kitchen on Dominion Road, I spent the rest of Sunday playing more 7 Wonders. Some pretty grim low-resource games at the end, but fun nonetheless. Okay not really fun, but it was good to catch up with people, and next time I'll teach them about the Leaders expansion.
Did you know it's been five years since I moved to Wellington? I've been at my job for longer than I was at University. Time has gone by so quickly, with people coming and going in and out of my life. I remember this hilarious and thoughtful but a bit disturbing music video that the guys had made for me before I left for Wellington. It was to the Spice Girls' Goodbye, which has the lyrics "Goodbye my friend....it's not the end...so glad we made it, time will never change it". The weekend reminded me of how strong our friendships have remained in spite of the distance between us.
It was poignant then, that the song came up as Matt drove me to the airport, since it was the last time I would see him before he moves to Taiwan. The weekend was a time to reflect on how things used to be, and on what I cherish each time I come back to Auckland for a visit. Thanks to all of you for making my weekend what it was, and blessings in the year of the snake to all of you.