OK, you would think after skydiving, any jumping from high places would seem like no big deal but i have 10 minutes until i board a bus and jump off a bridge and somehow I am more nervous than when i went skydiving. Once again, my brother in law has convinced me to do something dumb, dangerous and most likely awesome.
I will be bungy jumping at the birthplace of bungy jumping, the Kawarau river near Queenstown.
If you don't hear from me, it means i didn't make it.
cross your fingers.....



Yesterday, i jumped out of an airplane at 13,000 feet in the air falling at 125 mph. Yes people, i went skydiving over lake Taupo!! It was the possibly the dumbest, scariest, exhilerating thing i've ever done.
More details to come later......



So after 2 full days of traveling and 2 days in the camper with the family.....I am alive.

NZ is gorgeous. Since we are driving the whole length of this place, we are covering a lot of ground and there is a lot of driving to be done which is mostly what we've done so far. Since i have 7 minutes and 31 seconds remaining on this session, I'm going to make it quick.

DAY 1: arrived in Auckland around 6 pm, had a nice dinner by the wharf and crashed. I was literally a zombie.

DAY 2: picked up the camper van, which is pretty sweet for what it is. It comes with tons of storage, microwave, tv (doesn't really work), french press, toaster, dishware/utensils, fridge, shower, toilet....pretty much everything.

We basically drove all day and arrived at Hahei camp at around 5ish. Took a walk along the beautiful white sand beach. Went on a run. Mom made a steak dinner and then we all crashed.

DAY 3: Got up at 7am, went on a hike with my brother-in-law to Cathedral Cove (which is gorgeous). Went for a swim at a beach that i pretty much had to myself. We then drove about 5 hours to Rotorua (the adventure capital of NZ) and went straight to the luging mountain. Let's just say as i was walking towards where you pick up your luge, i saw a boy walking in the opposite direction with a bloody nose. I made out in one piece, uninjured. After luging, went to our campsite and walked into town for a nice dinner out. I had a fish burger and waikato beer. Crashed shortly thereafter.

to be continued.....



V-day this year will be bittersweet. Bitter, because I will be leaving my valentine in less than 12 hours to fly home. Sweet because i haven't been home in over a year and will be continuing on to new zealand for a 10 day vacation!

oh well such an abitrary day anyway....what is the history of Valentine's day???
I know there's a Saint Valentine.....and um.....

According to History channel website:
"One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death."

"According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine
' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France."

And why Feb.14? Though some believe the celebration is held in mid Feb to commemorate the anniversary of his death, others believe that the push came from the Christian church "in an effort to 'christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia (fertility) festival" which usually takes place at the beginning of spring or the ides of february.

Read more here, there's some good stuff about slicing up goat hide and dipping it in sacrificial blood, then slapping women and crops with it....

"Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage."

yup, sounds pretty romantic to me.

If after reading all this you still feel inclined to send someone you love a valentine. A homemade one is preferable but if you're feeling lazy, the Kate Spade Be Mine web site has really cool e-cards made by cool people like joe and paige. Be sure to watch their stop motion love cake bit. Below are some of my favorites.

i'm going to finish packing, have dinner with my valentine and get on a plane in 11 hours.
hopefully it will feel like spring by the time i get back...
∆ my bloody valentine - sometimes



So 3 more days till i hop on an 11 hour flight home to HI, stay the night and then hop on another 10 hour flight to Auckland, NZ.

The family and I are renting a Winnebago and driving down the length of New Zealand. As my brother-in-law so eloquently put it to me, "it could be the best trip of your life....or the worst".

In any case, I am sooooooooo ready for this and in need of a vacation.
Here is the loose itinerary copied exactly from my sister's e-mail to me:

-Cormandel Peninsula
-Matamata (Hobbiton)
-Te Awamutu (where Crowded House is from, don't roll your eyes, very important to Rob)
-Raglan (surf beach)
-Waitomo Glowworm Caves
-Lake Taupo
-Tongariro National Park
-New Plymouth (willing to skip this entirely, as it's out of the way)

-Abel Tasman National Park & Golden Bay
-Paparoa National Park
-Franz Josef & Fox Glacier
-Glenorchy & Paradise (LOR filming site)
-Milford Sound
-Otago Peninsula (penguins & wildlife)
-Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park

I love how my sister felt the need to defend going to Crowded House's hometown for the sake of her husband (that's love!) and how for Otago Peninsula, the penguins are their own separate category from wildlife unless they are of a domesticated variety in which case they would not be considered wildlife. Bless her heart for planning this crazy trip.
How we're fitting this all in 2 weeks is beyond me so I am looking for tips/advice/recommendations so PLEASE, let me know if you're in the know.

and regarding kiwi speak:
A month after i started working in NY, my company hired someone over me who I was to assist. He was originally from New Zealand and as you can imagine super laid-back and easy going and very much, a dude. For the first month I would do small tasks for him and once completed he would thank me. Every once in a while, he would throw in a "sweet ass"?! I would generally ignore the comment, smile politely and quickly walk out the room feeling slightly awkward that i didn't have the balls to ask him to clarify. I mean i knew he wasn't telling me i had a sweet ass. Not only is that inappropriate but it just didn't make any sense in a normal social response sort of way...
Me: Here are those drawings you asked for...what do you think?
Him: Sweet ass!
However (!), what made it 1% plausible was that he, kind of fit a euro/metro-ish stereotype, the kind that wears white cowboy boots, super distressed bootcut diesel jeans, tight fitting tees with cheesy bad graphics on them and who designs (among many other things) women's pleasure toys (no joke), plus i knew nothing about him and just maybe, he was the kind of guy that told chicks in passing they had sweet asses. But common sense told me more likely than not, it was all a misunderstanding, lost in translation or an audible malfunction. I don't know why i didn't look it up on the internet.....I guess i figured if I looked up "sweet ass" it would come up as you know, "sweet ass" and i was actually more amused by the whole situation so i let it go on for about another month. i asked a couple of my friends about it and they had no clue so finally a friend (who was probably sick and tired of hearing me talk about it) looked it up and found this as defined by the urban dictionary:
1. sweet as

Second most common phrase in New Zealand after "awesome". Said when something is rather good instead of just "good" or "OK". Often followed by "bro".

Not "ass" but "AS". I was so close...
Hopefully he will never read this posting as i feel a little bad but it was funny and i did admit to him, 6 months later, what i thought he was saying. Despite the clothes he wears, he really is a nice, chivalrous guy.

In honor of all new zealanders and going to new zealand...
∆ the clean - tally ho!