Journal Entry from Sept 25, 2012

Hey Everyone!!! Over the past few weeks I have begun to sort through my things. I have dropped some clothes off in the charity bins and started to build my  package of  items I need to mail back to Canada. I came across my journal that only had 1 entry in it. I had high hopes to maintain an updated blog and journal during my travels. It looks like I was only able to do one out of the two things well. Something about reading my own writing and being able physically turn the pages is so appealing. I PLANNNN on trying again to keep a journal for my days in Thailand. Journaling is something I keep trying and failing at. For those interested in reading how my first 10 days were in New Zealand can read my journal entry below:

Tues Sept 25th, 2012 8:22pm

WOW! I have already been in New Zealand for over 1 week. After all the stress and money put into this adventure –  I am actually able to finally live it. I must take note that CC remembered how much I love Hello Kitty and bought me this adorable journal. How awesome would it be if I was able to keep a journal and a blog these next few years. I know I have tried in the past…I really like the idea of having a travel journal that I can read back down the road.

Looking back on how much time and thought I put into packing my luggage grr Groin; I really wish I had packed warmer clothes. It’s not quite summer here and I never really – well never thought about how windy it would be! I have worn long sleeves every day since I have arrived. I am SO MAD at myself for not packing more hoodies.

Before I get too far into this, I want to note just HOW GENEROUS the Whitleys were to ME. They graciously offered to move me into their home and allowed me to stay in their home. FREE of any payments. No rent! No food! No I.o.u or pay at a later date was ever expected from me. I was even allowed to have a garage sale to try and sell my stuff. There are good people in the world and this family is proof of it. They have been beyond generous to me and I can’t thank them enough for all they have done to get me to the point where I am now in my life. Just amazing! The remainder of my stuff is stored in their house so I could save of storage fees. I am beyond blessed to have them in my life. It is so exciting that they will be COMING here in 4 months!

Emzie has been so good to me since I arrived. She brought me warm clothes, and bought me warmer bedding and hot water bottle. She has tried to make me as comfortable and as warm as possible. She even brought me gloves and cut the tips off so I could text  and type! OUR FAMILIES are so different! I always call her the princesses in the castle coming to rescue the damsel in distress. Her host family treated her arrival a bit more “welcoming” and tried to ensure that she was as comfortable as possible. My family isn’t as financially secure as Em’s fam and their living accommodations aren’t as ideal. We are living in Mount Roskill, New Zealand but are trying to find a house in the North Shore for November. I am hoping it all works out smoothly as I am looking forward to moving to the North Shore. It will be closer to Emzie and out of here. Let’s just say my family does not walk around their neighbourhood at night…

Our Sumzie 2012 adventures have been exciting thus far. We drove to Piha beach which was about a 1 hour drive. We climbed Lion’s Rock and were rewarded with a gorgeous view. We tried to not let the strong winds dampen our beach experience! We’ve also walked around the viaduct and seen a little bit of Mission Bay. We strolled around downtown Auckland for post cards and hoodies but came away with nothing. We weren’t worried because we know we will be doing much more shopping in the future.


OBSERVATIONS off the top of my head:

  • People here are super friendly
  • Food is expensive
  • Gas is expensive
  • The lanes are narrow and cars tend to park on the road making it HARDER to keep the traffic flowing
  • The water tastes different
  • My hair is wavier here
  • My skin is really dry and my nails seem to be growing faster
  • It’s a very diverse; lots of different cultures and religions that all seem to blend together well

For having only been here 10 days I feel like I have adjusted nicely. It has been hard with the time zone difference to stay connected with people. I am not allowed to use my phone at all from 7:30-4:00 (but usually closer to 5pm) during the day. Other than that I feel pretty good. The girls are both sick right now but I am hoping my immune system is strong enough not to catch their cold.  Understanding the kiwi accent can be hard at times but it’s not too difficult. I just find myself saying, “pardon” when I can’t understand – so they can repeat it to me again.

So besides being cold ALL THE TIME and the house not having heat, and the door being kept open every night I am doing pretty well. I am REALLY thankful that I have a travel buddy here with me. Great travel buddy and built in morale support.

I am so thankful I moved on from that situation and found the Kiwi family that I did. I love my family and am not shy about my love for their cat Magic 🙂 My adventures in New Zealand will be ending in a month (or so) and I will begin many new adventures in my homeland! I am sad to be leaving my Kiwi Fam Jam but am so excited for the next step!!!! Thank you to everyone who continues to support me and read Brown Eyed Girl!

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Keep smiling
xox Amanda Sumalee

Being Blessed is Exhausting…

After 7 months of trying to decide where my future would take me –I have FINALLY arrived in New Zealand. I can and CAN’T believe I actually moved away from Canada. After all the stressful nights and mini melt-downs, I can lay back and breathe DEEPLY. Anxiety attacks did NOT hold me back and I thank all who showed me how strong their love for me really is! Telling people you are moving away REALLY let’s you know who truly does love you!!

Thank you so much to my parents, Dom and CC for my amazing sendoff! Around at the airport with plenty of time to get my: Timmy Ho fix, shared some poutine and got to indulge in a bathroom photo session! Even had enough time to look at all the magazine covers and hum and haw over throwing my money away. (For those curious; I resisted the urge and spent no money on a gossip mag).

The plane ride was pretty uneventful. I did score a window seat with nobody sitting directly beside me. The passenger sitting in the aisle seat next to the vacant seat was just as excited as I was that no one would be sandwiched in between us. It made my travelling experience that much better! I have yet to dislike flying. Take off was 30mins late – yet we still managed to land in Auckland 30 minutes ahead of schedule. When I landed it was pitch black out and raining. The whole team at Air New Zealand Flight 83 was magnificent!! Super friendly and professional the whole flight. The plane landed around 4:35am and I was able to get through: security, baggage claim and bio hazard screening and a bathroom break all before 5:40am 🙂

Those in my host family are so gracious and warm. I already feel a strong connection and know it will be hard to leave come May. It did not take long for both girls to feel comfortable around me. They LOVED their little tutus. The fit was amazing and I can’t wait to post a picture of them wearing them. When I left a few times to go to my room to try to unpack the little 4 year old would ask her parent, “Where is Amanda?” “Why is Amanda not here?” So many memories already shared today….maybe I should buy stocks in Kleenex now?!!

During the rainy ride home, I was second guessing myself for not packing more pants and hoodies. AS A HUGE hoodie lover I was questioning why I had boxed and left so many in storage? By the afternoon the sun was out and the warmth was felt through the kitchen and living room windows. A smiled set in and I realized I had made the right decision. I packed enough clothes and no matter what I packed I was going to have an amazing experience.

I have already indulged in homemade peanut butter cookies, homemade pizza (mine was vegetarian and beyond delish), and an amazing lentil and avocado salad. Tomorrow I get to munch on homemade carrot cake!!! Thank baby Buddha they have a treadmill 🙂

It’s 2:45am (BC time) and only 9:45pm (NZ time)and having not had a nap makes me EXHAUSTED!!!
xox Amanda