Endless summer – New Zealand Style

Interesting story here. For months and months since last year, our Kiwi bestmates in Qingdao, Tom & Charlotte, have been convincing us to come to N.Z. Their inception was successful and we decided to come with Charlotte to NZ for Chinese New Year vacation. We planned out a jam—packed and awesome two weeks in NZ.

Kia Ora! Hello!

……. However, today makes four weeks in NZ. When we arrived, news about the coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan spread. We were notified week 2 from our school that the date to return had been delayed. Week 3 into NZ, we were informed by our school to return to China at the end of February.

While we like to always see the glass “half-full”, we must fully disclose some challenging aspects of being stuck in NZ. Starting week 3 in NZ, our school asked us provide online learning for our students. Without any school materials/computer/resources, this has been … interesting. We are doing our best, and our students are doing their best as well given the circumstances. Online learning has been a cocktail of Schoology, emails, WeChat group messages, students taking photos of work and sending it to us, WeChat video calls to our students, etc. While getting back into a school routine would be ideal for both us and our students, we have to make the most of the circumstances in an unforeseeable future.

Now for the actual glass half-full – if there was a place to be stuck doing work, NZ would top the charts. Mountains rise alongside coasts and gorgeous beaches. There is grass-fed beef, world-renowned Hawke’s Bay red wine, and hiking galore. Below are highlights from the first two weeks in N.Zed. – you know, the two weeks we actually planned to be here for:

Grant at Mexican restaurant in Auckland
Hobbiton 🙂
Looking for Bilbo…
Having a drink in the Green Dragon…crossed that off the Bucket List!
Tongariro Crossing – long but amazing day 🙂
Enchanted Forest on the Tongariro Crossing
Grant, Alison, Hannah, Gary, Rosemary and Charlotte summiting the Tongariro Crossing
To the Morris family, that you for the hospitality. We miss you already!
Out sailing 🙂
Ohopi – Whakatane walk
Alison at Mount Maunganui aka “The Mount”
The view from atop The Mount
Going over the largest commercial waterfall in the world. So. Much. Fun!
Rafting the Kaituna River
The meaning and symbolism behind Grant’s Ta Moko, a traditional Maori style of tattooing.
Turns out that glow worms are actually glow maggots…
…that didn’t stop us from having an awesome time in Waitomo Caves!

We packed in some amazing adventures in these first two weeks…with the extra time we were able to add a few more! New post coming soon!

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