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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I have never really minded doing laundry.  I did it once a week and it took me around 6 hours from putting the first load into the washer to putting the last item folded and ironed into the drawer.  I have a ritual:  wash and dry it all, put in a movie, sit in the middle of the family room floor and fold everything putting clothes in piles by person and article type.  Then I do the ironing.  About the time I've completed ironing the movie is finishing and the kids come put their piles away.  
What a surprise it was to not find a dryer in our house here!  There was a washing machine but no dryer.  I remembered seeing a clothes rack outside and lines strung up under the carport.  As I have come to find out, most people in this town don't own a dryer.  Everyone hangs their clothes out to dry.  So what used to be a 6 hour job has turned into a 12-15 hour job.  This is due in part to the fact that the washing machine only holds half of what my previous machine did.   So a new ritual has been born.  
On Fri. I check the weather forecast to see what the weekend holds.  I pick the best looking day and start first thing in the morning.  I have learned that heavy items such as jeans and towels need to be in one of the first loads.   When the load is completed I take it out to the line to hang up.  It takes me about 10 min. to hang one load of laundry.  Things I don't want to fade go under the carport and the rest in the backyard.  At first I did not want my underwear hanging out for the neighborhood to see so I have a method of hanging them in the center of the clothes tree so they are hidden by all the other clothes and towels.  I have relaxed a bit on this as I have noticed everyone else's underwear is in plain sight.  After a few hours things are beginning to dry so I start bringing them in.  A bit more ironing is required as things are not fluff dried.  The last few loads need to stay out all night as they have not dried before I go to bed.  
The winter proved a bit challenging.  Some things took days to dry.  In the morning the clothes left on the line would be frozen stiff.  I have a drying rack I would put by the fire.  All evening I would rotate damp things off the line into the house to dry.  Things were usually folded and put away still a bit damp.  I learned that within the first 30 min. of wearing something, it will finish drying out.
I have adjusted to hanging things out to dry and even enjoy the quietness, and simplicity of the task.
No Worries - Kris

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

whanau day

This past week I went to my second whanau day (pronounced fawn-o) since arriving.  Whanau day is parent's day at the  primary school and happens towards the end of each term.  The first time I went I was still so overwhelmed with the cultural changes that I did not absorb much of the day.  This time around I knew what to expect and so did Elena!  We began the day in the gym with the rest of the school for a singing time.  Each Thur. morning the kids have singing time in the gym.  The songs are sung in Maori and have a very Polynesian feel.  With the Maori's being of Polynesian decent, the same as the Hawaiians, the motions had a very soft hula feel to them.  The boys really got into the songs when they had parts that had haka elements.  (see previous blog)  Next we headed to Elena's classroom.  The only words I can think of to describe her room is "creative chaos"!  Miss Grant (the kids call her Miss) is very creative in her methods of teaching.  For example Elena has a project right now to start a business.  This includes working with a budget, buying a building, design and furnish building, create business cards, purchase equipment, hire and pay staff, etc.  This project is done by looking though the newspaper, adds, and searching the computer for information and items to buy.  All this is done with music playing.  You can see all the subjects touched in this one project.  The result of her creativity is no wall space to hang more learning tools.  Miss even has a fishnet attached to the ceiling with papers clothes-pinned to it!  After classroom it was tea time.  Parents brought a plate to pass (a snack) and we had a social time of visiting.  Whanau day has been a great way for me to get a glimpse of the cultural experience the kids are having.
No Worries - Kris

Sunday, September 14, 2008


For two weeks each spring the whitebait are running.  Whitebait is a juvenile small freshwater fish.  The larvae of these little fish wash down the river and into the ocean where they hatch and then move back up the river as whitebait.  The eggs are laid in the fall during the flood season in the river bank grasses.  The next spring tide causes the eggs to hatch into larvae and then are flushed out into the sea.  For 6 months they live in the ocean as part of the plankton mass.  The developed juveniles then return to rivers and move upstream to live in freshwater.  
As I ran along the river this morning, the men were parked and sitting on the docks fishing for whitebait.  Some fish alone and others in groups.   Jogging along it is mainly still with the men quietly enjoying putting their nets down and letting them skim the river for the fish.  Every once in a while I pass a car with the door open and the radio playing.  I turn and head into town and I see an elderly man from dancing class.  He tells me how it wasn't a good morning of fishing, he only got a handful of whitebait. 
I was given a container of whitebait this weekend.  We all looked though the plastic at all the little eyes.  They were small and looked like slimy little worms.  Everyone has been talking about fritters so I give it a go.  Basically a whitebait fritter is an omelet with fish in it.  After a few bites, we got over the eating of the whole fish thing.  They weren't too bad, but I can't say I will be ordering it next time I see it on a menu!
No Worries - Kris

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Matthew's Farm

After getting home from school on Tuesday, Matthew asked if I wanted to come stay the night at his farm.  I said "yes" because I had never stayed the night at a farm and thought it would be fun.  So Matthew's mom drove us to his farm (40 minutes away).  When we got there we shot bees with bb guns (that's what they call them but they are air-soft guns) for a long time.  Then he gave me some gum boots to wear and some "farm clothes" to wear before we went down to the bee hives.  His mom drove us down to the bee hives (he has a lot of land) and Matthew brought his air rifle with him so we could shoot a rabbit.  Every couple of minutes on the way there we had to stop to look for a rabbit.  When we finally got there we could not go all the way up to the bee hives because the bees were buzzing all around them.  Instead we just looked around for a rabbit to shoot and Matthew gave me a shot with his air rifle, which was pretty cool.  When we got back to his farm he got out his two wheeler (dirt bike) and he road it around, then he let me have a try (I have never road a two wheeler before) it was really fun.  After that we just messed around inside his house then went to bed.  When we got up in the morning (6:00-6:30) his mom drove us back to his rented house in town (which is a couple houses down from ours).  At his rented house we had a bb gun war until we had no more bullets to refill our guns with then we had to go to school.
- Damon

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Two Baby Lambs

On Friday before school someone called my mom.  I wondered who it was and why they called, but of course my mom did not tell me who it was and why they called but she did tell me one thing - that it was a surprise and it was probably going to be more work for her!  Damon and Maddie were already gone to school by that time.  After a long day of school we finally got to go home, wait, did I mention netball practice???  Well that was first, and then to the surprise.  I was exited!  My mom said to get into the car and we could guess what the surprise was.  First Maddie asked if we were going to see sheep but she was wrong.  My mom said that it had to do with sheep, then I asked if we were going to feed sheep but I was wrong. After that Damon asked if we were going to see sheep get docked??  My mom just laughed and said "no"!  My sister finally asked if we were going to get sheep and my said "yes"!   And I thought it was really cool!   But then my mom said "we are going to probably get two!"  When we finally got there there were four baby sheep "baaaing"!!  They were so cute!  The lady who owned them was really nice and she let them out of the pen she had them in.  We got to pet them and stuff.  After we petted them for awhile she let us feed them and showed us how to do it!  It was fun feeding the baby lambs, Maddie fed one, Damon fed one, the lady fed one and I fed one. Then it was time to chose which ones we were going to take home.  There was a little one that we all wanted but we did not know which other one.  I wanted the next smallest one. She said "ohhh that one does not drink that well" but I still wanted him.  Damon and Maddie did not make any suggestions so we got that one!!!  After that mom took us to the store so she could buy stuff for them.  She went in and we stayed the car.  She got two leashes, a pink and a green collar for them plus she got the formula!  Each day we need to feed them at least three bottles a day!  The next morning we gave them a bath it was hard but fun! I love having lambs!!!