Thursday, 26 July 2012

I know this can't be the Sound of Music but it's pretty damn close

My first two days in Sweden have had me living like I'm in the Sound of Music even though this isn't Vienna.

Why do you ask? Not because I've been hunted by Nazis and nuns although I did see some interesting styled nuns at the airport but mainly because of cycling and blueberry picking. If you don't get the blueberry reference watch the movie again :-)

So after chilling in the afternoon sun we headed over to Ida's friends place - Frida. Now firstly, it never gets dark here. I mean never - apparently its better than it was last month so at least it gets like a little darker but the sun is always shining - its totally random but cool at the same time.

We cycled over to Frida's - this is I swear how Swedes don't get fat. Also, alcohol is very expensive here so you tend to drink at home and then go out. Cycling. Did I mention the cycling. Don't drink, have a cigarette and expect not to die of unfitness while doing so.

Oh on alcohol - they don't sell it in supermarkets here only state owned stores that are not open after 7pm or something and are not open on Sundays and are only open until 2pm on Saturdays - a rather interesting system I'd like to see how Kiwis would react to that decision. It means you have to be very organised but I think its good in a way you can't just wander up the road and buy more booze if you run out because a/ the special store will probably be shut and b/ because you can't have anything to drink and drive so basically no.

And yes the Swedes are a beautiful race of people - I'm quite impressed, and not a little flattered as everyone speaks to me in Swedish - thanks to the Danish heritage apparently I blend in here ok.

Swedes are also incredibly hospitable and friendly I had a great evening! Then at one am we cycled home and honestly it was the best thing to do - I felt healthy and the fresh air was so nice.

I'm a little jet lagged to be honest so I've been resting up a bit. We went blueberry picking with Ida's father yesterday I called him Papa Svensk. And even though he was teasing me and told me about the snakes - yes snakes I didn't see any and the blueberries are so yummy.

You have to get in early because what happens is that they bring in immigrants like from Thailand and they work a ridiculously long day and strip all the blueberries off so the everyday Sven can't find any in the forest.

Papa Svensk and Lillasystar

Hot look - wellies and trackies

It doesn't look like alot but all in all we collected about 3 litres of blueberries and that is hellishly expensive to buy!

But your fingers get dyed from the berry juice.

Also, I ate moose for dinner. It was rather nice actually except I had to keep pushing down visions of the fact that I was eating Rocky and Bullwinkle characters. It tasted a little like softer beef.

Today Ida and I are going to chill a bit - I've been taking Melatonin to put myself back in to my natural Circadian Rhythm and then we are cycling into town and buying hair dye (this may end up being a disaster but hey we'll see) and chilling out having a systar night tonight.

Tomorrow we head with her brother and sister-in-law and some of their friends to their summer house where Ida thinks I will protect her from being thrown in the icy ocean but I'm not sure at this stage hee hee we'll see!

I will have a good search for my camera and upload some piccies later this afternoon.

xxxxx AMP

Around the world in 30+ hours

Rightio - now I know I haven't posted in a couple of days - thanks to everyone who emailed me asking :-) Love you all.

Had a lovely last lunch on Sunday with the Hui's at Chez Petersen and it was nice to have time with just my parents at the airport saying goodbye.

The Last Supper :-)

My family - had to have the Princess in there (that's the dog)

Airport with the Parental Unit
 My flights from NZ was actually really really good even though I tripped the long way around through LAX, my layovers were really quick.

One thing I have noticed is how NICE everyone is - its random even in the US I remember their customs people being quite hard core but this time through they were just lovely and so helpful as I had to arrive and transfer through from one terminal to the Tom Bradley terminal and I thought I was going to get a little lost (I mean come on we know what I'm like).

Finally rocked up to Sweden and had to stay at the airport as my flight to Skellerftea didn't leave until the next morning. There is this place called rest and fly and it is basically a room and it is clean and comfy and you shower etc in a communal shower.

Above and Below : Rest and Fly room

Just landed - not looking too tired thank goodness
Europe always has square pillows and I've missed them!!

Needless to stay I crashed out completely it was awesome I had been in sitting position for over 30+ hours so very keen to stretch out.

And then I arrived in  SkellefteĆ„  and got to give my Lillasystar the hug I've been wanting to give her for months.

First piccie with my Lillasystar

SkellefteƄ is about the same distance from Stockholm as Wellington is from Auckland. It takes about 8 hour to drive - Ida has next week off so we may hire a car and road trip down to Stockholm to hang out for a week or something.

It also has the population of Feilding and there are bikes EVERYWHERE!!! But its actually fairly flat so not to hard to get around.

In Sweden you can't have ANY alcohol in your system if you drive - there are huge fines and they are incredibly strict - I don't know how Kiwis would cope to be honest. I mean not one drop! Which is why you cycle if you want to drink - technically you can be done for drunk cycling but its better than driving.

This picture is just for Miffy - they have pink aisles in all the System Bolaget!!! The state booze store)

So we headed into the city centre and picked up some vino - of course. Sweden is also very eco friendly so even the wine in casks or boxes or whatever you call them is still really nice.

Chilling out in the afternoon sun it was so nice to be with Ida again and to finally meet her family.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Came a hot Friday

Last Friday in Auckland and it got good.

Headed in to town to say goodbye to the Ports and had after work drinks. Then onto BCC where alcohol was consumed in happy joy.

Jen Jen, Miffy and I then headed to Sals - which was still open at 11pm!! I have never seen a pizza consumed as quickly - we looked like we would have faceplanted it if we could have. Yum ... Sals! The good news is I'll be able to go to New York and get a pizza there - how freaking cool is that!

Me and Hui

Miffy, me, Maria and Jen Jen

Me and Miffy I have no idea who I was on the phone too!

It looks like someone is telling porkies to Jake and I 

Antony, Miffy and Hui

My boys! Jake, Nelly and I

My big Saa!!! 

Huis plural - would this be Hue?

Islanders for life! Although I'm much whiter

Ok I don't know whose palm this is or why you took a photo of it but cheers love random photos

A relatively quiet night I was home asleep by 1am - but I think this little lady was pooped from all the running around this week.

Luckily Dee, Maria and I are booked in for a 1 hour massage in Newmarket today, courtesy of the Hui who treated us lucky ladies.

Pretty sure the AMP meal of the evening is turkey, mash and vege. YUMMMMMMMY!

On the food side still I made cherry pie and I think it looks good! Practicing so I can kick ass for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Truants, Tattoos and the return of Pugsy Malone

Right so it's been all Thunderbirds a go the last few days.

Action Day turned into chilling out day with Hui, although it was still packed and I quote from his FB page:

 Nommy lunch! Life is so much better when there are no crowds!
Chilled out with vino - noice!

 A tired Hui

What you can't see here is my face trying not to look like I'm in pain - the tattoo artist Chris is hidden behind me  
The finished product!

We are going to do the go-karting Monday. It's getting harder and harder to fit things in!

Oh and good news Grand Theft Auto 2012 has officially come to a close with Pugsy Malone back safe with me!!! So pleased about that because he's a good car and I'd have hated to lose him. Items stolen, petrol used but apart from that he is safe and sound.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Schnauzers and Snooki

Yesterday I actually ran about and really did heaps of stuff I was very impressed.

I made sure that my sunbed sessions I still have will be valid for when I get back (and getting me tan in time for Vanh and EJ's wedding) I'm such a forward planner now!

I cant do anymore tanning before I leave because a/ I fear I may start to look like one of the cast of Jersey Shore and that is NEVER a good thing and b/ because I'm getting my "semper  fidelis" tattoo done tonight and the rays are not good for it.

Caught up with Andrea and the tarts yesterday - so lovely to see her and I can't wait to try the new horse riding place she has been going to. She's such an unstoppable woman I love it - when she finds something she really likes its full steam ahead.

Above: Andrea and the two tarts - Billie and Kettle her two sweetie pie Schnauzers.

So.... the AMP favourite meal last night was a true Island meal - chop suey - Nana styles YUM. Bless though, you know you come from a Poly family when you look around and all your family is only eating with forks and the guests are eating with knives AND forks. Soo good though and I don't think Aunty Tree makes it so maybe I'll have to do it for them when I'm in Toronto.

This is the 5th day until D-day -or departure day as I've called it and now I'm very wiggly with anticipation. I can't wait to hop off the plane and give my Lillasystar the biggest hug ever!!!! I've been instructed to bring vodka. Stay tuned for our first reunion Systar Mondag.

On the agenda today is FUNDAY. Hui and I are heading to the go-kart track to have a few rounds, then going to see the Seth McFarlane film Ted (apparently its so wrong its right) and then either Rainbows End and /or potentially rifle target practice tonight before my tattoo which should be fun.

One last thing - for those who knew what was happening I had my biopsy results back and I'm going to be alive for another 12 months - I'm sure the Canadian authorities will find that extremely convenient as do I.

Toodle pip and I'll speak to y'all later.

Monday, 16 July 2012

With my Princess

What an awesome day!

Yes I spent too much money (replacing items from the grand auto theft of 2012) but 1. I love shopping and 2. I had my beautiful Princess Ivy and my gorgeous friend Miffy with me so it was fun fun fun! Thankfully house and contents reigns supreme!

Miffy, I and the gorgeous Princess Ivy

Chilling out at Botany, even though it was raining, now that it is 7 (SEVEN!!!) days til I leave I am calm but also starting to get the excitement buzz!!!

Headed over to the Hui's for a quick vino then home to the Parentals- Maman has been fantastic and I have been allowed to select ALL my favourite meals for before I go. BOOM is all I can say!

Supposed to be catching up again with Chels tomorrow so hope that's still on and the divine Andrea (horse riding buddy extraordinaire) bit guts that we can't have one last ride before I go but that's on the return trip home top 5 list!! (That an ensuring I faceplant Marmite).

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Seven days til I'm on a jet plane

Hello people reading!! OK so this is where I will be posting most of my main travel adventures rather than on Facebook so check in and see what I've been up to.

Thanks to all my amazing wonderful friends who hosted various farewell events and catch ups before I left I had a super super time, and proved that above all I can shake that arse! Even to Wii.

Caught up with the old foursome at BCC last Friday which was awesome and I am going to miss them all heaps! Hugs to Aaron, Prash and Chels.

Piccie of me and my sis (sis one - non Swedish) - Chels who is just a beautiful beautiful chica.

And we soooo know how to pose! And this is after a week of my car being stolen, being attacked for my handbag and medical check ups. When it rains it pours - but the trick is to remain positive. Not to wonder why it is that both the police and the insurance company laugh at the fact that your Peugeot got stolen - and I quote "they took a Peugeot?"

 I have to be honest I have that nervousness just before you do something major and you have no idea how it is going to go. EEEK.

The next night the Usual Suspects held a farewell for me and I was given a beautiful jade koru, blessed of course to guide me into my new life and travels. For non-Kiwis, jade is always given, and should always be blessed by (and I quote Di here) "someone who is Maorified". It is a great honour to have been given this necklace and it takes pride of place with the bone carving of "aroha" (meaning love) that was given to me on the 21st birthday by my Aunty Angel and Uncle David.

Koru (the unfurling frond) - depicts harmony, new beginning, new life. The unfurling tip reaches towards the light striving for perfection, encouraging new beginnings. It represents renewal and hope for the future. It also depicts endearment in the form of a loving family relationship.

It is little pieces like this that when I am travelling, keep me centred and remind me that while NZ may not be a big country, we may no military might or big bucks - we are a country of people who still respect our indigenous peoples, who care about each other, and still go in with a hard swing on the international stage and "give it a go".

We had nommy food and then Ti and Dylan decided that I was to dance to the most TIRING dance I have ever done on Wii dance. But I rocked it - don't tell me I can't shake that booty. Lots of giggles ensued as we basically made complete idiots of ourselves but what a great send off and what good friends I have - crazily we forgot to do a group photo though!