Whoo, so much has happened in so little time. I'm really trying to be better about being more consistent with posting, but unfortunately, I'm human & still trying to get into a groove. The last post I wrote was in September & now we are in the last month of the year, December. I really feel like this year flew by way too fast. I feel like I just arrived yesterday if yesterday was September. There have been many changes over the course of the 3 & 1/2 months & I can't wait to spill the tea!
Backtracking to October, nothing too out of the ordinary or extraordinary happened in this month, so not much to recap on. Though I will say, I truly missed celebrating Halloween like I would in the states. I'm not really a fan of Halloween because I'm a very scary & jumpy person, I don't do scary, horror, or gore. The thing I do enjoy about Halloween time of year is getting dressed up & spending time with friends. This year hit differently being solo in New Zealand. I didn't dress up or go out out outside of work, I think I watched Hocus Pocus 2 & that was that, not a bad night, just different, which is okay.
November was so long awaited for me. November meant it was trip time! The first trip I went on was a weekend road trip to Kaikoura. Post work, we took the hour & a half drive down to Kaikoura. Outside of valeting cars at work, this was my first time driving some distance with everything completely flipped to what I was used to in the states. Driving on the left side of the road proved not to be much different at all, it was actually really easy. I got comfortable driving really quickly. When we arrived in Kaikoura, it was about evening on a Friday so we indulged in a filling meal by the water.
The next day is where the real fun began! We went whale watching & got to not only see a whale but the infamous tail flips as well, along with a frenzy of dolphins swimming by doing flips & tricks, & one loner seal in the mix. Def worth the boat ride in the freezing cold & wet weather. During the evening we went for a walk around the small beach town, drove around & visited the lookout for a surreal sunset view, it was so beautiful!
On our last day in Kaikoura, we headed to Hamner Springs Thermal Pools. This along with the whale watching was on my list of things to do in New Zealand so I'm super excited I got to tackle them both in the span of a weekend. For this mermaid, the thermal pools were such a relaxing & rejuvenating experience, I could have stayed in the water all day & morphed into a fish! After spending a few hours at the Thermal pools, we headed back to Christchurch. We both weren't quite ready to return to our homes, so we decided to see what else we could get into since the day was still young & the weather was decent. We drove to Brighton Beach, got some nice views on the beach & pier, & I even got to taste my first Mr. Whippy ice cream, so yummy! We rounded off our day by visiting another lookout in Christchurch, which I went to at night once before & now I was getting to see it in the daytime, still beautiful either way. Overall, my first-weekend road trip in New Zealand was well worth it from beginning to end & one I will never forget.
My next trip booked for November was my week-long vaca to Melbourne, Australia! The last time I was in Melbs was in 2016 & I've been yearning to return ever since. It's been six years since I've been back & man did it feel great! I stayed in a very cozy loft-style AirBnb in Preston. It was a good area within walking distance of various restaurants & shopping. While in Melbs, I visited an immersive Van Gogh & Friends art exhibit, which was really relaxing & peaceful to just sit among all the changing walls. I had my first ice bar experience, which lasted for about 30 mins for me due to the freezing temperatures, but it was an experience nonetheless. I went on a boozy wine tour with Teepee Tours for a few hours, & if you know me, you know I am a wine connoisseur. It was quite a good time & the tour leader definitely made us feel like locals & showed us a good time! In addition to that tour, I went on another tour with Hike & Seek which was much longer in comparison & caused my battery to be drained after visiting so many landmarks, the beach, the 12 Apostles, eating a delicious yet very filling mean then hiking through the rainforest to the waterfall, indulging in award-winning ice cream, seeing the Ottoways Rainforest & Great Ocean Road along with more random stops.
The remainder of my time in Melbourne was much more relaxing. I had lots of downtime to explore some more, do some treat-myself shopping, finish reading "Finding Me" by Viola Davis (highly recommend), get a Thai massage, & see Wakanda Forever. I actually really hated having to leave Melbourne but it was a time well spent & I had to keep in mind I could always go back again.
December, arrived just as quickly as we zoomed through October & November. Does anyone else feel like the past few months have gone by quickly? December has been good for me so far. My month started out with a gift to myself, the purchase of a car. The funny thing about that is I purchased my last car in Texas around the same time in December last year. I will say, I'm so grateful that I got to experience public transportation here in New Zealand, it definitely helped me become more resourceful & semi-helped my directionally challenged self find my way. It has also made me more appreciative of having a car to get from point A to B whenever I want & in comfort. I have definitely been enjoying my newfound freedom in my car & being able to zoom wherever I want to, whenever I want to. Everyone meet TT, my Volkswagen Tiguan(:
Aside from my early Christmas gift to myself, things have been progressively getting better at work, in my social life, & with me personally, mentally, emotionally, & physically. Month 4 in New Zealand has definitely given me a much warmer feeling about New Zealand overall & living day to day here. I've met some more amazing people, had more memorable experiences, explored more, & learned so many more lessons & received many blessings.
Although Christmas here is not as commercialized & lit as it is in the states, I've been making the best of it & I think I can truly attribute that to the friends & connections that I've made here. I'm such a Christmas person & bc they don't really go all out on decorations & festivities like I'm used to, my friends have made all the efforts to make it feel like Christmas for us all. Looking forward to this week's Christmas festivities! If y'all don't hear from me in another post before the year is out, rest assured I have some hot tea to spill in the new year. Thanks for reading & wishing you all the Happiest of Holidays!