When we went to Kaikoura one of Dustin’s co-workers told him he could pull over on the side of the road and swim with the seals in the ocean. Overall it was a success except for one seal that got a little aggressive! You can hear Dustin’s hilarious “seal call” in the back ground and it actually kind of worked! The seals aren’t a threat on land but if you annoy them they will take a snap at you. Check out the video – it’s very entertaining for a few reasons! =)

Mt. Arthur

Do you remember me telling you about the couple from ACU that we ran into our second day in Auckland? Well they were passing through Nelson so we decided to go on an overnight trip together before they left! We headed to Mt. Arthur which was about an hour and a half away from Nelson. The initial hike to the hut was only about an hour and half and then we kept going towards the mountain for another 45 minutes or so. We didn’t know if we were going to be staying in the hut or our tents until we arrived but we quickly decided we didn’t want another windy night like Cobb Valley. The four of us had a blast! Bringing cards on a hike is genius – we played a few different games, built a fire, listened to country music, ate our dehydrated meals and had some well deserved chocolate. At one point, a song came on with the following lyrics:

“Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun
And you might meet ’em both if you show up here not welcome son
Our necks are burnt, our roads are dirt and our trucks ain’t clean
The dogs run lose, we smoke, we chew and fry everything
Out here, way out here
We won’t take a dime if we ain’t earned it
When it comes to weight brother we pull our own
If it’s our backwoods way of livin’ you’re concerned with
You can leave us alone
We’re about John Wayne, Johnny Cash and John Deere
Way out here.”

Where in the world do people get the idea that we’re all gun slingin’, rough, tough cowboys in Texas? I have no idea!

The night got interesting when we saw a few mice before we went to bed. Needless to say, we didn’t get a lot of sleep that night. Josh and Jenny were on the “top bunk” area so we climbed up into the loft where they were about 3 am – a funny mental image! In the back country huts it’s basically 4 walls, windows, sometimes a fire place and big pieces of plywood that everyone sleeps on. Atleast we knew Josh and Jenny…if it was a full house we would’ve been snoozing next to some strangers! We are planning on (hopefully) meeting back up with our friends on the south island since they will be traveling around the same time as us. Who knew I would go to college with 2 people for 4 years that I never hung out with and then a few years later climb a mountain with them in another country? Life is fun like that.

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Les Miserables Movie Review(s)

Probably when I was at my “coolest” I was in the chorus for Les Miserables. ha! The funny part about my role in the musical was that I went to a small, private, Christian school so instead of being “whore #1” the technical Christian school title was “lovely lady #1.” My mom was really proud. Elena was of course the beautiful Cosette and rocked it! Have you ever heard her sing? She’s pretty awesome. Anyways, musicals were always really fun and something funny always happened back stage when you were waiting for your turn to clutter on stage. I have fond memories of high school (unlike the rest of the world?) so when I heard Les Miserables was coming out, I was really excited to see it! Or should I say Les Mis – it’s just what my fellow thespians called it.

Dustin knew I was really excited to see it so he surprised me with tickets yesterday. I tried to forewarn him and offered to see it by myself (before he bought the tickets obviously) – I just couldn’t see him getting into the musical but he was up for it. A couple of times I asked, “you know it’s a musical, right?” He said, “Like Mamma Mia? I liked Mamma Mia!” Welllll, Les Miserables didn’t turn out to be up to the Mamma Mia standards he had in mind. To be fair, if you had no idea what the story was about it would probably be pretty long and a little confusing. Mamma Mia is fun and up beat and as Dustin would say there was acting AND singing not just all singing. I was trying not to giggle when I heard him sigh or fidget in his seat. The people in the theater probably thought we were crazy when Dustin was singing to me quite loudly in the street after the movie – I’m sure there were still be moments when he busts out into song. I really loved the movie – I thought Anne Hathaway and everyone did a great job! I would recommend it to anyone, except make sure your husband knows what he’s about to get himself into if he comes along or he might a little…errr…miserable. =)

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January 20th

Oh January 20th, you hold so many fond memories. Last year on this day, Dustin tricked me into thinking he was in Houston when really he was in Zilker Park getting ready to propose to me! I will never forget that day for as long as I live and it was such a memorable day. To say that he went above and beyond would be an understatement. Most of you know how the story goes but I just wanted to reflect back since my heart is so full today. I feel like the word “lucky” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how I feel about marrying Dustin. I could go on and on or plaster it all over facebook all the wonderful and thoughtful things he does for me but then it wouldn’t be as special. The proposal story was just the beginning of so many great stories and adventures that we have already experienced!  There truly is no where in the world I’d rather be than in NZ with Dustin James Miksch. IMG_0626 Choke HoldLaugh2Proposal

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Texas Forever

There’s something about traveling that provokes a lot of different emotions. I have loved having the opportunity to immerse in a different culture with my husband (that word still makes me giggle). There’s something about being away that produces a subtle pride. Not the obnoxious “I’m from Texas pride” that I probably had before moving here. Living internationally has put into perspective how small our seemingly big state really is and it’s a great feeling – an ongoing perspective of your own world and the world we live in is important. We have had a lot of people ask if we are going to end up living here permanently. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE NZ…the people are so lovely and the scenery is well, perfect but it’s just not home…ya know? Being absent from Texas makes my heart grow fonder. I love talking to people about where I’m from…”the states, Texas!” I always say with a big smile on my face. I can’t help it, I just love that lone star state. Living here has made me appreciate the little things that we thought were “normal.” BBQ and mexican restaurants on every corner, southern hospitality, tea with ice, creative entrepreneurship, yes sir & yes ma’am, country music, y’all, live music. When I try to explain the city of Austin to people it’s really hard to explain in a couple of sentences the amazing culture and vibe of Austin. While I have loved telling people about my story and my home I have enjoyed learning all about other cultures and even other Americans! I met this adorably sweet 70 year old man that was playing in a basketball league in Australia and him and his wife were traveling in the off season. How cool is that? Even though I sometimes can’t carry on lengthy conversations, it’s still fun to hear different accents and as cheesy as it sounds, it’s really nice to know that a smile can cross any kind of language barrier. (would you like a little wine with that cheese?)

The thing we have really noticed is that basically everyone else in the world loves to travel and soak up different cultures. Americans (not all but a lot!) have the tendency to go to college and jump straight into a career. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing but college isn’t as long here and a lot of people do an “overseas experience” for about a year or longer in a few different countries. The thing with Americans is that we don’t have to travel across the sea to see mountains or the beach. We have it all within our own country AND we usually have about 10 vacation days a year so we aren’t going to spend 2 full days traveling all over the world with the limited amount of days. You aren’t even going to believe how many days they have off here – 28!! Say what? That’s awesome! We wish that America would adopt a more family centered, laid back lifestyle that we have seen here. And the minimum wage – also another thing that should be adopted. =)

The beauty of missing Texas is realizing that everyone has their “home” that they love and adore. Even though the definition of our home has been changing since the day we got married, we know that our hearts belong in Texas but we will leave a piece of it here in NZ! And now I feel like I should sing God Bless America. Ok, maybe I’ll just listen to Carrie Underwood sing it!

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Art Deco Weekend

Do you remember when we went to Napier when we first arrived? It’s the town that was re-built in the 1920’s due to an earthquake that destroyed the city. Well, Dustin surprised me around Christmas with a trip to the festival in February! After we left Napier, I kept talking about how fun it would be to go back and dress up and see of the vintage cars and what not. I know what you’re thinking and yes I’m an old soul. I love all things vintage so I’m really excited to go in LESS THAN A MONTH! After we go to Napier we will work for about 3 days and then we will pack up and start traveling again with the Hines crew. We are going to hear live “big bands”, jazz music, fashion shows, antique shows, jitterbug lessons, dancing in the street, vintage car parade, gatsby picnic’s….I’m so excited! I have created a Pinterest board for all things Napier so now I’m on a mission to rent out cute costumes from the costume shop. So far I have:

3 hats, a few long pearl necklaces, a fur thing, a cute lace dress, and some gloves. We will definitely post lots and lots of pictures!

LouiseBrooks

 

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Recipes – the good, the bad, the ugly

One of my favorite parts of life traveling is food. Who doesn’t love food? As you can tell from previous posts we have been trying new things and I haven’t been documenting all of them! I didn’t say they were all successful, I just said we tried them. ha! I’m not afraid to admit when I mess something up. So here are a few of the good, bad and ugly. Pinterest lured me in with this recipe entitled: “Deep Dark chocolate chip cookies – no butter or flour!”

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And when I cooked them for a baby shower they came out like chocolate pancakes and they were WAY too sweet! And if I’m saying something is too sweet, there’s a problem!!

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Thanks, Pinterest. Luckily, I had the last minute idea to make iced coffees (coffee with ice cream and milk) and it was a good save! When we went to Kaikora, we had a really yummy gluten free pizza. The crust was extra thin and crispy – it was great! Since the pre-made pizza crusts are pricey I thought I would give it a go. This is one of those funny moments that we will laugh about when we are 50. I read the instructions carefully and it said to put the dough on parchment paper. I grabbed a roll of something that looked liked paper out of the cabinet and didn’t grease the bottom. When the pizzas came out they looked really good – but they weren’t budging off the paper. Dustin was very nice and ate 75%…paper and all! At one point he said, “I can’t even taste the paper!” I’m laughing just thinking about it. I’m sure everyone has those newlywed cooking moments where you make a mistake and your husband downplays it so you don’t feel like a total ditz! Here’s the parchment paper pizza after we were done:

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The good thing about failures is that you learn from your mistakes and so the second time I cooked the pizza dough it was delicious and paper free! Here’s the recipe:

-1 cup warm milk (2%)

-1 1/2 cup gf flour

-1 tbsp dry yest

-1 tbsp sugar

-1 tsp salt

-1 tbsp honey (optional)

-1 tbsp olive oil

To get warm milk put the cup of milk in the microwave for 1 minute. Add the yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes. The yeast will foam up and get really poofy (technical culinary term). Add the flour, salt, olive oil and honey together in a separate bowl and when the 5 minutes is up add the wet ingredients into the dry-ish ingredients. Mix together, grease the pan…GREASE THE PAN I TELL YOU! I just put the dough onto the cookie sheet and spread out the dough with my hands. It would’ve been a disaster if I used a rolling pin because the dough can be quite sticky. Cook the crust in the oven for about 8 minutes on 350 degrees, take out the crust and carefully add your toppings. Place back in the oven for another 12 minutes or so until the crust is crispy and the cheese is cheesy! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

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