Staff time in Martinborough

Our staff team is finally together! Thank you to those of you that have been praying for Max to finish raising his support. The Lord has provided for him to be here another year, and he arrived back to NZ in the middle of February. We have loved having him back, and now our 2012 staff team is finally all in one place...just in time to plan for the year!

For us, the Uni year starts many weeks before students actually step on campus. As soon as we arrived back from Staff Conference this year, Ryan and I began prepping for the year. We spend a few weeks laying out the vision for the year, as well as developing roles for each of our staff. Ryan is great at doing those types of things, and I like to do the making a calendar and schedules - basically anything involving Excel.

Anyway, I'm rambling now...but we finished prepping just in time for our official staff planning weeks. Woohoo! We lock our staff team into a small room for hours and hours a day and suck as much out of their brains as possible. I am very grateful for Max and Cherie making coffee!

At the end of the week, our team, which had now spent 5 days total together, took a little team bonding trip to Martinborough:

I didn't take many photos actually, but I thought this little chapel was cute - in the middle of a sheep pasture.

One afternoon we visited my favorite winery. (side note, I seriously don't know how we always end up visiting a winery on team trips. None of us drink that much wine otherwise, but I guess it is a nice relaxing activity...anyway)


You sit in the middle of an organic garden, and I saw artichokes! I don't know if I've ever seen them 'in bloom' before.

I am very excited for each member of our team this year! They are wonderful, and it will be fun to have 9 of us! I will have to tell you more about them soon, but we have been having a great time so far this year :)


Valentine's Day

What girl doesn't love celebrating Valentine's Day with a tea party!? Sarah (far right) hosted an afternoon tea for some of the Student Life ladies, and it was so fun. I love tea and crumpets!

Ryan and I spent Valentine's Day this year at the Carter Observatory. We tried to find an activity that didn't include eating :)

We watched a fun video at the observatory about constellations with a little valentine twist. I also forgot that those IMAX-type theaters make me motion sick. Am I the only one? Anyway, I couldn't watch the 2nd half of the video! Kind of a bummer, but at least I didn't have to awkwardly feel my way out of the dark theater in the middle of the show.

But, after the video, and after letting my tummy get back to normal, we took in the rest of the museum. And found this huge telescope! Too bad it was a cloudy night and the roof was closed, but this is now on my to-do list if we have a clear night in the next few months :)


a date

There was a new, famous, highly sought after restaurant that opened up the coast. We decided to make the afternoon of it, and check it out.

A few of the Christmas trees are still in bloom, which is a treat, since most were finished blooming by the time we got back from Thailand.

We took the train up the coast.

All the way to Paraparaumu.

To have....Wendy's! Ha, this is a new thing in Wellington, and it's very exciting!

Chili, fries, burgers, chicken...and a frosty of course!

So delicious. And the sunset on the train ride home was beautiful.

Yes, I realize this is the second time I've posted about going to Wendy's in less than a year. We aren't even big fast-food people, but you've got to embrace the little things :) Another little piece of America right here in Wellington.


new best thing ever.

Roti with curry.

We ate this in Thailand, and I loved it. We found something similar here in Wellington at a Malaysian restaurant, and for only a few dollars! Yesssssss!


Another Epic Hike - Milford Sound

While we were in Queenstown, after staff conference was finished, Ryan and I decided to try out some South Island tramping. The Milford Track is a pretty famous hike (even voted one of the best in the world!), so why not give it a go! We actually had to book the hike back in July because it sells out so fast, and they only let 40 people go a day.

Unfortunately, our first day started in the middle of a storm. I was thinking, why in the world did we decide to do this...

But, we woke up the next morning and the sun was shining! We hiked for about 6 hours to the next hut.
There was a nice lake next to the hut, and it felt good to take out packs off for the day!

The 3rd day was the big day. Up and over the mountain pass. Unfortunately, it was the worst weather...wet, cold, and windy. But, we made it to the top, to see the McKinnon Memorial.
And here I am at the highest point!

On our way down the other side, there were beautiful waterfalls! I guess that's the catch, rain = waterfalls, no rain = no waterfalls. So, yay rain? :)
Sutherland Falls was also on our way down, which is New Zealand's tallest waterfall, and the 4th largest in the world in case you were wondering.

And a few more waterfalls...yes, I look lovely.

And we've reached the fourth, and final day! The track started to flatten out as we approached Milford Sound.
Oh wait, one more waterfall...

And, beautiful Milford Sound!

We made it!
All 33.5 miles.
Next up, Amazing Race?

It felt so good to take off my hiking boots on that last day and just sit on the boat headed back to the city. It was such a beautiful hike, and I'm so grateful we were able to do it!


Queenstown - Staff Conference

Soon after returning from Thailand, we were headed off Queenstown! Our annual staff conference was held on the South Island, and this year, it included a Theology Class. We spent 5 hours a day listening to Ray walk us through the fundamentals of the Christian faith. And, we actually had to study and pass an exam at the end!

We had a break one afternoon and took a team trip to a nearby winery for desserts. The lavender was beautiful.

And the mountains aren't so bad either...

The sunsets over Queenstown were gorgeous every night. What an amazing place to be learning about our God!

And we played a lot of ping pong.

Unfortunately, it even rains in Queenstown...

The guys played rugby.
And on our last day in Queenstown we went up the gondola, and it was a beautiful day!

Ryan had been wanting to do some sort of adventure activity. Queenstown is known to be the 'adventure capital' of the pressure was on. He decided paragliding would be pretty cool:

And, one final shot of the lake.

We were definitely sad to leave. Everyone says how they love Queenstown, and I think I would have to agree!