The road less traveled…

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Just a small town girl…

After leaving the town of Plainview, Nebraska – Population 1500 – I was determined to never live in a community that small ever again. Well, I failed. I am now living in Fox Glacier – Population 250-300ish.

Here are some maps so you know where Fox Glacier is:

South Island Map - I live on the West Coast, Just south of Franz Josef

South Island Map - I live on the West Coast, Just south of Franz Josef

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

The journey here was an interesting one. I changed flights in Christchurch and ended up on a tiny, tiny plane crossing the mountains to the West coast to Hokitika. I think there were only 15 or 16 seats on the plane and the airport was the size of a house! Definitely a change from DFW.

But guess what! I still managed to arrive without my bags! I have such good luck with that. No worries though, they were on the next flight 3 hours later. So I ended up spending some quality time with the owners of the Motel who picked me up. After that it was a scenic 2-hour drive to Fox Glacier.

So here I am. Once again enjoying the simple luxuries of life that I didn’t realize how much I missed until I got them back. Having my own room, a fridge, a bathroom that isn’t shared with total strangers, and even a backyard with a view! Its gorgeous!

This is where I live – Be jealous. =)

The view from Lake Matheson. The lake is right down the road from where I live and I usually go running out there.

The view from Lake Matheson. The lake is right down the road from where I live and I usually go running out there.

Me at the lake...I have to prove that I actually took that picture. It looks so fake!

Me at the lake...I have to prove that I actually took that picture. It looks so fake! This is one of the most photographed lakes in the world!

This is the view from my back porch. There's a rugby field right behind the house and then a pasture with horses right next to that! It makes for some pretty amazing sunsets!

This is the view from my back porch. There is a rugby field right behind the house and a pasture with horses next to that. It makes for some pretty amazing sunsets.

Just down the road from my house where I usually go running, you can see Mt. Cook in the distance, it looks just as awesome at night under the stars.

Just down the road from my house where I usually go running, you can see Mt. Cook in the distance, it looks just as awesome at night under the stars.

This picture is especially for Erin who has hounded me from day ONE for all the pictures of the sheep. There are plenty of them around!

This picture is especially for Erin who has hounded me from day ONE for all the pictures of the sheep. There are plenty of them around!

Basically this is the view no matter what direction you look.

Basically this is the view no matter what direction you look. Not too Shabby eh?

So my job is fairly simple and consists of cleaning (which everyone knows I am excellent at) and simple office work at the motel. Its tedious sometimes, but it’s paying off my credit card bills all the same as any other job. And the stress level is not even close to what I was dealing with on the Aloha. So hooray for Jill.

I know that many of you have been waiting to hear about all of my exciting adventures since I have been here (especially you Carlson sisters). It seems like so much has been going on, I will have to break it down for you.

A – My birthday

So pretty much the day after I arrived here, it was my birthday. And I knew NOBODY in town. Which considering how eventful my birthday was last year…maybe it was a good idea that I was surrounded by strangers. (for those of you who were there (giggles and avalanche), you know exactly what I am talking about)

My birthday was actually my 1st day of work and we had an incredibly intense ginger cake with our morning tea (dropped off by a local who I had yet to meet but had heard many stories about) and for lunch my managers bought a pizza which was greasy and cheesy and delicious!

That night I decided I wasn’t going to sit at home alone on my birthday so I wandered up to the local pub for “one beer” and ended up staying until at least 2am, maybe later. I met a good bunch of locals along with a couple of crazy tourists and some even crazier Aussie ice-climbers. But all-in-all it was good times and I really enjoyed my birthday with complete strangers!

On a side note: My first piece of mail was received and it was the funniest birthday card I may have ever received, and the most artistic! Thanks Kathryn!

I also received an amazing b-day package from Alysha that had such wonderful American items in it! Twas a lifesaver! I am drinking more coffee then ever before now with a gigantore mug! Muchas Gracias! (and Ihave cleaner ears….)

B – Possums

So one day, it was raining and I didn’t have to work and I somehow ended up in a truck with 5 guys driving around to check out all the flooding waters etc. By the end of the day we ended up at a pub 2 hours from Fox Glacier and I was the only girl there out of 20-30 guys. Somewhere along the trip we stopped at someones place and I witnessed my first possum skinning. Not something that was EVER on my list of things to do – but now I can add it to the list and check it off. I will say that it is one of the most disgusting things I think I have ever seen in my life. There’s heaps of possums in NZ and the furs are actually worth some money so a lot of people trap them. But I will never be one of them.

C – Whitebaiting

I didn’t know what this was when I arrived here to the South Island. But everyone around here talks about it, especially now since the season just started. So whitebait are these tiny little white fish that are really popular down here and I guess they are worth $100/kilo. People set up stands along the river and stay out there for days/weeks at a time just to catch whitebait. Luckily enough I was able to experience a whitebait outing with Ben, Jeremy, Carol and Christi. We had fantastic rainy weather which meant we had to drink our beers underneath our awesome shelter (don’t worry – I helped make it) instead of in the sunshine. So the whitebait swim upstream during high tide into the nets that are set up in the river. We had a few hours to kill before high tide so we had some good ‘ol fashioned drunken conversations and crazy word games to pass the time. Afterwards I learned all about sorting out the whitebait from the good stuff and the crappy stuff…and after another quick boat ride where I went flying off of the bucket that served as my seat every time Ben took a turn….we made it back to Ben’s WARM house and I enjoyed my first cooked whitebait. Let me tell you – it was delicious!

The beautiful day of Whitebaiting. Check out that AWESOME sunshine!

The beautiful day of Whitebaiting. Check out that AWESOME sunshine!

Our awesome shelter that I think we had to fix like 6-7 times. Dang wind kept changing directions.

Our fabulous shelter that I think we had to fix like 6-7 times. Dang wind kept changing directions.

Me - Carol - Christi....can you tell which one looks the most sober??

Me - Carol - Christi....can you tell which one looks the most sober??

Our Whitbait catch. FYI - that isn't really a lot of whitebait. But it was enough for all 5 of us to enjoy that evening. And I have no idea how/why that beer bottle got there.

Our Whitebait catch. FYI - that isn't very much at all, but it was enough for all of us to enjoy a delicious meal that evening. PS - no idea how/why the beer bottle is there.

Me and Carol enjoying the last of our time on the river.

Me and Carol enjoying the last of our time on the river. Are you loving the redneck get-up I'm sporting?

D – Helicopter

So I am not sure if I have ever been in a helicopter before. When asked, I didn’t know. Which means I probably haven’t, or if I have it must have been the least memorable heli-ride ever. So I was able to get a free ride to the top of the glacier the other day and it was awesome! We flew right past Mt Tasman and Mt Cook and landed near the top of the Glacier! My only regret was that I forgot to grab some sunglasses…it was freakin’ bright with all that damn snow.

The rainbow we flew through.

The rainbow we flew through.

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

Near the top of Fox Glacier

Near the top of Fox Glacier

Me chillin' at the top of the Glacier. We were able to walk around for a bit and it was BRIGHT!!

Me chillin' at the top of the glacier. We were able to walk around for a bit - it was BRIGHT!!

Me and a Helicopter....need I say more?

Me and a Helicopter....need I say more?

Me ....IN the helicopter.

Me ....IN the helicopter.

View of the base of the glacier - I think you can see the cars by the carpark down there...as a siz reference.

View of the base of the glacier - I think you can see the cars by the carpark down there...as a size reference, or maybe you can't see them.

The river valley and the Tasman sea in the far distance.

The river valley and the Tasman sea in the far distance.

So that is the basic rundown on what’s been happening in my kiwi life. My new roommates just arrived yesterday and they seem like really cool people so far. It looks like it will be a fun few moths. Looking forward to working and more adventures in the area.

I will just let the photos tell the rest.

Cheers!

Jilly

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September 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments