I just couldn't let the rest of the week go by without doing a little tribute about my New Zealand excursion to see my gal Nic Howard and teach at her awesome event, Autumn Escape. It was truly a whirlwind - only 8 days from start to finish - but we jammed in quite a bit in that little amount of time.
The first 24 hours were spent on a plane...oh yes, a plane. Three different ones to be exact. And not even the ones I was originally scheduled to be on. But I made it to my final plane, a huge Qantas 747. My boys would have loved that it had an upstairs! I actually don't remember much of that flight as I was so over-tired so I slept most of way to NZ (it was the shortest long flight I've ever been in ;)) but when I woke up, I woke up to this....
This was my very first glimpse of NZ coming in over the bay into Auckland. To say I was excited was an understatement. (I was even MORE excited when my luggage arrived when it took a different plane than I did to get there!)
Nic and her partner-in-crime, Lucy picked me up at the airport and they kindly worked me through my jetlag packing kits for the event! They tucked me into bed around 8:00 that night so we'd be raring to go in the morning. After getting the final things together, we headed on the road to the Taupo and the resort venue. Holy WOW was it amazing! The trees were just turning and the scenery was so idyllic. Just check out that photo to see what I mean!
I begged Nic and her husband Paul to pull off along their major motorway (1) and let me snap a few pictures of these sheep. Have you ever seen anything so picture postcard perfect? They didn't exactly know what to think of some strange foreigner baa-ing at them, but they generously let me get a few shots anyhow!
After we unloaded a trailer-full of supplies at the resort, we hit the road again to Rotorua to see a Maori show and the amazing geo-thermal features the area has....and the sulfur. Can't forget the sulfur! Kirsty, one of the attendees at AE, was kind enough to be our personal tour guide for over 2 hours as she patiently explained all about the geo-thermal area and the Maori culture. We even caught a rare glimpse into some active (for them) Kiwi birds. I have to say, they are a bit odd looking, but so very cool to see the New Zealand national bird up close. The highlight for me was actually this beautiful geyser who was shooting many feet into the crystal blue sky. It was awesome! (That would be "O fa Orsome" to some of you ;)).
The night ended with the most incredible meal at a stone grill restaurant called "Triple 1" 5. It was truly divine and hilarious watching Nic's face as the waiter cut her meat for her! Back to the resort we went for a good night's sleep before waking up early Thursday head down to Taupo for a few minutes to see this:
My first question (and I'm sure yours too...) was "WHAT did they put into the water to get it that blue?!" Incredibly enough, that's nothing but naturally oxygenated water that flows from Lake Taupo to the ocean via this heavy river current. I was dying to hop on the jet boat to see it up close and personal, but Nic said we had to get back to start getting our venue set up. I mean, after all, we couldn't NOT have this:
This incredible candy bar (Lolly bar) was courtesy of the beautiful Rachel Tucker and her vivacious friend, Kate. They slaved away getting this gem ready for the ladies and it was by far one of the many highlights! I even developed a new appreciation for milk bottles! (A vanilla version of Tootsie Rolls!)
The next morning had me teaching my very first class to these talented ladies. I'm not kidding when I say the Kiwi crew were some of the best students I've ever had. They were ready to attack anything I gave them and trust me, I put their trimmer through some paces!
These are all the behind the scenes ladies along with Nic, Lucy, and Rachel (the other tutor and candy bar lady ;)) Don't they look like such a fun group?!
Finally it was time to begin my trek home. Another huge 747 to fly me home to these waiting guys...
who as excited as they were to see Mama, might just have been slightly more excited to get the treats I brought back! ;)
So there you have it! That's NZ in a nutshell! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Only 4 more sleeps until REFLECTIONS!