Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We said good-bye USA one year ago today

This has been the most whirlwind year. It feels both longer and shorter than a regular, 365-day year. An old friend chatting with Doug on the phone last weekend asked if he could roll back the clock to one year ago, would he do it again, would he still quit work and move across the world to New Zealand?

This evening at dinner all four of us pondered this question. We agreed that there are things, especially our family and friends, that we miss. There are also some things each of us would have done differently. However, given the choice, we all agreed we would still choose to move.

In case you're wondering, we're as settled as we're ever going to be and are ready for visitors. Hint, hint... Each season has been amazing. The time to visit just depends on what you want to do and see.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Aros' Visit - Day 5

By Liam

All of us got ready fast that morning because we were not driving to the mountain to go Heli Skiing but the Heli Ski Company was driving us. We all had just finished getting ready when the van pulled up in front of our door.

The whole drive was spent gazing up at the mountains we would be skiing on. We headed out to Glenorky, a town at the end of the lake surrounded by towering mountains. We stopped at the Glenorky airport, a field and a small Ski Dive shack.

Before the helicopter arrived we had a quick safety briefing and put on our little things so if we got in the avalanche we could be found.

Soon the small speck of a helicopter appeared on the horizon getting closer by the second. We split into two groups, the Aro family and the Kirkpatrick family, each with a guide, and decided the Aros would be first to go up the mountain. We all huddled around our group’s backpack as the helicopter roared in. The wind whipped around our faces and into every open space (including your mouth if you opened it).

The operation of boarding the helicopter went fast because all the Aros had to do was get on while the guide loaded the skis.

After dropping off the Aros, the helicopter came back to pick us up and blades whirling, landed right in front of us. We loaded just as fast as the Aros and soon we were off. Mom, the driver and I were in the front with Pop, Colin and the guide in the back.

Getting off was easy. All we had to do was crawl out of the helicopter while the guide got our skis. We all crouched in the snow until the helicopter left. I would like to note the pilot did not stop the blades for take off or landing, we just got in and out with them spinning.

I was expecting deep powder but I did not expect it as deep as it was. It was like 2-3 feet deep. The hardest part was not letting your ski tips get stuck under the powder. If you did (which I did many times) you would flip over in the snow.

The runs where long and we got to do four of them, which I thought was pretty cool. The first run seemed to take the longest because I was still getting used to it.

As we pulled up at the bottom the helicopter emerged into sight, whirling up clouds of snow. Since it was our second time boarding it was easier than the last. This time, Colin and Pop rode in the front with the driver.

Once again we landed on a ridge, but on a different run as to get fresher snow. At the end of this run we went down a ridge about 15 feet wide. If you were to go off the ridge you would fall off a cliff. Yikes!

The third run got quite icy at the end, which I did not expect at all. On this run we went down as far as we could, to where the grass started.

Going up to do our fourth and last run I realized how hungry I was, though I was able to comfort myself with the fact we would be eating lunch at the end of the run.

On the run I took a pretty bad fall. My ski got caught under the snow and I pulled a summersault. It would have not been so bad but when my ski went under it got caught and the summersault made my ankle go into a painful position.

The lunch was good. We got to have soup, sandwiches, tiny-pies and dessert! Mind you, this is on a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

The Aros did two more runs while we (the Kirkpatricks) went down to the van.

After the Aros had finished their two runs and we were halfway home, Mom told us when we got home we would have to hurry and get ready to go out to dinner. And then to Colin and JP she added no monopoly.

That night I was so tired at dinner I can hardly remember it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Aro Family’s Visit in Queenstown with us, continued again and again

By Liam

Day 4

The next day Colin and JP woke up early, as always but this time before long Gracie and I joined them.

Colin was obnoxiously eager to get on with the day because we had waited for JP’s visit to do his special birthday activity. We were going jetboating and Colin knew it, which explained why he was excited.

After a quick breakfast we started of to Glenorky, where the jetboat was to depart from.

We lucked out and were able to get one whole jetboat to ourselves, though we had to wait while a Japanese tour-group left!

Before I knew what was happening we had boarded the jetboat and were slowly chugging out into the lake. After some crazy spins our jetboat diver turned around and sped off towards the Dart River.

We zoomed up narrow passages, around tight corners and under low-hanging trees, all the while the driver talking about the jetboat that had run aground the other day or something in the same idea.

The drive was a scenic three hours (which I knew) and when the driver stopped and said we could go no further I said “It can’t have been one and a half hours already!” His reply was “it has”. Colin, Gracie, JP and I all let out disappointed moans. Nooooooooooooo!

On the drive back we stopped for a quick walk up the river. Going up the river we saw a couple trout, and big one’s too!

As we spun around a large bend after boarding the jetboat again and I realized we were back on the lake with the dock getting closer by the second. As we approached the driver pulled a last couple spins and then pulled up at the dock.

We said, "Thank You" to the driver and then made our way through the tiny town to our car. We had decided to eat dinner at “The Cow” in Queenstown, which meant a 40-minute drive.

All of us ordered pizza and soon we where all falling off to sleep at the table in the restaurant. As soon as we got home we went to bed all with one thought on our mind, the next day we were going Heli Skiing!!!

A Kiwi Father’s Day

Did you know that it is father’s day here in N.Z.?
Well it is, so I am writing this Blog for Pop.

I learnt this vital information just yesterday.

Right now He is up on the Ski field, taking Colin to Q.A.S.T. I don’t think he knows it is his special day so I want him too.

I just wanted to let him know how much I love him and that I think of him when he is not with me.

So anyway, Happy Father’s Day Pop!