Friday, 27 December 2013

budapest: hungry in hungary

For Nicki's 30th birthday she organised a trip to Budapest and invited me along. It was such a nice weekend with the girls and my first time in Eastern Europe!

Pest from the Buda side

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

hamburg weekend: guten tag germany!

In November I took a trip to Hamburg to see some of Germany for the first time and meet another friend I met in Thailand.

Downtown Hamburg

Monday, 18 November 2013

iceland: land of fire and ice...and liquorice

I guess because New Zealand is always considered a fairly small country with 4 million people I thought Iceland would have around the same population, maybe a bit less. Wrong. Iceland only has 300,000 people! Less than some cities I have lived in.


Monday, 11 November 2013


- Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans - 

Autumn in Edinburgh

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

non oblitus, he tangata

- An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance - Chinese proverb - 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

cousins unite

My cousin Brianna has been over this side of the world for the last few months, which has been really nice in terms of having family to message in the same time zone! And in September she managed to come over for a weekend visit. 
View from Arthurs Seat

Sunday, 22 September 2013

getting older on the isle of skye

- the human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man - 

For my birthday weekend I wanted to do something special and not just stay around Edinburgh. After much deliberation Jess and I planned a trip to the Isle of Skye. We started looking into it months before and when the time finally arrived it definitely lived up to my expectations!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

portobello: a day at the beach

The other weekend the weather was really awesome (for one day) and I felt like I hadn't been going many places lately and making the most of Edinburgh, so I took a trip to Portobello beach!

At the beach!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

edinburgh in august

I decided not to go anywhere in August because Edinburgh has so much going on! Here is some highlights for things I did over the summer (I'm still not convinced I can call it that) in Edinburgh. 

Party time with red solo cups!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

new york: empire state of mind

So after all the wedding hecticness I was almost ready to go home and skip New York. I had just had the best time and I could easily have ended my holiday there. Thankfully I didn't because New York ended up being another amazing time of course!

I first went to New York on a whirlwind guided tour with some other exchange students when I was 17. It was just another highlight in my year of living in the states and I since it was a guided tour I didn't bother looking too much into what to do. All the remember thinking at the time was that here was a city I could live in. Maybe not for a long time, but for awhile. That dream unfortunately got buried beneath a host of others due to logistics and time, but returning to New York has made it come alive again. I don't know how it would be possible, but lets just say it's on the list! The long, long list...

New York skyline

Saturday, 13 July 2013

the newest mr & mrs braet

Last year while I was living in Australia a letter arrived for me in the mail from the USA asking me to be a bridesmaid for my sister's wedding. Sarah has always been the sister I never truly had and even though I had a vague plan to be in Scotland by the time the wedding happened I assured her that there was no way I would miss it and I would definitely be there. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

im going to wichita

- You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place - Miriam Adeney 

Kansas field at sunset

When I was 16 I left the bubble of my life in small town New Zealand and took a leap of faith into the utter unknown. Looking back at this time I dont know how I even managed to get to that point. It seems like a completely different person when I think about it, and I guess it was. I don't remember the specifics, but I had heard about the AFS exchange and decided it was for me. I'm not sure I actually intended to follow through but I tested the idea on my parents and when they didn't shoot it down it seemed logical to keep testing the boundary, until before I knew it I was on a plane flying away from all that was comfortable into what could have become anything. 

Sunday, 30 June 2013

life goes on in edinburgh

I don't have anything particular to write about this time, but lots of little exciting things have been happening so I feel like it's time for a bit of an update.

Walking through Holy Corner at 10.30pm

Thursday, 20 June 2013

sunshine and weddings in stockholm

So on a whim Sophie and I decided to go to Stockholm. For some reason flights to Scandinavia are ridiculously cheap from Edinburgh. Of course, that means it is ridiculously expensive when you are there...the tricks they play! 

Sadly, I never saw this guy when we were there...but I did have an amazing time and wish it had been a whole lot longer!


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

making friends in a new place

- An invisible red threat connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance - 

This might seem a little bit lame to write about, but I wanted to share my experiences of making friends in new places. When you're backpacking, friendship comes quickly and easily. The majority of people you meet are open and friendly because they want the same from you in return. Everyone wants to have an amazing experience and the people you meet are part of that. And in future, you welcome them with open arms if the chance comes up to meet again. Unfortunately, its a whole other story when you move somewhere to live. 

New Years Eve in Edinburgh with friends (yay!)

Friday, 24 May 2013

springtime in edinburgh

I haven't had a chance to write lately as I've been settling into my new job (finally yay!). I won't say much about it other than that it should prove to be very interesting and the people are all lovely.

The Castle on my walk home from work.

Friday, 10 May 2013

rewind to thailand

the streets of london

With still no news on the actual start date of my new job I decided to  head down to London for 4 days the other week. It was the perfect opportunity to see the sights over several days in a row so when I go down again I can just visit with people and see a few things. And so the whirlwind solo tour of London began! Stay tuned for a loooooooong post.

Training on down to London Town

Thursday, 9 May 2013

edinburgh - home sweet home

- What is the world's greatest lie?... It's this: that at a certain point in our lives we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate - Paul Coelho (The Alchemist)

Photo: Summer is coming

Monday, 8 April 2013

norway at easter

For the last few years I have had an awesome time at Easter, and this year was no exception!

New money again! Norwegan Krone

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

a day in england - berwick-upon-tweed

To alleviate my boredom for another day I decided to train to another seaside destination. This time Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is actually just across the border in England. I didn't know a lot about it, just that it was a small town with part of it surrounded by walls from the Elizabethan era. The town has been back and forth between England and Scotland in the past, and I found it interesting that the souvenir shop had mostly Scottish postcards!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

training about - north berwick

- I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. - Robert Louis Stevenson

I finished up my temp job a couple of weeks ago and found myself with some spare time on my hands. I decided to take the opportunity to make a couple of trips without breaking the bank, and get the use out of my 16-25 Railcard, which gives me train discounts, at the same time.

Yay for trains!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

an update on life in edinburgh

I've been keeping myself pretty busy here lately! I'm feeling much more settled living here now.

Scots Monument on a sunny Edinburgh Day

a weekend in the emerald isle

On the morning of 23 February Sophie and I got up at some horrendous hour of the morning to make our way to the airport for a weekend in Ireland.

It was especially strange to me to be going to another country for just one night, with only a small carry on backpack!

Teeny backpack for another country!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

cafe hunting in edinburgh

Since I have arrived in Edinburgh I have been on a bit of a mission. This mission doesn't really have an end goal however. The aim is just to find decent cafes around Edinburgh. Someone give me a good flat white!

Scones baked fresh daily and a flat white at Wellington Coffee

kitchen obsession

Living in a flat again has made me rediscover my enjoyment in cooking and baking.

While I was living in Australia my Dad, who is an awesome cook, did most of the cooking as he enjoys being in the kitchen too. So much so that he can't stay away when I try and cook!

My other personal chef was my friend Kim, who would always have delicious dinner ready for me when I got off the train to Brisbane on a Friday or Saturday night, and whip up amazing brunches to follow our crazy nights out.

I did make some desserts and that but nothing major because it was too hot and I was too busy to think much about cooking and baking!

So below is some of my experiments over the past couple of months. Most of it from the gold old Edmonds Cookbook!

Banana Cake with lemon icing

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Waitangi Day Pub Crawl London

Slightly contrary to my previous posts, it's not all boring setting myself up here in Edinburgh. I do plan on posting some more about what I have been doing, but for today I have a special post in mind. 

It is now (super) early morning on what is considered our national day in New Zealand. Having experienced other national days abroad, I can say that Waitangi Day does not exactly have the same celebratory nature. Despite that, I feel like for the first time in my life I properly celebrated being a kiwi for a day.
My Waitangi Day Pub crawl outfit...a Pukeko!

Monday, 4 February 2013

where would all the adventures be?

As always comes with a big life change, I have been having a lot of up and down moments.

Most of my entire Asia trip was a huge up. It was full of more than one of those moments when you actually stop to acknowledge that life is pretty awesome. One I distinctly recall was when we were riding in a mini bus through the countryside of Laos, en route to our next destination. I had the window next to me down, music playing and was writing in my travel diary, and I felt as light as the air, nothing could weigh me down in that moment.

I took a photo, so I wouldn't forget

Of course, it cant be like that all the time, or we would never appreciate when that happens. Since I have been in Edinburgh I have had a lot of issues trying to get things sorted, and have had some up and down moments while I'm looking for a job. I'm taking it all as it comes though, because that's the point of it all! Too often we get complacent with where we are, and long for change, but when it happens, we wish everything would go back to how it was before. I try to always be careful not to take things for granted, whether good or bad, and to remember that things are always moving forward, whether we want them to or not.

- If life was easy, where would all the adventures be? - 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

another path forward

Well, here I am again.

New city.

New home.

New life.

I have been in Edinburgh for one month now and it's been a mix of emotions and experiences. Happiness at settling into a new home and life, the hellos and the excitement in the newness. This has been a dream for so long I can't even pin down when it started. But on the other side there is the sadness in the exchange of my wandering for a more settled life, the goodbyes and the niggling fear of what if it doesn't work out? This fear is pretty easy to allay, as it always works out in some way, whether it's how you thought it would or not. The more deep seated fear is, what if I don't like it? 

Fortunately I have decided for the moment that I do like it.

However, it is hard right now because I don't have a job yet so I don't feel completely settled. But I get the feeling  this is the kind of place that gets under your skin, that you might not realise how much you like it until you leave, and then you miss it with more feeling than you thought. At the moment I already feel like at the end of my two years I will be leaving. Not because I won't love my time here, and not because I'll be done with it by then, but because there are too many other adventures ahead. My love for Asia is too big to ignore, and I know I will have to indulge myself with an extended stay or I will forever regret it. But I can see how, day by day, I will fall more in love with it here, so that when that time comes I will leave with great sadness.

One of my goals for 2013 is to write in my blog more regularly. Nearly a month has passed so far without this happening, but I do have a list of things I want to talk about. So here's to the next year and the complete unknown that it is.

- Sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade wind in your sails -