Around 4 pm on Friday, Amy and Holly picked me up from Kelburn campus.  We were off to Martinborough, a town in the South Wairarapa region of Wellington famous for it's large number of vineyards and award winning Pinot Noir.  The drive from Wellington to Martinborough is winding and gorgeous.  The mountains envelop you as you enter into them, like the big fat arms of a grandmama baker you know you can trust.  Carsickness crept up quickly, and every turn in the road made my tummy lurch with that old familiar feeling.  I hoped I might someday grow out of it, but it hasn't happened yet.  To distract me, we started playing car games.  For every letter of the alphabet, name a country.  We made it through two rounds before with got stuck on Q.  Before we knew it, we'd arrived at the Brown Residence in the wop wops of Martinborough!  The house is lovely, with a huge amount of outdoor space - gardens, fig trees, a paddock, a pool, and a very large pizza oven.  True to kiwi form, I had a Gin & Tonic in hand no more than five minutes after our arrival.  Holly and I got right to cookin - a delicious batch of deliciously Texmex fajitas with all the trimmings.  Our audience seemed to appreciate this culinary endeavor, as it represents our homeland to a T.  Post dinner, Cranium was brought out.  My teammate, Brad and I, absolutely killed the competition in game 1!  Second game, not so much.  Who doesn't know the song "Time of My Life" from Dirty Dancing?!  Come ON Brad Brown!  I did find out that skosh means "a small quantity" so it wasn't a total loss.  After a few hours of intense Cranium play, the lights were dimmed and we hurried off to bed before the glasses were refilled.  I think our hosts kept on in this way until hours after we had gone to sleep.  Champions.  Our bedroom, a converted shed, was stocked with an air mattress and a small bed.  We had just enough room to collapse into bed and  be forced into snuggling because of the freezing cold NZ night.  

"Do you want a glass of wine?"  "Is the Pope Catholic my dear?"

This was one of the first things I heard on Saturday.  While visiting a few friends of the Brown's in the latter part of the morning, I found myself having to cover my wine glass with both hands to keep it from getting refilled.  We had breakfast on the sun soaked porch out back - hot cross buns and tea.  After breakfast, Allan and I discussed Rotary for a good while.  Discussion of my club came up, and with it some suggestions in helping them to move toward the future.  More broadly, all the talk of service through Rotary has the gears in my head turning - back always to the idea of writing a book.  Rotary needs a mechanism for forward change, and I think a travel book might be a great way to reach the younger audience that the organization is searching to target for membership.  A huge number of people in my age group feel dissatisfied with desk jobs and the cyclical world of email and meetings about meetings.  I know dozens of folks who dream of travel and service, but who see it as financially impossible.  What if I were to take a trip around the world, stopping for a month or so at a time to work on a project with other Rotarians, and write about those experiences (as a sort of call to action for others)?  Rotary has achieved things government has not been able to, so I think there is real opportunity in the huge and influential network of world Rotarians.  There is a want from people my age to help with hunger, sanitation, development, disease, and education, but no real idea as to how to get started.  I would love to show others how easy it is to actually influence change through action and in so doing, become real global citizens and eventually the new wave of Rotarians.  Home club, what do you think?  I'd also like to figure out a project that links my host club with my club in Arkansas.  It'd be wonderful to serve as the link between the US and NZ.  All of my gears are turning!

After our Rotary session, Amy, Brad, Holly, and I headed into Greytown to have lunch and do some window shopping.  Greytown reminded me so much of Eureka Springs, with it's sunny and eclectic vibe.  We eventually headed home to a round of Trivial Pursuit and Bananagrams and a gorgeous dinner of fresh salmon and vegetables.  This night, we wrapped ourselves in a stack of blankets and slept like well incubated little chicks.  We didn't open our eyes until 11 a.m. the next day somehow.  

Finally caught up on sleep, Easter was off to a roaring start!  It was the day of Brad's birthday party, so we started preparing pizza crusts and a mess of pizza toppings for the party.  We hid Easter eggs high and low, and then made a game of throwing them at each other.  Brother and sister Amy and Brad about killed each other with the golden eggs, and Amy ended up with a big bruise to the neck.  Over the course of the night, thirty people showed up to celebrate Brad's big 2.9.  Around 12, I hitched a ride with Brock, Hannah, and Blake back to Windy Welly.  As we began our mountain descent, our chariot started overheating.  Four attempts to cool down the ole engine didn't work, so we abandoned ship and caught a ride with friends who were following close behind.  Yes, you can pile 7 deep in a Rav 4 it turns out.  Forty-five minutes later, we arrived home, safe and sound.  

Currently, I'm home working through my to do list in anticipation of mine and Holly's trip around the North Island on Tuesday.  I have no desire to think about the mountain of homework I need to get on top of, so I thought I'd give it a solid go before Tuesday rolls in.  Being almost 25 is making me too responsible!!  Think good thoughts for our Tuesday roadtrip - we are driving on the wrong side of the road over here!  HAPPY EASTER FRIENDS AND FAMILY!
4/9/2012 12:58:55 am

Casey--- Your pictures are amazing! Please write more! I'm so jealous about your adventures!!!


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