Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone! Well it sure is weird not coming home for Christmas, but just in case you were wondering... it doesn't really feel so much like the holiday season here anyways! It's been sunny and warm everyday the past week or so, so needless to say it's nothing quite like the cold of Christmas at home! Just in case you all were wondering we are going to go to the beach on Christmas day... I guess it is somewhat of a Kiwi tradition... you just go to the beach on Christmas... We aren't going to complain :)

Anyways here are some pics of what we've been doing... nothing too exciting really... we are going to the beach in New Zealand on the 27th through Jan 2nd... so we'll have some more exciting pics soon...

So in order to get in the holiday spirit we made some cookies (sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, and peanut blossoms (I think that's what they're called)). Everything turned out great and we had way too many on our hands (both of the containers behind the plate were stuffed full!). Luckily, we've given a bunch of the cookies away. The ladies at Cassie's work LOVE snickerdoodles... Did you know that snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies are American cookies? That's your random fact of the day!

Well here is the Christmas tree once again, but this time it's surrounded by packages! I think that they mail man knows we're American after all of the packages from the States arrived! Thanks to everyone who sent us something!

After spending the past year without cell phones, we decided to get ourselves phones for Christmas... the cell phone concept is quite a bit different here (it's all pay as you go). It's amazing how weird it is going back to cell phones after not having them for a while... you just tend to forget it a lot of the time... oh well, I'm sure we'll adjust! Just in case you were wondering these phones are pretty much the lowest technology phones that we've ever had... it pretty much calls and sends texts and that it... but really what else do you really need?

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and Feliz Navidad!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! So we have gotten a few requests to post some pics to show what our Thanksgiving was like... so here is how it went...

Here's our spread... looks pretty good huh?? It was pretty awesome!

Dessert! Pumpkin pie and pecan pie (From Scratch!)... yes they tasted as good
as they look!

These are a few of the Thanksgiving virgins we had on our hands... they loved it and couldn't understand why their country (Zimbabwe - the 3 guys on the left) didn't have a holiday where you are supposed to eat as much as possible!

Last but not least here is our mini (4 ft high) Christmas tree...

Monday, November 30, 2009


Well, I'm sorry that we've been away for so long so here's a little update and some pics!

At the start of November we went to Auckland. Cassie did a half-marathon and we did some sightseeing and hit up the American Store. The drive from Palmy to Auckland was also sweet! Check out some of the pics below...

This is one of the views on the drive up to Auckland. This is lake Taupo - the largest lake in NZ, and the mountain in the distance is actually an active volcano named Mt Ruapehu - the largest mountain on the north island.

The view from the ground of the SkyTower in Auckland. It is something like the 14th highest tower in the world... it's pretty much the space needle! That speck is actually a person... you can zipline/bungy jump to the bottom of the SkyTower... it was a bit more intense than we could do.

This is one of the views from the top of the skytower... this is the main harbor and the bridge is the Auckland Harbor Bridge (Cassie had to run over that... it was miserable because it is just a big, long hill...).

They had glass flooring in parts of the skytower... this was the view straight down.

This is our stuff we got at the American store in Auckland... it's amazing what you miss... Yes we do actually have somethings left (we are rationing things!).

Welp... until next time!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Alright, before there is an uprising... we are sorry for not posting for almost exactly 2 months, but somehow things have been super busy... also we haven't done much traveling or anything so you haven't missed much!

However, during July we went to Sydney, Australia for the first time! Zac had a conference, and visited some laboratories in the Sydney area for about a week and a half then Cassie came over after the conference was finished up. So now you know the 'official' reason for the trip...

So here are a bunch of the pics that we took over there, of course there are a bunch more, but this should give you all a good idea of what we did!

The conference Zac went to was at a resort in the Blue Mountains (to the west of Sydney). He had some time to kill before the conference so he did the touristy walks (or bush walks as they say around here). Interesting fact... they are called the Blue Mountains because of the Eucalyptus trees that make up the forest. These trees emit some chemical (no clue what) which reflects light from the sun (or something like that) in a blue-ish haze. You can sort of see it here in this picture.

To be quite honest, while the Blue Mountains were cool... I don't know if I would really classify them as mountains...

This is a picture of the Laurel Cascades which were along the trails in the Blue Mountains...

This is Witches Leap... you can sort of see why it is referred to as witch... you can see the profile of a witch.

This is a pic of the most famous landmark in the Blue Mountains... the Three Sisters... they are the three peaks...

So Zac had finished all of the walks in one day except one... it turned out to be the Giant Stairway that he missed, nothing like saving the best for last... really it wasn't too bad though. This is comprised of 900 steps (and the word step is used loosely)... I thought this sign was sort of funny... careful there are many steps down the GIANT stairway... isn't that what makes it giant?

Of course... the world famous Sydney Opera House...

Not sure what we thought it would be covered it, but it is covered in ivory and white tiles...

This is the Sydney Harbor Bridge... it is the longest single span bridge in the world (if I remember correctly)... We actually climbed to the top (see the flags on top!)... however they wouldn't let us bring a camera so we don't have any pics from up there... it was an awesome experience, but a bit scary at certain parts though!

This is what was known during the 2000 Summer Olympics as Stadium Australia (aka. Olympic Stadium). However, now it obviously has a new name. The whole Olympic park and this stadium was pretty cool... pictures don't really do it much justice...

This was part of a pretty cool sculpture in Olympic Park... That is a textbook free throw... not sure if she made it though...

We also visited the zoo in Sydney (no not the zoo that the Crocodile Hunter was at... that's in Brisbane and we will go in the near future!). It was pretty sweet... there was a big emphasis on Australian animals (obviously) but also Asian animals, which was really sweet. This is a pic of some monkeys just chillin'.

That's right... Zac is the exact height of a new born giraffe!

Cassie's foot is between the foot size of the smallest bear in the world and the largest...

For the first time ever... Zac is shorter than the world's tallest bear!

This is the wing span of the condor (the biggest span)... oh yeah and that's Cassie's wingspan as well...

You can't really see it here, but this cat looks a lot like Divi! So we had to post it... I don't know, but I think Divi may have met her match with this cat!

Of course... last but not least here are the kangaroos and wallabies (which look very similar to kangaroos)!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Queen's B-Day... To Hawke's Bay!!

Hello!!! So sorry for taking so long to post anything. Things have been pretty busy here and we haven't had much of a moment to do much. However, the queen's b-day weekend we were able to make a little trip...

We went to Hawke's Bay... Hawke's Bay is part of the wine country of NZ, now we were not able to go on the wine tours (we were only there for the day and did not want to spend the night... we will soon enough) we snapped a few picks on the way there (it's only ~2hrs away). The drive is over the mountains from Palmy so there were some decent pics. Hawke's Bay normally gets the best weather in NZ, so we will have to give everyone some better pic's as the weather wasn't the best when we were there... nevertheless, it was quite awesome...

This is part of "downtown" Napier... one of the cities that make's up the Hawke's Bay region...

Downtown Napier once again... it was a pretty nice place...

Hawke's Bay from Napier... the beach is pebble.
Another pic of the pebbled beach of Napier.

Part of the drive from Palmy to Napier... we have to go over the Ruahine Moutain range... this is a pic of the Manawatu Gorge

We had an up-close look at some of the windmills just outside Palmy on top of the mountains...

When they do road construction they don't close the road, you just drive on a sort of gravel road, it's not the most fun to drive on....

Part of the drive to Napier... nice huh?

Part of Manawatu Gorge... I think we can get a bit better pic than this... more to come next time we visit the Gorge!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009


On Friday night we went with some friends to a rugby game in Wellington. We watched the Wellington Hurricanes play the Auckland Blues - Hurricanes (we were cheering for them) won 45 to 27!! It was a really fun game and the stadium was really cool - also our seats ROCKED!!!!

This is a picture of the stadium - it was pretty full, but didn't sell out.

The Auckland Blues in a huddle before the game starting.

Player for the Hurricane's trying for the extra point (he was successful)!!

These are pictures of the Hurricane's warming up before going into the game - they were right in front of us and it was cool watching them. We were in the second row from half field.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Science and Orange Juice

I (Zac) have been a subject in a few studies both at IU and since arriving down here... however, as a participant I have never encountered as fun a study as the one I am participating in. I know it is sort of dorky to post this but I figured I would share... so here is the story...

Rugby players are infamous for their drinking habits. They play a game and are seen starting fights at the pub later that night. So this study looks at the effects of alcohol on muscle recovery (obviously a hot topic around here)!

So yesterday after a battery of tests, and working my right leg so hard that I can't walk normally (I actually almost collapsed half a dozen times today), I got to drink screwdrivers!! Actually I drank 1 double (two shots of vodka, the rest O.J.) every 15 min for an hour and a half. After about an hour, lets just say it was a pretty good time.

The only bad thing is that in three weeks I have to do it all over again and just drink O.J. afterwords... oh well you can't win them all....

This is Bob, he is a grad student in nutrition/physiology, and he was my drinking buddy during the study. He is "damaging" his left leg, by doing 300 leg curls... sort of.

This is what his legs looked like when he was finished "damaging" his leg... it is a bit swollen, huh?

This is about half way through the drinking... the jug was full with screwdriver.

Success!!! The jug is gone!!

I figured most of you at IU would appreciate this! Nothing quite like combining 2 all-time favorites... science and... orange juice...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Entertainment!!

For a girl whose athletic prowess includes making a boy cry (4th grade basketball) and playing collegiate soccer, I believe that I may have seen one of Cassie's more awesome moments...

So on Sundays Cassie plays on a women's soccer team here in Palmy. They won 4 -3 which is great, and Cas had a goal (the winning one!) and 2 assists (I think), so she played really well... however, the awesomest thing happened though.

So midway through the second half one of Cassie's teammates went into a tackle with number 11 on the other team and fell over the ball. Well, instead of trying to kick the ball this number 11 started to kick Cas's teammate and yelled at her to get off the ball. Needless to say Cassie was in the area and came to her teammates rescue. Cassie accidentally on purpose clipped the girl's ankles while number 11 was kicking her teammate. Number 11 did not like this and decided to punch Cassie in the face. Cas did not take to this and as number 11 was walking away she grabbed number 11's jersey and threw a few haymakers. By this time Cassie's coach broke up the fight...

The funniest thing about this is that the ref saw none of this, so no cards were handed out and they both got to play the rest of the game (she was not the best of ref's and was friends with the other team). Also this league has girls from 18 to 40+, so number 11's mom was on the sidelines and started talking s**t to Cas (the 'grown women') about how she was picking fights with girls (18 yr olds). Cassie made sure to remind the mother that she probably should have raised her daughter not to pick fights and punch people, and that if she wasn't old enough to take it she shouldn't be on the field.

Besides Cassie getting mad props from her teammates for getting into a fight for protecting her teammate, there are a few other things we can take away from this...
1) You can fight in soccer games in NZ and not get thrown out
2) Girl fights here do not include: slapping, hair pulling, scratching, or any other cat like fighting sounds or tactics... when they fight they get after it
3) A knot on the head (see pics... I think they turned out ok)
5) and last but not least... Cassie's first appearance in a picture on the blog!!