Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Great Pacific Crossing

 Years of day dreaming, months of planning, and the day finally arrived...Wednesday, November 11, time to board a plane and fly halfway across the world for a two month New Zealand adventure. In typical Elizabeth style, I set our alarm clocks earlier than needed and we were ready with about an hour to spare. We played on our phones for about 30 minutes and decided just to call our Uber for the airport. 

As we pulled up to the airport, we were both a little nervous about our luggage. Air New Zealand only allows for ONE 50lb suitcase on their international flights with each additional suitcase being $150. What?! I couldn't rationalize spending an extra $300 on a suitcase to just bring random stuff with me, so we each decided to pack for two months in ONE 50 lb suitcase... and WE DID IT!!! WHAT?! 

Caleb weighed in at 48lbs!! 

I weighed in at 48.5lbs!! 

Our first flight of the trip was Virgin Airlines from Dallas to San Francisco. It was seamless; no delays or complications. We had a decent layover in San Fran, so we planned to find our gate and then have a nice sit down dinner to relax and prepare for the big flight to Auckland. Well... the best laid plans... in order to get to the international terminal, we had to exit the terminal we were in, take the tram, and then go through security again... Ugh, things like this normally aren't that big of a deal, but when you are excited/anxious about the next step... everything always seems to be a MUCH bigger deal. 45 minutes later, we made it through security... we were down to about an hour before our flight and we weren't left with many food options. We decided to grab a sandwich (and a bottle of wine...), took a couple of deep breaths... and then boarded the plan.  
I promise there is more then bread to this sandwich...

Oh boy, the flight was cozy. I felt so bad for Caleb... he barely had any leg room and was in the middle seat. I offered to swap him for the window seat, but he insisted that I take it and he would sit in the middle. I am a great travel sleeper, but he isn't... He does just fine on limited sleep, I am a bit of a diva with me sleep. So, he figured he would give me the more comfortable seat that would allow me to get some good rest, so I wouldn't be a total handful the next day! What a sweet man?! 

The flight overall wasn't as bad as I had anticipated... We made really good time, so the flight only ended up being 12.5 hours!! I enjoyed getting to catch up some chick flicks: Pitch Perfect 2, Trainwreck, and The Intern (technically not a chick flick...). The food was airplane food - edible, but nothing to really talk about. And... thank goodness for complimentary in flight wine and zzquil... I got a nice 6+ hour nap! 

All snuggled in!
We arrived in Auckland around 5:30 a.m. and were created by this beautiful sunrise... Hello and Good Morning New Zealand!! 

Sunrise from the airplane

After we landed, the first item on my agenda was to brush my teeth!! So, it was off to the bathroom. We then had to get our luggage, go through customs, and then recheck our luggage for the last leg of our flight to Napier. 

Before our flight to Napier, we had to grab a 30 min taxi ride to the medical licensing board to get Caleb's paperwork turned in. We had a 6 hour layover to kill, so we explored Auckland (more about that here), and then made it back to the aiport. 

New flash... you DO NOT have to go through security to get on a domestic New Zealand flight. It was crazy... so not only were we super early for our flight, but then our flight was delayed an hour... We finally boarded our flight and a short hour later we landed in Napier! 

The rental car lady met us there and drove us to our apartment. Caleb took care of some paperwork, we freshened up, went to dinner, and then crashed out!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

big adventure time

I am back!! Not sure if this is a permanent move or just a temporary return for the next two months. But... here I am!!

So, why the return? Well, Caleb and I will be leaving for New Zealand in 5 days where we will be spending the next two months.
As part of C's third year, he has two months of electives. He can stay local and do different rotations around the hospital or go to New Zealand and work at a hospital there. The adventurers in us couldn't pass up the opportunity to go jet setting around the world to experience life in a completely different way. we go!! I will let you know if the toilets really do flush the opposite way!

I am calling this trip my late 20's sabbatical! I am so thankful for the yoga community in Dallas and their support as I venture off for a few months with studios accommodating and other teachers taking over my classes for me. I plan on doing lots of running/walking/hiking, yoga, and learning to speak Spanish!

We will be living in the town of Napier. It is on the North Island. It is an art deco town in wine country on the coast... how cool of a setup?! 

I plan to chronicle our adventures here. So, check in from time to time and see what we are up to!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A is for Apricots

Happy 2015!

This year, I am participating in a challenge with the ladies in my family to expand my knowledge of cooking different fruits and vegetables. We are going to go through the alphabet A-Z and each week pick a fruit/vegetable that we don't normally cook with and try a new recipe. Here's to more successes than flops... 

For A, I went with dried apricots. I found a recipe in "Color Me Vegan" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau that spiked my interest.... Apricot Red Lentil Stew. 

Caleb and I both really enjoyed the stew. It took about an hour to make from start to finish, but had several simmer times, so it wasn't hands on the entire time. This will definitely be added to our make again list. The recipe is vegan, soy-free, and gluten free... As per usual... Caleb requested that next time I add some really thick slices of bacon. My reaction... next time you cook the stew, feel free to add anything you like! 

Apricot Red Lentil Stew 
4-6 servings, 364 calories

2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 cup halved dried apricots 
1 1/2 cups red lentils, picked through and drained (I used 3/4 red and 3/4 green for variety!) 
5 cups vegetable stock 
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, and apricots...cook for about 7 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. 
2. Add the lentils and stock. Cover, bring to a boil...simmer for 30 minutes. 
3. Stir in the tomatoes, cumin, thyme, salt, and pepper...simmer for 10 minutes. 
4. Puree half of the stew in a blender or food processor and then return back to pot. Add the chickpeas and cook until heated through... about 5 minutes. 
5. Ready to serve... garnish with dried apricots and a sprinkle of thyme. 

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