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A Spring Afternoon in the Gardens

A Spring Afternoon in the Gardens

I’ve experienced so much winter that I think I’m starting to develop Stockholm syndrome. I find myself justifying the value of winter whenever friends ask if I miss spring and summer. Why would I want summer? You can’t cuddle up on the couch with your boyfriend, a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate when it’s 80 degrees out. I don’t miss needlessly sweating. I don’t miss being sunburnt. I enjoy scarves, sweatshirts and hot water jugs. I think I love winter… I never want to leave. And then spring begins, and it all comes back to me.

September marks the beginning of spring in New Zealand and it wasted no time in letting us know it had arrived. The weather in Dunedin has been gorgeous, and it’s amazing to see how it affects people. The thing I forget about the sun is that it lifts your spirits just by being there. The people you run into on the street just seem happier. For one thing, there’s more people out walking around. It hadn’t hit me until I was walking to the Botanic Gardens with Tra that I missed the feeling of spring. The weather gave us energy and we had the drive to explore new parts of the garden and even ventured out of the gardens onto a street that led us to the Dunedin Northern Cemetery. We strolled through the cemetery appreciating the old headstones while keeping an eye out for any names we vaguely recognized. As our stomachs cautioned against wondering any further we made our way back home making sure to admire the blooming university trees and toppless students (not joking) swimming in the Leith.

I heard it can take many years for prisoners suffering from Stockholm syndrome to fully recover. Luckily thanks to a happy accident we have two giant tins of hot chocolate to go through in the next 3 months. After that, we return to American winter.

MUSIC PICK OF THE WEEK

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music, email me: hello@emmafletch.net

This week I’ve chosen the introduction track to iiiso’s new album True Colors: Collection. Give it a listen and maybe consider giving him a follow on Soundcloud or Instagram. Also his album is available to stream on Spotify or Apple Music. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Taieri Gorge

Taieri Gorge

Stepping into a train is like stepping back in time. Even though trains are very efficient when done correctly, they aren’t most people’s first choice for transportation. Unfortunately for trains you can’t just hop on a train for a grocery trip, that is of course unless you live in a city that actually has a good public transportation infrastructure. Portland of course has the MAX system, but it’s design almost feels like what people in the 90s thought the future would look like. Stepping into a classic railway car is different. In the same way that people seek out old polaroid cameras trains are cool little time capsules into a slow-moving world that existed not long ago. In the age of information technology advances quickly. The first iPhone already looks severely outdated. I doubt that any of the kids that are just now receiving their first iPhones would believe that when they were first released there was no such thing as an App Store. The longevity of trains is what makes them so special. Flipping through the pages of history you can watch as these revolutionary machines stayed relatively unchanged for such a long time. That level of consistency is comforting.

For our anniversary Tra bought us two tickets for the Taieri Gorge Railway trip to Pukerangi. Here are some of our photos:

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me: (hello@emmafletch.net)

This week I’ve chosen a beautiful collaboration between Vancouver producer SLOTH.TOES and Bellingham singer Madaleine DiMarco. Give it a listen and maybe consider giving them a follow on Soundcloud.

Exploring Portobello

Exploring Portobello

Hungry people are less fun to hang out with than not-hungry people. It’s funny how that works. It’s such a simple idea and yet it can have a dramatic affect on your happiness. I get grumpy when I’m hungry; Tra gets grumpy when he’s hungry. We still love each other, but I fell in love with a well-fed Tra and the latter is an annoying friend tagging along in our relationship. I’m sure he feels the same sometimes. Even though I know this, sometimes I overlook it’s importance.

Tra and I haven’t been outside of Dunedin since February. Because of this we have been planning to visit Portobello, a tiny little village on the Otago Peninsula. The weather sabotaged  our plans for one weekend and ever since we’ve been keeping our eyes open for a relatively dry weekend to visit. Portobello is only a 40 minute bus ride away from our flat we really have no excuse for not visiting more often. When my dad was helping me move to New Zealand we visited Portobello and had a great time at the small pub and cafe. Tra had never visited Portobello. So, when Tra got home from work at 3 p.m. on a Friday I suggested we visit. He asked if he could eat before we left, I reminded him that the sun was quickly setting and that we could eat at the pub. He agreed.

When you don’t have a car sometimes long bus rides can be kind of exciting. For Tra it was his first time seeing the Otago Peninsula in person and not from afar. The roads are narrow and right on the edge of the water. They feel like the roads on HWY 101 at home where you feel like you could tip over and fall into the water after every twist and turn. The closer we got to Portobello the less sunlight we had to work with. I was worried that our photos wouldn’t turn out. When we arrived Tra was excited to explore someplace new, but he was hangry and I could tell. He asked if we could eat but I pleaded that we needed to take advantage of the light while we had it. Unfortunately our lack of foresight reared it’s ugly head when we realized that the cute cafe we were excited to visit was already closed. No bother, the pub was still available.

We walked up to the water and then to the local cemetery to snap some photos and get to know the town a little better. It really is such a cool little place. Tra was hungry and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Sometimes unexpected forces can shape events even though they shouldn’t. I’m usually a planner. The usual Emma would have thought “before we visit Portobello we need to check the weather forecast, the opening and closing times of all the places we want to visit, the bus schedule and make sure we are well fed.” But I wanted to be spontaneous.

When we entered the pub we were slightly confused by the layout and found our way into the restaurant section of the pub and eagerly looked over the menu. After 10 minutes of browsing the waitress approached us and asked us if we were interested in dinner. Yes was an understatement.

“I am going to need to see some identification from both of you. If you look under 25 we need identification.”

Crap. In our rush to leave I had forgotten my my passport. The waitress politely told us that she would be unable to serve us and asked us to leave. It was embarrassing and irritating and I felt bad for Tra who had not forgotten his passport and had now been waiting over two hours since before we left our flat to eat. Every other restaurant was closed and our only option was the convenience store.

So there we were, Tra and I, eating Tim Tams, Mentos and microwaved mince pies on a bench overlooking the bay laughing about how dumb we were. We jokingly directed our anger at Portobello itself, calling it the worst place in all of New Zealand. It isn’t; at least I think. It was a nice little town and I hope to visit it again soon, but next time with an ID and a belly full of food.

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music please email me.

This week I’ve chosen a wicked beat from the Vancouver beatmaker Karmaeiic. Give it a listen and maybe consider giving him a follow on soundcloud.

Exploring Dunedin (Part 3)

Exploring Dunedin (Part 3)

Tra loves feeding ducks. Actually he just loves hanging out with animals. One time, after cuddling with adorable kittens for hours he discovered he had a cat allergy. His nose was leaking snot and he scratched his eyes until they turned bloodshot red. You would think that discovering a cat allergy would deter him from cuddling with those kittens the very next day. You would be wrong.

He loves to make himself miserable at the hands of the fluffiest little beings. So when we visit the Dunedin botanic gardens, he rushes to the duck pond. The gardens offer complimentary duck food, which is a great way to keep visitors from bringing white bread, which is actually pretty bad for the birds. After a few tosses of grain I get bored. Tra does not. He uses his entire allotment of food and then uses the rest of mine. He handpicks ducks that are the most deserving of food based on friendliness, loneliness and patience. He even hand feeds ducks from time to time. I always worry of the germs he’s exposing himself to.

The gardens offer a maze of botanic attractions as well as an aviary and a lovely greenhouse. It was one of the first places I took Tra after he arrived in Dunedin.

Everyone needs that go-to lazy weekend spot to walk, and the gardens are just that for Tra and I. It’s the perfect walking distance from our flat and it’s beautiful in any season! I’ve never had much of a green thumb, but this garden inspires me to dream of my one-day landscaped, perfectly manicured lawns.

As I’m nearing the end of this hectic semester, the gardens offer a nice distraction. After this semester I only have one more to go until I graduate! Looking forward to it, but I have mixed feelings. Graduating means moving from New Zealand. I don’t know when we’ll be back so I’m enjoying what Dunedin has to offer.

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me.

This week I’ve chosen a track that never fails to pull me out of a bad mood by the Minneapolis band Bad Bad Hats. Give it a listen and maybe consider giving them a follow on twitter.

Exploring Dunedin (Part 2)

Exploring Dunedin (Part 2)

It’s impossible to escape conversations about Lord of the Rings when talking about New Zealand. Although the mention of the series can cause kiwi’s to roll their eyes, the movie franchise is by far the best look the vast majority of people have been given into the country. Because of this it’s easy to think of New Zealand as a mountainous and rocky landscape with giant snowy peaks and sparkling lakes. This is true, but not for all of the country. Dunedin is a city on a hill overlooking a beautiful bay and peninsula. Take a quick drive outside of Dunedin and you’ll find grassy hills covered in sheep for miles. This is the New Zealand that I know best.

This week I was stuck finishing schoolwork and Tra took a short trip with our Dutch friend Luuk to visit Ross Creek Reservoir. Before he left I made sure he grabbed the camera so he could snap some photos along the way. The park is 30 minute walk from our flat but for some reason we’ve never visited it.

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me.

This week I’ve chosen this dreamy track from the singer sosi. Give it a listen and maybe consider giving her a follow on soundcloud or twitter.