Wednesday, August 28, 2013

East Coast Adventures

Amy with her parents and Thomas stoked with his carrot, pineapple, coconut cake.
After a pretty full-on winter, getting back to Stamford and having some good time to chill out and enjoy some sleep-ins and spring weather was fantastic. With the usual lunches at Amy's Grandfather's (Poppy), family birthday parties, BBQs and family dinners, there was something happening most days. This family likes to keep busy. Otherwise, Amy worked some days substituting at primary schools and I raked the yard one day too! We both also had to complete our 20 practicum hours for our TEFL qualification, which we did by sitting in on classes at the Adult Learning Center in town. 

Goat on the Spit, manned by a dude with a big mustache.

I had a new and unique cultural experience of Greek Easter with the extended family of a full Greek BBQ on a beautiful roasting Sunday. We had two goats on the spit and the usual overload of other delicious Greek dishes. Easter was hosted by the Triandafilidis family (try to say that)- the family Amy's cousin Danny is marrying into. 

My friend the Mule
 Just down the road from Amy's house is a cool nature centre. Definitely aimed for families and children, but Amy and I have enjoyed meeting the animals and seeing their produce gardens. Chicken, goats, donkeys, pigs, cows, horses and the such. I do find it all quite amusing and entertaining, especially on a beautiful spring day. I always manage to have a bit of feeding time and give as many animals as I can a little tickle.

Diem being a good cat
Beer samplers at Coalhouse
I would often spend some time with Amy's sisters dog Diem, either looking after her during the day or whenever she was at the house. I don't really like dogs, so I just pretended she was a cat and that worked out better. Diem was quite confused about this sometimes though. A favourite afternoon activity of Amy and  mine was drinking some beautiful American craft beers at Coalhouse Pizza. We hit happy hour often with Amy's two friends Alli and Dana (Appearing later in NZ) for best value, at $5 for 4 samples of a rotating repertoire of 50 beers. I can't think of anything better than that!

Long Beach Island sunset

We also headed away for a little escape to LBI on the Jersey Shore for my birthday weekend, staying at Aunt Margaret and Uncle Steve's little batch. It was good to see the area recovering well after Hurricane Sandy which made a good wee mess of the place in November. With it still being early spring, we had the beach to ourselves, and I headed for the waves after what was the longest time I have ever been away from the coast. Seems the gods of the ocean weren't very happy with me about my absence and they taught me a good lesson, working me super hard in rough swell for my first surf. Still recovering from my broken leg it was a test, but now I'm just confused, Beach or Mountains?
Where are the waves? Seriously they were really big though!

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