Saturday, June 2, 2012

NZ Adventures 3: Hamilton Gardens

After Ben & Mel's wedding, our not wedding related New Zealand adventures began.

We started each day with a beautiful breakfast put on by the B&B we were staying at. Our host (below) had it ready for us everyday at 8 am. Breakfast for me was usually yogurt, wheat bix bars (same as wheatabix in other parts of the world), and something else yummy from the table.

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The day after the wedding was Sunday, so the plan was to meet up with the Bride and Groom and a few other guests for church. Unfortunately, the message that there were multiple churches of the denomination the groom wanted to go to, didn’t get passed on to our driver, so we all ended up at different churches. Regardless, it was super encouraging to worship in English for the first time since Christmas.

After church, we headed off to find Hamilton Gardens. We met up with the other couple who ended up at church with Ben & Mel and headed off to explore. The whole group was Dolly & Gene, Jean, Marilyn, Sally and her husband (I've forgotten his name), James, Dan, Dan and I.

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We ended up splitting in to two groups: the “grown-ups” and the “young people.” The boys and I had a lot
of fun wandering and chatting.

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Our first find was India and even though it was the end of the season, they had really pretty flowers.

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We also found the American Garden. The boys are hanging out with Marilyn.

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These are the thinking rocks in the Chinese Garden. Don’t they look thoughtful?

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I loved the colors and design in this.

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We headed to the English flower gardens next. Unfortunately, it was fall in NZ, so not so many flower gardens were actually blooming.

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Of course, if you’re going to have world gardens, Japan has to be included.

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After Japan, was Italy. I was just amazed at how green everything was, since I had just left a half snow-covered Hokkaido.
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James and NZ Dan found the grass! We of course asked Dan if this was the grass garden we had heard about (which sounds THRILLING, right?). Unfortunately, we weren't at the grass gardens just yet.

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The Italian gardens had citrus trees with fruit on them.

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We found the other half of our group in Italy.

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After we left the World Gardens, we headed for the other parts of the gardens. First up was the Maori part of the garden. The Maori are the native people from New Zealand. I really liked the bright colors they liked to use.

Also, in the JHS textbook is a section on the Maori and New Zealand. So, over the past few years, I’ve read the same 200 or so word chapter a ton of times. It was interesting to learn something new that wasn’t meant for language learners.

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The famous grass gardens! The boys are testing the grass out. US Dan and I were trying to figure out if we recognized any from home. I kept thinking so and then thinking, “No wait, maybe this one.”

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James found a giant pumpkin. Every time I told my students about this part of the trip, I wished we found a giant peach instead so I could call this photo "James and the Giant Peach."

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A Maori building which James and NZ Dan tried to climb. They had to give up though because they thought they might break it. I just thought it looked cool.

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We had to get a picture of all 9 of us we managed to squish into our 8 person van. It was quite close in the middle seat with four of us in the middle seat.

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After our adventures, we headed back to Paeroa, where we were staying, to find dinner. Josh wanted to find Fish and Chips before he headed out, so we decided to go for a Fish and Chips/Chinese restaurant. The meals were HUGE.

Dan decided to get as much as you can pile on one plate deal.

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