Jo and Wade - selfie in the rain, Kowloon

A redemption story

A while ago, I wrote about being in Qingdao, wallowing in the challenges of the final separation from Aaron when I was forced to go out in a rainstorm without an umbrella to get dinner. At the time, it seemed like the weather was matching my mood, but as people watched this crazy girl wandering … Read more

Ngati Ranana representative Ros at Hinemihi, Clandon Park

Slice of Heaven

Whilst reminiscing over old times (all of which were, of course, set in New Zealand), Sara mentioned that there is a Māori whare nui (meeting house) in England. In Clandon Park, to be exact. Looking it up online, we discovered that Ngāti Rānana, the London Māori Club, was scheduled to perform there that weekend. And … Read more

Fish for sale, Qingdao, China

Dinner in the rain

To date, you might have noticed that food had been one of the great delights of my trip, but being in a semi-vegetative emo state in a country where I had been told very few people would speak my language, I’m ashamed to say that my first couple of meals were from KFC and McDonalds. … Read more

Jazz band, Tokyo

Music: the universal language

Even though I studied Japanese in high school for three years, being able to read most of one alphabet and remembering the occasional word or phrase doesn’t get you very far in Japan. Although it is more knowledge than I’ve had going into any other country so far. Right from the very first night though … Read more

Path near Mae Sot, Thailand

Western psychology meets the real world

I wouldn’t say that I had a bad time at the orphanage. And I wouldn’t want to put others off going there and helping (so I’m not going to show any photos of the kids – who were gorgeous by the way, or provide names of any of the family). There’s no way in the … Read more

Airplane wing

Flying solo

Actually, the flying itself wasn’t so hard. From being dropped off at the airport until we reached cruising altitude, there were several periods of tears. The poor girl at the check in counter only narrowly avoided experiencing one when she asked why Aaron wouldn’t be using his ticket (she was going to offer to help … Read more

Taking a bow - wedding dance

Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye)

On 24 January 2009, at St Joseph’s Church in Otautau, New Zealand, Aaron and I got married. As we signed the marriage certificate, my brother sang Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partiro. We chose the song, the title of which can be translated as “I’ll Go With You”, because it talks about ‘go[ing] with you to … Read more

Aaron getting yellow fever vaccine

Pins and needles

Some of you may know that for the majority of my life I have been terribly afraid of needles. Despite getting several piercings, and being OK with blood tests if I have to, the idea of being vaccinated against anything was my biggest nightmare. Knowing that the world is full of all sorts of delightful … Read more

Candles and cladagh

May you see your children’s children

When you go to two weddings in just over three months, it’s natural to notice similarities. Especially when the grooms are brothers. And especially when everyone knows you wrote a blog post about the first one… But Andrew and Keriann’s wedding didn’t really remind me of Matt & Meagan’s. It reminded me of ours. And … Read more

Woman hand weaving a scarf

The ethics of haggling

We established in our last post that we are not good with money while travelling. Some of that came down to not knowing when or how to haggle over prices. Sure, in the markets of Kuta it’s obvious. You want us to pay $25 for a Bintang singlet? Come off it! A couple of bucks … Read more