The Shire, Matamata, New Zealand

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In light of my short two weeks in New Zealand, I almost skipped the north island and went straight to the south island but I couldn't pass up visiting Hobbiton. It was pretty touristy (pricey, getting on a bus and being shuffled around by a hilarious guide from hobbit hole to hobbit hole), but it was well worth it. Absolutely magical! Because they're filming The Hobbit trilogy, Hobbiton is in pristine condition compared to how they left it after shooting LotR. The vegetable gardens are darling, the doors are beautiful and bright, and every detail down to the mailboxes and clotheslines are perfect. It was like I stepped off the bus and into The Shire.
The hobbit holes were actually built quite small to help with the movie magic/forced perspective.
Ahhh I'm hobbit-sized!
Whooooose house?? BAGGINS' HOUSE!
 The party tree
 The view from the Green Dragon Inn.
The Green Dragon Inn, open for business. I had a cider.
Hobbit clothes!! 
 The pub's details were ridiculous and charming!
 The end. See you next time!

Kangaroos, koalas, and wallabies, oh my!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm going to jump ahead and get to one of the highlights of my Australian adventure. I stayed with Lindsey, an American I met while backpacking in Thailand 4 years ago. She's an au pair for a family in Mornington Peninsula which is kind of like Melbourne's version of the Jersey Shore--pretty beaches, relatively small towns and very interesting & rich people. It was nice to get a feel for "residential" life.

Anyway, while doing my research on Mornington, I discovered you could cuddle with a koala at the Moonlit Conservatory. SAY WHAT?!? So after a wild adventure in the car and driving on the left side, Lindsey, her friend Liam, and I arrived at a very small zoo. However, we were not disappointed.
We pet a dingo.
Watched a wombat pass out.
 Fed wallabies. SO CUTE! I think every animal in Australia has the softest ears.
And the $10 additional fee highlight of my LIFE... meeting this guy.
 Homie trying to sneak a peek.
Gah, he's as soft as I hoped he'd be!!
And he smells like eucalyptus!
So so so so happy. Dreams do come true!

That time in Australia when my dreams came true

I will tell you all about it very soon.

Visiting my Lola in Tarlac, Philippines

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

During holy week, the cities become quiet and still while the families reunite in the provinces. I visited my grandma for 5 days in Tarlac on the old chicken farm.
I spent a lot of time painting as there was no internet, but she enjoyed watching me paint.
And boy oh boy does she have stories to tell. Often I'd hear the same one 3 or 4 times each day. They ranged from her childhood, how she was rushed to get married because of the war, how her 10 children were able to go to college because of her "house of eggs" poultry farm, to her travels to Europe. While taking a break from her endless storytelling, I found a container of old pictures, including these gems :)
My mom was adorable!!

Postcards from Abroad - April Update

Monday, April 08, 2013

I'm nearing the last leg of my journey with Australia and New Zealand on the horizon. Big, epic adventures are on the itinerary from trekking thru & helicoptering over glaciers, road tripping from the North to South Islands of NZ in a campervan, wine tasting by bicycle, cuddling with a koala, and visiting Hobbiton. I've been waiting for this part of my backpacking tour and on the 8th, I'll be on my way. Make sure to order a Postcard from Abroad if you want a snippet of the travels!

Here are photos of last month's postcards:
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