Posted by: Liz | September 19, 2008

Forming connections in the Southern Hemi

I’ve been getting “connected” with New Zealand lately, specifically with my new home in Queenstown. As my parents once told me after we moved from the east side of Michigan to the west side of the state, it takes a while to feel connected to a place, to make a place feel like home. I believe Matt and I are getting closer and closer every week. Each house party, pub quiz, yoga class and BBQ brings us closer to feeling connected to life in the Southern Hemisphere.

As a receptionist at The Crowne Plaza my job allows me to connect with my Kiwi and non-Kiwi co-workers (heaps of them are from Brazil, Australia, England, India and Japan). Each shift we gladly assist our guests and tour groups with their ever present holiday desires.

The Crowne Plaza Queenstown

The Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Last Sunday, Matt and I “connected” with several of my co-workers over a few pints at Monty’s Pub while watching the Warriors (rugby league team based out of Auckland) game. In between hoots, cheers and howls, several of my co-workers tried to get me to use phrases such as, “cheers, bro,” “ya, bro” or “cheers, mate.” We’ll see where I’m at with my Kiwi lingo in a month or two!

I found myself feeling a slightly different kind “connection” last week. Matt and I ventured out in Bongo, as we typically do on our days off, to tour the Central Otago region, once a scene of a mighty gold rush and now famous for wine. It was a rainy day so we decided to indulge in some Pinot and Sav Blanc.

Rippon Vineyard in grapes on the vines yet...

Rippon Vineyard in grapes on the vines yet.

Each winery has a different flavor, taste, smell and feel. Some wineries are fancy with cafes, open fires and lounging areas. Others are more rustic, or down-home. Aurum (which means ‘gold’ in Latin) was by far one of our favorites. Not only did they grow their own grapes and produce their own wine, they also grew olives to make fresh olive oil and walnut trees, just for “a good crack!” Now here’s where the “connection” comes in… The Aurum vineyard is situated on the 45th parallel south. Gaylord, Michigan, a small town en route to my favorite northern Michigan vacation spot, is situated on the 45th parallel north. We used to drive over “the 45th parallel” sign at least once or twice a year growing up. I remember thinking the imaginary line, 45 degrees north of the equator, was a glorious sight.

Diamond Lake hike, overlooking Lake Wanaka

Diamond Lake hike, overlooking Lake Wanaka

With each new Kiwi experience, new group of people and new location we discover, I find ways to “connect.” Often the connection reminds me of a similar experience from home and I hope there are many more to come!

Cheers, mates~


  1. I just happened to sit next to two Kiwis at the Purdue game last weekend! The wife is a veterinarian at Purdue and her husband is in finance in Indy. We had a long conversation about flat whites and how Starbucks just doesn’t cut it!

    We are heading to Oranje tomorrow night and will miss you guys. 🙂

  2. Looking at these pictures made me really, really miss you both. One of these days, I SWEAR, I’ll get internet at home so I can skype with you!

  3. Guys –

    The Lake Wanaka pic is the best to date – wow!
    It gives peaceful and beautiful new meaning!

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