Sunday, 14 July 2013

Winter Wellington, - theatre, sports, walking, storms, meet ups and new friends...

Winter Wellington, from the apartment...
Hey everybody, well it's been a little while since the last post, but there's been a few events and some people that have inspired me, and helped me to remember the benefits of blogging. It's been quite a few weeks since my visitors came, and I've been making a concerted effort to get back into a more regular fitness regime (especially since the weather this winter has turned to an English downpour). So whilst I have been spending lots of time both in and out doors playing both traditional sports like (football & basketball), I've also been trying a few alternatives (turbo touch & gaelic football). I've also been adding a bit of culture to my life... so let me share a story or two.

Phantom of the Opera... my first trip to the most traditional Wellington Theatre (St James Theatre), was never going to be a disappointment as myself and my work mate Jen, took our seats for the showing of the Phantom, which was pretty good, considering the stage wasn't the biggest. It was nice to be back watching big show, sand with 'Wicked' coming up in Auckland in October, I'm getting my musical hit! 
 Basketball Tournament with Special Olympics Wellington... a trip up to a town called Palmerston North (known as Palmy, and the place people seem to make fun of). The reason for going was for a basketball tournament with the fantastic athletes that I volunteer with on a Thursday night. The tournament was a weekend and started out with a very early start 06:40 start. 

Players & Coaches...
Both teams (Wildcats & Tornadoes) played some great Basketball, and more importantly, enjoyed the competition and spending time away together. Basketball is still pretty new to me, but I'm learning to appreciate it more week by week, and I have to say that the athletes help me out much more than I help them. The spirit in our Wellington group is outstanding, with a total acceptance and respect, and it's usually the highlight of my week going to the training. Here's a few pictures from the tournament...
Treasuring the medals!
I got really good at shouting 'defense defense' and 'hands up' whilst patrolling the side line. I think the athletes even listen to me sometimes too!  
Loving the defense!

SPORTS... through one of my fellow volunteer coaches at basketball, (Emma) I've finally been able to find a 'social' football team that I can get a regular game with. So on Tuesday nights I get to play 5-a-side footy in a mixed team, with some odd rules! 
1) You can use the side walls, but not put your hand on the rail side wall (rail).
2) If a girl scores, it's worth 2 apparently... ( a pretty sexist rule in my book).
How can a goal be anything other than a goal? Should it matter who scores?
The girls scoring double points is not limited to football, in a game I have now played twice called 'Turbo touch' (5 team members on a gym court, in a game that mixes rugby, handball and netball), girls 'score' double too. The kiwi's seem to turn any activity into a game/sport of some description, with ultimate frisbee and 'frisbee golf' being just as visible in the sports arena as football, netball and basketball. It certainly keeps people active and keeps me out of the gym. I even attempted a  gaelic football training session, where I didn't embarrass myself too much. Actually, I think I picked the basics up quite well, though as tiredness crept in, my kicking direction went out the window.

As far as watching sports go, we're still in Rugby season, so I've been watching the not so mighty 'Hurricanes' who at their final home game played out a 44-49 loss. I do have tickets to the All Blacks vs Australia game on August 24th which will be amazing!

Meet ups... I'm constantly talking with people, locals, visitors, travelers and clients the amazing variety of 'meet-up' groups around Wellington, and I've been making the most of them recently with the following events: the rugby, Theatre Sports - an improvisation competition, roller derby, Korean meal & Karaoke, outdoor team fitness and a few more to come! Adding to the list of other stuff I've done like an adventure weekend away, gorging, white water rafting and abseiling, sailing, rock climbing, kayaking, outdoor movies, concerts, walks and socials. Anyone coming to visit me, definitely check it out and with it being free to join these groups you could end up doing some amazing things here in the 'coolest little capital in the world'.

WEEKEND WONDERS... This past weekend has been pretty hectic, involving Korean dinner & Karaoke, the visit of new friend, walks with workmates, first time watching roller derby, flight shopping, and the gym to boot! I'm ready for bed!
The korean meal and karaoke was fun, with my usual repertoire of songs, which was followed by a fun night out with a recently made friend - Dayanne, who came to Wellington for a change of scenery as she lives out in the countryside! A late night out with my flatmate Tibo, was followed by a very early morning walk up Mount Kaukau with my work mates Jen, Bob, John & Jen's son and dog. Me & Dayanne were a little worse for wear, but managed the walk, for some pretty spectacular views of Wellington! (See below)...
Jen & Bob on the walk.
Views of Wellington from Mt Kaukau

John enjoying the fresh air! 
Buster (the dog), Me, Dayanne, Bob & John having a picnic!
I was joined by a couple of other workmates for Saturday night's visit to the Roller Derby match between the Wellington team, and an Aussie team from Melbourne. It took a while to work out the rules, which were something like, the scorer (jammer) had to skate past the opposing team, though the opposition can basically try to stop the jammer by blocking with their bodies. All this on roller skates! A series of 2 minute rounds within two 30 minute periods make the match last about 2 hours. Watch the video below to try and make sense of it! 

So that's a pretty sketchy review of the past few weeks, and hopefully gives a quick summary of life in Wellington during my second winter here. 
Congrats to Andy Murray for Wimbledon, and hopefully to the England cricket team, who are one wicket from victory in the 1st test, though Australia are fighting back brilliantly! 

Regards from Wellington,

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