Angora Goats

Mohair is the fiber that comes from goats. Angora goats are especially good at growing this fiber. They’re cute. They make funny noises. Ever hear a rude belching noise, or a kid screaming? It could have been an Angora Goat!  

Homestay with HelpX

In Hamilton I had my first homestay help experience. It reminded me a lot of home. Just a sweet couple with a comfortable routine. Their children have already flown the coop, but they keep busy by caring for chickens, ducks, goats, cows, and two dogs.  In the US we would call this a Hobby Farm,…

Crochet Playground

After our beach day, Brother and I asked to be dropped off at the mall. “I don’t want to drive all the way into the parking lot. Is here ok?” our host asked, and pulled over along the side of the mall. “No problem.” We got out and took a shortcut through the park. I…

Couchsurfing in Auckland

Auckland’s accommodation scene is expensive in summertime. I was really grateful to find a Couchsurfing host that would not only let us stay for a few nights, but introduce us to his city at the same time. After my brother and I reunited, we made our way out to the suburbs of Auckland. We had…

Raising a Magpie

Magpies are not well known for their endearing qualities. They can be so aggressive that Sydney has warning signs against surprise magpie attacks. But where Australia has deadly and fearsome animals, New Zealand is perfectly safe. In my experience, that goes for magpies, too. My hosts at the castle were raising a stray magpie chick…

Eutopia Cafe

Kaiwaka is a little town that people pass through on their way from Aukland to the North Shore. It’s a nice halfway point for longhaul buses to give passengers a snack and toilet break. One man dreamt of making it more than that. He built a restaurant marked by domed ceilings, fairies, and dwarves called…

The Farside – a Kiwi Castle

While in Otamatea Eco-Village, I stayed in the Castle on the Farside. It was born by the union of creativity and hard work. I was amazed by all of the skill and time spent over the smallest of details. All of the joinery (trimming) was handmade, mosaic patterns decorated the floor, pillars, and rooftop, and…

kiwis, Kiwis, and Kiwi Fruit

The name for a person from New Zealand is Kiwi. When I first heard this name, the fruit came to mind. “They must produce a lot of kiwis to export,” I assumed, and asked a Kiwi about it. He was very quick to correct me and explain that kiwis are a bird unique to New Zealand. “We…

Otamatea Eco-Village

My first stop in New Zealand was the Otamatea Eco-Village, just two hours north of Auckland. They define themselves as “a community using organic principles to meet our needs and care for the native eco-system.” It’s a group of 15 families living on a river peninsula leading out to the Tasman Sea. Each family is…

Guangzhou: Reshaping my Perspective on China (1 of 2)

On January 2nd, 2017, I flew from Osaka to Auckland with China Southern Airlines. It was my first flight with a Chinese airline. The flight attendants traveled the aisles in bright fuchsia uniforms speaking Chinese, English, and Japanese. They were polite and helpful, but not as smiley as I had seen on other airlines. I…

Guangzhou: Reshaping my Perspective on China (1 of 2)

Many countries have a general disposition toward other countries. For example, how does your country feel about Canada? Or Mexico? Russia? Rwanda? France? Whether or not you agree with your countrymen’s general opinions on each of these, it’s easy to see how history and culture influence the way we think about people from other places….

Cooking in Someone Else’s Kitchen

Everyone has a different approach to their kitchen. There are so many variables, such as what’s kept in there, where it’s kept, and what the space is used for. You can get a very good sense of a person’s eating habits by poking around the kitchen. What condiments are in easy reach? What kind of…