sharing an old email

Back in June of 2014, a New Zealander was attacked in Poland and left for dead. I got an email from a Polish resident that day that I saved because it was so sweet. I have no idea who the writer was but I was quite touched by the fact that, somehow (possibly through this blog), I was the recipient of the email. It read:

I just read the news that in Poland in Zakopane was beaten tourist from New Zealand. 

I am ashamed and I'm sorry about what happened in Zakopane. I do not know why some people behave in such a way, why do such things. I am glad that the bandits were apprehended by the police. I hope that the bandits receive long sentences. I also hope that a tourist from New Zealand will also have fond memories of your stay in Poland. 
Probably you do not know this man, but if I could, I would tell him that I am very sorry and I am very sad because of this event. 

Mariusz from Nowy Sacz

It's so nice to know that people are moved by this type of action.

10 years and counting

In July, Hubby and I will mark the 10-year anniversary of my arrival in New Zealand.

After all this time, I still feel guilty by not stopping at every intersection. Although I found that 'yield' signs are few and far between in the US, they are the rule here in NZ.  Most small towns only have roundabouts for traffic control. I have to admit that I do stop at many 'yield' signs out of habit :)

Fortunately, it's been a while since I've walked up to the wrong side of the car, but I still consciously look for the steering wheel sometimes when I come back to the car. :)

I have finally learned that, when we are shopping anywhere, if we need something, just put it in the cart. There are not enough stores shops to compare prices. All the major grocery stores are supplied by only two distributors.

When I moved, here, I knew it would be 'home' for good. I had no idea there would be so many differences in culture but I tried to take it all in stride.

That being said, it doesn't mean I never got frustrated. On 9 occasions, I blogged about my perception of 'rude kiwis'--just blowing off steam, as we all do.  I don't even have the label of 'rude kiwis' in the list on the right because that's such a small part of my life here, but the total views of these 9 posts, as of today, is 24,316 views. One post in 2008 has had over 18,000 views, and still come up in searches eight years later. It has been read many times in the last few days according to Feedjit.

I have a few different thoughts about this particular post. It bothers me that so many people google 'Rude Kiwis' in the first place; it also bothers me that people think this one post sums up my opinion of New Zealand. If you read the posts under the label 'cultural differences' (on the sidebar),  you will see that I tried to adjust with a bit of humor.

New Zealand has only been a colony since 1840, so it is relatively young as countries go. After much discussion, Hubby and I concluded that, theoretically, the country seems to be at the 'teenager' stage and some of the people showing themselves as such. On that particular post, you can see it with some of the comments about selfishness, bullying, the I-don't-make-mistakes syndrome and any other traits that we attribute to kids of that age. Obviously, that doesn't apply to all the people here, just as you can't apply traits to all of the people in any country.

For those that follow my photography blog over at Photographing New Zealand, you know that I find a LOT of beauty here. After all this time, I am still amazed at the sights I see riding down the roads--even the same roads I've been down many times. I have also met some people that are just as beautiful.

I don't usually write posts this long, so, for those who actually read it all, thanks!

Can I have a drumroll, please?!

It's time to announce the winner of the giveaway I mentioned a couple of weeks back! I wish I could send a gift to each of you, as I am truly in awe of your faithfulness, but there can only be one winner.

I considered using one of those on-line randomizer thingies to pick the winner after I had assigned a number to each commenter, but my problem with that sort of thing is that, of the few that I have seen, the first or second person was never picked. So, I did it the old-fashioned way and wrote each name on a piece of paper and coerced asked Hubby to pick one.
And now, without further ado......

the winner is.... Wandering Wren!  

Please email me your address at tenfootheart (at) gmail (dot) com and I will get your gift to you as soon as I can.

Thanks again to all of you lovely bloggers who stop by.

BTW, I have to mention that she was, amazingly enough,  the very first commenter, :)

caterpillars in autumn

I have enjoyed seeing all manner of birds in the garden: to name a few, pukekos, plovers, starlings, magpies, swallows, the occasional kingfisher or two and the latest being a wild pheasant. 

I have, however, noticed the distinct absence of butterflies. In Hawera, just 20 minutes away, we have seen trees covered with them in the park and bushes covered with them at a public walkway. But there has been only the occasional single monarch fluttering past the house.

When I mentioned this to Hubby in early spring, he suggested we plant a 'butterfly garden' with lots of hebes, as the walkway signs suggested. I doubted his wisdom, but he sarcastically quipped, 'If you plant them, they will come' and commenced digging. 

We considered planting swan plants, but the ones we planted in Stratford were chewed to their death in a matter of weeks by the lovely little caterpillars. So we concluded that we would need to cover them the first  year in order for them to be hearty enough for caterpillars and decided against them.

All spring and summer the hebes bloomed but there was no increase in  butterfly activity even though the bees loved them :)

Then, in mid-summer, Missy showed up with two swan plants for my garden and I decided to plant them and wait to see what happens. I waited. And waited. It grew some lovely green leaves and flowered beautifully. And one day, I noticed that one single monarch started to drift by almost daily. Some landed on the swan plants and some didn't.  Then, even though it was already getting into the autumn months, much to my surprise, I noticed one fat caterpillar!

As of today, there were 10 caterpillars of various sizes and the swan plants don't seem to be any worse for wear!

I am delighted beyond belief with the success of  attracting the beautiful butterflies! Of course, I plan to get more swan plants next summer and see if we can change the courses of monarchs in Taranaki!