In What? Waitakere!!

Sunday, January 09, 2011
Waitakere, Auckland, New Zealand
Yesterday I arrived at the Swanson bus station, where Acushla (Cush) picked me up for my homestay. She is married to Eugene, and they have three kids: Sam (15), Oscar (13) and Ruby (9). They also have three dogs: Doug, Max and Charlie. They have two horses and work from their home doing kitchen remodeling. They are sooooo nice and are excited for me to be here. :)

They live in the Waitakere ranges . It's pronounced Why-take-er-ee. It means "west."  And that would make sense, since we are on the west coast. They are only about 35 minutes from Auckland, but it doesn't feel like it. It feels rural and very quiet. There is no cell phone reception, and tv and internet is via satellite.

This morning they took me for a flat white at the "cafe" on Bethells Beach. Bethells is where the show "Xena" was filmed back in the 90s. It has beautiful black sand and big dunes. It's not full of condos and houses and is virtually untouched, and that's what makes it so lovely. The cafe is a mobile cafe that sells a bunch of stuff, including hamburgers (thank goodness!), flat whites and kumara fries. Kumara is like a sweet potato and when fried, they sprinkle garlic and mayo on them. Totally delicious! I also went with the family today to look at a new horse they are going to buy, "Blackjack." He is a beautiful black mare.

Tonight we are going to grill out and have friends over. Everyone has been so kind and nice and very interested in Wisconsin and the Midwest. They are fascinated about snow and hearing about the Packers. I brought some Seroogy's chocolate for the family, as well as some Andes mints, and they love them. I think we will go to a winery later on in the week. Yay!!

Until next time,
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This looks and sounds great! Enjoy the sun and heat. If you get back to the beach, bring a little sand home for me. We also took Andes mints to South America.

Sue Moore

I'd be very interested in hearing from Ruby since I teach her age level! I'd ask to be e-pals with her class, but I just realized they are probably on summer vacation. A K student teacher at our school just spent a few weeks student teaching in NZ but not sure where. What are the schools like there? McKenzie wants to know if Ruby ever heard of American Girl Dolls?!

Katie G

What does L&P soda taste like?


Ruby says L & P soda tastes like lemonade, but with a fruity taste, and I would have to agree! Kenzie, Ruby has not heard of American Girl dolls. She said schools are"normal." She has 28 kids in her class. Sometimes they have sports for class and sometimes they art. The bus picks her up at the end of her driveway at 8:10. She starts school at 9 am and gets done at 3 pm. Instead of recess, they have "morning tea." They eat snacks, but don't actually drink tea. Then they get to play outside. They don't call garbage trash. Instead, they call it "rubbish." Instead of "ketchup," they say "sauce." Let me know if you have more questions for Ruby and Oscar. You would really like them!!! :)

Mark Merrifield

Putting mayo on fries isn't half bad actually. It's popular in lots of places. Will have to try it with garlic on sweet potato fries. What exactly are flat whites? I've never heard of that. Good to know you're able to keep up with how the Packers are doing!


It's like a capuccino, but without the frothy milk. I add sugar to mine.