Rugby and Cheesecake in Palmy

There’s something about attending a live sporting event that really makes you feel like you’re a part of the culture.  Maybe it’s the eager crowed all cheering for the home team and sporting team colors.  Maybe it’s the sport food – the “American” hotdogs and chips and beer and coffee.  Maybe it’s the collective roar of the crowd when the team scores and the groan when they lose the ball.  Maybe it’s the mother of four sitting behind you that periodically shouts out things like “SMASH THE LITTLE C***!”

Hurricanes vs the Stormers

Hurricanes vs the Stormers

Last Friday Jake and I and seven other friends had the opportunity to go to a Hurricanes v.s. Stormers (Wellington, NZ v.s. South Africa)  rugby game.  It was a super cool!  We all cheered for the team, waved at “Captin Hurricane” when he came by, sang the “Hurricane song,” (which sounded a lot like “ghost busters”), waved our Hurricane flags, and generally enjoyed ourselves.

Captain Hurricane!

Captain Hurricane himself!

And the fact that the tickets and food were reasonably priced made it all the better!  The Hurricanes lost, unfortunately, but seeing the game live was very cool – way better than just watching it on TV.

Another pretty exciting thing happened this week…but unfortunately I could not partake and was only able to reap the benefits.  A bunch of Atawhai kids, including my flatmates Moses and Katie, left at 6am last Saturday for a fishing trip on the beach.

Katie with the catch of the day

Katie with the catch of the day

The fishing trip took about 15 hours, but I was told that it was a blast!  You need a permit to fish inland, but not on the coast, so beach fishing is a pretty popular pastime.  The number of fish they caught wasn’t astronomical, but it’s quality not quantity that matters, and the fish were delicious!  We gutted and cooked up 2 rather large fish (maybe like a foot long or a foot and a half) and a handful of smaller fish.  Everyone came over with various side dishes, and we made a night of it.  Tasty!

Red Gurnard.  He's a beaut, no?

One of the first catches – Red Gurnard. He’s a beaut, no?

I also whipped up one of my all-time favorite desserts this week – Pumpkin Cheesecake!  I didn’t quite anticipate the improvisations I’d have to do…but it ended up delicious and was enjoyed by many!  The first speed bump was the pumpkin itself.  I was at the store searching the canned vegetable isle for some canned pumpkin, but couldn’t find any.  I eventually asked the nearby store guy for help (I seem to always run into the SAME story guy when I can’t find something so he probably thinks I’m the stupidest American ever).  I asked him where the canned pumpkin was.  He said he didn’t think he’d ever seen canned pumpkin before.  I couldn’t believe this, so as we walked around the isle I pressed further.

“So what do you make pumpkin pie out of then?”

He paused for a second, “Um…with pumpkin.  You cook a pumpkin.”


Long story short, after making a complete idiot of myself, smashing cookies with salsa jars because of a lack of a rolling pin, and settling with a chunky pie texture because of not having a beater, we all enjoyed a deliciously creamy cheesecake last week!

This is not my cheesecake.  Close enough though!  Photo credit:

This is not my cheesecake. Close enough though! Photo credit:

You know New Zealand is a small country when…

You watch New Zealand’s “X Factor” on TV for no more than a half hour and

  • someone in the room recognized a contestant because they taught the contestant math in school.
  • You go to watch “Ironman 3” in theatres and realize you’re sitting two seats away from your Physics professor.
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