exploring edmonton

(1) Transcend Coffee - Tim's favourite so far - (2) We have become frequent users of the LRT system & are now masters!
Daily walk across the park behind my family's apartment. What you can't see here is that in some places the snow is up past your knee!
(1) To the left are the apartments my family are living in - (2) The sunsets here are beautiful!
(1) "Sugarbowl", delicious brunch &completely reminded us of Modaks! - (2) Exploring the University of Alberta.
1) Winter wonderland at University of Alberta

the first week

So I'm currently lying on my bed, enjoying 26 degree temperatures and sipping on a watermelon ale. It's kinda like a beer crossed with a sweet cider, weird but satisfyingly refreshing. Outside its currently -15 degrees and getting colder! I'm attempting to mentally prepare myself for the below -29 degree temperatures due to hit us this weekend. Despite the unfamiliar temperatures, Ari and I have made the most of our first week here in Fort Saskatchewan by playing in the snow, doing quick dashes up the street for (bad) coffee and donuts from Tim Hortons, adventures to snap pictures in the snow, a trip to the largest mall in the northern hemisphere, and most importantlya hunt for the finest coffee Edmonton has to offer.

This week Canada has had some bearably warm temperatures, which has meant we have been able to get outside and experience the snow (and the cold) and adventure to some nearby shops by foot. The snow here is super cool (pun intended) and has a dry, sand-like feel because of the low humidity! The snow isn't wet like we experience in NZ, which theoretically means you could run around the snow in your socks and only suffer from cold feet rather than cold and wet feet, cool huh!? Not that I would ever suggest running around here without shoes on - much too cold for that type of carry on!

A 5.30am start on Tuesday marked our first voyage as we braved the public transport system into the city centre of Edmonton on a quest for decent coffee (and good shopping!). Two bus rides, one train ride and a foot dash down two blocks on a cold morning led us to Credo Coffee. Credo offered high hopes of a decent coffee, serving Intelligentsia coffee and offering a variety of methods, including espresso based coffees and also brewed coffee such as V60 drip coffee. I tried both an espresso and a drip coffee of their current single origin! They were both pretty good and it was definitely the best coffee I've had thus far - However the search will still continue! Ari had her usual Mocha in a takeaway cup - she, on the otherhand, was not impressed at all as the shop used an organic cocoa which didn't cater much for her sweet tooth! 

West Edmonton Mall - the largest mall in the Northern Hemisphere (apparently) was a maze of shops that we found ourselves lost in numerous times! We tried to navigate the mall map to find the shops we wanted to visit (we had spent our time wisely at the coffee shop marking down all the places we wanted to go to) and would have stuck out like a sore thumb I'm sure - much like those first-year students trying to find their way around Otago Uni! Honestly this mall was massive, it contained over a gazillon shops, alongside two amusement parks, hotels, and an ice skating rink... Oh, and during lunch we watched a seal show that happens daily in their water park area! I said it was big! We spent a solid 8 hours there and came out with only one item each that we had bought. It was so overwhelming, the sheer size and selection of the shops that were there made it actually quite hard to buy anything. Needless to say, that we are hoping that now we have experienced this beast of a mall our next visit may be more productive! It was awesome to look around all the shops and get an idea of what sort of things they had though, and we are already keen to head back for round two!

Anyway, we are thinking of everyone back home in NZ, especially those starting Uni this week!

Now... back to my beer :)



snow days are the best days.

happy valentine's day ♡

Happy Valentine's Day! 

We spent our afternoon causing havoc & playing in the snow. It was "warmer" today (it still feels like Antarctica to us), and we managed to spend a good couple of hours outside on and off. We went on our first expedition into the shopping area in Fort Saskatchewan and also had our first Starbucks date :) Feeling thankful that this winter wonderland is still a novelty!

kia ora canada

Things we have learnt so far:
  • Canadian's walk on the other side of the footpath (e.g. we naturally walk to the left of the footpath just like we drive on the left side of the road, but Canadian's walk on the right) and it can cause small collisions between people when not paying attention. Oops.
  • Vancouver has far too many pigeons. Far too many.
  • New Zealand's public transport system is horrible! We took an impulse/spur of the moment trip into Vancouver between flights & caught the "sky train" and it was the easiest public transport we've ever experienced. Seriously.
  • We shouldn't have bothered about bringing any of our clothing from New Zealand as there is no way they are going to be suitable for this Antarctic climate. We were naively under the impression that they would be somewhat appropriate! (A shopping trip will be happening in the very near future).
  • Tim likes Root Beer. Ari doesn't like Root Beer.
  • Sneaking an extra couple of kg's into your carry-on luggage is only ideal when walking from your airport gate to board the plane... not so ideal when navigating the chaotic streets of downtown Vancouver feeling like a pack horse whose limbs are about to drop off..

P.S. We made it to Edmonton!!

the last slice of summer

The adventure has finally begun!

To kick it all off, we spent 4 days in a little place an hour north of Auckland City - Matakana, for my Uncle's wedding. What a cute wee place! The vineyard we were staying at was incredible, as was the wedding venue (Mahurangi River Winery) and the people we met were awesome beyond words. The weekend was full of love, laughter, sunshine, dancing and eating, & welcoming Terri into the family couldn't be a bigger privilege!

Our last couple of days in New Zealand are being spent with Hamish & Amy in Auckland, and we have been busy exploring this city/chasing after good coffee/doing last minute shopping before we jump on the plane! When with Timothy, there is no escaping searching out and finding the best coffee in the vicinity, and Auckland has been no exception. We went to Good One, a cafe that Tim had been following throughout its development and was itching to check out as soon as we got to Auckland. It's in Ponsonby, and was the perfect place to begin our Monday morning. It was so good to be able to sit down and appreciate some good New Zealand coffee before we head to the Northern Hemisphere, where we have consistently been told the coffee is significantly worse than in NZ!

After spending so much time chilling out and relaxing in the sunshine, we are mentally preparing ourselves for Canada & the winter wonderland that comes with it. Whilst we are excited to be thrown into a snowy dreamland, it's going to be hard to say goodbye to our shorts and tee-shirts and hello to our thermals and winter woolies tomorrow!

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