Back in Christchurch, we attended a 50th (advertised as 39 + 11) birthday party hosted by the lively Anna Kostic, originally from Serbia. This was a costume party with a theme of "Wild East Meets Wild West". There were lots of cowboys and cowgirls (mostly guys), but also some representatives from the wild east. The birthday cake was announced by bagpipe, played by a man in full highland Scottish regalia. There were a number of Serbian, Croatian and Bulgarian folks there, and also most of our friends from the Farandol folk dancing group.
We hosted Hanna Terwilliger, daughter of friends Ellen and Steve from Eau Claire. We met her at the airport on Sunday after she returned from her school break trip to Australia, and then got her to her bus back to Dunedin on Monday. It was fun to host a high-energy college student overnight - she was happy to be here, with good food, a warm bed and talk of Eau Claire. She was also welcomed to Christchurch by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake during supper - not the biggest aftershock we've felt, but it was one of the longest.
Cindy is a member of the Kiwi Adventure group, a gang of four friends who are all spouses of visiting scholars at the University. They have gone to Ashburton (about an hour away), lunches, movies, op shops (Kiwi for thrift shops), and have explored the bus system, going all around Christchurch as well as out to Lyttleton and Sumner.
"Filling the Tins" was part of the Christchurch Arts Festival. Admission was $5 or a plate (plate meaning plate of baked goods). Cindy of course made cookies, and joined a good sized crowd for stories of New Zealand baking by Richard Till, a TV personality and former restaurant owner.
Rugby World Cup 2011 is being held in cities all over New Zealand. Christchurch was originally meant to be a host city, but a new site had to be found as the earthquakes damaged the local main rugby stadium beyond repair. The New Zealand national team, the All Blacks, has lots of supporters. Christchurch is joining the celebration by hosting a Fan Zone with two large TV screens set up in Hagley Park and a small rugby field / play area for kids down the middle. We went there and watched part of the Scotland vs. Romania game. We are making good progress on figuring out the rules!
Spring has sprung here. Christchurch is the garden city, and we see evidence of that all over town. Large plots of daffodils popped up over the last two weeks in Hagley Park, and we're now seeing magnolias, camelias, cherry blossoms, and other blooming trees and bushes.