This morning (not Grant’s birthday – that was last week) I went to go watch Grant teach his Advertising class at Massey. It looked something like this:
(but without the badge and drinks – the above photo was taken at a conference in Germany, but you get the point – podium, sharp dressing, authority!) It was fun getting to watch him do his thing (I get to again on Thursday, he’s giving a talk at Victoria University) – although he said me being there made him quite nervous. It reminded me of when I first started TA-ing at UNC and was SO excited about it that when my mom came to visit me I made her hide in the slide booth in my classroom so she could hear (not see) me teach.
It also made me really, really miss teaching – especially the brilliant kids I had in my perspectives classes who would always talk (poor Grant had more than a few “anyone……? anyone…..? Bueller?” moments). The other big difference was that in the break between the two hours, NONE of his students left the room. My students always fled – but then I realized that was to go smoke. There isn’t a whole lot of smoking in New Zealand – in fact it is one of the leaders world-wide in anti-smoking campaigns. They plan to be a smoke-free country y 2025. Auahi kore, I suppose!
“So”, you may be asking yourself, “what does all this have to do with Grant’s birthday?” Well, nothing! Nothing at all – but, as opposed to Grant’s 30th blowout last year (in which he learned, surprisingly to his delight (if mild anxiety/horror) that everyone close to him is good at lying to him) (I threw him a mega surprise party -including faked crying jags telling him I wouldn’t make it home from England to celebrate with him and a two-day hide out in a Chapel Hill hotel) this birthday was not super, super exciting. BUT it was fun – so I’ll just tell you about it:
So. ever since I was little it has been my family’s tradition to give the birthday person breakfast in bed. This was sometimes a very drawn out affair, complete with hand decorated menus (with a variety of food and drink options!) several trips to the store, and much running around (and, when it was my mom’s birthday, a constant battle to keep her in the bed – more on that later). SO since Grant and I are each others’ new family (all officially and stuff and traditions must be begun/maintained!) I decided that OF COURSE he needed breakfast in bed – so he got these little beauties:
cheesy eggs wrapped in bacon! (plus hash browns, coffee, and grapefruit juice) – it was delicious and Grant liked it but keeping him in bed while it cooked was nearly impossible – I almost had to lock him into the bedroom, and the second he popped the last brekky cupcake into his mouth he flew out of the room to go be productive or some such nonsense. (geez
Then we walked around town for awhile (went to the farmer’s market) and saw some seagulls:
and just took in the general gorgeousness around the harbor:
The highlight of the day was going to Southern Cross for dinner. It was delicious (why is so much of my blog about eating? Well, New Zealand does have amazing food, especially Wellington – it makes Durham look almost un-foodie! ) (Just wait until you see what I had for brunch last Sunday).
Here is a rather bad picture of Grant waiting on his food:
for the starter we had smoked fish and potato balls along with lamb meatballs (the lamb here is, unsurprisingly, the absolutely best I’ve ever had)
Grant knew for sure what he wanted as soon as he asked about it and the waitress said “Oh my…. it’s ……. odd” – he took it as a challenge of course! (I love that he is a very adventurous eater) – this is what the birthday boy got:
ha, ha, ha cross dressing vermicelli! (take another look, you’ll get it) – anyway, he got the “wild food” dish and I’m pretty sure the fact that it came with a beer made him want to get it even more). So what is a muttonbird? We think is might be a seagull. Probably not, but it looked like this (when cooked)
It also came with one of those odd fruits I saw at the market – very tart and bitter but delicious. The muttonbird tasted like a duck and a fish had a yummy baby. Apparently only Maoris can catch Muttonbird, so it is pretty rare to be able to get it. My meal was a bit more boring, but still delicious (lamb shank with creamed silver beet)
A wonderful and really quite cheap (for Wellington) meal! Happy birthday Grant – you are past old now!