Friday, 31 August 2012

Red, White, and Blue

It's me, your favorite pregnant expat blogger. I have just returned from an amazing trip back to my homeland - USA! Where to begin? So much happened, there were baby showers and funerals, birthday parties and road trips. There was shopping and eating. So much eating.

Here is just a glimpse at the type of foods I ate while I was home. I'm actually surprised I'm still standing or should I say sitting comfortably. Thank goodness for the elastic band know as maternity clothes. This is Adam and me at Fox Brother's BBQ in Atlanta. Mmm I can almost taste the smoked wings now. Imagine trying to get in your favorite American "treats" that you would normally eat over the course of a year, except I ate them over the course of three and a half weeks.

What happens you might wonder, when one hasn't eaten fast food for 8 months and then eats Chick- Fil-a and Five Guys in the same day? I'll save you all from your at home experiments and tell you that it doesn't end pretty. But being the survivor that I am I persevered, and was eating apple fritters in no time.

Speaking of food, I love that before I left I asked my favorite barista at my local coffee shop if he wanted anything from America while I was home. His response, "Well I have always wanted to try a Twinkie, I've seen them in the movies and always wanted to know what they were like." That just tickled me pink. Done and done. I had to break the news that I had never been a Twinkie fan but that  I would definitely bring him one back. Twinkies, along with 150lbs of stuff came back to New Zealand with us. I mentioned I did some shopping right? Most of it was baby related, gifts and hand me downs but ooh I got so much good stuff!

I had two fabulous baby showers thrown for me when I was home, one in Atlanta and one in Knoxville. Thanks to all the fabulous hosts who made it happen. So much fun:

w/ my  Mom

And, how could I forget:

Taylor and Evan Cope

We found out the same day we flew home so it was really fun to be able to tell everyone in person. My niece and nephew know how to do it up. Hope our kid comes out half as cute as these little ones. I wish I could say I was surprised but I had had two girl dreams prior to finding out so I was happy to know that my women's intuition was on point.

As the song goes, First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage. While we were home we got to take a walk down memory lane and eat the top tier of our wedding cake, which my mother had so kindly preserved in her freezer for the past year. I was excited to indulge in this 1st year anniversary tradition and was surprised at how good it still tasted.
This post isn't ending any time soon so this is when you might want to get your own piece of cake, or  grab a cup of tea or a stiff drink. One of of the most notable things that happened during my trip home was the passing of my grandmother, know affectionately as Gran C. Gran C was my Dad's mom and I had the pleasure of visiting with her the day before she died, which was amazingly on her 96th birthday. Here is a shot of us last Easter, before I moved:
What's incredible is that my Dad had originally wanted to make the trip to Murfreesboro on Wednesday, her actually birthday. Well I explained that I was having a baby shower that day and wanted to go the day before, so we ended up going down on Tuesday. After spending the day with her, reminiscing with cousins, and catching up as best we could (she was almost 96 after all!) I headed home. I was awoken the next morning to find out she had passed away.
While she was not in great health, she was not sick, and certainly when I left that day I didn't think she would die hours later. I tell you though, I can't even really be  sad, because when you live literally on the other side of the world and come home once a year, it is nothing short of a miracle that I got to see her.
Adam's sweet grandmother, Rosalie, passed away shortly after we moved here and it was heartbreaking not to be able to go home and be there with his family. So not only did I get to see Gran C, but I also got to attend her funeral in Sparta, Tennessee the small country town where she grew up. To find out more about this extraordinary woman click here:
Obituary For: Mary Kate Cope | Woodfin Funeral Chapels

Post funeral, Adam and I headed up to his family's mountain house in Blue Ridge, GA for some much needed R&R with good friends.

 w/ Kelly and Mary Swanson

It was a quick trip but so fun. We got married up there so it has a special meaning for us. We tubed the Toccoa , which is basically just floating down the river in an inner tube and unlodging yourself when you get stuck on a rock. It is very fun and a must do whenever we go up that way. We also ate at Harvest on Main, which is where we had our rehearsal dinner and is always fun to visit. Mmm fresh local trout:

Before dinner we hit up the The Vine, a great little wine bar. It was a perfect summer night. We sat on the patio and between the bluegrass music, the train in the back, and the company I was brought to tears. Literally.

Adam w/ Kris Swanson

The night ended with Kris, Kyle, and Adam putting on a fireworks show for us. And anyone else that had previously been trying to sleep. One of the highlights of being home in general was just spending time with people that had know me longer then a few months. It's one of the things I really miss about living here. I have met some awesome people in New Zealand, but no matter how great someone is it's hard to replace people you have history with.

With that in mind, my last US stop was San Francisco. Adam went on to Auckland, (someone's gotta work around here) and I headed to the City by the Bay. Talk about history. I lived out there for 8 years and some of my very best friends are still there. Not to mention that I just love that city. Always will.

I got to spend quality time with so many people that I love. Here are just a few shots from the week:

w/ Rachel Holbrook

w/ Nicole Howell Neubert and Mallary Walker

w/ Mal

w/ Caroline Casper

There are lots of fabulous people missing from these pics who I had a great time catching up with as well. My friend Julie from college even drove over 4 hours just to see me for one night. It was an incredible trip home. I have to say a special thank you to Adam's family and mine for going above and beyond to make our trip home so wonderful. And of course Air New Zealand makes the 12 hour flight  feel like a breeze. Wow, I sound like I'm giving an acceptance speech for the international travel award I didn't recieve.

It really does help that we get to fly the good stuff. I actually slept for 9 hours and awoke to warm croissants, fresh fruit, and a hot towel. Seriously it's like a vacation in the sky. Before I knew it I was in Auckland. I found it amusing that when I first got on the plane, the man next to me asked in an unfamiliar accent if I would like to switch seats with him, asking me, quote "do you prefer the middle?"

Really? Do you take me as a fool? Do you know anyone that prefers the middle?? If you are going to ask, which is fine, at least preface it with, "I know this is crazy but..." I kindly said no, I do not prefer the middle and I'm pregnant and requested an aisle so that I could walk around and go to the bathroom a lot. Luckily, he found an empty seat and moved to his own private Idaho.

As great as it was to be home in the US, it was also great to come back to my New Zealand home. I'm more appreciative then ever of the life we have here - the natural beauty, the ease of things, the laid back culture, the just me and my honey on an island in the pacific. And of course that other little thing we have going on:

6 months today!


  1. You look so great :-) I'm glad that you had such a wonderful time in the States. How amazing that you were able to see your grandmother just before she passed away. I read her obituary and she sounds like she was an amazing woman :-)

  2. Congratulations on the baby girl!!! :)

  3. So excited for you Katie! Glad you had a fulfilling trip home and hope the next 3 months are full of rest and relaxation. You make an adorable mother-to-be and I know you will be an amazing mommy! xx kelly