Tuesday, January 1, 2013

An International Christmas with Ortzi, Bryant & Olivia

Ortzi &Andrew replacing the hothouse plastic  cover with shadecloth
Ortzi came to Australia from the Basque region of Spain as part of a study trip to investigate sustainable developments in Australia and New Zealand. He managed to include quite a number of interviews and visits into his short trip, including a few days at Tenderbreak. He has been teaching at a university at home and gained a small grant to fund the trip, so only had a limited amount of time to complete his research, which he intends to publish when he returns home.
Ortzi, Bryant and Olivia fetching our Christmas tree

Ortzi was a ball of energy and worked so fast and efficiently that sometimes we had trouble keeping up with him. Within a day we had cleared the over- grown sides of much of our long driveway- a job that would have taken us a week to do alone. 
Ortzi & Liss decorating the tree
A few days after he arrived here, two other helpers also joined us. Bryant and Olivia are originally from Florida, US, but have been living and working in New Zealand and were also interested in sustainable lifestyles.  
We all shared similar interests and passions and within a short time we had developed a close friendship. Everyone was blessed with a good sense of humour and our discussions and tales of the past were filled with plenty of fun and laughter. Ortzi, Bryant and Olivia enjoyed their time together so much that they have arranged to meet up again in New Zealand to catch up on their respective adventures. 

Liss, Sal & Ortzi preparing the feast
As their visit coincided with Christmas it was a very international affair for us this year. Our celebration actually started on Christmas Eve when we had a Christmas Eve supper supplied by our son Greg. It was a great evening of conversation, laughter and good cheer and continued well into the evening. Then it was all hands on board early on Christmas morning, to get ready for lunch. We had a total of 16 family and helpers coming for Christmas lunch so there was plenty to do. Ortzi, Bryant and Olivia helped shift the furniture, arranged a series of tables into a super long table, set up and decorated our very Australian Christmas tree (a young eucalypt sapling) and helped Heather prepare the food.
Enjoying Christmas dinner

After our sumptuous meal and a leisurely afternoon, we took Ortzi to the local station so he could travel to the airport to catch his late night plane to NZ for the final leg of his research trip. We continued on for a family gathering and more food, drink and conversation at Andrew’s brother’s place. The next morning we all had a much needed sleep in and then enjoyed a restful Boxing Day.
Ready for work!

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