Are you there world?
It’s me, Jessica.
As I sit here looking at my blank computer screen I [more-or-less] have no idea what to write. Which has been my problem for the last nearly 4 months. That as well as limited time and limited internet. I recently spent a week traveling around the South Island with my LOVELY aunt and uncle and when I off handedly mentioned I fell off the blog bandwagon, they boisterously said “people have noticed!” Now, it’s very possible that the plural in that statement only refers to 2 individuals, since really, you only need more than 1 person to make ‘people.’ And that those 2 individuals may include my aunt and uncle. But regardless of the count, or who it was, this post is for people who have noticed my absence.
My blank computer screen and I are sitting up at the cellar door of the winery I work at. As people drift in and out, tasting and buying the deliciousness that we offer, I am also being treated to samples of the wine. I love my job.
It is sunny, the sea is off in the distance and the wind is rustling the vines. Today is not just a good day, it is a fantastic day. The longer I’m here, the more I fall in love with this country and everything in it. Almost any direction I turn [or drive!] the scenery is amazing, the people are kind and the temperature never seems to get to a Minnesotans standard of cold.
This of course includes what is right beside me.

I mentioned a while back that I had landed a job at a winery. I have stuck around and loved every minute of seeing these vines transform over the last several months.
Hmm – side tangent: Time has passed very oddly here in New Zealand. I think my little personal clock has become pretty tuned to Minnesota seasons after 28 years, so it’s been rocked to it’s core to not experience winter. [Side tangent #2: i’ve been told it was an AMAZING winter to have missed! Can’t say i’m bummed … ] But it doesn’t feel like … March? Yep, it’s already March. And it certainly hasn’t felt like the previous months either. So when I think back to my time here, it feels as though it’s gone by in a blink, but not in the usual blink. I’ve done amazing things and met some amazing people, but there are no meteorological markers like I seem to get back in Minnesota. No heat wave that knocks you over when you step outside. No snow to speak for miles. The weather in Nelson, New Zealand is ‘fine’ 99% of the time.
The point of me noting this is that I have been even more blown away to see these little grapes transform over the year because it literally feels like yesterday that they were this size …
And then this size …
And today they are huge, purple and nearly ready to harvest. I can’t wait.
While I’ve learned heaps about the vines, the process of growing grapes and what a season on a vineyard involves, I can’t say that my wine tasting pallet has improved all that much. Sure, I now smell wine before I gulp it, but that is more or less for show. However, having said that, I have also found an appreciation [and source!] for the good stuff! … I may have to look into upgrading my usual case purchases of Charles Shaw when I return to the states.
Tomorrow we are starting our harvest. We got rocked and battered by the tropical storm that rolled through on Sunday, but it should still be a pretty swell season! I’m excited to embark on a new job that will teach me even more AND give me heaps more photographic opportunities. I’ve already got the classic NZ outfit ready to go – gum boots, tall socks and short shorts. Photos to come as I’m sure I will not only fit in but feel a bit goofy. Until then, here are a few goodies from my time here at Rimu Grove!

Much more at some juncture down the road, I’m sure. I have been asked to provide the photos for their super fancy and super amazing new website, so I’m being a bit selective what i share at the moment. I can’t wait until that’s all said and done as well! It will be pretty rewarding to see my work on there.
Since my daily life seems to be one big adventure, I had a really hard time wrapping my head around how I post updates on what I’ve been up to. As I said last time, it feels so mundane yet so exciting all at the same time. There have been little big milestones like living in a tiny cabin with a view of mountains and the sea and then moving into an AMAZING handcrafted house truck, perched above the estuary right in the middle of the vineyard.
I worked 2 jobs + attempted to have a life until I wore myself so thin I had to give something up. [That ended up being the job at the bar in favor of spending more time with wine. In buckets.]
I got to spend almost an ENTIRE month traveling around and sharing this country with my dad.
Then another week of doing the same with my aunt and uncle.

I borrowed a sewing machine, bought some fabric and whipped up some fabric napkins for the truck. I spent my birthday weekend drinking delicious wine while soaking in my new swimming pool, finally getting my hair cut [THAT was a long time coming!], kayaking, eating great food, celebrating with lovely friends, drinking a MN beer [!!!!] and relaxing like crazy.

I did a MAJOR trip around the South Island stopping at some of the most amazing places. It took 2 weeks, I got to spend it with a great friend who really knows the gems of the S Island, Gladys survived, I didn’t have to drive and I came back to Nelson feeling thankful that I landed here! The entire country is incredible but there is something about here … It’s extra special.

But more on the various trips I’ve done later … I want to let everyone’s photo eyes refresh for some of the amazing sights i’ve seen.
Until then, all my best! 🙂