4 Years in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

My family and I went to mass early today in order to celebrate our 4th year in living here in New Zealand. We went to Tyburn Monastery in Bombay Hills. Their chapel is a nice, little, serene place, with white walls and a fresh, green roof. Once in the inside of the small chapel, you’d instantly feel the solemnity of the place. The nuns who reside their begin songs of prayer at around 9am. Their songs are simple, but their voices sound angelic as it echoes through the polished, wooden interior. There is a nice man always helping and setting up the song books, telling us which page to turn to and what verse to sing. We love the priests too because their sermons are insightful, and not boring!

Going to Tyburn is always quite a sacrifice because we all have to get up early. We leave the house before 8am to make sure that we arrive just in time for the hymns. I know lots of Filipino families go there, because somehow, Tyburn has been known as a miracle church… so before we got our residency, we always went to Tyburn for Sunday mass. Every now and then we come back, just to give thanks and for all the blessings.

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After mass, we decided to head on to Takapuna (one of my favourite places here!) to have brunch. We ate in Takapuna Beach Cafe, a cafe part of Metro’s Top 50 Cafes, and is also known for its Award Winning Gelato in 2011. The place is very popular because it’s the only cafe near the beach. Asides from the gelato, it offers a range of delectable pastries, coffee, and meals good enough for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The cafe is open until 8pm (which is says a lot, considering that it’s a cafe…and most shops here close by 5pm).

We had to wait for what felt like 30 minutes to be seated. We were given a beeper in the shape of a lobster to let us know when a table is ready. The waiter was really nice and accommodating, so I didn’t mind waiting that much. Besides, waiting isn’t so bad when you have brothers. We entertained ourselves by looking at the clouds, talking about bringing a rock home, putting a party hat on it, and then stating that “Party rock is in the house tonight…” … and making fun of the word “hummus”.

Yeah, we’re quite crazy like that

We finally got seated and we started with ordering drinks. Josh had the house iced chocolate, my dad, Gino and Julian got the house hot chocolate, while mom and I both got cappuccinos. Our coffees were normal coffees…they were good! It’s just that you should see the chocolate beverages…we were awed by their presentation! Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to entertain us…but still! You got a bottle of milk, delicious concentrated chocolate in your glass, and some chocolate chips. You decide how to mix it all up! Joshua’s one actually looked like chocolate ice cream, so he ended up with a chocolate shake! It was cool.

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For our meals, Josh and I had the Eggs Benedict with crisp bacon (I had an extra side of mushrooms too…yum!). My mom got the pancakes with almond butter, candied lemon mascarpone and bacon. My dad had the grilled king salmon, folded free range eggs, and homemade croissant loaf. Gino had the homemade maltese pork sausage, braised lentils and onion rings. Julian had the 24-hour slow cooked beef cheek burger, fried shallots and truffle mayonnaise, with hand cut agria chips. Whew, writing this all up is making me hungry again!

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On the whole, although it was a gray day, we had a really good morning and a delicious afternoon. One of the very many things to be thankful to God for.  🙂

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