Oticon Vs ReSound…Which One Did I Choose?

Luckily, I was able to take home two hearing aids for two weeks.

My first visit involved an audiogram update which has not changed since my last one in 2013. Ha. I still have bilateral profound hearing loss. It’s not going anywhere people! Not yet anyways. We discussed hearing aid options and finances.

I came back in two weeks to try two different brands of hearing aids on. That process included tuning the hearing aids to a specific program that meets my hearing loss needs by a computer program. Pretty cool stuff here. With ReSound, they had to max out with the decibels. Oticon was pretty simple to do somehow. Both were programmed to my needs and I was able to get my ears impressed for the new molds at the same time. The goal was to see how and which one works better for me and return one brand in two weeks. And pick up my new ear molds.

I started out wearing ReSound leaving the office with tears of joy over how clear and how much I’m hearing. It’s also an overwhelming process. I do this every time I get new ones. I’m also hella emotional okay? ReSound has Bluetooth that’s very easy to use. I could use my iPhone to control the sounds, background noises and music. Simple right?

Oticon was not. It came with a streamer that’s like a remote and I had such a hard time trying to play music with it. I was very hesitant with it. “Why can’t it be simple?” It’s simple if you wear it less than 3 feet from you. Roll eyes. BUT…it’s way louder and is better for me. It definitely got overwhelming at first. I first wore it to work on the loudest day of the week and I had headache from 7 am in the morning til my shift ended at 5:30 pm. I was like hell no.

ReSound definitely did not eliminate the wind noise I was having from running one day. On a second thought, it also has been super windy lately!! It was constantly bugging me. The weather would be extremely nice out to open the sunroof and let the windows down….I could almost not hear music because of the damn wind. I’m like “my audiologist will fix it.” There’s programs for it. I think? Nope.

Oticon definitely had feedback. I’m hoping it’s a small thing and will go away with new ear molds. Eventually, I got the streamer to work and ran with it tucked in my sports bra. No wind in my ears. Just music. Loved it. It’s even clear. I realized that I don’t always need the Bluetooth streamer. I would use it mostly for travel. Which means I don’t have to wear those painful headphones that can bruise my ear cartilage leaving it red for days!

Looks like I’m going to need new workout gear with side pockets to hold my streamer and iPhone.

There we go. I said it already.

I went back and returned the ReSound brand. The new ear molds seems to help a lot with the feedback.

To be honest, I feel pretty good about the Oticon. The world is crazy loud and it’ll take some time to get used to. It’s also something I’ve worn in the past. These were the first brand I ever wore when I first got hearing aids. So they had a special place in my heart and worked best for me. Ta da!

Just Strong

It’s a struggle when everyday society expects you to look a certain way. Let it be the media, being a professional athlete, dancer, or just in life. I’ve been seeing a lot of women on social media comparing themselves to others and it’s daunting!

Growing up, I always saw being skinny was perfection. Mind you, I was surrounded by professional dancers that had bones sticking out. I used to idolize that. I used to see that I needed to look like that. Be smaller.

Thanks to CrossFit, I found my way out of that hurdle and see food as fuel for your body and weights to keep me healthy. It makes me feel strong, capable, and has taught to appreciate and love my body in ways I never thought I could.

While I’m in a significantly better place, I still struggle and by no means am perfect or have it all figured out.

Today, people see muscles on women as gross, steroid looking, fat, too big, unhealthy, you name it. I’ve heard it all.

When is there going to be a day when women stop body shaming others instead but lift and bring each other up. Sadly, it’s an issue for women who are just naturally skinny as well.

I’m here to show that you’re not alone if you’ve struggled with body image or self love.

There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people be inspired by how you deal with your imperfections. Strength comes from within.

Have faith in your abilities. Self-realization and success comes from having confidence. Believe in yourself. You are stronger than you think you are. Stay humble.

Here’s to all you ladies out there. Don’t stop doing what you love. Be proud of your strength!

I’m excited to be a part of Just Strong. I love their message for the ladies. Visit http://www.JustStrong.com and use the 10% off discount code: AMANDAZUB10 when you check out.

I may be compensated through my affiliate links in this post to help with expenses to keep my blog going. All opinions are my own.

5 Things For 5 Years

Can someone pinch me?

It’s been 5 years since we said “I do”. I’ve grown up so much since we met at 22, him at 28. I’ve learned so much and respect him even more as I get older.

We bought two homes, I went back to school full time while working full and part time jobs, added Nikki to the pack, traveled to places we’d never imagined going, and a whole new career for me.

We sure do have our ups and downs. We’re stronger today than we were five years ago and continue to learn so much more about each other as we grow.

5 things we learned:

1. We learned to leave work at work. We both work tirelessly all day long and it’s so important to come home and be there for each other whether it’s working out in the garage, discussing plans for the future, playing with the dogs, going over life things such as bills and what nots.

2. We learned to communicate our feelings. I’m the type of person that really wishes he would understand what I’m going through without having to tell him how I’m feeling. He’s the type of person that would rather not talk about his bad day and go straight to his phone or watch TV. Now, we’re open to our feelings rather than assuming and communicate them before blowing up.

3. We’re more supportive of each other’s hobbies. I see how happy it makes him when he hangs with his friends or works out alone. I respect that more and more and encourage him to do more of that. When he does that, I have time for myself! Let it be a night to hang with friends, a solo workout in the garage, a nice bath soak, watch my own TV shows he won’t watch with me and even a weekend away. It’s a bonus when the dogs cuddle with me more when he’s not around. 😉

4. We learned to be 100% honest about everything. Don’t let it sit and build to become a problem. Period.

5. Patience. I talk about my struggles often. I know he has his struggles with a deaf wife. It takes a ton of patience to wait for your wife to put her hearing aids back on, repeat multiple times to make sure she understood a word in New England language. It takes a lot of patience to do the necessary phone calls for your wife because they don’t communicate via email or chat, etc. It takes a ton of patience to put yourself in her shoes so you can somewhat get an idea of what it’s like to struggle with hearing loss. It takes even more to agree to disagree about how red meat should be cooked. 🙂

Cheers to a lifetime of shirtless dancing, heavy squats, and high fives.

Photo Credit: Brandon Malone Photography

Our Wedding

Wedding Interviews

End of the Night Finale

That Deaf Girl from MTV….

“Were you on MTV?”

This question still shocks me to this day. It’s been probably almost about 10 years since it aired. How do people still remember me?

It is probably an interesting story? No? Maybe? It still blows my mind this happened.

It was so random. I came across a deaf newsletter I used to get weekly. Remember those MTV True Life episodes? They were looking for deaf individuals. Long story short, I shared my story that I was about to audition for an NFL cheerleading team and next thing you know the film crews were here.

What is going on?! What am I supposed to do?  Why did I respond to that darn newsletter? Why did they pick me? Why me? I had no clue how I was going to continue to go to my classes, go to my pom squad practice, do homework, hang with my friends and get ready for an audition with a camera in my face constantly.

I had no problem being in the stage spot light growing up but when you’re faced in front of cameras that follows your every move and words…shit, that was a daunting process. It was unnerving because I curse a lot and felt like I really had to keep to myself.

Face it. It’s a reality show where you expose such a vulnerable part of your life. I hate crying in front of people. Who does? I really thought they weren’t going to air the show. It was a possibility. Either they were going to replace my character with another person or not air anything all together. I didn’t feel good about how I did presenting myself. My story wasn’t that great.

It aired.

I had a lot of mixed responses. Some great, some not so great. Some were inspired and some were disgusted.

Why not so great?

I’m deaf with hearing aids using oral speech and don’t use sign.

It still poses a problem today. What people think I should be doing…whether is to stop using oral speech or get cochlea implants or blah blah blah and the list can go on…is their issue. And most importantly, none of their god darn business.

The whole point of having the opportunity to be on MTV’s True Life was to show I’m just like many of you. Striving to find her place, over coming huge obstacles daily, that anybody, ANYONE, can achieve what they want to do and just BELIEVE.

It did open doors for me and opened my eyes to a world of bigger possibilities that I never thought I’d be in today.

Full episode below.

MTV’s True Life: I’m Deaf

Favorite Eats From My Travels

We all love traveling. There’s sight-seeing, meeting new people, the ability to take shameless wine tours, and let’s not forget about the endless amounts of instagram posts. But the best part of all is the food.

You discover foods you’ve never tried before.

If you’re ever in Auckland, New Zealand:


It is such a unique ice cream shop. Seriously so good. Amazing. The most artistic ice cream creation I’ve ever seen. All of their flavors are incredibly so delish. I’m drooling as I’m thinking about the ice creams I had. Plural. I went back twice. It’s that good. Fresh. Creamy. So damn artistic and too pretty to eat. Everything you’d want in an ice cream. Best part of this trip.

Brew On Quay

We had their Green Lipped Mussels. Oh. Em. Gee. It was in coconut curry sauce. I’ve never been a big fan of curry. But now I think that’s changed. Green Lipped Mussels are native to NZ and are bigger, flavorful, and way better than the kinds we get in America. Sorry sad but true.

Mojo Coffee

We flocked there after a workout nearby Crossfit Newmarket. Maybe 3 times. Not only do they have amazing cold brew coffee but such good yummies! It’s full of baked goodies and delicious savory breakfasts. They have locations all over Auckland and 1 in Chicago actually. Hmm, might have to make a short trip back to enjoy another one of their coffee and breakfast in Chicago!

If you’re ever in Sydney, Australia:

Fish Bowl

It’s too bad their website isn’t working at the moment. Truth is, I’ve never had a poke bowl. It’s basically sushi in a bowl. They had a menu of different bowls including options to create your own. It was surprisingly so good, yet so filling! I’m on a hunt to find one at home. Scratch that. I’m going to do this homemade soon.

Two Good Eggs Cafe

We found this cute little gem of a cafe by our hotel. Probably the best coffee I’ve had in Sydney. It’s located in Surry Hills. Everyone was super friendly. We went there three times, first was just for the coffee. Their meals really hit the spot. Cool atmosphere. And really awesome coffee.


They have several locations but this one was at Bondi Beach. The reviews online had me wanting their hot cakes. They were famous for their ricotta banana pancakes that has honeycomb butter on top. It was literally heaven on earth. It was a huge plate and could be shared with another person but I devoured the whole thing. I washed it down with some passion fruit drink that was so perfect in every way. Again, heaven. Side note: you should probably make reservations. It was that busy.

If you’re ever in Cairns, Australia:

Little Loco

They don’t have a website but you can follow them @littlelococafekitchen on Facebook. We were in Cairns for such a short time. Only to scuba dive. We stopped at this cute outdoor spot and grab a light lunch before heading over to the lagoon pool to kill time before our next flight. Their menu comprised of such light and healthy meals. I grabbed an açaí bowl and Justin got a salad with sweet potatoes and grilled chicken. Perfect light lunch without feeling like a hippo in your bathing suits. Did I mention they were too pretty to eat?!

If you’re ever in Malolo Island, Fiji:

Basically, you need to stay at Likuliku Lagoon Resort to savor every single fresh amazing meal on the menu that changes constantly daily made by the incredible resort chef who we had the pleasure of meeting during their Kava Ceremony. She never disappoints. Sorry not sorry. Yes, I included some of my favorite drinks.

I’m not a huge fish person but is it weird I’ll eat anything on vacation?

Highlights from Malolo Island, Fiji

It’s about 30-60 min boat ride from Denarau Port to Malolo Island. It really depends on the type of boat.

We arrived and were introduced with Fijian band playing music, a beautiful Fijian lei and a refreshing sweet tea drink. It was 10 pm at night. We were famished, even though they stopped serving dinner at 9:45, they were extremely nice enough to let us have something to eat before we checked in.

Nonetheless, we were served a 4 course meal. Amazing.

Yep. That’s octopus.

We got a lesson on their language. Bula “hello”, Moltha “goodbye”, Vinaka “thank you”.

It really is paradise here. I’ve been to a lot of places around the world and nothing compares to this magical paradise. The service, the friendliest staff around, the food, everything is top notch.

I felt like I was in a dream the whole time…waiting for someone to pinch me.

I’m so glad we decided to spend the last leg of the trip after a 10 day tour of Australia and New Zealand and unwind for a couple days here at Malolo Island, Likuliku Lagoon Resort. Our room was over the water. With the best views of other Fijian islands possible. It was amazing. I could not wait to go swimming. But, swimming at night wasn’t advised. I waited like a good mermaid should and went in the morning.

The resort is the first ever and only to offer over water bungalows in Fiji.

We spent our first day snorkeling off our bungalow. We had so many fishes, stingrays, sharks, eels, even squid and beautiful corals. It’s quite possibly the best reefs I’ve seen next to the Great Barrier Reefs.

Second day here, we decided to rent a jet ski, tour and snorkel at some of the islands.

We went to the island Modriki where the movie “Cast Away” was filmed. We snorkeled there as well. We jet skied by the island Manu where the TV show “Survivor” is being set up for production. Finally, we went to Honeymoon Island where we jumped off the skis and snorkeled for quite a bit. From what I understand is only guests of the two resorts (Malolo Resort and Likuliku Resort) can snorkel around it.

Modriki is the island to the far left behind us.

The owners of Likuliku (from what I understand) owns Malolo Resort (kid friendly) and Honeymoon Island. Phew!

Honeymoon Island behind us

Honeymoon Island is behind us.

45 rooms here. Adult only. 10 bungalows and the rest are beachfront. One pool. Some of the beachfront rooms have a small pool. (Not sure if all beachfront rooms have one.) One restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner all inclusive. Food is amazing here. But so are the drinks! (Drinks are extra.) They worry about food allergies. The menu is different every day. SO GOOD. Fresh. Mostly seafood.

We enjoyed their local beer, Fiji Premiums and Golds. Also, Vonu beer which is Fijian for Sea Turtles.

Everyone here is super friendly and says Bula. Every day.

I even got to meet their mascot, Coco. She’s a yellow lab. Legit loving her life. She gets to play ball on the beach, dig in the sand, swim all day, and gets butt rubs from strangers.

They have an awesome iguana sanctuary.

Breakfast was from 7-10. Lunch 12-2 and dinner begins at 7. We’re served different snacks in the room in between. Different varieties of fruits, one day was sushi and other was some sort of a delicious bread and dip. Holy moly.

Justin got to play rugby with some of the staff members.

We even joined in on a Kava Ceremony. It’s a drink made from the roots of a pepper plant. It makes your lips and tongue go numb and bring you a sense of relaxation. It may not be for everyone. Just saying.

It’s really a magical place. 3 days was not enough. I learned so much about their culture. I was so sad leaving. This was truly an amazing trip. One I will never forget.

If anyone gets an opportunity to do a trip like we did here in Fiji, you won’t regret it. We were living the dream…


Back to reality.

Mind you, we just did Saturday twice.

Be Like Them…

Or Nikki. Or Jameson. Or Charley….

I know a lot of people think I’m a crazy dog lady. But….

They cuddle.

They love unconditionally.

They know when you had a bad day.

They’re so excited when they wake you up. Even when you think you should sleep in.

They love meal time. Especially the homemade kinds.

They don’t care you stepped on their paws by accident.

They keep you warm.

They give you endless kisses.

They greet you at the door with the biggest tail wags that it moves their spine. The biggest grin that may look the scariest but it’s not. The lovely way the bark with excitement.

They’re thankful in many ways.

Be like them.

Be like Nikki, Jameson and Charley.

I remember when I first got Charley. I was home from college for the weekend. It was my 21st birthday. I knew I really wanted a puppy. Someone who would hang out with me while I studied. Someone who would keep me company. I grew up with an amazing golden retriever. He was the best family dog. My brother named him Sprocket after that show “Fraggle Rock”.  Now, I lived in a small apartment about 15 minutes from campus which required a dog under 50 lbs at the time. I knew I wanted someone small anyway. Id have to travel a lot and move eventually.

My mom and I listed all the pros and cons and somehow came across “Maltipoos for sale” in a newspaper. At first, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if I wanted to rescue a dog or “buy” from a “breeder” at the time. We drove an hour to meet this breeder and realized this puppy was in the corner of this dirty crate, shivering like a leaf, alone. Everyone else was adopted but him. I don’t recall how long it’s been since he’s been alone but I knew he was mine. I swooped up this 2 lb white apricot fur-ball and signed all the papers. I bought him home. Poor puppy was terrified.

I named him Charley. Let’s just say he was special. He saved me from an almost fire. He hated the boys (he really did). He’s woken me up many times for class when my alarm wouldn’t do it’s job. He survived a car accident on I-95 and two dog attacks.

He’s also very bossy. 9 lb feisty ball of fire.

It was very early in Justin and I’s relationship. I used to bring Charley down with me every weekend. He always slept in the middle. One day, Justin wanted a dog of his own. I’ll never forget the day he bought Jameson home.

These two were inseparable. He would go to work with Justin every single day. Charley took some time to warm up. He was 3 years old at the time. It was a guy thing. I’m better than you stuff. Boys being boys.

We got married and wanted a dog of our own together. We just love dogs and always believed in rescue dogs. Justin met one of my dad’s dog who was a rottweiler and was set on that type of breed. We came across FOHA and saw that they were having this special on black dogs. It’s kind of sad black dogs are overlooked because of their color. Jameson was already black and we never saw it as an issue. We decided to go to the shelter and walk around. They brought out Nikki who Justin wasn’t really fond of at first. She was supposed to be half rottweiler and half doberman. There was just something different about her. She was so full of life and was so excited for a leash. She still is to this day. Her and Jameson hit it right off and were like two peas in a pod. Honestly, she was terrified of Charley. Charley wouldn’t like one thing she did and would chase her around. It was so cute.

We were approved to adopt her and bought her home just in time for Christmas. She was three years old at the time. She had never been in a home. She had serious food aggression from all those years bouncing from shelter to shelter. She was always behind those cages and weighted in at 55 lbs when we got her. Slowly, we realized she never knew real love and needed a ton of patience. She also ran away from me once, went 100 feet, looked behind (I remember thinking I was going to lose her forever) and thought about it for a minute. I’ll never forget this but I had my arms out reaching and calling her to come back. It was freezing with rain that night. The pavement was so icy you could tell there was black ice.  The next thing you know, she came running back into my arms. I was in tears.


5 years later, they’re all a pack. They give each other snuggles and lots of kisses. Maybe a hump over there. Ha. Anytime, one has to leave for the vet or such, the others will cry and it breaks my damn heart. They  have their sibling rivalry days but always came back as family.

Truth is, rescue dogs are the best breeds. Even though Charley was from a breeder, he rescued me. They need patience and time. They constantly need training. They need food and roof over their head.

At the same time, they know a disability with no judgement. Each of them have their own ways of letting me know the deal when I’m home alone. Someone is outside, they’ll bark. Something is wrong in the house, they’ll lead me to it.  Fire alarm going off, they’ll stand under it. They need to go outside, they’ll talk and lead me to the door. If I’m sleeping, they’ll nudge me with their cold wet nose and wake me up for their needs. Dogs are smart. They simply want love and will love you back ten times more than to the moon and back.

Happy National Puppy Day!

Highlights from Cairns, Australia

We got here around 11 pm and couldn’t find a restaurant that’s opened. It was pretty dead in the city. It made me pretty nervous. Is there a zombie apocalypse happening?

We ended up running into a bar manager at an Irish pub nearby with a real fresh huge shiner on his left eye which had me wondering something must’ve happened St. Patrick’s Day….hmm.

We found the only place that was opened AND serving food. Man, their Pho is so good. (The kitchen closes pretty early in Australia FYI.)

Nonetheless, it is such a fun city. Completely different from Sydney.

The next day, we got to dive the Great Barrier Reefs. My dream came true. It’s everything I imagined. Pristine, beautiful, colorful corals with abundance of fish. Although, it poured all day and visibility was pretty low. It didn’t stop us from diving.

Having a scuba diving certification has its perks. We were able to dive the second stop. Just the three of us, including the instructor from the boat. I can’t handle it. It was even better at the Sudbury Cay. Sun came out just for a little bit! The underwater pictures don’t do it justice. You really need to see it in real life.

The Great Barrier Reef is simply amazing. It really is a world of wonders. It’s the largest living thing on Earth inhabiting more than 1500 fish species that live on the Reef. I had no idea it is greater in size than the UK, Holland and Switzerland combined. (I have some videos. Expect to see them on my YouTube soon.)

One thing checked off my bucket list. Happy girl here.

Last night, we stumbled into a bar that bought back memories of college. Too fun!

It’s definitely a spring break slash backpackers location.

We also learned it’s illegal to serve shots or anything over a certain percentage after midnight or it’s a $12,000 fine. Uhhh, what just happened here?

Also, if you’re asked to leave and refuse. It’s an offense. Pay up $2,750!

On our last day, we ended up shopping, grabbing a lunch and took a dip at their Lagoon. It’s really hot here. Do I need to remind you how extreme the UV rays are in this area?

Back in Sydney for the night. Hopefully, that outdoor asian fusion place is open. We’ve been eying it all week!

Tomorrow. Fiji.

Highlights from Sydney, Australia

P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney Australia…

You need to watch the Disney Movie “Nemo”. I’m making my husband watch it when we get back.

Everyone here are dog lovers. Doggies galore! It was kind of refreshing. I miss my pups.

First thing we did when we got here was see a Rugby League game. Roosters vs Bulldogs won 30-12. Wow. Lots of blood action.

Our hotel was in Surry Hill. Very bohemian area with tons of restaurants. Especially Asian fusions. It’s also where I devoured my first Poke Bowl. There’s no ozone layer. Best wear a hat and SPF everywhere.

Bondi Beach is such a super laidback area outside of Sydney. Everyone here is fit. But then again, who’s not when you surf all day? Don’t forget us Crossfit couples too?

There’s a pool on a rock that is saltwater from the waves. I was pretty dumb, didn’t think to take my hearing aids off and got pummeled by a huge wave that knocked Justin into the pool and got me soaked head to toe. (My hearing aids went right into the air dry box for a couple days.) It’s really peaceful here (Sydney) in the morning. It was nice getting up early, eat a good breakfast and head to the park with a cup of coffee. Do all this before it gets super crowded.

Please do the bus around the city. It’s the best way to see Sydney in such a short time. Definitely hop off at some of the main attractions and hop back on to the next one.

Wildlife Zoo is pretty decent. It has all the big “Aussie Animals”. My favorite was the rescued wombat. Poor baby’s mom got hit by a car while in her pouch. Cue sniffles. (If you follow me on Instagram, in the highlights of Australia, it will have a video of me petting the cutest furry animal. #animallover)

Ever see Bugs Bunny growing up? Meet your Tasman Devil. Cute, small, and also, pregnant.

Best part of this whole tour? I got to encounter a bunch of sleepy koalas SO CLOSE!

Although, I realize koalas do not like being touched. They kind of remind me of my friend Emily. No touchy touchy. 🙂 Also, F off. My kinda cute animal.

We’ll be back to Sydney in a few days before hoping over to Fiji. Most likely back at Bondi Beach for sun and good food.

Our next stop is Cairns, Great Barrier Reef. Time to scuba dive.

Follow me on Instagram for stories and posts @that.deaf.girl

See you when I get done being a mermaid 🙂

Highlights from Auckland, NZ

1.7 million people live in the city of Auckland alone. It’s more than the population of South Island.

Waiheke Island has over 30 wineries and breweries. 12$ for a 40 minute ferry ride over, $40 all day hop on and hop off all over the islands. Best buck for a quick trip.

Crazy fact: Stonyridge Winery sells the Larose 2015 bottle for $650. It’s being shipped to my house. I’m kidding. Just kidding. A glass of their 2014 was $60. We opted for the $18 tasting glass. Cue eye roll.

In case you didn’t know, it’s about $600 in American dollars. Yet, I suck at math so please don’t read this part.

Justin stumbled upon this gourmet ice cream parlor on Instagram and that’s the first place we stopped at when we arrived in Auckland. Giapo. Go follow them on IG. You’ll see what I’m talking about. I got the “Hot Chips in a Cone” with some kind of amazing ice cream called “Giapo Buono”. It had amaretti, caramel, and hazelnut pralines. I’m sorry. I was so hungry and tired I didn’t care what flavor I got and forgot to take a picture of my own. Justin got the “Donut Selfie” with “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss” flavor ice cream which was basically a donut on hazelnut chocolate ice cream! Cheers!

In fact, it was SO GOOD, we went back.

Indeed, expensive shit but worth every penny.

Quay St. wasn’t originally a street. It was water up to another street. Maybe two blocks. They filled it in and named new streets from there to the harbor.

Tipping isn’t necessary around here. There are some that will take tips and truly appreciate it.

If you’re hiking in New Zealand, you’re better off buying new hiking boots. Better yet, leave it in the box it came in with a receipt. It was probably one of the strictest customs we had to go through. They can be particular about checking your hiking soles for dirt and seeds you’re bringing in from another country. Because disease.

They’re protective of their Kauri Forrest. If you go up to Arataki Park (pictured above) which is about 30 mins from downtown Auckland, you’ll see so many green. They make you scrub your shoes and spray it before you step foot on the trail. “They’re prone to diseases.” It’s a “dieback” forest which means 100 yrs ago it used to be all farming before the government took over and grew back the forest that was once destroyed. One of their tree was about 300 years old.

1 big, old Kauri tree will build 15 houses. But save the trees here.

No snakes or crocodiles. No native mammals on the island. I guess circa dinosaur years it sank, “floated back” and the only the survived was birds. Chirp.

Black ferns and silver ferns are native plants. You’ll see them on many sport teams around here.

Did I mention we drove by a school and none of the kids had shoes on? The life!

There’s a fall that only has waterfalls if it rains. Beautiful sight. Karekare waterfall. (It poured the first day we arrived. Three days later, lucky enough to see this gorgeous rock still “spilling” rain water.)

Piha is a black sand beach. 300 beach rescues a year. You better be an experienced surfer slash swimmer. Sand was really warm (it’s the beginning of fall in NZ) and it has some sort of iron in it creating a magnetic effect. There’s 3 active volcanos on the other side of the island. Pihas strong currents brought the black dust on the beach.

Their aquarium, Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE, is pretty awesome too if you want to discover their native ocean species. If you’ve seen the movie “Blackfish”, they’re a firm believer in saving whales and other wildlife. Only bringing in species that have been in captivity around the world. I’m a mermaid so that’s like my guru shit. Thank you guys.

Next stop, P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney, Australia….