In her 100 years, Carolyn Farrell has ventured to a lot of places and had some very interesting jobs, from in a radar research centre handling top-secret files to escorting war brides across America.
Last Friday was her 100th birthday and she celebrated by having a morning tea surrounded by her fellow residents at Camellia Rest Home, where she has lived for the past two years.
The next day she also had a "virtual" birthday party with her family who live in Alaska and Chile – for them it was still her birthday because of the time difference.
"I'm darn lucky," said Carolyn when asked about how it feels to reach the milestone age.
"Family who are in Chile were up past midnight on the call with us and everyone sang her 'Happy Birthday'. Mum got to see them all which was brilliant," says Carolyn's daughter, Karen Howard.
"She'll be talking about all this for days now."
Carolyn was born in Maine, the furthest northeastern state in American right on the border of New Brunswick, Canada – this is where she grew up, on an island called Campobello occupied mostly by fisherman and their families.
Her parents were Charles and Eva Batson and she was the youngest of four children.
She started her schooling on the island but eventually went to high school in Eastport, Maine – each day crossing the border by boat across the Friar Roads bay.
"I had to walk a mile to the ferry and then catch the boat over and then walk some more to school," says Carolyn.
Carolyn was very bright.
She won a two-year scholarship to college, known in New Zealand as university, and attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Here she majored in science and was within the top 10 students for chemistry.
After the scholarship money ran out she had to leave college because she and her family could not afford the tuition fees.
When World War II broke out Carolyn got a job in New Jersey working for the Government in their Radar Research Lab.
She lived in Asbury Park – a seaside resort town in the state.
"This was probably the most interesting job I ever had, and the one with the most responsibility," says Carolyn.
She was in charge of a group of workers in the Camp Evans Library and they sorted top-secret reports.
What she loved a lot about New Jersey is that "you could go out dancing every night of the week if you wanted to".
Some of the hotels in Asbury Park were taken over by Royal Navy crews while they waited for their lend-lease ships that the Americans were building for Britain.
"They would come out often to the United Service Organisation evenings and they were mostly all good dancers because they had learned properly," says Carolyn.
"That was a fun place to live at the time."
She then got a job with Red Cross America and worked in various roles with the organisation, including working with returned servicemen and learning about their mental illnesses, reviewing applications for leave, writing disability reports and then working on the war bride trains.
War brides were the wives of men who had married overseas while away for war and their wives had moved to America.
"A lot of that work involved travelling with them by train right across the country to get them to where they were going to live, which was perhaps with the family of the husband," says Carolyn.
Carolyn remembers one of the ladies she dropped off was met by a man on a horse and she wondered where he was going to store all her bags.
She was then sent to Japan to work for the Red Cross, servicing troops from England, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
It was in Japan that she met her husband Herbert Desmond Farrell (Des), who was in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
She had met him while out dancing one night.
"There were these two boys and a girl sitting at a table and I went over to them and asked them if they wanted to dance, one of the chaps was Des," says Carolyn.
About three days later Des' friend had arranged for Carolyn to meet him where he was on duty, and she says "that was the beginning of it all".
They married on October 9, 1947, in Yokohama and Carolyn briefly returned home to America before moving to New Zealand.
They had two daughters – Karen and Susan Stewart, both born in New Zealand.
They lived in Palmerston North, where Carolyn was a schoolteacher, but when Des went back to the Air Force they moved around a bit, living in Fiji and Singapore.
In 1973, when Des retired from the Air Force they moved as a family to Seattle. Karen moved back to New Zealand later that year, Susan stayed and currently lives in Alaska and Carolyn and Des moved back to New Zealand in 1998.
Des passed away three years ago.
Des and Carolyn's eight grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren are spread across New Zealand, America and Chile.