April 2008 Archives
'Parents want compulsory poo-proof swimwear to be introduced at one of Wellington's most popular swimming pools after at least two "code brown" incidents in one day.'
For starters, the moon is upside down! Last night on our drive home from Island Bay we caught a gorgeous view of the moon rising over the hills and shining full over the Cook Strait. It was enormous, beautiful and as I mentioned, upside-down. Very uncanny, and sadly supportive of Mark!'s theory that we are walking around upside-down.
Secondly, gasoline (aka "petrol") is ridiculously expensive, upwards of $7 a gallon if I understand the conversion correctly. I can recall paying less than a dollar a gallon when I was in college, especially on tours of the South, but I'd have to guess it was never that affordable here. On the bright side prices are fixed by the government so you don't have to wonder if the guy across the street is going to take less of your money - it's the same price everywhere. Too many years of comparison shopping still makes me look and see if they're following the rules though.
Third, modern communications like cell phones and the internet are very expensive too, and loaded with strange rules about usage. For example, if you call a cell phone from a land line the land line is charged for the call (although come to think of it, that would keep all the telemarketers away wouldn't it.) Internet usage is limited to download and upload amounts per month, once you exceed those numbers your connection changes to dial-up speed. Between the two (and the fact that the two cell providers, Telecomm and Vodafone both have their own music services and refuse to negotiate with iTunes) I don't think we have a chance of using our iPhones as intended again, at least not here in Oceania.
Fourth (and this one's just for you, Dan) the sports section of the paper is just called 'Sport', like there's only one. Sometimes it seems like there really is only one and it's called rugby (which I've found is enjoyable to watch in a "Can you believe he got up after that? And there's no protective gear??" kind of way) but there really are more and it's just misleading.
There are some other obvious ones (like going from our quiet cul-de-sac in Endicott to the heart of downtown Wellington) but I'll try to save some for future "What's Different" posts. Keep your eye on that moon, and tell Spring hello from us - it doesn't quite feel like winter here (no ice to scrape or heaps of snow to shovel), but when the wind picks up you can tell it's blowing off Antarctica!
Here are some of the new samplings we've tried.
pikelets - Delicious little pancakes smothered in jam and then slathered with whipped cream. Sophie got to have these for lunch today. It seemed so decadent and she felt like a princess eating them.
fluffies - If you like coffee as much as our relocation manager does, you'll want your kids to feel included in the experience. Today when we stopped for coffee the girls ordered fluffies which are steamed milk foam topped with chocolate powder served in a very small coffee cup. They were also served with some fresh marshmallows on the side.
Orange juice - ick ick ick. Well the juice itself is good but there is so much pulp! I hate pulp and the girls seem to share my feelings. Sophie started scraping her tongue with her nails trying to get the fibrous chunks off. I know it's good for you but I still think it's like drinking oatmeal. Sophie and I walked to the market this morning and found a "low pulp" variety but it still is too pulpy for my liking. I think I'll take Sue's advice and buy a strainer.
Curry - Mmmmm. We had take away from the Curry Club last night and man, it was delicious. I honestly finished mine for breakfast this morning because it's been so long since I've had delicious curry.
Coffee - It's great here and everyone takes such pride in making it. The milk is so creamy and velvety. I am in heaven drinking the lattes and cappuccinos.
Lots more to come. Once we get settled into a place I'll have to start making some seasonal foods with the local produce which seems amazing!
We toured several houses today and met another family relocating from Australia. The girls had fun making all the new friends, and thanks to prior experience (thanks Marcy & Grandma!) are pros at viewing houses. So far they are all a little precarious for my heights-fearing taste, but with amazing views: the best comparison I can think of is to the houses on top of Tiburon near San Francisco.
On the note of prior experiences, I've been struck more than a few times at how helpful our past challenges (frustrating as they were) have been in preparing us for this adventure: if it hadn't taken us 24 hours to travel between Binghamton and Myrtle Beach, 26 to Boise or 16 to Austin, all the hurdles of our latest 32-hour adventure would've seemed plain impossible. If we hadn't packed and unpacked and packed and unpacked so many times in the past few years, I doubt we could have pulled off the move as well as we did. If Brandie & I hadn't both had the experience of moving away from the comfort and safety of our homes to San Francisco, I don't know if we could have left Endicott temporarily behind.
We're off to dinner soon (so many new places to try!) but we'll try to post more in a bit so keep checking back!
The girls did great on the flights until our last leg from Auckland to Wellington. To be honest, I wanted to cry at that point as well. Two employees from WETA met us and drove us and our luggage over to the City Life Hotel in downtown Wellington. It's a nice two bedroom apartment with a kitchen and washer/dryer.
We're all adjusting to the time zones a bit. The girls went to bed at 1pm then Sophie got up at midnight and wanted breakfast. Josie was up shortly after that We let them stay up for a while then got them back to bed (with much fussing). Now we are up again, Sophie is having her second breakfast and Josie is going on two full nights sleep in 24 hours.
It's pretty crazy going from our quiet cul-de-sac in Endicott to downtown Wellington. We're staying in the business district so it gets very quiet at night and seems to be slow waking up this morning. Sophie enjoyed watching the buses drive by and the service trucks pulling in to restaurants and shops.
Jake's shaving and showering for his first day on the job! I can't believe he goes in today. I guess it's mostly setting up a bank account, discussing taxes and then in the afternoon we are looking at three houses. Should be fun! Hopefully we find the camera by then so we can post pictures of our potential new home and your (yes you) guest room when you come to visit us.
I'm feeling quite sad this morning about leaving all of our extended family behind. After spending the entire day running around like maniacs getting our house in order with the help from our family, I don't really want to leave them.
This adventure seems to be one we can't avoid and the excitement has carried us this far so I am just going to suck it up and manage the last day to get us there.
We've got 9 suitcases, 4 carry ons and 2 toddlers. God help you if you are in line behind us today.
We'll miss you all and wish us luck on our 30 hour travel today.
We received our Visa's today which was a huge relief. I kept imagining one box that I forgot to check or the fact that I listed some family history on there that was maybe excessive. I was sure we were going to be rejected. I had been checking our return tracking number on the Visa's since Tuesday trying to see if it had been sent out. I was really suprised (and very suspicious) that it was returned so quickly. The fact that it was returned so soon must mean that there was something wrong and we were rejected. Thankfully we were showing the house all morning so when the FedEx guy showed up I had completely forgotten that we were expecting them. It's pretty cool seeing that insert in there with the NZ silver fern symbol on it.
No turning back now!