Thursday, September 28, 2006

(Hardly) The Sports Authority

Happy Friday afternoon (where you all are)! It's
Saturday morning here, and I knew I could get one more
New Zealand e-mail off before the weekend.

So, I found an appropriate topic: sports. I have
heard and heard and heard about all of the sports at
home this weekend, so I thought I would share some
information about sports in New Zealand. Just call me
the Sports Authority. (But not really, maybe actually
the furthest thing from it. In fact, the line you are
most likely to hear when I am watching sports here is
'What just happened?').

First, though, I have to say a big 'Let's Go!' to the
Waukee Warriors - homecoming tonight. The good old
boys in purple are 3-1 in their first year in 4-A.
Not too bad... I'll be checking the sports scores
late late late tonight! Woo hoo!

Secondly, 'GO HAWKS!' What a great win for the state
of Iowa that will be! Even cyclone fans have to admit

Lastly, 'Go Panthers!' What a great win for the
northeast part of the state of Iowa that will be!
Even Cyclone fans have to admit it... But really, it
will be a good game either way. And almost EVERYONE I
know at home is going to go to it. So have heaps and
heaps of fun!

Now, to local entertainment:

New Zealand sports leaves a lot to be desired.

A Lot.

No football, no baseball, no basketball.

Instead we have rugby, cricket, and netball. Yuk,
yuk, and yuk.

Rugby is an interesting sport. It's the closest thing
to football, but isn't really at all. The men who
play rugby are as big without pads as the men who play
football are with pads. And they're tough. Like
tough. I think a rugby player could crush my head
with his thighs.

The hardest part of adjusting from football to rugby
is that the players get tackled, and then keep on
playing. They just toss it from the ground to the
next closest player who runs, then gets tackled and
throws it from the ground to the next closest player,
and so on. I still haven't figured out where the
strategy is, or what has to happen to end the darn

But, I guess if you've grown up watching it, it's
normal to you. My friend Tahi (whose name I could
only remember by thinking that it was the first two
syllables in the word Tahiti) said he never understood
'gridiron' football, because the player would get the
ball, and things would get exciting, but then he'd get
tackled and the play would stop. (As if that's weird,

So I just told him not to talk to me anymore.

Cricket sucks. Is this even a sport? Come on! I
have no more words to say about cricket. At all.

I haven't figured out this one yet either. If I am
inferring correctly from what I've seen, netball is
played without a backboard by women, and with a
backboard for men, although that makes no sense.
Also, it's a non-contact sport, which makes it boring.
And the ladies wear skirts, which makes the whole
sport, in general, virtually unwatchable.

Go Cowboys?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The hunt for a job

Yikes. Trying to find a part-time job is a tricky
deal. Especially if you're me and you're really
picky. The wheels I have spun to find a good one
would (I think) be an amusing story, so I thought I'd
share a timeline of it with you. So you could get a
small glimpse of what it's like to be somewhere where
you know nowhere...

- Arrival in New Zealand. At this time I decide to
not look for a job until I have a more permanent idea
of where I'll be living. Diane's mom, Glenys (bless
her soul), is a chief lecturer in the hospitality
college at Auckland University and forwards me job
leads in the hospitality industry.

- Arrive at new house in Grey Lynn. Ask roommates
about local restaurants that would be good, and am
pointed in the direction of two, SPQR and Estacy.
-Call to make an appointment to meet with Nish, the
owner of a handful of restaurants at the Viaduct
Harbour (via an e-mail from Glenys).
-Am told by roommate Joy that her bar, Shanghai Lil's
is hiring as well. She'll take me in to meet her boss
and get started on Friday night.
-Am told by roommate Julia that her work is hiring
telemarketers, that it pays $20 an hour, and she'll
take me there the next day.

-Head to SPQR to fill out an application. Pete, the
bartender, tells me they are always hiring and that
it's a great place to work. Get application and
-Hop on the bus and head down to the Viaduct to meet
with Nish. Fill out an application, am offered a job.
I decide to wait and think about it, hoping something
closer to home will open up. SPQR? Shanghai Lil's?
- Julia does not take me to her work.

-Take application back to SPQR. Am told that they'll
be hiring in a couple of weeks (darn!).
-Decide to walk down to Estacy as well. The manager
Kevin asks me to come in for a trial on Sunday
-Go to Shanghai Lil's with Joy and meet Russell, the
manager. It's a nice place. Then, the American owner
walks in, and without any provocation, announces to
Joy that friends of friends are not allowed to work at
Lil's, and that I have to leave. Immediately. So I

- I try out Estacy. The trial goes fine, but I find
out that Kevin will pay me $2 less than they would
have at the Harbour, and that he can only give me two
shifts per week. He informs me that he'll call me on
Friday or Saturday if they need me.
- I walk away irked, but remember that Julia is taking
me to her telemarketing job on Tuesday to meet her

9/18 (side note)
- The flat gets into a huge fight with Julia (head
tenant) about the bills.

- I go to observe at two local elementary schools. At
the second, I find out that the assessment tools they
use to test readers are the same as the tools I was
trained in at Waukee. So I offer to come back for the
rest of the week and administer assessments. I am
taken up on my offer.
- Go home in the afternoon to have Julia to take me to
her work. She has decided, though, that because of
the big fight (that I was hardly a part of) that she
doesn't want to take me to her work. Finally, she
agrees to take me, after a large debate about her
ethics and character, which I won.
- At Julia's work, I am told that they are not hiring
(big surprise).

-Continue to do work at Elementary schools.
-Have not heard from Kevin for the weekend hours.

- Finally decide that maybe I need to just try the
Harbour out. Upon calling Nish, I find that the
position has been filled.

-Upon walking to the store, I notice a flash new
restaurant called The Living room.

- Go to The Living Room to hand in my CV**. Speak
with a friendly Kiwi bloke called Gervais.

- I call The Living Room to see if my CV was received
by a manager. Gervais (luckily) answers the phone and
asks me to come to meet a manager today, and to bring
another CV. I met with the manager at 5.

- SPQR calls (finally!) and asks me to come in for a
trial on Wednesday.

- The Living room calls and asks me to come in for a
trail on Friday (when it rains, it pours, right?).
Even though I am going to SPQR, I decide to do agree
to a trial.
- I do trial at SPQR. The place rocks and I love it.
At the end of the night, I find out that there are
four other servers I am up against. I become VERY
glad that I didn't turn down the trial offer at The
Living Room.

I'll find out about my job at SPQR tomorrow. If it
doesn't work out, I have a back-up plan. Finally, all
of this waiting just may have worked out, as SPQR was
my first choice. The Living Room would be second.

Check out the SPQR website: It's a
pretty impressive place. And really, really, really
gay. The workers and the clientele. Some of the best
dressed and most unavailable men I have EVER seen.

More good news - my qualifications passed. I was told
this on the phone by my caseworker at the New Zealand
Qualifications Authority. Although I have not
actually seen the paper, as far as I know I am now
officially able to teach in New Zealand.

Monday, September 25, 2006


tupid metric system.

Diane would always chide me by saing 'it's easily
divisible units of 10.' But, had I the courage, I
would have told her to 'shove her divisions of ten

So, for now:

I am getting used to driving 50 in a school zone.

I don't mind anymore when I see that the weather will
only be 20 degrees.

And I am quite happy to only weigh 55.

(in kilometers per hour, degrees Celsius, and
kilograms, respectfully).


On another note, I think (and you would probably
agree) that it would seem very reasonable for today's
date (September 28th, 2006) to be written as
9/28/2006. But to a Kiwi, it would be reasonable for
today to be 28 September 2006, or 28/9/2006. I really
have to remember that when I am checking the dates on
the milk carton, that 5/10/2006 really means that my
milk is good until October 5th.

(Dear Mary, I hope you don't hate me for telling the
next story...) As a result of this confusion, my
friend Mary (who will be starting her own adventure
here in three weeks) and I recently had a good
laugh... When she applied for her work visa, she
wrote her birthdate down 'wrong'. She wrote 8/12 for
August 12, and when she got her forms back, they had
written her date of birth as December 8. But because
Mary is such a creative thinker, she realized that
this is an opportunity for us to have 'New Zealand
birthdays' this year as well. We'll be celebrating
hers in December, and you are welcome to send me lots
of presents on November 5th.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The cost of living

First of all... good luck Waukee Warriors - it's
homecoming week! To our Waukee we'll loyal be...

I have had a lot of people ask me about adjusting to
New Zealand from the US. I am quite honest to say
that there are not many big differences between here
and there. On a day-to-day basis, the city, and the
people in it, look just the same as you could find
anywhere in the US. I would, though, like to begin to
share some of the little differences, that trick me up
each day, starting with the cost of living.

When I came to NZ, I was prepared for things to be
more expensive. Most of the country's products are
imported from elsewhere. That, along with the
exchange rate (1 US dollar = 1.6 NZ dollars), makes
the cost of everything automatically higher. When I
want to really think about the cost of something, I
subtract a third of it to get the US equivalent, but
it doesn't seem to help the price actually go down...

I am speechless at the cost of groceries. My three
favorite examples are eggs, milk, and Coke.
I have been bragging about, how at home, a dozen eggs
will run you roughly $.78. Here, a dozen eggs will
run you $3 and up, depending on the size, and whether
the eggs are free range, at which point they will cost
$7 and up. For 12 eggs. At first, I was really dumb,
and thought, oh, yeah, all of that stuff comes from
somewhere else (which was my automatic reaction to the
price of everything here). Then, I realized that this
country is full of farms that have chickens that
produce eggs. So I just don't understand. Even
converted to US dollars, that's still $2 for the
cheapest dozen eggs. And even more weird - they don't
refrigerate eggs. In the stores or at home. Unless
you're Wendy, who refuses to leave the eggs out.
Milk is no better. 2 litres of fat-free milk runs me
NZ$4 each time at the store. Now, a gallon ( for you
math fans), is about 3.3 litres, and will cost about
US$2.50 at HyVee. So, if I convert the litres to
gallons, a gallon of fat-free milk in NZ would cost
about NZ$6. I am pretty sure there are plenty of
dairy farms around here as well, probably next to all
of the chicken farms, and I hope the farmers and their
families are living well. And at least New Zealanders
agree that milk is best when refrigerated.
Lastly, you'll all be happy to know that I no longer
drink pop. Because a 12-pack costs NZ$11 or more.
And that's not 3 for $11, like at Fareway. Oh,
blessed Fareway.

I didn't bring sneakers with me when I came, as I
didn't want to waste the space in my suitcase, and
just thought I'd buy them here. Shoes ARE imported,
and I haven't found a good pair for less than NZ$250.
Luckily, my WONDERFUL mother has offered to send mine
from home. Which should only cost about ten bucks.

Lastly, gas is going down here as well, and at first
glance to the American eye, the price would SEEM
reasonable, at NZ$1.50. Except that instead of getting
that deal for a gallon, that's the price per litre.
So, as an example to the cost, my VW Beetle had a 13
gallon tank. This would roughly translate to 43
litres. You do the math for a full fill up at the
petrol station. I have seen very few SUVs, and I
haven't wondered why.

In short, send cash soon.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More vocabulary lessons

The shock to me still seems to come at the strange
words used, and the naughtiness of the television.
There is no holding back to what they'll show or say,
and I never cease to be shocked by a new commercial
each week...

This one isn't quite as graphic as the shower one
previously mentioned, but is appalling in it's own
way. It begins with a lady sitting in a chair,
talking to the television viewers. She says, 'I am
about to give myself a vaginal thrush. Right here in
front of all of these men.' (Pan in to all of the
camera and film crew, who have suddenly become very
interested). She proceeds to take a Diflucan pill
(for you men, that's a yeast infection pill), drinks a
bit of water, and says, 'See how easy that was?'


I have been volunteering at Richmond Road primary this
week, as I realized after observing on Tuesday, that
they use the same assessment tools as we used in
Waukee, and I became of some help administering them.
I stayed around each day after the tests to observe
and work with the kiddos, so I've been there full days
all through the week. One fun sentence I heard was
"Miss Wendy, can I please have a plaster?" which
sounded like this: "Miss When-dee, con I plies hov a
ploster?" and which meant: "Miss Wendy, can I please
have a band-aid?"

But my favorite memory from this week happened today.
It was the end of term assembly, and the principal was
calling out names of students who had received
playground awards. One final winner was called up to
draw a prize out of the bag. Upon retrieving the
package, the young lad opened it up, and Hayley the
principal, was describing the items to the children
who couldn't see them. It went like this, "Oh,
there's a pen, and a pad of paper, and a pink rubber."

(After I picked up my jaw from the floor, I was
assured by the lady next to me that a rubber means an

It's the little things I like the best...

Animal Magnetism

A true story. (As if I could actually make this
stuff up...):

On Saturday (later in the evening), I went into y room
to have some alone time. I noticed, climbing up the
wall (very slowly) a snail (I know, weird, right?), a
bit bigger than one of those big marbles that you use
to hit smaller marbles. So, I fetched Ian to get it
off the wall for me. He happily obliged.

apparently, snails run RAMPID around this part of the
world, and I am lucky to have only seen one. Even
though I live in a very nice house, it is old, as are
all of the houses in this city, and holes are bound to
be found. If I were a snail, I'd want to be inside
too (although it isn't actually much warmer than
outside). I've seen three since then (obviously
because now I am looking for them!).

Last night, while filling up my water bottle(s) with
boiling hot water, and having a(nother) cup of tea, I
saw another snail (same size, maybe the same one?)
climbing up the wall in the kitchen. This time, I
decided to let it go (secretly, though, Ian was
already sleeping, so I knew he couldn't come and get
it for me).

But then, just when I thought I had seen it all, the
cat batted it off the wall. And ate it.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My first day at school

Well, not really.

Yesterday, when visiting the school, I had mentioned
that I would be glad to come and administer the tests
so that the teacher wouldn't have to have relief
workers in her classroom. She was so excited, and
wanted me to come. But, not really knowing if that
would be alright with confidentiality and things that,
in Waukee, we'd red flag, I went today with hesitation
that I would actually be helping, but instead would
likely just be observing.

When I got there today, though, she had actually made
a list of the kiddos that she wanted me to read with -
more than half of the class! If I really thought
about the situation, I secretly laughed inside, that
here I am, a total stranger, administering tests to
kids I don't know in a school that I had never been
to. :)

On top of that, it was Grandparents Day today as well.
I offered to stay around and lend a hand, which was
accepted. When the grandparents started arriving, the
kids were out playing on the playground. So Di, the
teacher, invited me to tea, which is where many of the
grandparents and teachers were heading. When we got
to the lounge, I about fell over when I saw how tea
was served. Now, before I explain this, remember that
it is a British and Kiwi culture to have tea many
times a day and with most meals, but even after two
weeks of drinking tea non-stop, I was still shocked to
see a GIANT white box, about 4 cubic square feet, full
of hot boiling water, mounted on the wall. It's kept
full and hot all day. The thing looks like a HUGE
first-aid box that would be mounted on a wall! And
the huge canisters of tea bags, sugar, milk, etc.! It
was a HOOT!

Anywho - the kiddos, this term, have been studying
immigration (as all New Zealanders, like Americans,
really descend from somewhere else), so it was an
opportunity for the grandparents to share their
stories and pictures with the kids. Unknown to me,
though, Di decided to introduce me, in front of all
the kids, grandparents, parents, and assistant
principal, as an immigrant too (which is so true) and
I got to speak as well. It was pretty neat.

Then, after lunch, Diane had a meeting, so she left me
in charge. Without proof that I am even a teacher,
mind you. We read a book, played a math game, and
drew. The school day ends at three, so I was done

What a day.

Talk to you soon!


Monday, September 18, 2006

My first observations!

I wanted to share a couple of observations from the
first two elementary schools I made appointments to
visit. I don't have a lot to say, as it would be
boring to describe, and I'll have plenty of time to do
that after I have my hand at relief or full-time

Both schools were incredibly inviting, and the
principal at the first wanted to talk and talk about
American education, which made me feel VERY IMPORTANT!
Their class sizes are large, as big as ours, and the
classrooms are all different sizes. The most
noticible physical difference is that the rooms are
more open, as in two classrooms share one set of
double rooms. So it's very noisy.

The best part was walking to the teacher's balcony in
the first building, while she was doing reading
assessments, and seeing Rigby PM Benchmark books, the
exact same set we use! I about fell over! And the
best part was that the books were exactly the same,
except instead of The Vacation Suprise, the book was
called The Holiday Suprise, and instead of The Skating
Twins, it was The Roller Blade Twins. How funny!
Obviously, I offered to come back this week and help
adminster it, and she took me up on it. Go figure...

Below, I have included the web addresses of the two
schools I visited, if you wanted to check them out.

Love to you all!

A drink with jam and bread

I drink tea like it's going out of style.

Tea, tea, tea.

Tea with milk. Tea with (fresh Maori) honey. Tea
with milk AND honey. Tea with (fresh-squeezed
orange/lemon). Tea with honey AND orange/lemon. But
never tea with milk and orange/lemon as the reaction
between the two causes curdling, which any tea expert
obviously knows.

I drink heaps and heaps of tea. I have had 30 tea
bags to drink since Wednesday. I know this because my
box is empty (which, for my Waukee teachers, is much
worse than my well being full).


Kiwi lanugage lesson of the week: vowels and

Diane convinced me that many of the words Kiwis use
sound different because they use a bit of Maori
dialect. For example, the vowel 'a' would make the
'ah' sound instead of what we hear in 'apple',
therefore giving Kiwis the excuse to say words like
'cah' and 'maht' instead of 'car' and 'mart'.

Also, instead of saying the letter 'z', Kiwis say
'zed', and instead of 'w', it's 'dub'. For example,
when I read the website, it would sound
like this: double-you double-you double-you dot yahoo
dot com. To read the website, a Kiwi
would read: dub dub dub dot en zed q ay dot co dot en

Lastly, the letters 'wh' in Maori actually make the
'f' sound. Last week Diane and I visited Whangerai,
which is pronounced Fangoray. There is a town up the
road here whose name always makes me laugh; Whakatone,
or Fakatone. Say that three times fast and you'll
laugh too. It's just kinda whunny.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Commercial of the Week

Please use your imagination to enjoy this
advertisement (ad-ver-tis-ment)for Lynx body wash for

Pan in on (a handsome) gentleman busily scrubbing
clean in a steamy, long (bathtub length), glass-doored

As he is showering, the glass on the the shower begins
to fog over, except for a small portion, which starts
to show a clear silhouette, which slowly turns into an
impression of where, recently, a lady's rear, hair,
and back were pressed up against the shower door.

The silent caption reads: Lynx. How dirty boys get


Monday, September 11, 2006

The BEST news!

Well, at least the best news I've had in a week...
But it wasn't easy.
After 13 phone calls this morning, and trying to work around Diane's schedules, I had it worked out to visit 4 places.  Not very good odds.  The first two places were both repulsive, and after visiting the second, and knowing there were only two more, I was virtually in tears.
But, then the clouds parted, and the sky sang out, and I was directed to my third (time's a charm) place.  It is a delightful little house on a busy road, and within my view, very close, is the sky tower in Auckland.  The suburb is called Grey Lynn, and it is right outside of the CBD (Central Business District, or midtown, where I have been staying and would have liked to live had it not been so expensive).  Upon arrival I was immediately enamoured by the cute place (and still suffering from the sight of the previous two, it was for sore eyes). 
It is currently inhabited by three people, mid twenties to mid thirties, all professional, all tidy.  The room is ADORABLE, odd shaped, with high ceilings and a huge picture window.  I have high speed internet, a washer and dryer, some furniture, plus electric, gas, phone, water included in the price of rent. 
I won't bore you with any more details, except that I can hardly tell you how unbelievably excited (and relieved) I am at this point.  I can't actually describe it in words.  Be sure to ask me about how excited I am next time we talk on the phone.
On a more sad note...
It's really wierd for it to be September 11th here, when I know it's only September 10th in the states.  But, be assured, my thoughts have been at home all day.
Life is good..

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Road Trip

Flashback (if you would) to 25 August 2006:
My friend Tera, visiting Iowa for the first time, was really excited to see corn.  On our first road trip together, just when hopping on the freeway, Tera saw her first corn.  After a delighted squeal of "Oh! Corn!,' out came the camera, and flash went the bulb.
After a bit of driving, and more corn, Tera got out her camera once more to take, this time, video of the corn fields while driving.  She could be overheard saying 'Wow, that's a lot of corn.' 
Later in the day, further into the drive, Tera exclaimed, 'Is there anything here besides corn?'  To which my reply was, 'Nope.'
Needless to say, by the end of the day, Tera was tired of looking at corn.
Now, forward your mind to 10 September and replace the following words:
Wendy for Diane
Tera for Wendy
Iowa for New Zealand 
corn for sheep
...and you now have the jist of my first road trip.  In fact, I commented to Diane how they could have possibly filmed all three Lord of the Rings movies entirely in New Zealand and didn't have sheep in a single shot.  That deserves an Oscar in itself.
Having said that, the scenery was incredible, and pictures will never do words.  Besides the fact that I was car sick the entire way home, the trip itself wasn't half baaaaaaad.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Day Three

Happy Friday morning!

(Having been here for so long and all), I have decided that, as a whole, the nation of New Zealand is a lot less censored and more outgoing in language and behavior (or behaviour, if you please). See the following examples as proof. (This e-mail not intended for the faint of heart):

Last night, DIane and I watched a re-run of a news show that covered the recent Erotica Expo (which I am bummed I wasn't here in time for). I saw all sorts of private body parts, male and female, numerous times. It was playing on national t.v. At about 8pm. I am sure many young children were watching. With their parents. Because why not, right??
Then, this morning, I was watching the Good Morning show (similar to the Today show or Good Morning America). The feature band, which played to start the show, was named The Bitches. But they did dress cute, which obviously makes it perfectly acceptable.
Lastly, to close my case, is my favorite example. I saw the following billboard on the side of a large building:

If you use, New Zealand's fastest
online shopping, you'll have more time to do
the things you love.

Like your wife.

I laughed all the way home. And then more when I got home. I am actually still laughing now.

George W. Bush would have a fit...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Day in the Life...

...of an American girl in a foriegn land. 
Lengthy, but true.
Wake up and eat Kellogg's Rice Bubbles (aka Kellogg's Rice Krispies), 7am.
Check and answer 10 e-mails.
Make a routine call to the NZQA to ask about my qualifications
Speak with Hope, my case worker, who informs me that the report should be in my hands within a week.  Until then, she recommends, I should begin my application to the Teacher Registration Board.
Go online to download application to TRB.  Begin to fill out form.
Find out that a background check is necessary.  From the FBI.  Of the US.  US$18 bank check and copy of current passport required as well.
Call the American Consolate to find out about getting a fingerprint card, and ask for directions.  It isn't too far.
Call ASB (the bank) to find out about a bank check.  Will cost NZ$25 just for the check.  Ask for other options.  Am pointed in the direction of a Kiwi Bank/Western Union.
Get dressed and walk to American Consolate for fingerprint card.
Get hit on and phone number from an Indian gentleman on the way, which is promptly discarded.
Turn in my electronics to walk through metal detector and locked doors at American Consolate.  Am complimented on my accent.
See picture of George W. Bush inside American Consolate.  Am not comforted.
Recieve fingerprint card.  Instructed to go to the local police station to be fingerprinted.
Pay NZ$4 for a cup of hot tea.
Go to local police station.  They do not do fingerprints at that station.
Police officer shows me the route to the next station.  I complain that I don't want to walk because I am wearing heels.  He says he is too.  We laugh and have a moment.
Make a call to the correct station and make an appointment.
Go home to get Passport and type cover letter to the FBI.
Walk 2 kilometers (3/4-ish of a mile) to the next police station.
Get fingerprints done on THEIR fingerprint sheet (thus deeming my trip to the Consolate unnecessary)
Withdraw NZ$100 from ATM.
Walk 2 kilos back to the bank that was recommended.  No bank at that location.  Directed to the nearest post shop (post office) that does money orders.
Wait in line at post shop.
Find out that a bank check is only $5, but that an account with the particular bank is necessary.
Walk to the nearest ASB. 
Pay NZ$48 for an USD$18 check.  Pay with NZ$60 cash.
Leave the bank and walk 1 kilo home. 
Realize that the cashier did not give me proper change.
Walk 1 kilo back to ASB to resolve issue.  Issue resolved.
Return home.
Make a grilled cheese sandwich with white cheese ("What's American cheese?").  It's quite delicious.
Call FBI in USA to ensure that I have proper documents before sending.
Find out that I accidentally had the bank check made out to the wrong government agency.
Take out the rubbish for Diane. 
Can't find rubbish recepticle.  Try two different floors, and finally ask the front desk.
Walk 1 kilo back to ASB for a new check.  Luckily, no additional cost is incurred.  By now, Virginia (the ASB banker) and I are friends.  I offer to bring her a cup of tea.  She declines.  We laugh.
Purchase 6 postcards with stamps, NZ$12.
Walk to the local post.  Buy an envelope for documents and address it wrong.
Cross out error and correctly address.  Buy stamps for the package.
Walk out with package still in hand. 
Return to the post shop, wait in line to ask where to put the package, and am directed to the drop box outside (if I'd have only known that from the beginning).
Walk 1 kilo to the store to buy more milk.  2L for NZ$4.
Walk home.
Love you all!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hellow from Auckland!!

I am here! 
I am definitely allergic to Diane's cat, which will make for a long week.
I usually hate e-mails like this, but you won't get many, I promise.  I am sending it to a few, with explicit instructions to delete this paragraph before sending it on to the rest of the family.  I just wanted to share a few thoughts on NZ for you. 
I am in the middle of Auckland - Diane's place is ideally situated.   The sky tower is two blocks north, and (sneeze) the ocean is two blocks south.  It's a bit chilly here, but very tolerable. 
I started my day at the library then headed to the bank to open an account.  I put in $50 and got $88 back. 
The kiwi word I have heard far too many times today: heaps.  I.e. 'That calling card will give you heaps of minutes.' Only you have to say it like this: hipes.
I had lamb for lunch.  It was delicious.
The kiwis are very  funky trendy and fashionable by nature, which is quite nice.  I even have all of their fashions in my suitcase - al I'll have to do is put on a bunch of stuff that doesn't match, and I'll look great.  And I am serious. 
The boys are VERY good looking.  :)
Shaving cream costs $7.59 per can.  So I'll just use soap. 
And Diane (sneeze) has a heated towel bar in her bathroom.  Luxury.
Besides the fact that my friends and family aren't here, I think I am going to like New Zealand...