Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Abbreviated words that Kiwis use (instead of the not-much-longer word):

mozzy (mosquitos)
prezzy (presents)
rellies (relatives)
rezzy (reservation)
preggers (pregnant)
flatty (flat mates)
chewy (gum)
cuppa (coffee or tea)
arvo (afternoon)
ruggers (rugby)
lippy (lip gloss)
brekky (breakfast)
trackies (sweat pants)
mezzy (mezzanine)
lappy (laptop)
nappy (diaper)
cuzzy (cousin)
pokies (poker)
chippy (fish 'n chips shops)

Words that Kiwis say that are more phonetically correct than us:


Words that just look funny in print: (and come up wrong on spell check every time):

decafe (as in coffee)

Friday, February 23, 2007


She's left!

She's moved out!

She took her husband and dog with her!

And yet, I am a bit sad... (barely a bit, but still a bit).

Yes, it's true. Julia has moved out. She's taken all of her possessions (most of the furniture, cooking ware, all of the silverware and plates, all major appliances...) and moved to her own place with her husband and dog (who have been living with us for the last month).

Flashback to one month ago: before we knew that Julia was deciding to leave, my flatties decided to move out and away from her (I was in Aussie at this time but was invited to join at their new place). They found a place just up the road and put down a deposit just before I returned. We were two days away from moving when Julia told us that she had bought a house. Instead of moving, we scrambled to drop the other house and stay in the one we're in. Our scrambling was successful, and we found that we were able to stay here with the lease transferred to Ian's name.

Now I still don't care for Julia, but I am not as glad to see her go as the rest of the crew. For starters, our dislike of her was a bond that brought the rest of us together. Also, the necessity for us to keep the house clean (because of her rules) was tolerable because we could complain about it and her. But it still got done. When she's gone, there's no telling how often this place will be cleaned (I don't live with the most motivated cleaners...).

But the thing that shocked me the most was the recent hour-long conversation I had with her in which she shared her insightful observations about all of the flatties with me. She told me what she thought about us all, about our personalities, and what kind of people we all are. Surprisingly, I think she hit the nail on the head. Her opinions of my flatties are similar to my own secret opinions based on observations. She also said that she trusted me second to Ian, and thought I was the strongest in the flat (when often I feel the opposite).

I think possibly, in a devilish kind of way, Julia is a lot more kind than we all thought, although even a couple of days after our heart-to-heart, I couldn't stand her again. And when she recently came and took the last of what she owned including the shelves in the bathroom, all of the drapes from all of the windows in the house, and the shades from the light fixtures in each of our rooms, I was really mad. (Luckily, though I was glad that I had thought ahead to pack my weighless, spaceless chinese lamp shade before coming to New Zealand - I knew that sucker would come in handy!).

If only her personality would have been a bit more tolerable and likable, we all would have gotten along much, much better.

So long Julia, good luck in your new place. Maybe invite us over for dinner (since we don't have a table, fridge, or flatware anymore)?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My restaurant

IS NOT a gay bar. Is not.

When Mom called this week and said 'So, are you working at the gay bar tonight?' I knew I needed to clarify.

Mom, it's not a gay bar.

"I think that's what everyone thinks!' she said.

Mom. It's not a gay bar.

'Even Gary thinks so' (puts hand over the phone) 'Don't you, Gare?' (confirmation from the background) 'Yeah, Gary too.'

Garyls! It's not a gay bar!

SPQR is THE bar. It's THE MOST happening place in Ponsonby. I love working there.

But it's not a gay bar.

The poshest of posh hang out there. It's been a busy hot spot on Ponsonby road since it opened more than 12 years ago.

But it's not a gay bar.

Maybe Nay Nay DOES wave at firetrucks (and the public transportation buses) when they go by.

But it's not a gay bar.

Many of our male customers prefer pink.
Many of our male customers wear nicer clothes than most men.
MANY of our male customers wear nicer clothes than most women.

Many of our male customers prefer, well... nevermind...

But it's not a gay bar.

Any questions?

Saturday, February 17, 2007


(for the moms and grandmas)

I am still teaching each day. I have upped my schools from two to six, and have relief work on a near daily basis.

One of my permanent jobs is a weekly relief position at Richmond Road (the original school I started at). I work for a teacher named Mareta while she has a release day each Thursday. She's got the babies, the new entrants, all five years old (like beginning kindergarten kiddos). The best part? Since it's the beginning of the year, there' s only 12 of the little (monsters) cherubs.

I am fortunate to work at very high decile (highly ranked) schools, but am still glad that I chose not to take a full time position, as the lack of consistency and coordination within them is enough to drive me mad! I am enjoying my work, though, and am learning from the (sometimes serious) challenges of each new day. Plus I am really keen on the flexibility that my job provides. I'm trying to look for some professional development courses, but the ones I am finding leave a lot to be desired. Too much money for not enough information...

My other job:
I was promoted to manager at SPQR for one of my shifts per week for a short period of time. After training for about two weeks (and doing well, I assure you), my other manager and I realized that it would be more beneficial to train someone who'd been around longer, who works more full time, and who will be around longer than I can guarantee I'll be. So, effectively, I was demoted as quickly as I was promoted. I liked doing it, but was a bit relieved when he told me that he was going to train someone else, as it's really hard to be a manager to others who've been working there for 5-6 years. So, I am still working one or two serving shift a week and doing cashier work as well, and am still getting a bit of a raise. Which helps with the raise in rent (see next line).

My flatting situation has moved from 5 to 4 people. Upon moving out, Julia has taken all but the house with her. She has taken all of the kitchen ware (and most of the kitchen), all of the furniture, my bed (back to the floor for me!) and the fridge. She has left one handle-less pot, a few pieces of cutlery, some dirty floor rugs and a dodgy couch (thanks, Julia). So although I once kicked myself for packing silverware, cheap plates and a frying pan when I came, I am now thinking that was a pretty smart idea. And I am only eating food that doesn't require refrigeration, which in this country, luckily includes eggs.

I have enrolled in a hip-hop dance class at the Auckland Centre of Performing Arts. It rocks my world. I can get the moves just fine, but I have just about as much grace as Bob Dole. Which is why I enrolled.

Most recently, I am waiting to hear back about a nanny job in Europe. I have applied for positions mostly in France, London and Greece. If a position comes through, I'll leave New Zealand within a few weeks of accepting it.

I am also still waiting to hear about teaching jobs overseas as well, although I am not sure that there are many that will suit me. Primary aged teachers in Europe seem to be quite happy with their jobs...

I have back-up plans in case neither plan happens, but we'll see how we go. I am quite happy where I am, so no need to stress either way.

Completely unrelated...:
Congrats to my teacher-friend Tamara who just got engaged to her long-lost, lifetime love. Woo hoo!

Yesterday I waited on Earl Spencer, Princess Di's brother. Which was more cool because of the fact that he is the uncle to Princes William and Harry...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mary says

When Mary got home, she e-mailed me right away. It's interesting to see that the 'weirdness' goes backwards as well, and things we once found common at home are now unfamiliar and worth mentioning. Her e-mail from home follows:


"Things I did immediately upon getting to Union Square in San
Francisco...went into the Gap. You aren't missing much, but it is still way
better than Supre and Glassons. Then I ate an authentic, well sort of,
burrito at the food court! It was delicious!

Things I have noticed since arriving home about an hour and half ago:
there is too much water in the toilet bowl*, and it feels strange to
shower in a shower with a bathtub**.

I have caught myself getting ready to say "flash," and I have
repeatedly said "no worries" and "I'll see how I go."

I was nervous about maybe not remembering how to drive, but when I
drove to Gigi's for lunch on Tuesday, it was completely second nature!

I asked my dad if he'd ever heard of vegemite, and he said yes, but
he's never tried it.

When I plug something in to the outlet, I keep reaching to flip on the
switch (but, it is nonexistent, of course!).***

My parents have 5 huge jars of mild salsa in their pantry...my dad eats
it on everything...I forgot how much I missed salsa..."


*in New Zealand there is about 1-2 cups of water in each toilet bowl
**90% of showers here are square, 3x3 showers
***EVERY light switch here has a toggle switch to turn the current on, and it is common practice to always have the electricity off unless the outlet is in use.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


When I decided to come to New Zealand, I knew Mary would be very excited. I never thought she would want to really actually come with though.

Her exact words were:

"Wendy! I'm coming with you, and I am NOT joking".

She wasn't...

Although it took a little push and pull, but she made the decision to expand her worldly experiences by spending a few months overseas.

But now it's Mary's time to leave.

(sad, but true)

I think Mary, like myself, has grown a lot since coming. I know she'll return to the States with a renewed sense of self and the confidence to do anything she wants, including things she might not have done previously. All because she can say she took a step and made the biggest decision of her life work out splendidly.

While here, our agendas were a bit different. Although more traveling would have been ideal, a little less leaves something for the reunion tour, right?

Mary has been a rock for me here. I have so enjoyed calling on her for lunch a couple of times each week, and she is a brilliant travel partner. Our differences allow us to be together well, as she is calm, collected, and organized, where I am not (at all). We've seen a lot, done a lot, and been through a lot, which will always be a huge part of our friendship, a part that others will never be able to understand.

(Besides, she can also say she was the official friend who was with me when I got my first tattoo...)

So Mary, I wish you the best. I hope that the explanation of all that you've seen and done does justice to the experience you actually had, even though you know it never will. But in me you'll have a friend who can always laugh at that funny joke about Canadians and hockey or your use of the term 'snow monkeys'.

Needless to say, you'll be sorely missed. Good bye and good luck Miss Mare...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Three (7) squares a day

When I come back to the States, this is what I am going to eat during the first day:

For breakfast:
three large, warm Cinnabons and two bowls of Lucky Charms

Morning snack:
16 rice krispie snacks from Java Joe's and a large bowl of italian tomato salad from Palmer's

a hot dog with ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish and nachos with orange nacho cheese

Afternoon snack:
bacon, bacon and bacon with a side of Velveeta Shells and Cheese (one box should be enough)

Olive Garden (one of everything on the menu plus 80% of my body weight in breadsticks and 20% in salad)

fried ice cream (two servings)

Evening treat:
grandpa's homemade ice cream

(And this is all just day one. On day two I'll start on 7 boxes of Pizza Hut breadsticks with maranara and a sugar-free raspberry lemonade icee from Target...)

ps - Don't take it personally that taco casserole didn't make my list, Mom...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Who wins?

Australia v. New Zealand

Best accent: Aussie (hands down)

Cuter boys: Aussie (hands down)

More things to do: Aussie

Cheapest: Aussie

Best cafes: New Zealand

Best mussels: New Zealand

Best city: Sydney (hands down)

Best landscape: tie

Better national anthem: New Zealand

Most beautiful overall: New Zealand

Funnier looking money: tie

Better weather: New Zealand

Best drivers: Australia

Best grammar: neither

Best rugby: NEW ZEALAND (hands down)

Best cricket: who cares?

Which am I most likely to visit on my reunion tour: New Zealand for the memories, Australia for all that I haven't seen...

Overall winner: is in the head of the writer (which will stay private, thank you very much...)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Done and done

And back to reality.

Our Aussie tour ends today.

Being on a Contiki tour allowed me to be devoid of any responsibility whatsoever. I didn't expect that upon booking, but was appreciative of it while I was there.

Each day we were told where to be and when to be there, where we could and couldn't eat, and what was or wasn't included. Buses picked us up and dropped us off at every stop. Our hotels and most meals were arranged. I really had to sit back and enjoy. Plus, being with 45 others who are in the same place in their lives as you was a treat as well.

During my last few days I spent time deep-sea diving in the Great Barrier Reef (which cost a fortune but was worth it), hiked and slept in the Australian rainforest (did you know Australia even had a rainforest? see picture above), and saw the only place in the world where two natural ecosystems (the reef and the rainforest) come together.

And then I said goodbye and went home.

Back to reality.

(and bills) :(