Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.

April 15, 2008, 10:56 am
Filed under: Establishing | Tags:

I just spent one hour and five minutes driving the 8.8 kilometres between new suburban home and usual downtown office this morning.  It is pouring rain here – for the second day in a row, rare for Auckland even in winter – which is the likely problem. 

For quick math purposes, I averaged 8.1 km/h on my drive into the city.  I ran an average speed of 16.6 km/h in my last half marathon, and finished the 8.8 km long Round The Bays Run in March in 44 minutes.

It would have been faster for me to RUN to work today.  How about that?

From now on, if I’m not out of the house by 7 AM I am not leaving until, like, 10 AM or something.



April 10, 2008, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Establishing

I have returned from Melbourne, but I’m still setting up temporary new house and sorting out other residency concerns.  So I’m on hiatus until…mmmm…perhaps Sunday.

You know us bloggers…

A Departure Announcement.
March 30, 2008, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Establishing

I’m coming home early.

Yeah.  Long story short, my country needs me and I will be answering the call.  I don’t have specific dates set just yet, so the key operator here is that my first day on the job back in Barrie will be Monday July 21st.  I will be home a little sooner via a tailor-made suit store in Hong Kong and a vacation with my mother somewhere, but it’ll be family time and apartment cleaning time.  So I’m operating on July 21st being my first day “back” in the country.

In case you are wondering why:

  • No, I did not get fired by New Zealand;
  • No, they are not throwing me out of the country for smuggling tea;
  • Yes, I am looking forward to the Jays season (and cutting Reed Johnson was a GOOD call);
  • Yes, I have had a lovely stay and (will have, by the time departure day arrives) accomplished basically everything I wanted to.

So that’s the story.

I’d love to talk more, but Part 2 of the America’s Funniest Home Videos 2002 $100,000 prize show has just started.  Ha ha – a baby is picking her nose and eating the contents.  Americans!!!

March 26, 2008, 9:34 am
Filed under: Establishing

At 7 AM this morning, it was still pretty dark out (that dawn kind of look). 

Autumn is here in Auckland.

You Know Time is Fleeting When.
March 13, 2008, 8:34 am
Filed under: Establishing

You know time is fleeting when you go the grocery store and almost every food item you buy (except the milk, the produce and the deli meats) has an expiry date of after your contract in New Zealand runs up.

Six months ago today was my last day of work in Barrie (September 12, 2007). 

How I Combat Homesickness.
February 17, 2008, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Establishing | Tags: , , ,

Having just completed another round of successful phone calls home today, I thought I would share a couple of my tips for battling homesickness. It’s surprisingly easy in the Internet age to remain connected. I mean, I have my choice of any Canadian media available to me (including the delightful TV adaptation of Douglas Coupland’s jPod) and even our few food products.

Below is a non-comprehensive list of how I make Canadian magic happen. Feel free to send along your tips as well and I will update the list accordingly:

  • Random $900 flights home.
  • CBC Radio 3.
  • French toast with Steeves’ Maple Syrup from Elgin (pronounced “el-JIN”), New Brunswick.
  • In Flight Safety (also a great cool down band post-run).
  • Putting-hyphens-between-words, which-they-don’t-do-in-New-Zealand.
  • My weekly round of phone calls home to family and friends (called in theme groupings: one week Guelph, one week Barrie, two weeks of planners, …).
  • Downloading TV shows the day after they air back home, including jPod, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Torchwood, Squidbillies, and on occasion Dave Foley’s shows on Super Deluxe.
  • Putting letter zeds into words that have esses in them in New Zealand, such as “memorise” or “realisation.”
  • Teh Facebook.
  • Teh e-mails.
  • My website.

Missing you all…

The Apartment Post.
October 31, 2007, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Establishing

My Apt 010

Oh my goodness. I still haven’t told you about where I live!

I allowed myself three days to get established. In that time, I managed to look at four apartments. Auckland is a tenant’s market, so there are lots of places to look at. But of course, there are lots people looking. I was in a competition for two of the four units. I “won” both of those. Score.

The one was a super small loft on a quiet lane off the main street. Party nights would have been very loud. The other had a great view of the skyline, but came with a $1000 “letting fee.” It’s a charge unique to New Zealand. It’s basically paying $1000 for the privilege to rent somebody’s apartment (this is on top of the bond/damage deposit). The third had a small ocean view, but was about as large as my kitchen back home.

And so I’ve defaulted to apartment number four. It’s in a 17-storey building with a landward view. It overlooks a quiet little park, with my office building poking overtop of the treed canopy of that park. Yes, that is a 500 metre walk to work. A loft apartment building frames the rest of my view (me watching them and them watching me). The streets out my window are small local roads, so it is a generally quiet spot…in the middle of a metropolis of 1.3 million. Oh – and the Canadian consulate is just up the street.

I had really been hoping for an ocean view without really knowing where to look or how much it would cost. Turns out that my budget allows for an ocean view defined by roadways only, not sweeping panoramas. Plus, those apartments are about half the size – unlike waterfront apartments in Barrie, which are the same size as those with a landward view. There are also two significant arterial roads between my building and the ocean, chock full of diesel-powered buses and tire squealing teenagers. Instead, I turned my money into a relatively large studio apartment (600 sq.ft) with a quiet view of a serene little park.

I’ve moved all the furniture and vacuumed underneath everything. Just like home…except that everything is in one room and fully furnished. It’s like a glorified hotel room, but at a lesser cost.

A photo tour.