8 July 2011


One of my readers (hi, Lorna!) has asked me a bunch of questions that I thought I'd answer here on my blog.

Q: How are you doing? Has the jet lag and nausea subsided? Are you feeling rested or settled yet?

A: I'm doing great, thanks. The jet lag tiredness, nausea and foggy-brainedness lasted just over a week but I feel like I'm over it now. I had a mild cold and that's gone too. I'm feeling more rested but not 100% settled yet as we still don't have our stuff.

Q: Do you have any furniture yet? If not, how are you managing?!

A: Our container is currently in Sydney, so we're hopefully only a week away from receiving all our goods. In the meantime we are borrowing tons of stuff. We brought a few bits over with us (two laptops, small frying pan, spatula, cutlery, roasting dish, towels), we've been given some things (towels, sheets, two small oil-filled heaters), we've been lent some items (fridge, dining table and four chairs, sofa, toys, glasses, china, cutlery, mattresses, bedding, two more oil-filled heaters) and we bought a few things too (a printer, upright freezer, washing machine, tumble drier, storage containers for the pantry.) We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown to us.

Q: What is your typical day like? How do you spend an ordinary day now, and what do you hope to do in the future?

A: I wake up at around 7:30am and get into the shower. Grant gets up and gets breakfast for himself and the boys. When I'm dressed I make school lunches and we make sure the boys get ready for school. We started out walking them to school but now they walk by themselves. Then Grant and I generally run errands, go grocery shopping, tidy the house, do laundry, go to the library and I've been baking. We're quite bored right now, still feeling in limbo, and I can't wait to start organising our home properly.

When the boys get home from school they have a snack and play. Sometimes we go somewhere like the library or to check out a beach. I make dinner and we eat together as a family. I've been having a bath most evenings as it's winter here and can get chilly.

As far as the future, I've actually applied for a couple of part-time jobs but haven't heard back from either of them. I also plan to start up my portrait photography business again, but specialise in newborn and first year photography. I hope to join casual ladies' netball and badminton teams and of course Weight Watchers on a Wednesday morning. I've also started making friends and hope to fit some socialising in. I've contacted La Leche League with a view to volunteering. So I have lots of plans to keep busy, which will be good for me when Grant is away.

Q: What hours are the boys in school? What is a school year? (Is there a
long summer holiday, or is it year round?)

A: School is from 9am until 3pm. They have four terms a year and a 6-week summer holiday. Their next holiday is in a week's time, for 2 or 3 weeks (I forget). Their next holiday should be in October and then in December they have their 6-week break. It's the same as the school year in South Africa, so it's familiar to Grant and I. (And no, Christmas in summer never felt right to me even back then when it was all I had ever known!)

Q: What are you eating that's different from the UK or SA? What's the most interesting new food you've found (if any!)

A: We're not eating all that differently on the whole. The vegetables and fruit are more flavoursome. We've been eating a ton of kiwifruit and mandarins as they are in season and cheap. In fact, a local fruit store has kiwifruit for 89c a kilogram (for my US friends that's 74 US cents for about two pounds and for my UK peeps it's around 46p). Bargain! I plan to try making some kiwifruit jam.

We also really enjoyed the fish Grant caught. Kahawai is an oily fish and was totally delicious. Can't wait for more. We had fish and chips with friends shortly after we arrived and it was so tasty and different to the fish in the UK (I never liked chip-shop fish in the UK). I believe it was gurnard.

Q: What sort of things do you do with the boys outside school, while Grant is working? Are there nice parks? Is the beach far? Other entertainments?

A: Grant isn't working yet, he only goes away to college on 8th of August and he'll be there for 5 months. We've not really explored parks and stuff (it's been a bit rainy and wet) but the boys like playing on the school grounds. There are big play structures and a couple of sandpits. There are beaches about 20-30 minutes away.

We have plans for some awesome day trips for the school holidays, so watch this space.

Q: Are you still loving your house? What about it is typically "New Zealandish" vs. the same the world over?

A: Yes I am, it is perfect for us. Not sure there is anything uniquely New Zealandish about our house, but it's very different to our house in the UK. There are no stairs at all, even the garage is level with the house (no step down into it). I am loving that! The living area is completely open plan, which is different to the UK (but more like South African houses). No double glazing or central heating, but lots of windows everywhere letting in lots of light. I plan to post some photos soon.

Q: Will you be able to paint or decorate your house? Do you have plans? Or are you not allowed to do things like that? (You're renting or leasing, right?)

A: Yes, we're renting but since we plan to be here for a while I still plan to decorate, to a degree. The walls are beige and the tiles and carpet are brown, so they are easy to work around. I'm sad that we have vertical blinds on all the windows and no curtain poles, but I'll get over it. I will definitely hang pictures though,I'll use clean release hooks that don't leave damage. If I have money for extras I might even make some frames to go on the bathroom mirrors and stick them on with clean release velcro strips so they are easily removable. We'll see. Of course I'll blog about anything I do.

Q: What sort of wildlife is there? Birds, insects, animals, etc?

A: The only creatures we've seen so far are the earwig I found on my bed (aargh!) and the birds who come and eat the bread I scatter on the deck. They are tiny little sparrows and cheeky myna birds, and I don't know the names of the others. I'm hopeful that we will see more creatures in the summer and when we go hiking.

Thanks for all the questions, Lorna, and if you or anyone else wants to know anything else, feel free to ask!

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