Saturday, July 31, 2010

We have arrived!

Kia Ora –

It is great to finally be here!

The last three weeks have been a whirlwind. We managed to pack up our entire house – left Seattle - Spent some time in San Diego and Los Angeles and spent 4 days at San Diego Comic Con, all before flying out to Wellington.

We left too much to do until the end and got very little sleep the 3 days before the movers arrived with the shipping container. We owe huge thanks to some very dear friends in Seattle who helped make it possible. "THANK YOU"and we miss you.

There were also a few glitches with the paperwork that we had to work through and did.

And we struggled with the “goodbyes” to our cats. Mithral and Thor are slowly adjusting to their new life in San Diego and we miss them terribly.

After a 13 hour flight from LAX to Auckland – customs, a three hour layover and another one hour flight, we arrived in Wellington on Wednesday the 28th (which was still Tuesday to you back in the States). I’d like to add that I slept most of it and enjoyed the much needed relaxation.

Did I mention the 7 checked bags?

We then checked in to our temporary housing/apt. It is a one room flat - think college dorm room. Eric and I are sharing a double bed…It is cozy and we are having fun with it. We did rearrange the furniture. And we have to share a single internet connection.

The biggest issue now is our cell phones – Still trying to unlock the iPhones so we can use them here. AT&T misled us and we were told we could use them here by just switching the sim card. But no. We feel very disconnected with out them.

We also did our first marketing…some but not a lot of familiar brands. Cheddar Cheese, one of my staples, was only available in white, not yellow and comes in either “mild” or “tasty” - neither are close to the “sharp” I like.

Money is cool. The Kiwis are smart. The paper bills start at 5 New Zealand Dollars(NZD) and are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100. And the coins are 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar and 2 dollar. NO Pennies! At the market when they total your receipt there is a line item that says “rounding” and they adjust it to the nearest 0.

We rented a car one day and borrowed a car another and trying do some driving.

I have tried to get into the wrong side of the car twice, and tried to go up the down escalator –everything is on the wrong side or upside down and you find that your body is preprogrammed so it is difficult not to be on autopilot for the regular day to day things. Up is also down. Light switches flip opposite.

Food so far: We ate at Hell’s Pizza, Chocolate Frog CafĂ©, Fuel Burgers and a Mexican restaurant called Flying Burrito Brothers.

Monday I start work. I am really looking forward to it.

More updates will follow.


Stacy & Eric

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kia Ora! - (That's Maori for "hi", listed as one of 100 words New Zealanders should know)

And welcome to our blog. So many of our friends and family have asked us to keep in touch and send photos, so we have started this blog so that you may follow along on our adventure. We will try to post regularly. Bear in mind that it may take us a little while before we get settled, have reliable internet access, and get better acquainted with the blogging process.

T-minus 7 days until we will depart from Seattle AND 18 days until we depart for Wellington, New Zealand! That is assuming that everything goes smoothly.

What fun is an adventure that goes smoothly?

So to start off the craziness, we had a very successful 2-day garage sale, where we unloaded a lot of things we owned but had no idea why as well as a few items that we either no longer wanted or would not be of any use to us in New Zealand.

New Zealand's power is 240V 50Hz as opposed to our which is 110V 60Hz.

The biggest complication so far and the biggest surprise was learning that I apparently have very difficult fingers to fingerprint. The FBI rejected my fingerprints. And it took them 8 weeks to tell me that they were no good. So I had to go down to the Seattle Court House and work with a fingerprint technician and a scanning machine for about 45 minutes trying to get an acceptable set of fingerprints. I immediately Fed Ex'ed them back to the FBI but I am told I will have to wait anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks for these to be processed. If they get rejected again I have no idea what I will do or what my options will be.

The good news is that I am still going to New Zealand. The bad news is the paperwork just got more complicated and I will be filing for work visas twice.

Meanwhile, Eric and I continue to madly pack, sort and pack some more. We are trying to keep a good sense of humor and not kill each other in the process.

The most difficult part of this will be saying good-bye to our kitties. Mithral and Thor have been with us for 16 years and they are family. 3 airplanes, 20 plus hours, followed by 30 days of quarantine in a cage did not seem humane to us, so they will enjoy their retirement in sunny San Diego with "Mom/Sue" There will be tears!

Saying goodbye to family and friends is not easy either and we will miss all of you.

We hope that you enjoy following us on our adventure and if you find yourself in Wellington, New Zealand please let us know.

Stacy & Eric