Tag Archive | life in new zealand

Are we happy?

21 December 2005

Although a lot of things here are exactly the same and almost everything is available (except those pillowcases in European sizes and Dutch wash cloths) of course there are still some things differently. Something I had never seen before is the electric pan. In the newspapers and on TV is strikingly advertised expensive jewelry and old-fashioned porridge. And the checkout-bargain of the week is crème for cracked heels. An everywhere found ailment, maybe because of all those barefoot walkers. I have seen cracked heels in real; A waitress had a layer of calluses like a horseshoe, burst into the meat. It was disgusting. I could not take my eyes off it.

are we happyOne of you mailed me, slightly concerned, asked me if we were happy over here.

  • Well … uh … the New Zealanders don’t understand my English attempts.
  • Their Santa is a joke.
  • They act hard and unwillingly to get our cars through inspection.
  • The gallery owner treats me wrong.
  • The landlord and us don’t have warm feelings for each other.

are we happyNevertheless, we are very happy. I have a very cozy little studio where I am almost all day. Which overlooks the garden where I am thrilled every morning about what is happened that night in the veggie patch. Daily we are walking to the beach or village or forest while we sing to the tourists “we-don’t-have-to-go-back-hooome” (bis). The temperature is always perfect. The door to the deck is open for a month already.
Maybe that all sounds rather ordinary, but working on an even bigger ‘grand and compelling’ future life is always on our list.

Arrival of Santa

20 December 2005

arrival of santaToday, the landlord and his wife were expected to arrive at 10 AM on inspection. Yesterday we soon cleaned up the house and baked cookies.
At 9:30 AM they already knocked on the door! Frank got a scolding because he had cut down a tree. While the landlord had said on the first day: “You can do what you want with the garden”. Apparently not. The tree put a lot of shade in the garden and Frank thought it was meant as a flower garden where sunlight is needed …

A few weeks ago we saw the arrival of Santa Claus. His appearance was a bit disappointing. Apparently this year he could not find his fake mustache so he had hung his beard right under his nose and cut a hole for his mouth. It looked strange.
His hat was hung diagonally in front of his face, so that at least the people on the left side of the street couldn’t see his sloppy disguise. The right side of Santa was partly hidden by the pink fairy. That was easy, because Santa was very skinny, for a Santa.

arrival of santa clausHis somewhat lame appearance was preceded by a long line of ‘commercials’ by the local entrepreneurs. They had understood that Santa had to be the highlight of the show, so their floats looked as if they were quickly glued together the night before. Usually the company logo was used for promotional prospect, decorated with 1 simple Christmas garland 1 and -at best- with a cardboard reindeer antlers too.

We already have recognized a few people in the parade!!! The man who has come to pick up the Imperial last week (with the almost crushed trailer) blew the bagpipe along with the band wearing Scottish skirts. The mechanic who was in charge to repair the Lincoln was the chauffeur of the mayor driving a white Cadillac (my Lincoln probably was not ready to use yet, whahaha). And the owner of the Indian take-away drove around with an open boot within his 18 years old daughter ostensibly cooking on a plastic child’s kitchen.
That must be a miserable father …

Prizes and awards

20 November 2005

During the school year the children regularly get awarded with prizes to encourage them growing to the hard adult life. The credo is; Everyone has 1 talent at least. So, there are not just awards for who can count the best, who writes the most beautifully, or who can name all capitals in the world … no, in a class of 30 children are 30 prices. There is also a prize for who has been the most obedient, who was the most attentive, or who has done the most to help another.

Once the New Zealander matured, this continues. In the newspaper today, our adult citizens were awarded with prizes; This was the week for the gardeners. In addition to the finest theme garden, rock garden or landscaped yard there were also -in all earnest awards for the garden that is best visible from the road (!) the best dual-earner garden (!) and best single-parent-garden (!).

Yesterday, the Lincoln has been to the garage to get ‘awarded’ with her WoF (warranty of road fitness). Sneakily we drove off the mountain without license plates – and as silently as possible soon returned. Before we can get a license number there still need some things be done. A lot of these jobs are doable for Frank but the licence-distributor requires a certificate from an authorized car dealer for all repairs and modifications. That is quite shitty because Franks has stored a lot of these specialized classic car parts at home JUST BECAUSE they are not available at normal garages. Frank learned to do every job by his own JUST BECAUSE normal garages are not set up to such old sledges.

On September 28, I wrote Frank had found money on the street four times. Since then, there were regularly appearing coins and even a note at his feet. At the 8th time for a moment I thought about writing about it again, but I assumed that you would not believe it.
Today, I can not help it to mention that he found the 12th coin in nine weeks.

prizes and awardsOn the picture the tiny mini-airport of Whakatane. Just 1 hall and 1 desk for ‘in and out’. A coffee machine instead of a MacDonald and 2 Kliko bins for the trash. Oh, and at the side 1 hospital bed (?). The one and only guy who handles the tickets, is the same one and only guy who is driving an old dented car over the airstrip 5 minutes before the plane is landing, to check if the strip is free of rubbish, animals, stones or whatever.

Using the towbar

13 November 2005

Almost all pieces of furniture have found a place in the house and the old struggle to follow a normal daily routine is popping up again. But slowly we are getting a kind of everyday life (I’m painting again!) and we starting to think thoroughly about a next emigration …
Nooo, you should not believe everything;
using the towbarHowever … at the gypsy market a gypsy princess read our hand and she said that we would buy a plane.
So, we bought a plane.

In the weekend we decided to do a barefoot walk on the beach. After half an hour collecting large shells (I want to use them as a ‘single bed’ for each half-ripen strawberry in my garden, to protect them against the predatory ants) we saw a van on the beach. That’s nothing special, because man is allowed to drive on the beach to fish or gather wood. After coming closer we immediately became approached by the driver: “Yes, I’m parked here rather clumsy”.
“Yes, you are sunk in the sand to your axles !”
“Uh, I can hear you come from the Netherlands?”
Etcetera … etcetera …

using the towbarHe is a traveling salesman professional gardening tools and didn’t want to be back to his boss too early, so a bit bored he drove on the sand, realizing too late he was sitting in the business-van instead of his own 4WD. Well, the first few meters went well, but now he was hopelessly stuck and the tide was rising. Relieved he jumped up when it turned out that our car was a 4wd.
Once the chain was on the towbar the van was very unwilling to be moved. Only after 30 meters by dragging the van through the sand, the tires got grip again. But not after first thrown out a few heavy wood shredders.
The man was very happy we saved his day and offered us a nice pruning tool from his stock.

The impatient hairdresser

3 November 2005

After an earlier moving in the Netherlands, my famous planetary table (made with mirrors and luminous paint) and  was never put together again. On a cold winter’s day some parts even have landed in the fireplace. Since then we never have had a coffee table anymore, while knowing they are damn useful!
hairdresser During our search for chairs -which is still going these days- we saw all sorts of beautiful things to spice up the house, but not the right chairs. For example we saw a beautifully handcrafted coffee table from Hawaii. I found the slices of palmwood such a good idea! So we bought it!

For weeks I peeked inside every hairdresser’s, hoping to see the brand ‘Kérastase’ on the shelves. Because the quality of my hair is not really impressive I’m scared to risk a brand of dye I’m not familiar with. In Tauranga I happily found one.
The hairdresser frowned her eyebrows after seeing the color number I got from my Dutch hairdresser, but after some searching in a drawer she put a nylon piece of hair on my head that somewhat resembled the wanted colour.
The washing-girl was tempered soon by my many tangles which she resolutely teared out. At this moment my English isn’t improved enough to defend myself, so I accepted the gloomy prospect that my hair would be another 10% thinner.

hairdresserAfter 45 minutes the stuff was washed out. Via the mirror I saw the moody girl and the hairdresser discussing and pointing to my wet wisp in the sink over and over again. Because of the loud music and the rustling sound of the running taps I couldn’t hear what they said, but the expressions of their faces didn’t reassure me. The hairdresser grumpy stalked off and came back with yet another paste. My Dutch hairdresser never did it that way …
Eventually the color turned out okay, but I think the next time I try to dye it myself.