Tag Archive | my move to new zealand

The busiest day

7 September 2005

As long as you are on the road before 6:45 AM, you are ahead of the traffic jams. A rule I knew.
But that -in the meantime of a couple of years- proved to be obsolete data. Far before I entered the always troubling tunnels, I was trapped already.

The sun rose. The weather forecast was 28 degrees Celsius and it was quite hot right away.
The radiator of our old VW Golf had been broken for a while and the hot weather in combination with the slowly moving traffic is a terrific way to produce an engine overheating.
A proven way to prevent this -or at least reduce the chance, is to put the heater on full power, so the engine can lose somewhat of his heat. So I did. And I was sweating like a pig, but worse was that poor Pini in her cage; she was panting like a dog.

The traffic had now totally stopped moving and I realized I never could meet the arrival time I agreed with the animal transporter. I phoned him to warn him. And half an hour later I phoned him again to report that I was finally freed from the traffic jam. I could be there in 10 minutes. He was very pleased by this news, but unfortunately he also had to tell me that The Big Check to get animals through customs, was now closed …
It was not his idea, but the decision of the RVV (the umbrella organization of Cattle Overseas). Anyway, he said it would be nice if I still came as well, but there was no need to hurry anymore.

In the meanwhile Pini was in a state of utter despair, but it didn’t make sense to return her home, because after all she had to be at the airport at some point anyway. Also, the house would be emptied today, so that would be a stressful place to be for her too.
The animal transporter and I agreed that Pini would stay overnight at his company and that she would be checked in just 24 hours later. Furthermore, everything would remain the same.
I took a picture of her, sneakily wiped away a tear and rapidly drove back in my half-boiling car.

On my way back, I suddenly realised the Wednesday/Thursday issue and the problem about arriving in the weekend. Two days ago the animal transporter emphasized that the cat wasn’t allowed to leave on Thursday because then she would arrive on Saturday. If she leaves tomorrow … she will arrive on Saturday! Just like we started this whole thing!

Back at home the truck with the container for the furniture had shown up and the back was parked against the doors of my former gallery. My dad and a friend were helping to fix the heavy job, but it still took four hours before we could close the container.

During the morning my fears about Pini’s departure became reality. It is not possible indeed. “What about next Monday?” asks the animals transporter. My brain worked overtime, because the validity of an important blood test (which process I had started 8 months ago) would expire. What means: no new stamp in Pini’s animal passport. And that stamp is her permission to move to New Zealand.
However, a departure on Monday would yield many more problems than just that stamp. She had to wait another five days at the airport in a room that is not designed for longer stays.
We, her parents … had already left the country by Monday.

At lunch time Frank accompanied the chauffeur of the trailer to guide the cars at the harbor. Early in the evening he returned home by train and reported that … he needs to come back the next morning because the guys for receiving and to leashing the cars … were not present.
Again just like we started this whole thing!
Oh, and there was no sign of the endlessly stupid girl of course.

Now there were three options for Pini’s problem:

  • A renewed blood test. Which results usually takes a month.
  • I could call the quarantine cattery in Auckland, to ask if they are willing, in exceptional case, to receive a cat on Saturday.
  • Or … ask them please-please-please to accept a blood test that has expired only a very little time.

Logistics of car transport

6 September 2005

The gal at the desk of the container company, is endlessly stupid.
That’s no problem if you are prepared to deal with such people, but sometimes we forget to mentally protect ourselves against those potholes on our way.

Everything is arranged to transport our two cars to the harbour on Thursday September 8th (keep that date in mind!). There is no warrant of fitness (APK) and no insurance on the cars anymore, so they are transported on a trailer and Frank will chaperone them.
A 12 meter long container is waiting in the harbour, guided by a couple of guys with the knowledge and materials to steadily fix the cars on their ‘feet’.
Everybody is informed and everyone is alert.

Today the endlessly silly gal decreed that the cars needed to be present at the harbour already on … Wednesday September 7th!!! Remember … that was the overloaded day I had to bring Pini to the airport AND our entire household should be packed into the container …
And now all the things we had planned for 3 days, should be done in 1 day???

Of course the endlessly silly gal ensured that the guys would be present for the ‘lashing’ of the cars. Definitely! What did we think?! We were not their first clients, right?
Thank goodness, the driver of the trailer hadn’t a too full agenda and was willing to reschedule us for 1 day earlier.

So … tomorrow before the traffic jams are starting I’ll bring Pini to the airport. Returning back home to help stuffing the container. Then Frank left at noon to the Rotterdam harbour to escort the cars and I’ll handle the rest …

I hope I can get some sleep tonight.

Important stamp in animal passport

5 September 2005

A long time ago -at the beginning of 2005- I pinned Tuesday 8 September as flight departure day for my cat.
At that time I needed a fixed point in future to start a uncompromising preliminary stage of injections and blood tests, ticked in her animal passport, to get her through customs.

Today -8 months later- we were granted to get an important stamp of approval in Pini’s passport. This stamp is valid only a few days, so it couldn’t hardly obtained earlier or later.
On our way home we stopped at the airport to pick up a special travel cage. This cage will be ‘sealed’ during the 36 hours trip, so in advance I wanted to try to create some comfort inside.
The animal transporter told me that I had to arrange an earlier flight, because otherwise the cat would arrive in the weekend. And that was forbidden.

WHAAAT??? That was forbidden???

Important stamp in animal passportWell, what a luck that I popped in by by surprise. How the hell would I have known if I didn’t plan that little comfort project?
The suggested Wednesday 7 September for Pini’s new departure, was the worst day we could imagine. Because that day the container would be delivered. We had to stuff it with our furniture as fast as possible, to get it back on the road to the harbor on the same day. There was no time left to drive Pini to the airport.
But I had to …
So I planned to drive Pini to the office of the animal transporter before 7:00 AM

My IELTS test

31 Oct 2004

Before I moved from the Netherlands to New Zealand I had to do the International English Language Test (IELTS). And I needed a band score of 5 (out of 9) at least to be allowed to live in New Zealand.

From 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM I found myself in exactly the same state of mind like 2 decades earlier at high school.
These days I was under the impression that I enough mastered reading and writing in English, but I was very concerned about the spoken test. So, in the lunch break prior to my speaking presentation, I sneaked into a bar and quickly gulped down two glasses of gin for the purpose of the indispensable overconfidence.

After the examiner ignored my offered handshake, I instantly became an insecure adolescent again.
The monologue about my work went fine. Although, the story suddenly was a lot shorter than I had practised at home in front of the mirror … While my brain was feverishly searching for another few smooth sentences, the examiner asked me about ‘the most impressive letter in my life’. I got 1 minute to think about this question en I thanked Whatever that I knew my reply after a few seconds already. I would tell him about the New Zealand gallery owner, who recently sent me an enthusiastic email. In that way I could turn the conversation into a subject that I was familiar with.
Happily I started to rave about it en tried to spice up my story with some interesting gestures en sweet ladylike voice inflections (yuk). But being realistic; in my desperation I noticed I used some quite weird words. My last straw was throwing in my most disarming glance.

I wasn’t done with my ‘show’ yet, when the examiner interrupted me by asking something very complicated about ‘the future of the written word’. I picked up some words as “ministry, professors and academics” and I asked him to repeat his difficult question. The long-expected black-out kicked in and my brain got frozen. Probably the examiner saw this happen too and he reckoned the oral test as finished.

On my way back home I was relieved this bad day was ended en mopishly I hoped I would get a more easy-going person if I had to do a new exam.

But …
A few weeks later I got the IELTS-envelope in my mailbox.
My score was a 6,5 ! And for conversation a … 7 !!! A SEVEN!
For 2 days I euphorically and non-stop shouted out loud: “How is this possible?! How is this possible?! How is this possible?!”

certificate ielts