We finally arrived in Wellington after a straight 24 hours of travelling. We thought it would be better to travel straight through and avoid dragging our 8 bags around LA. The flights were smooth and I have to say that Air New Zealand has some of the cleanest aircraft I've ever seen. they were friendly and professional and served you real food at no extra cost and at dinner time, they walked up and down the aisles with bottles of wine-also free. Lovely. Unfortunately I was unable to sleep a wink on any of the flights (3). One poor toddler was not having a good time and screamed the entire 12 hours. I am not exaggerating. He screamed, passed out for 1/2 hour, woke up and screamed some more. Poor baby. I felt so bad for the Mom who did everything in her power to calm him.
Anyway, New Zealand is beautiful. Wellington, in particular, is very pretty with great architecture, culture and the feel of a modern city without all of the garbage that usaully accompanies larger cities.
We have great sponsors here ( folks frm the Embassy who make us feel welcome and help us transition) who picked us up, shleped all of our luggage and stocked our hotel fridge with homemade goodies. What a lifesaver. I think we hit the jackpot with them.
We've been in a hotel since arriving since our house is unexpectedly undergoing some improvements and though my two boys are about to kill each other, it is nice to have a lull before all the hard work begins. Adrian has had to jump right into his new position. We arrived at 9am and he was at the embassy by 1pm and back to work bright and early the next day. Luckily he got a bit of sleep on the plane.
We have been tryong our best to adjust to the 16 hour time difference, staying up until almost 8pm and waking @ 3 or 4. Every day we shave off another hour which is about average. The boys will start school next week. Morgan will take public transportation and Ewan gets to ride a school bus.
The cost of groceries is shocking to say the least. As govt employees, we are allowed a small cost of living adjustment to offset some of the price differences. How that works is, whatever you receive after taxes and deductions on your pay check, the govt will give us an additional percentage of "discretionary" income to buy food, etc. I think they need to revisit the COLA. It is currently at 35%. Well, I just got cell phone servie and am paying 89 cents per minute for all calls (that was the cheapest I could find-no texting, no internet, just good old fashioned phone calls). A medium sized tube of Colgate was $6.97 NZ ( $5.11 US). 4 AA Lithium Energizer batteries were $25.99 Kiwi ( $19.05 US). I was at the local grocery store, not a 7 Eleven where everything is marked up. So, we will have to shop smarter.
On the upside, there is very little crime, the people are incredibly nice and very fit and the weather, while dismal at the moment, (it's winter here) isn't as bad as in South Dakota which still ranks # 1 in quality of life for me.
More to come as I explore this wonderful country and I promise to post more photos shortly.