Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Settled

I must say that I am very grateful to have an English speaking country for my first post. This has made life easier for me and the boys. I had forgotten how many details must be attended to when you move and when you move to another country, double those details.
For those of you who have not yet made it to your first post, get to know all of the rules and regulations. It can be a bit frustrating to learn a new rule the hard way. First lesson...expect the unexpected. We thought we would be moving directly into our new home upon arrival but alas, plans had been changed. Someone graciously decided that our house needed a quick make over before we could move in so we were put into a lovely hotel for a week. Great, I thought! This will give us time to explore the downtown, get acclimated, and avoid cooking for another week. I had read that when you are temporarily housed in your new post you are allowed a per diem for food and laundry, etc. So off we went to our favorite cafe every morning to treat ourselves to breakfast and then lunch. For dinner, we upscaled a bit to a local pub. We were trying to be frugal but not stingy. New Zealand is not cheap. With the exchange rate, you can very easily spend $70 on breakfast at a sit down restaurant ( $50 US). They don't give free refills on coffee here which is really disappointing since I drink @ 3 cups in the morning and at $3.50 a cup, get the picture. Anyway, I learned after our stay that per diem is not given to you if you stay in a hotel with kitchen facilities and we had a small fridge and a tiny stove. Oops. Who knew? Well, now I do. Luckily, it all worked itself out. But, ask about everything.
Enrolling in school is straightforward. It is very expensive for uniforms and school supplies, which the government does not pay for but the education should soften the sting for us. Getting the children to school was an exercise in strategic planning but we managed to work it out. Ewan rides a chartered bus to and from school while Morgan has to rely on public transportation. The school does not have a regular school bus. I have no idea how much Ewan's bus will cost until they bill us at the end of the month but Morgan pays $10.40 per day. Yikes. Luckily, the Embassy will pay for this.
Setting up an internet connection was a bit frustrating. My only advice is to call ahead. It took me almost 2 weeks to get my internet hooked up.
Our cars were amazingly easy to buy and insure. I got myself a cute little minivan that seats 7 so that when we have visitors, we can all ride together. Adrian got himself a Ford Escape. We bought both of them from Max Motors in Lower Hutt. What a great group of people. I have never had a car buying experience like it and I've owned at least a dozen cars over the years. I highly recommend them.
We have been here almost 3 weeks and I just received my UAB this morning and I am waiting for the ministry of Agriculture to come to inspect some of it. The Kiwis are very particular about what organic stuff you bring in. I don't blame them after seeing what Kudzu has done to the South. It will be nice to have something from home in the house.


  1. I have to say that I love Costa Rica, but I'm a little jealous of the ease you have at post. Not knowing Spanish really hurts. I've started taking classes at the Embassy, but I want my Spanish to be great, right. now.

  2. Just found your blog while searching for something else. Welcome to the FS!