Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Bright Side

I've spent a lot of time complaining about what I am missing by not living in the States as well as bitching about my furniture, curtains, etc. But occasionally I do see the benefits. I suppose I am a little out of my comfort zone since I really have no control over much here and I miss my furniture, friends and watching my boys play soccer. I was initially irritated that the pizza here just didn't taste right so I decided to try to make it myself-from scratch. I've never made dough or pasta sauce ever before but figured it couldn't be that hard. Well, it was time consuming and a bit labor intensive but I was rewarded with the best tasting pizza I've ever had. Then, I tried making my own was awesome. I am putting a pasta maker on my birthday list though since kneading pasta dough is really hard. And for an added bonus, I've lost a few pounds-something I'd been trying to do for months.

So, there is a silver lining but I still miss my stuff and soccer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Men are from Mars...

What Adrian sees

What I see

We've had our share of bad weather and natural disasters lately. The earthquake in Christchurch devastated the town and left many people homeless. The town will be rebuilding for a very long time. The aftershocks were a slap in the face for those who made it through unscathed. We felt them here in Wellington. So, when the news report came on Thursday that a massive storm the size of Australia was going to hit us over the weekend, I panicked a bit. A previous s"regular" storm had devastated the western coast and we saw cars blow over on the motorway and 4 meter waves coming off the ocean onto the coastal road. I figured, lets be safe and keep the boys home from school on Friday. The winds were expected to be 130km per hour, the waves huge and hail, rain, lightening, etc. were all going to hit. I'm a bit of a worrier when it comes to my children. That was my response. Luckily, the storm didn't do much damage in Wellington, though there were traffic accidents and power lines down with one house catching fire after being hit by lightening.
My husband's response was somewhat different. He and my older son, Morgan, decided it would be a great idea to go north (where the storm was going) and climb an active volcano 8000 feet high. Say what? I thought they would regret their decision but they were determined so I packed them a bag full of snacks, a few bottles of water, pocket knives, band aids, cell phone charger for the car, etc. Everyone in our family jokes that I am MacGuyver and always prepared for anything....I am. I am proud of that nickname and also proud that my nephews call me uncle Amy but that's not the point. I don't want to be unprepared, ever.
You can guess where this is going. Adrian and Morgan spent 8 hours without their gear ( they had left it in their hotel room when they went to climb the volcano) in the car waiting to be rescued when a tree wrapped in live power lines fell into the road in front of them. I was here watching undisturbed chick flicks and Ewan was at a sleepover.
For the full report go to .
I may be a worrier but you can bet I'd never sit starving and dehydrated in a car for 8 hours.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


If you ever want to know what really goes on in a school, volunteer at the snack shop. In New Zealand, they refer to the snack shop as the "Tuck Shop". It is a separate building outside that serves up Kiwi fast food. You can have a spaghetti wing - a piece of french bread slathered with Spaghettio's and topped with pizza cheese ( I think it was actually cheddar) and baked. Then we have meat pies, garlic bread, sushi (yes, sushi is big here), chicken wraps and all sorts of candy.
The lady in charge, Claire, knows all of the kids and knows all of the gossip. You see, there is no cafeteria in NZ schools. Kids just open their lunch boxes and sit wherever they can and eat. They have a little over an hour to eat or play or just hang with their buddies. No lunch line, no lunch lady and nobody telling them to shush. It's kind of cool. In the center of this is the Tuck Shop. We opened for breakfast for 15 minutes to serve hot chocolate and muffins then reopened for morning tea @ 10:30 then again at noon for lunch. So, the kids will never actually have the chance to be hungry if they have cash or a debit card.
I must admit, it was a lot of fun. The children are very courteous and Claire is very efficient. It kind of reminded me of the Seinfeld episode with the Soup Nazi. The boys lined up, had their money in hand and asked nicely for their food saying please and thank you. They didn't dawdle. That is until my child came up with a fist full of cash and half a dozen orders which is strictly prohibited. You're not supposed to take orders for your friends. Looks like they were breaking in the new guy. Oh well, nobody seemed too concerned. I suspect that the kids of the Moms who volunteer get special treatment.
The Tuck Shop also has a few vegetarian dishes which is awesome since my 10 year old has recently decided he is vegetarian. Looks like I am too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Day in the Life of an unemployed EFM

I would really like to work while here, but it doesn't seem likely as we are only here for 2 years. I'm not looking to start a new short -term career. I was hoping to pick up my nursing cover business, but since I have no idea when my sea shipment will get here, that's on hold too. So, I have been filling my days with "girlie" adventures. Those who know me know that I'm not a particularly girlie female but I have my moments. I normally do not like shopping but when you have nothing else to do, and nobody to do it with, it is a good excuse to leave the house. So far I've bought a fireplace, barstools, chairs and new curtains. Apparently our house just got new curtains from the embassy but they weren't exactly to my taste so.... I have no idea what I am going to do with all this new stuff when it is time to leave. I hope we have enough weight allowance left to take it with us.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Those Brits sure can party

I am now an official member of the International Spouses group so I get invited to all of the gatherings and excursions. This week we had another "tea" with a British lady who is not affiliated with the British High Commission. She lives in Wellington by choice with her physician husband. Sadly, they are leaving to retire back in the UK. We used that as a great excuse to drink champagne in the middle of the day. I turned my nose up at the bottle when I noticed that it was strawberry flavored champagne but dang! That stuff was good. Just to be sure, I had a second glass. My friend Charanjil doesn't drink so I had hers.

In this photo: Gina (USA) and Mary (UK)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

1980's Revival

I really like New Zealand, but it is seriously stuck in the 1980s. The teenagers are sporting punk haircuts, super tight skinny jeans and Chuck Taylors. 1980's pop music plays constantly on the radio stations and leggings are really popular. Sadly, the decor of my goverment-issued house is 1980s as well.

I could overlook the southwestern style mauve, sage and blue couches that perfectly complement the vomit of colors in the curtains, the 25-year-old formica-ish, blondish with a rose tint dining ensemble, and the cutsie, sage with natural wood tones cabinetry in the kitchen, but pink walls? Really? Why anyone would paint the entire interior of a house pink on purpose is beyond me.

So, to deal with my frustration I bought a fireplace mantle. No, we don't actually have a fireplace but if I'm going to have pink furniture and walls, darn it, I'm going to sit by a cozy fake fireplace to contemplate them. It makes perfect sense to me.