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Thread: How is..

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    Daisyspop's Avatar
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    New Zealand living up to your expectations Mother Bear?

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    Hi Daisyspop. I was just thinking of putting together some of my thoughts and observations on our visit so far. We've been in NZ nearly a week now (disregarding travelling time to get here) and I'm starting to tune into NZ life. Over the next day or so (time permitting), I'll jot something down as, you never know, someone might find a few odd comments interesting, as I'm sort of 'living the life' rather than just being a tourist. I'm in the privileged position of staying in a 'real life' situation, not a hotel, so I can glean some 'on the ground' information.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    Excellent, hope you are enjoying yourself. I'll be greatly interested to read your impressions, especially since you appear to have anticipated much.

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    As requested, here are some of my random impressions and thoughts about my first few days in NZ. These are based on living with a family and doing everyday stuff, so we aren?t in holiday mode all the time. This is important, so we can gauge how we will react to living here. There are no rose-coloured specs being worn whilst making the following statements and they are purely my early thoughts and someone else would undoubtedly see things from a different perspective, particularly one who hasn?t left their home country before. In fact, my own opinions may well change the longer I?m here, for better or worse. The comments are in no particular order, just how they popped into my mind and are only relevant to the Waikato, a farming area.

    Airport external ground staff, police, posties etc. all wearing shorts. Gives an informal, relaxed atmosphere to the place. The posties here travel round on mopeds with a little flag sticking up at the back.

    Exiting Auckland airport, I was surprised at the cool wind blowing, even though it was midsummer. I hadn?t expected that, as people had said how warm it is, even when there is cloud cover. It?s not just us coming from Oman and feeling the cold either, as it?s a similar temperature there now, being winter. Lot of cloud around every day, even though it?s sunny. Haven?t experienced a totally cloud-free day yet, but I live in hope. Apart from the first couple of days when we had heavy showers, it?s been dry. When the sun is out it?s very strong and, away from the wind, can be quite painful on the skin if you stay in one place for long. Easy to see why people can burn without realising it. The cool wind takes the sting away, so you wouldn?t necessarily be aware that your body was about to become a slab of crispy bacon.

    The scenery ? I found it not too dissimilar to the UK, plenty of green around, fields, mountains, trees etc. Although people had raved about the wonderful scenery, I didn?t find it different or exotic enough to get excited about (remember, this is just in the Waikato). Before coming here, I guessed that this would be my feeling from what I?d researched myself, so it wasn?t a disappointment. I would say that I love the various palms, huge ferns and fern trees and there are other things, which, on closer inspection are unusual and interesting. I also love the areas of smooth, green rolling hills that almost look like an undulating fluffy velvet carpet. They are soothing to the eye. Roads aren?t too bad, bit bumpy in places (need resurfacing), but they are quite well signposted. Warning signs for schools are bright lime green, so no excuse for missing them. Central reservations on dual carriageways often have colourful flowerbeds and, generally, there are a lot of flowers around. Things grow well, including weeds.

    Quite a bit has been said about the standard of driving here but, so far, we haven?t had any problems. Apart from peak times, the roads are comfortable to drive on, allowing for thinking time when we don?t quite know where we?re going.

    The people are certainly more friendly and helpful than in the UK and, particularly, Oman, but I haven?t experienced it wholesale i.e. on a regular basis. It?s nice to smile at someone and have the smile returned and a few strangers have spoken to me in the shops, which was nice. I?m a great fan of the kiwi accent and it always brings a smile to my face to listen to them. More Maoris than I expected, but we are near to Ngaruwahia where the Maori queen lives (and where our new house is), so perhaps it?s to be expected. It?s nice to have the mix. I look forward to mingling further with the locals in the coming days.

    I wouldn?t say I was anticipating a lot from NZ, Daisyspop, I was looking more for ?normality?, the sort of life I could see myself living. So far, in that respect, NZ has well come up to scratch. To see yourself as an inhabitant of NZ, I think you need to have both feet on the ground and your sensible hat on. If the scenery and the weather are stunning and everyone around you is in holiday mood and the hotel you?re staying in caters for your every whim, cleans, cooks and washes up after you, that would eventually pall and you?d wonder ?OK, what now?? Whereas, when everything around you looks like something familiar, something you can fit into and relate to, you can then judge better how you?d settle in this country. That?s why this rambling ?life of everyday folk? is probably not entirely what members want to read. As the days go by it will evolve along with my feelings. When I have more time, I?d like to try to spell out some of the day-to-day happenings of ordinary NZ folks in case they are of help to our members about to make the move. I don't want to gush about how things are here, better to keep it low-key and then people can make up there own minds when they get here.

    More to follow??.. doing some garden tidying now, pre house move on Saturday.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    A few more oddments ?..

    Shopping ? shop opening times vary, but the big supermarkets are open anything up to 24 hours a day. They sell a wide variety of products, plenty of choice which is well-presented. So far I?ve only visited Foodtown and New World and was pleased to note that we won?t starve by any stretch of the imagination. Although I haven?t sampled that much, I?m confident food shopping won?t be a problem for us. Perhaps it?s because we?re used to buying what?s on offer rather than pining for what we had ?back home?. Certainly the bread here is much fresher than we?re used to with no shortage of different types and flavours. I?d heard that bacon doesn?t taste the same (too smokey) and you can only get streaky, but we bought some beautiful lean rashers that were very nice, especially sandwiched between 2 slices of cheese and bacon flavoured bread. Most things are available, just not the wide range of brands to choose from (might cut down on shopping time?) I can?t say the food was cheap, so it would be a case of selecting reasonably priced favourites, adding the odd treat now and again. Eating out, mainly in fast food eateries on trips, has provided freshly cooked, tasty and filling meals, which I?ve actually enjoyed, unlike similar in other countries. Conclusion ? the food here holds no terrors for us, unless it?s fear of putting on too much weight eating it.

    One thing I?m having trouble getting is a simple sundress (or three) to take back to Oman. Perhaps I?m looking in the wrong places or maybe dresses are too girly for NZ and shorts or trousers are more in favour. Passing through the ladies? lingerie section in The Warehouse, I noticed that ? of the underwear on offer is very serviceable and colourful, rather than lacy and girly. Also pyjamas were in prominence as opposed to nighties (all those cold winter nights without central heating?) If you live here, EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale) cards can be used to pay for goods rather than carrying cash with you. Depending which bank you?re with and which type of account you have, there may be a charge debited to you for every transaction. This seems to depend on how much money you have in your account.

    If you want to tow a trailer, you can?t just hook up and ride off into the sunset. You have to be licensed for it after passing a test, but not sure if it?s a theory or practical test. My mentor isn?t quite up to speed on this, but says it?s an endorsement on your licence if you try it without.

    I?ve seen the barefoot brigade out and about and our very own Welshgirl goes shopping barefoot on occasions. We won?t discuss the tortured look when she hit the tiny gravely stones in the car park.

    I won?t go into the vagaries of rubbish collection, as it varies greatly from area to area and urban to rural. Suffice to say, you have to pay to have your unwanteds taken away and there?s a restriction on how many bags they?ll take at a time.

    Trees frequently have litchen and other spooky, but interesting, things growing on their bark, so you can get 3 items for the price of 1, so to speak.

    Two thirds of the way from Hamilton to Rotorua, on the left hand side, there are some really odd mounds sprouting from the ground. Some have tall trees on them or are thickly covered in vegetation. There?s a pic on the Yahoo link ,but it doesn?t show some of the more weird ones (my camera decided it wouldn?t function at this point).

    More ramblings soon ??. (unless you?ve had enough, of course :icon_mrgreen: ) Let me know if there's anything in particular you are interested in or need to know and I'll endeavour to find out.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    Great stuff Mother Bear, it's always interesting to hear the other point of view especially when it is phrased in the level headed manner which appears to have become your trademark. Look forward to more observations as they occur. Enjoy your stay.

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    Now I am even more intrigued about those bumpy bits in the landscape, being a lapsed geologist and all.

    Even though the landscape reminded me in ways of California, my eyes soaked it all up. Colors and textures and light -oh my! It's wonderful to see an area like that which is not overridden by housing developments and shopping malls.

    Thanks for the reports, MB.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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    If anyone's wondering where we've gone, we got up the other morning to find the phone had been cut off. Therefore, no internet. We're on dial-up now until the day we leave NZ so can't spend long on here at the mo. We've moved house today so things are a bit chaotic. I'll prepare a little something offline and copy and paste it on the forum to save time, as soon as I can. It's been a sort of working holiday up until now, but maybe we can squeeze in a few more trips with the big move over.

    As things are, my impressions of NZ are that it's the sort of place I'd be happy to settle in (just as well with having bought a house here :icon_biggrin: ).
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    That answers a question or two!

    A forum board run on dial-up ... how quaint. ;D

    Sounds like you're all very busy. Look forward to hearing more when you're sorted out.

    :)
    Glenda
    In NZ since June 2005
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

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    If anyone's wondering where we've gone, we got up the other morning to find the phone had been cut off. Therefore, no internet.
    There is unrest in the 'camp' here that | previously posted that the phone had been cut off. I would hasten to clarify this was due to an imminent house move, which involved a disconnection, rather than Taffy and Welshgirl not having paid their bill.

    Let's hope they'll speak to me again now I've cleared that up. [smilie=Angry_club.gif]
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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