Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oct 31

Ok, so I have started a poster for later on today, but let me just start off with:  It takes way too long to upload photos to this blog in the internet cafe with limited time.  SO, oddly enough Facebook was faster... hence, if you would like a photographic tour of what I have seen and where I have been, please refer to facebook :-).  The photos are all in some kind of relative order that corresponds to the posts, so until I move into where I'll be living and can add photos INTO blog postings, check facebook for some gorgeous parts of Auckland!

Thanks guys, and appreciate that you all actually read this.  I know Im a tad long-winded sometimes (or more than a tad).



Oct 28th - Oct 30th. Sorry guys, trying to keep up!

“Gotta learn the Haka!”

Oct 30th

Today was a good day overall.  Sad, but good.  Had to say goodbye to Mom today, which was weird.  Definitely emotional.  Having her here has meant everything, and I am going to miss her.  I guess its up to me to take it from here.  Just hoping things continue to go smoothly while I get settled.  And GOD I hope I like the place Im about to move into.  Its got to be better than this (getting ready for another INCREDIBLY noisy night as I write this.  Unfortunately, its Halloween weekend…). 

Anyway, so today we again took the day chill.  Had a late breakfast, and wandered the city.  We ran into a Teacher’s march, pretty much protesting budget cuts for teachers, and saying that everyone’s children deserve a good education.  Cracks me up that the two times I leave the country, I end up witnessing some kind of protest / march on something!  Haha. 

Anyway, we kept wandering, and it’s funny the things you find when you just wander with no agenda.  We ran into a mini arts and crafts market at a bar that we had been looking for before (called Cassett) on accident.  Looks like its kind of cool.  More hippie / artsy for sure, and definitely funky, but fun.  From there, we ended up running into this crazy Indian Festival going on, called the Diwali Festival I believe.  The “Festival of Lights” as they refer to it.  So we hit that early on, as they were still setting things up, and got a taste of it.  Its today and tomorrow, with a fireworks show tomorrow night, so I’ll have to check that out for sure and take Matt and Carla for it.  What we got of the festival was cool.  We went shopping, I bought a purse for cheap (really cute), and we did some other secret shopping which I can’t disclose here ;-).  But it was a blast.  I ended up getting a Free All-Blacks poster too!  EPIC!  Definitely going to be the first thing up in my bedroom.  I think I am going to like Rugby (if not just for the players, if you know what I mean). 

Then we wandered to the waterfront one last time, and took some more photos.  Mom and I really did have a blast while she was here.  I can’t get over it.  She really is one of my best friends.  I couldn’t be luckier to have a Mom like her.  Really.  I am so greatful for what I have.  And a trip like this, is definitely enough to make me realize all that I have.  It will be weird without her.  Her bed is so vacant!  Hopefully I will be able to settle in a little bit, and get used to it just being me soon.  At least we start work on Monday, so I will be super busy then. 

After a tearful goodbye to Mom, I hung around in the room a tad to contain myself, until Matt and Carla came back from their errands.  We were all going to get together to go watch the All-Black’s Game tonight.  We ended up talking for HOURS before hand.  They must have come by around 5, and I think we just hung out in the room and talked until around 9!  It was awesome.  They are seriously great, and I am so glad to have met them.  We are going to be awesome friends, and we have a ton more in common than I ever thought.  Not that I thought we didn’t have much in common already, but I just didn’t’ know them very well.  I had a fantastic time with them tonight though, and that helped so much after Mom leaving.  The game (match?) was freakin sweet (even though they lost by ONE goal… if that’s even what you call it), and honestly I think I could become a fan of rugby.  It makes sense to me.  I don’t even really know the rules, but it still seems to make a decent amount of sense right off the bat!  So we had a couple beers, shared some fries and “tomato sauce,” since that’s what they call ketchup, and just had a great time at a local bar.  This is the latest I have been up since we have been in Auckland, and its about 12:10am.  Not too shabby.  Its going to be a noisy night though, with the Halloween crowd out.  Plus, we learned that unfortunately there are like, 3 night clubs underneath of our hotel on our street… so that’s where half the noise is coming from.  Dude, I don’t really get it.  I understand noise normally, like, city noise.  But for some ungodly reason, people here just like to SCREAM.  What the fuck.  Seriously.  They are all screaming…right now.  No reason, no purpose, just screaming just to scream.  I can not WAIT TO GET OUT OF THE DOWNTOWN AREA.  Omg.  I gave Matt and Carla some earplugs… and thank goodness, cause they’re going to need them.  Now, I’ve even had a couple beers, so I'm ready for bed, but shit its going to be loud.  Oh well.  At least this time next week I will be living on the other side of town.  Lets hope its quiet in that household at least… who knows what my random room mates will be like.

Oh, Carla and Matt found a place today!  Awesome for them, I know that helped their nerves a lot.  It’s a studio apartment toward campus in the city.  Hopefully it will be quiet for them, they seem to think so which is good.  Far enough from Queen street, which is what seems to be the issue with the noise.  Anyway, good for them, so they can get settled.  They move in on Tuesday, so I will still be here a couple nights alone before heading out to Grey Lynn.

Man… I hope Kyle comes soon.  I know I still have AT LEAST another month before it would even be possible… but I hope the time flies once I’ve started work.  It’s hard not seeing or talking to him.  We COULD talk, but its expensive.  Fortunately, I will have regular internet again soon, so I can keep posting these regularly too. 

Anyway, alright, I think Im going to try to get some sleep.  Time for ear plugs again… and I think I might leave the bathroom fan on to dampen some of the screaming…..

….I swear… cities are great, but not 24/7


Oct 29th.

Matt and Carla are here!  What a funny morning.  So mom and I got up, and kind of lazed around this morning a bit, made some coffee and breakfast and were trying to figure out what to do today.  Funny enough, once we were starting to get going, we hear a knock at the door.  Oddly enough: Matt and Carla’s hotel room is ACROSS THE HALL from mine.  Literally, I open the door, and there’s their door.  Hilarious how things have a way of working out!  Haha.

So Mom and I got ready to go, they got cleaned up, and we took them around the city to help them get acclimated.  First thing we went to do was to get them another HSBC bank account open, here in NZ currency.  They had one open in the US already, and were just going to move the money over within the same bank.  Unfortunately, HSBC sucks, and they only have premier branches here, so poor Matt and Carla have access to almost none of their money.  Not only that, but they had traveler’s checks, which HSBC was going to charge them $10 to cash each one!  RIDICLOUS!  So that freaked them out a bit, and I don’t blame them, I would have been SO upset to have that happen to me as the very first thing in another country: not having access to all my money.  But its all good, they were able to get money out of the ATM and we went and helped them set up an ASB account later on.  Problem #1 = averted!  We went and got some food at the first place Mom and I had eaten when we got into the country, and then found another Warehouse Location downtown which was nice. 

Then we hopped a bus, and headed over to Ponsonby.  I wanted them to see this unit that I am renting.  I signed my paper work and put down my deposit, got my key, and set my move-in date.  Wewt.  All set!  At least for now.  Hopefully I like it… my bedroom is big and spacious, which is great, Im just of course nervous about room mates that I don’t know… at all.  So we’ll see.  Carla and Matt looked at it, but you know, it’s the first place they had seen, so they want to check out some more spots first.  Makes sense.  Possibly they will come join me, which could be cool, but obviously to each his own.  It is an old place for sure. 

Anyway, we got some more logistics covered for them, and me (set up my bill pay for my rent at the bank), and then Mom headed back to the room to chill, and we went on over to Oktobor to hang out.  Turned out to be pretty awesome.  Levi gave us a heads up on how things have been for him over there, and he literally started animating RIGHT away.  A little scary!  Fortunately they’ve been like, 3 second shots, which is good to ease in with.  Its been good though, he’s been very busy but is liking it.  The staff is cool, we met a lot more people today.  They have a happy hour every Friday around 5:00, where the “trolley” cart comes around, and theres beer, wine, and snacks for every one.  Sounds like Friday is deadline day, so lots of people were on a bit of a crunch to get their things in to Nickelodeon before the day was out.  It was really great though, we definitely got to talk to and meet more people.  Hung out with Fraser and Dan, and then I had a chat with Myke.  It was great, I really think we are going to like it there.  Still nervous about being able to keep up, but I also can’t wait to get my nose to the grind!  It will keep me busy for sure.  Now, just to figure out what to do for the weekend! 

I am nervous about Mom leaving.  It’s like my security blanket being ripped away.  It’s been so nice having her here.  Not so much that I couldn’t have done any of this on my own, but the emotional support of having her here and telling me its all alright, and letting me bounce ideas and opinions off of her, has been invaluable.  I think I would have been so much less secure in coming and getting set up… and questioning the decision to come here much much more without her.  Seriously, my mom rocks.  I am going to miss her when she goes.  At least we got all the hard stuff figured out before hand, so I can feel settled, and I’m sure she does too, but still.  Definitely going to miss her.  Its been nice having Mom and Gary to come home to most nights at home.  It will be different now.  Granted, if I stay in this place I’m renting, there will be plenty of people around, and I hope (really hope) I like them and make friends, but there’s just something about those nights at home that we all shared eating dinner and watching tv and cracking jokes.  Times I definitely won’t forget any time soon. 

Anyway, I’m getting all sappy here, but today was overall, a good day.  Mom and I then went out to dinner and let Carla and Matt get some much-needed rest.  They were so tired by the end of the afternoon, just like we felt when we got here.  :-).  Dunno what we’re up to tomorrow, but Mom leaves at 4:30.  Hopefully the 3 of us can all go to a bar somewhere and catch the local Rugby game going on.  Should be cool if we can!  Who knows.

Ah well, bed time for now.  Prepping for of course, another noisy night.  At least this time next week I will be in a neighborhood off the main road and out of the city to sleep!  City life (like, center city) is just not for me.  Good thing there’s a lot more to Auckland than city!

Peace :-P


"Swim Bike Run!"

Oct 28th

Mk, so last night was annoying.  For the first time, we got our taste of obnoxious noise in the city.  Definitely not going to live downtown.  There was some kind of live band playing around Queen street, and omg was it loud.  Not to mention the screaming and laughing drunken rioting outside.  I did hear that drinking here is a big problem, and that many people over-consume on a regular basis… and it was a friggin WEDNESDAY NIGHT!  Unfortunately I fear tonight may be worse, and that doesn’t even start to speak for the weekend.  I kinda can’t wait to get out of here.  This room has been fine, but its just really friggin small.  Convenient in terms of location, but that’s about it.  Oh well.  You get what you pay for I guess. 

Matt and Carla come in early tomorrow!  Oh man, but that means Mom leaves day after tomorrow…shit.  It will be weird not having her here to bounce ideas off of, and to talk to at night when we’re back in the room.  But then again, I do start work on Monday… so I just really have the weekend that might be lonely, but who knows, maybe I could go apartment hunting with Matt and Carla if they’ll have me!  Haha, we’ll see.  Goin to be weird when she leaves…

I just got a text as well from Carl, the guy renting the property I looked at yesterday.  He asked if I would like to reserve that room in the unit, as it sounds they may all be gone by the weekend.  WOW.  Not really that surprised I guess, but very glad he let me know that.  So… well, I went ahead and said yes, I want it.  I think it would be good.  Looks like I may have a place to live!!!  At least for a while.  And if I don’t like it, then I can change location.  Crossing fingers it works out alright.  I am trying to see if I can go tomorrow to sign the paperwork and hand over the money, but he wants to meet tonight to do it.  I want to check out one more place, but I may have to lock in (at least for the month to month).  I’ll know soon.  Yeesh, CRAZY!

Anyway, for the rest of the afternoon we decided to go up to Parnell and take a look around, since we hadn’t really be there yet.  Mom and I grabbed some Sushi from a little place and carried it on the bus to eat in one of the little park areas.  It’s a nice little area!  Pricey though, seems a bit on the ritzy side.  We discovered the Warehouse, which was great.  It really is kind of like Wal-Mart.  I will for sure be looking there to get some cheaper furniture for wherever I live.  They don’t seem to use dressers here, or at least don’t provide them in furnished places, so I’ll probably need one.  On from there, we wandered down the strip, stopping in a couple of places.  Found this really cool store that was selling the Taonga necklaces, which are WICKED cool.  Very tribal symbols in all kinds of swirling patterns and shapes.  I am in love with them.  Each one means something else too, so that’s kind of nice.  Good gifts.  I got one for myself that is the fish hook, which represents Strength and Determination, New Beginnings, Peace and Prosperity, Good Health, and a Safe Journey Over Water.  Love it.  I will definitely be sending some home. 

From there, we made it to the end of Parnell road, and went into the “Swim Bike Run” store, naturally.  I wanted to check out what they had in there, and see if the shop lead any rides (which they do… wewt!).  We browsed a bit, and I found a wicked awesome sweatshirt that I just had to have.  The guy there that was helping us was super nice too, and gave me a bunch of information to come back to join in a ride at some point.  I found an ad for a series of Triathlons in the area too coming up!  4 Races, Sprints and Tri’s (you choose the distance of each of the 4), and participate in some or all of them!  Starts in November.  Hopefully I’ll have my bike by then, but who knows.  That would be cool!

Then we headed on back, and stopped for some groceries on the way.  I made some pasta for us back in the room, and we had a couple glasses of wine.  Set up for another noisy night in the city, and heading to bed. 


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oct 27th

Oct 27th

(photos take forever to upload here, so working on it best I can in the previous posts!)

Today turned out to be pretty freakin productive for a chill day.  I cancelled a couple of my appointments to see more apartments because they were very very small (from what we heard) and of course, expensive.  After having dinner with Ngaire and Chris last night (which was awesome, I definitely think we’ll be good friends), they suggested HEAVILY that I take another look in Ponsonby or Kingstown.  They said it would be cheaper overall, or at least that I would get much more space for my money.  Not to mention being more quiet on the outskirts of the city.

So, this morning I went to do some research.  Went out on a limb and looked for a shared place, and found one out in Grey Lynn, right off Ponsonby road.  10 minute bus ride from work, maybe 20-30 min walking.  There’s essentially two units attached to one another side-by-side, across from another unit with a courtyard in the middle.  Each with their own full kitchen, living room, and 4 bedrooms.  Interestingly enough, one of the units was completely vacant, because the owner was going to sell it as a whole.  Fortunately, they decided to continue renting, and are replacing all of the carpet in the whole place.  Therefore: I could be the first renter in one of the 4 rooms of that unit, with brand new carpet!  Also, everything is included in the rent: water/power/internet/tv.  Pretty cool!  The rent is extremely good, about $190 for one person, and the bedrooms are big.  Kyle and I could be in a room together no problem, and for two of us it would be $250/week.  That would save a decent amount of money, not to mention the cost of commuting to work would definitely not be a factor unless it were a rainy day.  Plus, the initial down payment is only $600, rather than the $1800 most places in the city were asking for.

I’m thinking about it over the next day or so.  I can rent it month-to-month too, in case I decide I don’t like sharing the space with other room mates, or if I find another location that I like better.  It is an old place, but that’s ok reminds me a bit of our house at school.  All the people in the other units are 22 – 27, studying or on work visas, and it sounds like they spend a decent amount of time hanging out together, which could be cool.  I could make new friends.  Ngaire and Chris said that would be good for me, and that a lot of people do this kind of thing in the area.  So I think I might.  It’s quiet too, which is stellar.  Where we are now, is proving not to be.

I sent Matt, Carla and Levi an email last night mentioning the other vacant rooms, to see if they might be interested in filling the unit.  That could be cool.  We all work together, and know each other a little bit, plus I know the others were all looking for affordable housing.  We’ll see what happens.  I might take it regardless of them coming or not, but it’s a cool thought.  We’ll see!

The rest of the day was pretty chill.  We started out the morning heading to Mission Bay, a beach about 15 minutes by bus down the East coast.  The water is SO green, and the views spectacular.  I think I will hang out here, at least until I find another beach that suits my fancy!  Haha.  Very excited to already be finding parks and little spots that I enjoy being in.  We had a delicious lunch (Hawaiian burgers with a massive thing of fries), and enjoyed watching little kids feed the masses of seagulls in the area. 

We headed on back into the city, and hopped onto a Link bus, to see where that takes you.  This one goes in a circle, all the way from downtown, out to Parnell, New Market, around to Ponsonby, Freemans Bay, and back.  This is what I would take to work regularly, and probably to go grocery shopping as well.  We hopped on and literally went around the whole circle.  It was nice to see Parnell too since we hadn’t been over there.

After taking the circle on the Link, we stopped in Ponsonby to explore the strip there.  Its definitely a great little area.  Lots of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and then as soon as you leave the strip, its residential.  This is where I looked at that place in Grey Lynn, so this would likely be my main hang out for a little bit.  We also opened a bank account, right there on a whim.  I went with ASB, who Ngaire and Chris also recommended on a whim.  We went in to find out some information (we had already collected it about ANZ and Kiwi Bank at this point, but made no decisions), and it ended up being PERFECT for me.  I can avoid all charges, I can bank online, get alerts for when balances are low, I have a savings account, and wire transfers are relatively low cost, though there is still a cost.  Anyway, it ended up being great, we sat down with a very very nice guy named Sean, young guy, who helped us out.  We were sitting goofing off, telling jokes, and he was telling us about the city.  He even invited us out that night to stop by this local bar that does a Bingo night that his girlfriend leads.  He said its actually really fun, and pretty hilarious.  We had planned on going, but after we had viewed the rental property and handled a couple of other errands, we had completely forgotten about it and it was over L.  I’ll have to check it out next week. 

So yea, overall, pretty good day!  OH, and I talked to Kyle for a couple minutes!!!  We finally figured out how to text message / call one another via my phone.  Unfortunately, it costs a ridiculous $3.00 / min on his end with Verizon to accept my phone call, and $0.50 / text message, but it was nice to hear his voice for a little bit at least.  We’ll figure out how to communicate eventually.  Haha.  I’m excited too, because he said he’s almost 99% sure he’s coming over!!!  * excitement *  But who knows what will happen in another month, so keeping fingers crossed.  I feel bad though, Zoey isn’t doing well, and of course she needs somewhere to stay if he leaves to come here.  I dunno what to do about her.  He said she seems happy still, but is ending up with less and less ability to walk around on her own as time goes on.  Not good.  Hopefully we’ll figure something out, and find someone to watch over her when he leaves, but I’m not sure we will since she needs quite a bit of attention.

Time for bed.  Later!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ok, a little behind cause of no Internet

Hey everyone, this is a back log of the posts Ive been doing in Word since I havent had any internet.  Take a look at whats been going on!  Note, this is one VERY long post, since its the past 3 days or so:
(note, I have a ton of photos, so this post will be edited later adding in Photos.  Remember: LIMITED INTERNET!  I promise though, photos to come!!!!


“you want WHAT for that?”

Oct 26th.

Ok, so today has been… interesting.  A little frustrating… but it is just the tip of the iceberg still.  So, lets start off with the good.  Went and took a tour of Oktobor today.  Dude… what I thought was this little studio on the road, is HUGE!  There’s so many people!  Its so cool too.  Seriously, this is more what I thought an Animation studio would be like.  MY TIME HAS FINALLY COME!  Haha.  Ok, so some details.  They actually have an Animation team, a Modeling team, Rigging team, Lighting, etc etc.  Just like it should be!  The only down side is that a lot of the groups are spread out from each other a bit, like, in different offices, but still not far from one another.  The whole Animation team is on one open floor with offices around along side the walls.  It’s nice too.  Wood floors, lots of windows, and for the most part people seem very nice.  A lot of people had their noses in their work when I came by, obviously at the start of a day on a Tuesday, but still, I think this is going to be good.  I hope anyway!

Met Myke, the Animation Director, and Fraser, the Producer.  Myke is a 2D Animator, so he doesn’t actually do any of the 3D, which is good for him, haha, and will be interesting for us.  I think we have a lot to learn from him (from what I have heard), in terms of acting and performance for sure.  It was interesting to hear him say that since he doesn’t understand the ins and outs of Maya, that he can request something hapin a shot, and its our job to figure out how to make it happen…no matter how limiting the technology.  Haha, it’s “ignorance is bliss” for him.  Which is good.  Challenging for us.  I am excited, because he definitely strives for good work.  And it shows.  Penguins is an awesome show, it’s really really well done.  I need to watch it more.  Well, I guess I don’t actually, since I’ll be making it!  :-P

Anyway, so everyone there is nice, it’s a gorgeous studio, and I think it will be a blast once I get settled in.  I’m going to be SO nervous starting out, but at least its not just MY first gig, it’s a bunch of us.  Plus, a lot of people are really young in the studio, so it should be good all around.  I feel a lot of early mornings / late nights in my future…

 Next we went to turn in my app for my IRD number (that was easy) and then to look at setting up banks.  Ok, now one thing that I want to say about Auckland as a whole so far: EVERYTHING IS ASTRONOMICALLY EXPENSIVE.  For just basic things too.  Meals are expensive, shopping for clothes is expensive, internet, phones, banking (yes, banking), sending mail, renting a place to live, etc.  Insane.  You literally must pay for every single thing you do.  This is something that’s a huge down side, so I am going to have to be very careful about how I spend my money.  Luckily, Mom and I keep running into these funny little shops that are almost like dollar stores, only instead of everything being for a dollar, they’re either just cheaper than normal (cheap quality too, but at least its affordable), or one store was like, $3.00 for anything:
    Its funny too cause usually they are very Asian inspired.  Kinda awesome.  Looking forward to shopping at those places to my house-wares and whatnot.  Definitely gotta do it cheap.  Amy would be proud J  Haha.  I also find it interesting just how high the Asian population is here.  Its huge!  SO many of the shops are Asian, lots and lots of Asian food, and tons of Asian markets.  Not what I expected!  Cool though.

So, a little bit of information on Banking in NZ.  If you do anything via paper (a.k.a. using a check or “cheque” as it is here), it costs you money.  You have to pay a fee to get checks, you have to pay another service fee to cash checks, and you have to pay a service fee any time you do something at the counter at a bank.  Like, most of us would go up to the counter to cash a check.  Nope, can’t do that here, unless you want to pay for it.  Instead, they want you to do everything electronically.  Paying rent electronically, paying other people the same way… there must be a system here that’s just different for that, where you get someone’s account number, and it goes into your settings or something, and you pay them virtually.  Funny for a place that charges you for internet usage everywhere you go (OH, and I can have wireless btw wherever I end up living…. Thank goodness).  And they also suggest banking using your “mobile” (phone).  Also funny for a place that charges you around $1,000 for a smart phone (yes, its that much JUST for the phone), on top of paying out the ass to get internet service just to manage your account.  Haha.  Kind of hilarious how they do things.

Anyway, so I went to a couple banks to research my options, and still have yet to deposit my money (gotta get a document from my work place that I’m missing), so I will do that tomorrow.  One more important thing off the list when I do that.

Then, I started contacting realtors for apartment hunting.  Yes… the dreaded apartment hunting has begun.  It’s frustrating.  Places here are SOO small… ridiculously small.  And very expensive for small.  Granted, I have only seen three places in person as of today, and I have a couple more scheduled for tomorrow, but still, I am a little worried that I won’t get what I want.  It will definitely be small.  Kyle will not like this.  Haha.  I’m worried about that whole scenario.  I really don’t think he’s going to like living in this city.  I want him here so badly with me, and so we can go experience so much of what ELSE New Zealand has to offer outside of the city, but I don’t think he’ll like living here.  He’s going to FLIP when he sees what things cost… and how small apartments are.

I can handle small.  I can deal with living in a cute little space for a year, no frills, etc.  A little space that I can make my own.  I did it in College for 4 years.  And I kinda liked it.  Its just…. Different.  Simple.  You learn to live like other things are more important… like your time OUT of your apartment.  Its just a totally different mentality here I think.  People don’t spend their money on lavish apartments and nice cars… they spend it on doing things with their time.  Kind of cool, and I think I will like that once I get used to it.  It’s just VERY small.  Literally, like, the place we are staying in right now, for two of us is like the size of someone at home’s walk-in closet.  I could lay on the floor with feet against the wall, and put my arms above my head, and touch the other wall.  Hilarious.  Its ok though.  I’m here to learn how to live differently.  That was the goal.  Right?  I hope so. Take a look:

If it was just me, a studio apartment would do just fine I think.  I am going to look at a Studio tomorrow that looks (and sounds) like its very big, according to photos (which have proven to be a tad deceiving in terms of space) and according to the man renting it.  And a very big studio sounds stellar compared to a very small one-bedroom, if you ask me.  I’m excited to see it.  It’s on the other side of the AUT campus too, which is very pretty.  So, its probably over a mile from work.  But really… its near Albert park, and I LOVE that park so far.  Plus, sounds like its in a quieter place than downtown, which is also good.  I don’t mind walking a little extra if its in a neighborhood that I want to be in.  Not to mention if it has everything I need… like laundry capabilities that don’t charge extra (some places here are like dorms in school, where you do your laundry in the basement, and pay per wash), actually having an oven, having a full refrigerator, etc.  The basics.  I don’t ask for much J.  Anyway, we’ll see. 

I want to have a place secured before Mom goes home.  That would make me feel SO much better.  Even if I can’t move in until next week some time, that’s fine.  I just want to have a second opinion.  I know, I’m a big girl and I should be able to decide and figure out for myself, but with this whole move I’ve been getting very easily overwhelmed, and its very nice to have another set of ears and another opinion.  My mother has very good judgment, and she makes very valid points, so its nice to have her here to help me with these decisions, even if I have to make the final decision on an apartment by myself. 

Well, anyway.  Its been quite the day, back and forth around the city based on who would call me back when, and who could show me a property.  I feel bad, dragging Mom up and down these hills is tiring her out!  I still have pseudo post-Marathon legs, so its not too bad for me.  Kinda reminds me a little of Spain, but then again in Spain we were running all over ALL DAY, none-stop.  Mom and I are taking a more laid-back approach for now.  Haha.  I don’t want to kill her!  :-P  I do hope we get to go out and see some sights before she goes though, I would hate to have had her come all the way over here and not get to see any scenery! 

Tonight we’re having dinner with Joanna’s sister Ngaire, out in Ponsonby.  I am very excited to see Ponsonby.  We have yet to be over there, as its farther outside of the city.  Its been recommended to me heavily that I live over there, but I won’t have a car, and that’s a big concern in terms of getting around, since Ponsonby is more residential than city like.  It would be harder to get groceries and to just generally get around it sounds like.  We will see tonight though when we go to eat.  Can’t wait! 

Hopefully I can get into an internat café again tonight and maybe POST these finally!  I know people are dying to hear all about Auckland!  Haha.

Peace out for now….


Title:  “Dining, Rotating, and observing…but not jumping.”

Oct 25

Ok, so today, its out to tour the city.  Need to calm my nerves a bit.  Going to go get a pay as you go phone, see if I can contact Joanna’s sister Ngaire, maybe meet up with her, and get some things taken care of.  Find the office, maybe get an idea of what its like in some other parts of the city.  Really anxious for that.  We’re going to check out the sky tower too.  Should be cool!  And I gotta get a planner, so I can get rid of my addiction to Google Calendar for the meantime.  Back to College it is!  Haha.

Ok, more later!

So, btw, Mom and I DEFINITELY crashed for a solid 12 hours yesterday.  We got back from running around the city a bit, around 4:30pm.  We were kind of lounging around the room, and then we turned on the tv (oh yes, we get 3 channels in the room…), and a few minutes later, we were both out for the count.  And we slept… until 5:30 this morning.  Haha.  I guess we needed it!  Felt much better today though, definitely felt more normal.  Yesterday I was pretty loopy, saying all kinds of crazy things. 

So today, it was good to get out and get a little more of a grip on the city lay out.  First thing we did was head up the street to the Sky Tower.  We were going to get a phone next door, but they weren’t open yet.  It was a holiday today (Labour Weekend), so most things were either open late or totally closed.  Anyway, we grabbed some starbucks, and headed over to Sky Tower which is literally a block up the street from the hotel.  Pretty cool for sure.  Its huge, I believe it’s the highest in the city, about 1,067 ft high.  We went inside the Sky City area, its like a hotel / casino / tower / restaurant, etc, and wanted obviously to go up to the top.  Its expensive though, $25 a person (as we are learning EVERYTHING in this city is), so Mom discovered a better solution… if we booked dinner reservations up at the observatory at the top, we would save money, since all you need to make sure you do, is spend $30 each on dinner at the restaurant.  Trust me, that wasn’t hard, as we later found.  Anyway, so we booked dinner reservations for 5:30pm, and headed back out to take an extended look at the city. 

On our way out, we see this large group of people standing outside, looking up at the top of the tower.  There was someone about to jump off of the top!!!  Now, before you freak out… this is completely normal.  They call it “Sky Jump,” and offer bungee jumping right off the top of the tower!  Haha.  Hilarious.  Anyway, so of course we stood there and took a photo of the guy on his way down.  Pretty neat, but no thanks for me :-).

Then we headed back toward the hotel, and I picked up a 2Degrees cell phone from a local electronics shop.  I was SO excited to have a phone.  Its so minimal.  Literally, SO basic.  $49 for the phone, and then $5 for the SIM card, and then you pre-pay for your minutes and text messages.  I put $20 on it, so we’ll see how far that goes.  The best part: I get the SAME rate to call and text INTERNATIONALLY as I do to call / txt in NZ I believe!!!!  SO COOL!  SO of course, the first thing I try to do is contact Kyle.  Sadly, it didn’t work since we didn’t know how to do the whole country code thingy.  We’ll try again tomorrow, since I think I know now how he can at least reach me.  At least I have a phone!

Anyway, onward into the city, we headed toward the water, which luckily is very close.  We went toward the Viaduct where a lot of the ships come in and there are ferry ports as well.  Took a little walk around and took some photos of the scenery.  GORGEOUS.  We had a perfect day too.  Relatively cool, hot in the sun, but overall a really nice day. 

We passed a couple of humorous restaurant signs:

Haha, good stuff. 

From there, we decided to head on up and see if we could find my office.  On the way, of course I am getting used to the fact that the cars are on the “wrong” side of the road to me.  So, naturally, I turn my head as we’re walking and think to myself “WHY is that little boy DRIVING?”  When in fact, he was definitely in the passenger seat.  Haha.  That gave me a bit of a chuckle. 

Oktobor definitely isn’t far from the middle of the city.  A little under a mile away.  Its in kind of an industrial looking area, but near apartments, and get this: RIGHT next to a bike shop!!!!!  AND, they lead RIDES!!!!  Naturally, we went inside and talked to one of the guys who owns it named Clint.  Really nice guy.  He mentioned that a lot of people ship their bikes over, and ship them right to their store, and they will assemble them for the shipper.  Wicked!  So I’m pretty sure I’m going to ask mom and G to ship my bike if they can.  That would be awesome.  Plus, I could learn some bike routes around the city, not to mention having another form of transport aside from buses and my own two feet.  Also, of course the advantage of meeting other people, and athletes (Clint said theres also running groups he could set me up with, as well as lots of places to swim, and groups, etc) so that I can continue to train and maybe even race!  Oh, and one other thing:  Auckland is WAY hillier than we thought.  Seriously.  Like, I’m talking some San Francisco hills in some select places.  Its cool though because the hills help distinguish where some things are.  For example: Queen street is at the bottom of a big hill between downtown and Albert Park.  Albert Park (more on that in a bit) is probably one of the higher parts of the city (aside from the volcanic mountain-hills), and on the other side of Albert Park is the University.  Now, if we go back to Queen Street (down the hill from Albert Park), and then go up and then down the next hill, you’re in Freeman’s Bay, and headed toward Ponsonby.  Pretty cool.  I’m excited to check out Mt. Eden on Wednesday, one of the Volcanic cone areas. 

SO yes, back to Oktobor.  Very excited to get inside and meet people tomorrow morning.  It’s a small building, but its 3 floors, and I think its going to be very cool!  Its across the street from Victoria Park, which is just literally a big sprawling area of green field.  Huge.  It would be fun to go play a sport there (we saw some sports teams out there from afar) or chill. 

Onward from Oktobor, we went to find a place to eat lunch.  Found a little Asian place, and had some pretty good Asian food.  Also started scouting out some apartments as we walked, in more of an Asian-based neighborhood.  Not sure Id live there, but can’t hurt to look, right?

After food, we headed back toward the main city area, and checked out some other streets.  I noticed these huge dense trees down past Queen street, and was curious to check out what was there.  We got side tracked by this place called the “Look Sharp Store,” which is hilarious with the name.  They sell… well… EVERYTHING really.  And relatively cheap.  Its almost like a dollar store, that’s not a dollar… and that sells Halloween costumes, houseware, sheets, goofy cheap jewelry, as well as notebooks and pens.  It literally has almost anything for a relatively cheap price.  I’ll be going back for sure once I have a place to live. 

Finally, we head down toward the trees, and figure out that it is Albert Park we have discovered.  OMG the place is gorgeous.  Up a HUGE hill, so climbing is a bit challenging, but thankfully post-marathon legs = strength.  After a little walk, we end up at the top of Albert Park… and let me tell you, I will be hanging out here for sure.  The university students seem to hang out there a lot, kind of their equivalent of a JMU Quad  I guess.  Everyone out laying in the grass, studying, hanging out, playing games, etc.  Beautiful.  Seriously.  I think its my favorite place right now.

After taking lots of pictures of the awesome foliage around (yes, its getting toward the end of Spring here, and everything is very very green and in full bloom), we went and took a quick look at the University, before heading back to the Sky Tower for dinner.  The university seems pretty nice, and its definitely in an ideal spot for sure.

We took another look at queen street on the way back to the tower for dinner.  Discovered that pharmacy things are very expensive (at least on Queen), and that I may be asking mom to ship me some stuff in bulk… haha.  They don’t have stick deodorant… only spray or roll-on, which is interesting.  A lot of other things seem to be the same for the most part, just pricey.  Chapstick: $6.00.  Yes.  $6.00.  Crazy.  So we’ll see what we can figure out there. 

Dinner time.  Headed up to Sky Tower, and went up a tad early to the top at the Observatory.  Pretty cool!  GREAT 360 view of the city.  It was nice to see where things were relative to everything else.  Saw my office, etc.  Good work.  We were also fortunate enough to catch a “sky jumper” as he was jumping off!  I got a hilarious picture…. The dude looks like he’s being hung!!  Hahahaha.

Then we went down one more floor to eat.  The restaurant REVOLVES in a full circle as you eat, so you get an ever-changing view of the city while you eat!  It makes it around in one full circle in one hour, so we stayed a tad over an hour to get the full-effect.  It was pretty nice.  Beautiful for sure.  PRICEY too…. $70 or so a person.  But the food was stellar, service was also stellar, and the view was…well…stellar.  Haha.  Can’t beat it!  It was really, really nice for our one expensive dinner night, though we still don’t know what a Quark is.  Ha!  Something on their menu as part of dessert.  What the heck is that?  Our dessert had “hokey pokey ice cream” in it too.  Hilarious.  New Zealanders sure have a way with words.  I will DEFINITELY be taking Mr. Kyle here when he comes.  That’ll be fun! 

After dinner, we rushed back a bit, so I could grab my computer and get my first dish of internet at a local internet café.  The internet here at the hotel is wicked expensive, but I went to this little city mart, literally one block up, and paid a dollar for an hour of internet service.  I will be doing this from now on until I have a place to live / I start working.  Sadly I was online at like, 2am US time, so I didn’t really catch anyone awake but Bobby, whose always awake at that hour J, but I got to take care of some e-mails.  Also set up dinner with Ngaire, my friend Joanna’s sister, who lives here.  Joanna was my Tri Team President when I started at JMU Tri.  Pretty funny!  She set me up with Ngaire when she heard I was coming to Auckland.  It will be great to meet her and get an insider idea of NZ.  She has already given me some great advice, which has been awesome.  Looking forward to it!

Alright, well, Mom is now passed out as I’m writing this (its 9:50pm here now), so its time for me to pack up and get to bed.

Goodnight everyone!  Busy day tomorrow.


Sunday, October 24th, 2010.  First day in Auckland.

So, the past day… and a half?  Has been interesting.  Ok, lets go back to when we were in Cali, just for a start.

Thursday, got into San Fran late.  Picked up some dinner at the airport, and checked into the hotel.  Let me just say, that pulling your own weight in luggage, is NOT enjoyable, if you do it by hand.  However, after our first bout at the airport, we then resorted to those handy carts they provide for you.  Much better!  Haha. 

Ok, so Friday we checked out of the hotel in the morning, stashed our luggage, and then went on into the city to hang out around the Wharf area.  Unfortunately it was kind of rainy / misty, so it wasn’t the prettiest of days, but that’s alright.  Hung out around pier 39 (such a tourist spot, but theres a lot to see and do), picked up a few “aids” for our long flight to come (got some airplane bottles of booze to knock us out), and did some window shopping.  Then we had a late lunch at Scoma’s, which was phenomenal.  Really nice seafood place, and our waiter was hilarious.  We shared this fantastic seafood stew-type deal of clams, fish, shrimp, and scallops in a tomato based sauce.  Phenomenal. 

On from there, we moseyed around the wharf, and then caught our shuttle back to the hotel.  There, we got our luggage, changed our clothes, and prepared for our long-ass flight.  Getting through the airport was relatively simple, as normal, except for the fact that Air NZ charges you $50 for one extra bag outside of your one free one.  So really, you don’t benefit financially at all from flying in the US with checked bags.  Oh well. 

Anyway, got on the plane, no problems.  Had MUCH more leg room, more comfortable seats, a tv at each individual seat with a wide variety of entertainment.  78 movies to choose from, music, television, etc.  Pretty cool!  I FINALLY got to see Toy Story 3 (don’t kill me… No, I hadn’t seen it), which was nice, very good movie.  I could have watched more, but after they served us dinner (which was actually REALLY good) and our complimentary glasses of wine, I was ready to sleep.  Fortunately, I definitely slept for a good while during the flight.  Turned out it was only about a 12.5 hour flight, not quite as bad as the 14 we had expected.  We got up every once in a while, walked around the plane and loosened up, so it really wasn’t bad at all.  Not like I had anticipated.  They served us breakfast too right before landing in Auckland, which was great. 

So, landing in Auckland.  Well, let me just say that I have been nervous as hell this whole time.  Nervous all day, butterflies, just… not sure what to expect.  And its weird not having access to anything.  No internet in our hotel like I thought we had (well, there’s internet, but its expensive), so its hard to do the research I wanted to do.  No phone, so I can’t reach home, or really anyone at this moment in time.  I will go today to find one.  Did a little question asking around town yesterday and stopped in a couple places to look at phones.  They are EXPENSIVE.  I knew this coming over, but still.  Its just not like what we have at home at all.  I mean, kind of, but for example: you usually get a free (basic) phone with any phone plan.  Here, you have to pay for the phone.  And I mean….. $60 + for any phone.  If you want a smart phone….. be prepared to shell out around $500 for a phone.  And that’s just the phone!  Not to mention you have to buy a SIM card separately, etc.  SO, for the meantime, I’m going to get a “2Degrees” phone set up, which is a simple pay-as-you-go phone, until I can do more research on what plans will work best for me.  This way, my calls and texts locally are cheap (40c a minute or so), and I can monitor easily what I am spending without being locked into a plan.  Vodafone requires a 12 month plan for most things, and I don’t want to lock into something like that right now when everything is up in the air.  I need to have a phone though to be able to reach some of these realtors to find a place to live! 

That is what is making me the uneasiness right now: having a decent place to live, and something I can afford.  My price range isn’t very high for the city… I mean, it’s reasonable for some places, but its just finding the place.  I also really want a one-bedroom, especially if Kyle comes (man, I hope he does…) which is more difficult because a lot of places are labeled as one-bedrooms, but are actually studios.  And they’re small.  I mean, everything is small.  Our hotel room is REALLY REALLY small.  Granted, its cheap, and easy walking distance to everything, but its like living in a walk-in closet with a mini kitchen.  Haha.  Mom has been awesome about all of this though.  I’ve been so uneasy, and she is so helpful in calming my nerves.  I am SO glad she is here.  It’s just hard.  I’m SO addicted to technology, and its very difficult and frustrating to be without it.  I can’t wait to have an apartment with internet!  At least I really only have to be without it for a week, until I get working.  I can at least use email at work for important things once I start.

OH, FUNNIEST THING EVER.  Dude, fate has a way of doing things, I really do believe.  Ok, so, Mom and I get on the shuttle to head to our hotel from the airport, and who is on our shuttle?  LEVI AMES!  DUDE!  He is a friggin AM student that graduated with Matt and I, AND HE’S WORKING WITH US!  How crazy.  Nice, nice guy.  Really looking forward to getting to know these guys and becoming friends.  Thank goodness the 3 of us are in the same boat:  This is our first real big Animation Gig.  I have done little stuff freelance and whatnot, unfortunately didn’t do much Animation at Pixeldust, so this really is kinda scary, having this huge show that we’re working on.  At least we will all be nervous and starting out together.  THANK GOODNES.  So cool though.  Hilarious how things have a way of working themselves out.

I go visit the studio for the first time tomorrow.  Got a lot to do tomorrow….  Today is a holiday, so unfortunately I can’t do my IRD number, Bank Account, or any of that really today.  So we’ll go visit Oktobor (Levi’s first day is tomorrow too) in the morning, then take care of those important errands, and hopefully take a look at some apartments.  Got one appointment already, so I just need to get a phone now so I can contact her directly.

Should be interesting!  This place is definitely a city…. At least where we’re staying, down near Queen Street.  Anxious to check out some of the other neighborhoods to see whats in store.  I keep hearing I should live in Ponsonby.  Hopefully I can find something out there that I can afford J  We’ll see!!!

Oh and everyone was totally right.  People here are SUPER nice so far.  We met the nicest older couple down in the lobby of our hotel.  Theres a little bistro place there, where they were eating and we were using the pay internet in the lobby.  They started talking with us, and were so sweet!  Gave us a bunch of advice, told us how to find a grocery store, AND even gave me their phone number!  They live about two hours away, but travel a lot and were here to sell the place the used to live in (I think?).  They told me if I like fishing, and ever want a place to vacation for a bit, they have an extra bed, a boat, and would love to have me.  And they said, if I ever “get into trouble” that I should call them.  SO SWEET.  I definitely will keep that phone number. 

Met another really nice girl name Victoria (I believe) who was serving us at this neato Belgian pub that we went to for breakfast (well, our dinner by then).  She is from the states, and has been in NZ for 3 years about.  She loves it.  And she was so friendly!  She set me up with a card, where if you use it at a restaurant (just present it, like a frequent buyer thing), you will accumulate 10% if your bill on it.  Once you accumulate enough, you can start using it to eat for free!  Neat.  So I signed up for that.  You can use it at a bunch of restaurants.  She was so nice, and really helpful.  Also gave me advice on meeting people and making friends.  Said to come by and hang out if I wanted, everyone working there is a traveler.  Also that to make friends, to start hanging out at the bars at local hostels.  That people were really nice, and that everyone was going just to make friends and people to talk to.  Could be cool.  Think I’ll suggest that to Matt, Carla, and Levi.  Maybe we can all go together.

Aiight, time to get ready to go explore more of the city….. and see if I can find a free internet connection anywhere to contact Kyle.  SO weird not having a way to reach him….

Monday, October 25, 2010

omg theres so much!

ok, so I have no internet in the hotel, and so much to write about that Ive been keeping it in Word Documents until I have time to post.  I need to upload photos still, but Mom and I are here, safe and sound and have been touring Auckland and getting acquainted.  Be patient, there shall be a post WITH PHOTOS hopefully tomorrow if I can get back to this internet cafe.... haha.  Maybe the day after though since tomorrow will be busy with errands. 


Friday, October 22, 2010

Onward to California!

Last night as I was packing, I never thought I would actually be DONE packing.  haha, that feeling that you just have so much, and nowhere to put it. has arrived.  I am actually done packing.  Thats right. 

Take a look at the mastery:

Yup....FOUR SUITCASES.  Haha.  Well, kind of.  Lets put it this way: Mom is taking two to check (one will be mine) and I am taking two to check, then I have two carry-ons.  Epic.  Yes, we have to pay a lot to check bags.  Why?  Cause the airlines these days are ass holes.  Oh well.  At least there's hardly anything to ship! 

Pretty cool.  A year's worth of stuff (including clothes for every season and occasion) have fit in those bags.  150lbs of stuff.  Not too shabby.  haha.  Looks like I'll be carrying my weight in bags!

Well, off to the airport in a little while.  In the mean time, Im going to sit and chill for a bit.  Let my mind settle.  And try to get rid of this headache I seem to have acquired throughout the day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Going Crazy

Ok, so Im wicked nervous.  Like, wicked.  Not in a bad way, but just... butterflies all the time.  I still feel like I have a lot left to pack (hopefully not too much?), but I've been packing all day, as well as yesterday, and I'm just at that point where I don't want to pack anymore.  I feel like... I don't know where to PUT stuff.  Sucks.  I'm trying to just, make sure I take only what I need... but again, how do you decide that for a year?  I know, I can always "buy things over there," but you know, why buy something if you have it?  Haha.  As long as my suitcases are under 50lbs, I'm allll good.  And of course over the course of the past week or two, I've gained 5lbs.  Thinking its the nerves, though usually I'm not a nervous eater.  Oh well. 

It's already 11:00pm, and I am completely wide awake, wired.  Last night was the same, I was wide awake until 1am.  I guess thats a good thing really.... haha, trying to adjust to the time change early maybe?  Who knows.  I will be fine once I'm in California (I hope), its just..... getting there.  I'm so compulsive about this stuff.  Lists and lists, and then folding, RE-folding, organizing, etc.  It's kind of exhausting I guess.  Though I have figured out that I am a pretty smart packer in terms of saving space. 

Well......... back to it!  All nigher?  Hope not.  :-P  Though I will be surprised if I sleep!

Thanks to everyone for all the encouragement, notes, cards, messages, etc.  Its been so helpful :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Wahoo!  I sold the car!!!!  And then got a MILLION phone calls from people interested in buying it.... haha.  Note to self: if you want to sell a car, park it in front of Amy's Apartment in Arlington.  I swear, so much interest!  I ended up selling it to a really nice woman who had seen my post on AutoTrader (go AutoTrader!).  Got a sizeable amount for it, so I am very happy with the sale.  Everything went over really smoothly too, which is fantastic.  Easier to sell a car than I thought! 

PS, if you ever need to go to the DMV in Northern VA, look for a Satellite Location.  Saved me hours not going to the main locations.  Just a little hint :-)

So, I think things are pretty much set to leave....  got my money converted to NZD (their money is so much more interesting.... and way more durable than ours), had my going away shindig, and I think I've filled out any necessary paperwork I needed.  Now, its time to pack.  *dies*

How the heck to you pack to go away for a year?  In college it was easy, you fill a car with stuff, and figure out where to put it when you get to your apartment/house/dorm, or send the extra back home with mom and dad.  This time, not only do I need to only take whatever fits in 2 or 3 suitcases, but I have to pack for 4 seasons!  Well, I guess its not that bad really, considering NZ has a very very mild climate overall.  Doesn't sound like the summers are all that hot (70's or so), and the winters aren't too terribly cold.  Most homes / apartments don't even include central heating!  That must be a good sign, right?  Who knows.  I have heard that it rains a lot though.. so I may be purchasing my first pair of "galoshes."  Don't judge.  At least I have a rain coat!

Hopefully this won't be too hard..... we'll see.  As with sending the bike over?  No one knows.  Might be more worth it to buy a used one when I get there.  I just hope I find one!  We'll see though.  Its just really damn expensive to ship something like that over there, so I am trying to avoid it.  Not to mention the potential damage that could occur if I do send it in the first place.  So, who knows!

On the bright side, I had a great weekend.  Very emotional, but very good.  I have some of the best friends and family anyone could ever ask for.  And I know, not everyone is lucky enough to have that.  SO, it was fantastic to see everyone, and I spent a few hours running around the house trying to get in my time with everybody.  Got to see Kyle for a full 4 days too, which was amazing.  I've been on edge because of leaving, so of course we were bickering more than normal, but it was still awesome to see him for a few days.  I was a wreck when he left, but hopefully Christmas time will come sooner than I expect.

And with that, damn..... its time to PACK.  And, for real this time (I've never put off packing so badly before.... haha).


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I will miss my 4Runner... and International Banking isn't easy... or cheap!

Well, its happening.  Im selling my 4Runner to make enough money to get to New Zealand.  Yes, the car that I love so much.  HOWEVER..... I had no idea how difficult it would be to sell!  I have gotten a ton of phone calls and whatnot for it, but everyone wants it for.... well, lets just say CHEAP.  Yes, I understand you want the car for a low price.  No, I can't sell it for $3,000..... or $4,000.  Yes, I can sell it for lower than $8,000.  Ugh, frustrating.  I wish I didn't have to sell it.  I never would if it weren't for the move.  But, sometimes things just need to go, in order to make life progress, right?  haha. 

Hoping that one of these potential buyers will be able to give me a decent price for it.... cause I know if I go to Carmax, they'll buy it off me for $5,000, and then sell it again for 10.  Yes, cause someone will pay $10 for it, I can guarantee it.  So me asking for $7,000 or $8,000 is perfectly logical I think!  Maybe Im just attached to it, and I think its worth that much, but I must not be that crazy, since other people are sellin the same car for 10,000, 12,000, etc.  Bah, whatever.  I just keep telling myself "its ok, you'll be in New Zealand soon, doing what you want to do with your life."  Just a hassle.

I also started looking into banking today.  I need a bank in NZ obviously, so I can have money.  However... I was hoping I would be able to bank with one bank internationally.  I still have a student loan in US currency (gotta love it), and I obviously will need to have savings in US currency.... but I will be paid in NZ.  So ideally, I would find a bank where I can move money between accounts without a hefty transfer fee.  But no.  Since I don't have $100,000 (not kidding, that is the number), apparently that doesn't exist.  At least not with Wachovia, Bank of America, or HSBC.  Haha.  So, the research continues in finding a place to put my money, and how to handle transferring between.  Fun fun!  Ah well..... getting closer and closer to having everything figured out.  Hopefully the transition goes smoothly!

Friday, October 1, 2010

"who knew a black guy in a dress would be the best shrink i didn't pay for"

Hahaha, ok, so I know this isn't exactly New Zealand relevant.... but it kind of is.  This was hilarious... and shockingly insightful.  I'm sure I will be learning a lot about the people in my life (and myself) while I am away from them for a year, so I thought this was interesting and slightly appropriate. 

Enjoy :-)

Thanks Frank!

(it wont let me embed, so just click the link)

Getting ready to go to New Zealand.

This is a blog created to follow my travels and experiences in New Zealand.  I will be heading over there for a full year in just a few short weeks.  I am getting very very nervous, just being away from friends and family, but also nervous because this is the time for me to prove myself.  To prove myself in my industry, my skills, and to myself that I can go away from everything that I know, and succeed. 

I can't wait for what the next few months will bring, and I will be updating this (hopefully) daily while I am on the other side of the planet.  I think I am going to start the whole "365 Photo Project" thing as well, what better time to do it than when you have to spend the year in another country??  I know everyone does it now, but I really think that its something I would look back on fondly if I had a picture from every day.  I will be uploading them here as well to keep everything together.

Only 20 days before I leave Virginia.....

Here goes nothing....