The Journey: PART III

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If you haven’t read the previous two instalments of The Journey, here’s what you missed: I got barf on and under my shirt, the flights were tiring, Air New Zealand flights have awesome food, we had some snags in immigration and customs which delayed our arrival, my in-laws were there to meet us at the airport and escort us to our new home in Matamata, a small town in the Waikato region of New Zealand.

Now that we’re all caught up…

The Journey: PART III, or What I’ve Been Up To Since Arriving Just Over A Week Ago.

It’s been about ten days since we arrived and so far, so good.  

First, a bit about our house: it’s a three bedroom house that is located just on the outer edge of town on a farm property belonging to James’ family.  It’s convenient enough to get to town as it’s just a few kilometres away but far enough away to feel like you’re properly in the country.  The house is an old and solid structure so when we close the interior doors, we can’t hear the children so we’re sleeping great!  The house is by a major roadway so there is noise from that but it doesn’t bother us; I guess after spending all those years in the inner city, we became accustomed to even more noise than this.  

James’ parents arranged for some renovations of the house prior to our arrival so there’s bright white paint nearly everywhere, new looking windows and the bathroom looks entirely new.  As well, they set up some basic furniture and gave us some groceries so we weren’t left scrambling upon arrival.  

The first few days were spent getting over the jet lag.  We’ve been chipping away at various tasks such as getting IRD cards (which are the New Zealand equivalent to Canadian SIN cards) for me and the kids, and getting NZ driver’s licenses, arranging internet and phone service etc.  We’ve begun the process of finding work because, at least at this stage, we both realize that we need and want to work outside the home.  James is running for the local council which, for the first time in a number of years, finds itself with an overabundance of qualified nominees!   

Before I came here, I reflected that once I find work and friends, I’ll be fine.  Now I don’t have work yet and I don’t really have friends here yet but I’d like to think I’m well on my way.  There is a set-up in New Zealand that we don’t have in Canada which is called Play Centre.  Virtually every community has a Play Centre which is essentially a nursery for children from birth to 6 years old.  Parents and/or guardians must be in attendance but there is also a staff member there to help make sure things run smoothly.  The cost is $15-$25 for around 12 weeks depending on how often you go and how many kids you have.  It runs in the mornings for four days a week.  I imagine not every Play Centre is as incredible as our local one but, honestly, I was floored when I saw how amazing this place is.  It is a huge open-concept interior with every possible type of toy one can imagine and different stations such as play dough, painting, carpentry and so on.  There is a low gate which separates the  children under 2 from the rest of the kids.  There is a huge and rambling outdoor area which features an enormous covered sandbox and several large play structures, tires etc.  This place seriously has everything.  They even have coffee, tea and Milo for parents to help themselves to!   The parents hang around where ever they want to within the interior/exterior complex; there are no set parameters.  There’s a lot of chatting and – to use Manitoba lingo – “visiting”.  The parents there all seem very friendly.  One of them is hosting a DVD night this coming Friday night so my New Zealand social life is fast improving.

Groceries seem more expensive here than in Canada but I have to remind myself that New Zealand is an island nation in the South Pacific so what do I expect?!  That said, we’re lucky to get some groceries free from my in-laws: eggs, milk, beef and some herbs are always available from them and now, in season, we can also get lemons, limes, various types of oranges, rhubarb and swiss chard (which they call Silverbeet here).  

We’ve only been here for 10 days but there’s a lot to cover so here are a few short notes: there is no rabies here (!), no squirrels/beavers/racoons/skunks here, I started driving here on Day Two and am slowly mastering the Art of the Roundabout, taxes are included in quoted prices and tipping is not expected, they drive on the left side of the road, and countries nearby include Fiji, Tahiti, Rarotonga, Samoa, Solomon Island, Niue and Australia among others.

 I welcome questions or suggestions re: what to write about; just send me a PM or reply under this.

Until then, here are some photos…

Freshly picked and still warm eggs…

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It’s not home without a Magic Bullet…

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Apples and pears from a local orchard, the citrus and eggs from next door.  The bananas are from a shop…

 

 

 

 

 

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My father-in-law’s farm worker had the weekend off so James helped out.  Lev couldn’t sleep so he kept James company…

 

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A local honey maker keeps some beehives on my in-laws’ farm.  In exchange they get free honey so now we get free honey!

 

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Some jams, pickles, preserved fruits and chutneys made by my mother-in-law…

 

 

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The view from the backyard…

 

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7 thoughts on “The Journey: PART III

  1. Sadia

    Hi! I just became a citizen of the country “abroad” in which I’m raising my children (the US) so I’m now rethinking my self-identity. 🙂 I too have twins (7yo identical girls) and blog over at How Do You Do It? I added your blog to our blogroll. Let me know if you’d ever like to guest post about raising children in a country that’s not your own.

    Reply
  2. Glen

    Tower Road is a major road? Well, maybe by Matamata standards 🙂 sounds like all is well, keep onwards and upwards!

    Reply

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