A visit to the Kauri Museum

on December 30, 2012

I've started working at the local dairy a few days ago and didn't think I was going to have a single day off until the end of January. But thanks to an overnight downpour which was still continuing this morning I got a message from my boss telling me to take the day off. YAY =D Matt and I took the opportunity and went to the Kauri Museum in Matakohe about an hour south from us (just off SH1 between Waipu and Wellsford). We'd been there before but only made it to the ticket counter. This time we actually had some money left so thought we might as well treat us to it :-)

The entrance fee of $25 per adult sounds horrendous - but we have to say it is absolutely worth it! On an area of 4000m2 you can learn heaps about the history of Aotearoa. There's impressive Kauri gum displays, a working sawmill, lots of machinery and exhibitions. Enough to spend a day, walk around, check out the nearby Pioneer Church and old School building and the gift shop. Here's a few impressions...

An old dresser made of Kauri gum. Gosh I'd love to have one of those!

A piece of Kauri gum art.

This Kauri tree was about 1200 years old when cut down.

Follow this link to see more pictures.

A typical Kiwi Christmas

on December 26, 2012

This year Matt and I spent the holidays with his younger sister in Te Awamutu, a small town near Hamilton. Even during my third year I'm still not used to a summer Christmas and didn't feel very festive at all. But I had an awesome time thanks to the hospitality of Sarah's in-laws... They even had made a special Christmas tree ornament for us - a tradition they seem to have for everyone who has spent or is spending a Christmas with them. Isn't that lovely?

Christmas Eve we all went to the local pub where Sarah is working, had a few drinks and played pool all night. Matt and I were the champions *yeehaw* - won every single game =D In Germany it would have been present time by now but of course in New Zealand Santa doesn't come until Christmas Day. When it was finally time to unwrap presents everybody seemed more interested in the wrapping paper - we had the MEAN fights *lol* You didn't know where to hide because there was paper flyring around everywhere. Good fun!

Later on it got so hot that Sarah and I sneaked into the kitchen to fill up a water gun. Seems like we don't only look alike but think alike, too *heehee* Didn't take long for everone to get absolutely drenched in water. Gosh that felt GOOD!!!

The boys and I also had a shooting competition - yes, with a real gun. And guess what - I beat every single one of them (except for Sarah's partner who beat me by one shot in the final shoot-out - but it was his gun, so he had home advantage anyway...)

Once again it's been a very untypical Christmas for me - but a very typical Kiwi one *lol* Wonder what's in store for us next year...

Beach fun

on December 03, 2012

Matt and I took our new car for a little cruise yesterday and went to explore the Kaipara Harbour. Decided to take the Rav onto the beach - seeing it's a 4WD that should have been good fun :-) However, we soon found out going at high tide wasn't such a good idea but luckily we managed to turn around and get back on the road without getting stuck or the waves catching us! Still it was a cool adventure :-)

In the evening my friend Anita got bapsized at my favourite beach out at the Tutukaka Coast. Never been to a baptism before let alone an adult one. It was a nice ceremony and especially meaningful as Anita is going back to Switzerland next week :-( You will be deeply missed my friend!!!

We've got a baby!

on November 17, 2012

Welcome to our family, Ruffy! You've had a rough time in the 2 weeks since you've been born. But you've found a loving family and we're going to look after you :-)

Here is some pictures/videos from your first weekend with us...


A spontaneous adventure

on November 05, 2012

Matt and I had a really blessed weekend! It didn't start well but ended up getting better and better.

As feared our Mitzi failed its warrant and the repairs might be rather costly considering how old it is. We've been saving for a new one for ages but whenever we just about had enough something happened and our savings shrunk again. On Saturday we decided it was time to act anyway. So we packed some things and went on a roadtrip.

Was the best thing we've done in a long time :-) we stayed with Matt's little sister who just bought a new house. Was really good to see her again. Drove to Auckland yesterday where they have private car sales each Sunday morning. Well... and here it is :-) our new car! We were looking for a 4x4 and found exactly what we wanted - for less than we wanted to spend *woohoo* what a blessing!

Hard work pays off

on October 05, 2012

I'm having some really productive "holidays" - meaning heaps of work despite the fact that kindy is closed :-) Managed to pick up quite a bit of relief work with Home Support and had a lovely surprise yesterday.

One of the ladies I went to had specifically asked for me to come as a reliever while her home help is on holiday. I'd been to her place only once before - more than a couple of months ago. Must have left a lasting impression...

Found out why yesterday. She has been really unhappy with her helper and been wanting to change for a while - but didn't dare complain. Now I guess she saw her opportunity :-) she told me her house had never been so clean than when I was there and asked me if I wanted to come regularly. Well of course :-)

Thanks to a friend of mine I had another special encounter yesterday. I met a young autistic boy yesterday who's mom was desperately looking for some help during the holidays and for after school. I haven't Ben around anyone with autism before but since I now work with special needs children and really enjoy that I thought I'd go around and meet them.

Well, seems like I was a hit :-) When I arrived the boy was hiding in the safety of his mom's car but soon came out to "check me out". An hour later we were jumping on his trampoline :-) I could see the joy not only in his eyes - but in his mom's as well. I think she was extremely relieved to see how her son had reacted to me and she might have found some support...

Why would I ever want to go back to doing anything else when helping others is so rewarding?!?

Things are getting weird

on September 28, 2012

I've never been a morning person. On the contrary. I used to love sleeping in as long as possible. On workdays I used to stay in bed until the very last minute rather skipping breakfast to get a few more minutes under my cozy blanket.

And now? Ever since we've moved to Waipu and the alarm clock goes off between 4.30 am and 5.30am my whole body has turned around on me. Even on weekends I can't stay in bed longer than 7 or 8am because by then it feels like I've slept away half of the day.

This morning Matt and I got up as usual. We had just hopped into the car and were on our 40mins drive into town when Matt got a call from his boss. Work is cancelled due to the cyclone that's been pestering us since yesterday afternoon. So we turned around and went back home.

It was not even 6am and I had about another 2 hours before having to leave for kindergarten. Normally I would have gone straight back to bed - I mean HELLO?!? 2 more hours of blistful sleep?

Well, duh... guess what I'm doing instead... organizing my desk, getting paperwork out of the way, doing laundry... I must be coming down with something serious because this is just WRONG!!! It's so not me!!! What's going on?!?

Question of the day

on September 27, 2012

Just having a little lunch at the McDonald's car park listening to one of my favorite singers: Amy Macdonald. A line in the song that's currently playing goes: "In the end I made them see this is what happiness means to me."

And I'm just wondering... what does happiness actually mean? To me... To you... We all know things that make us happy. But is that the same?

Please take a moment to think about it and if you like feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment...

What does happiness mean to you?

Snapper alarm at Goat Island

Matt's cousin had come for a visit last weekend and of course the boys went straight to the rocks to catch some fish. Didn't have much luck, unfortunately. They wanted to go back fishing on Sunday but the weather had really changed for the worse. Once again it was pouring down and the temperatures had dropped, too. So what to do?

We didn't want to just sit around and waste our time so we decided to go for a cruise. Made it all the way to Mangawhai where we found a map of the area - and our eyes landed on Leigh and the nearby Goat Island Marine Reserve. Matt and I had wanted to go there ages ago but never got around to do it. We looked at each other, looked at the watch - and thought "why not, it's only an hour's drive". So off we went.

And man it was soooooo worth it! By the time we arrived in Leigh the sun was shining and we had clear blue skies. We went for a walk along the beach and noticed an ad for a glass bottom boat. $20 per adult for a 30min trip? Yeah! We were laughing a bit about their slogan "no fish, no charge" and were wondering what we would be spotting. Matt was hoping for a kingfish but chances were low.

Still it was a great experience! Skipper Ivan was an awesome commentator explaining how the Marine Reserve works, what the researchers do, what sea life comes around... and we spotted quite a few snapper (some MASSIVE ones that made us wwant to put a rod in the water), some moki (?), HUGE kinna - and my comment "gosh, that would be a mean feed" made everybody laugh, especially Matt :-)

Here's some pictures of our trip...

Making our new home - our home :-)

on September 22, 2012

Matt and I have been in our new place for about a month now and we've settled in just fine =D Getting up early (4.30am) and driving back and forth for an hour each day is quite tiring - but coming home is sooooo worth it =D Here's a few things we've been doing so far and some pictures for those who don't have facebook *g*

Our barn...

... and the view from our bedroom window...


Watching dolphins at the beach - Matt actually spotted them from our kitchen window! So we hopped into the car and drove 5mins to the beach to get a better view... wish I had brought my other lense to zoom in closer, thogh ;-/


Going for walks along the beach...


Collecting umptious amounts of shells :-)


 Decorating the table with everything I find on the beach *heehee*


Starting a little vege garden of our own *woohoo*




This weekend Matt's cousin has come for a visit and of course the boys are off fishing. We're going pretty much every weekend so it's kinda nice to have a little break and enjoy "girl time" *lol*

Here's a lot more pictures if you're keen to have a look...


Here's a great tip for everybody who has friends overseas and doesn't want to spend too much money on sms but still likes to send them... If you have a Smartphone just download the application "Whatsapp" - register your phone number et voilà... WhatsApp enables you to send FREE text messages to overseas phones using a little tiny bit of your phone's internet data. Instant delivery to your friends' phones, no worries about text message rates or roaming or whatever... Another advantage in New Zealand - my network 2degrees doesn't cooperate with all international networks so some of my friends, e.g. in the UK or in Germany, can't send me msg and I can't send them any in return. But with WhatsApp the network doesn't matter. Any questions? Try it out =D

A crazy week

on August 24, 2012

Sometimes everything you don't need just all happens at once. The first week in our new place has been a bit like that. As if it wasn't enough getting up at 4.30am every morning...

Tuesday the up to this day not working automatic door lock on our car suddenly worked - resulting in the car locking itself while still running and us spending 15mins trying to break in.

Wednesday I set off the smoke alarm in the kitchen (who would put a smoke alarm in the kitchen anyway) while making lasagne.

And today Matt noticed that his gumboots which he def needs for work weren't in the car - but of course he didn't notice until AFTER we had been driving into town (40mins). No idea how he's gonna do his job today.

Did I mention I've been fighting a cold for over a week now?

There's only one thing left to say - thank God it's weekend tonight *sigh*

A trip that wasn't meant to be

on August 11, 2012

This weekend was meant to be a no-fishing-weekend. And looking back at it we (or Matt?) should have stuck the original plan. But since I had my social butterfly day today catching up with friends and my host family Matt must have got rather restless and changes his mind. "Fishing?", was the first thing I heard in the morning.

Apart from the fact that I was going to be an hour late to meet my friend I didn't mind driving my darling out to his favorite spot. As long as I didn't have to tag along this time - in the miserably wet and cold weather... Unfortunately I didn't realize HOW bad the conditions were until I went back just after dark to pick him up.

What did I do? Got my Mitsi stuck in the muddy paddock. Somehow it had drifted off to the side into the ditch and neither moved back nor forward. Matt tried for half an hour to set it free - but his efforts were in vain. All he managed to do was get us both and the car covered in mud from head to toe. Just great ;-/

Matt ended up having to walk in the rain to get the owner who lives about 15mins up the road from where we got stuck - and luckily Matt knew the guy. They must have had a big laugh wondering how on earth I had managed to drive the car into the ditch. Oh well, what do I know? Managed to get the Mitsi back out and eventually made it back to the hostel.

Matt thinks I'm the worst driver EVER and doesn't talk to me right now. Told him to shut up, guess he took that seriously. Men can be soooo sensitive!

Move it, baby

on August 06, 2012

Anxiously Matt and I have been waiting for weeks from immigration to hear about the outcome of my visa application. It didn't sound very good at first, but we did everything in our power to make sure we get to be together. Here's the result: We're moving in 2 weeks AND by doing so my visa will be approved *woohoo*

Sooner than expected we found a lovely house south of town, really close to the beach. Just gotta sign the tenancy agreement and then it's ours =D And I'll eventually get my passport back with that nice little sticker saying "work visa". What a relief!!!

They do say nothing in life that is really worth fighting for comes for free. And the harder the struggle is the happier you are in the end once everything turns out well. Some things are just meant to be - and this is clearly one of them.

We've been celebrating with another fishing trip to our favorite spot this weekend. Matt gave me a new reel (after he'd thrown my old one off the rocks last week because it was utter rubbish) and of course I managed to get a HUGE birdnest right on my first cast. Now he's put a kiddielock on the baitrunner *lol* Still caught a couple of Kahawai and we had a yummy feed last night :-)

My darling hero

on June 21, 2012

This is a story I was meant to share with you more than a week ago but I just didn't find the time. But it's just too "good" to keep it to ourselves.

This picure shows Matt with his very first kingfish he caught off the rocks. It weighed roughly 15kg and as if that wasn't awesome enough the story behind that fish is unbelievable! Because it almost cost one of Matt's mate's life. But somehow my darling managed to get his kingi AND safe his mate's life. Here's what happened...

Last Tuesday after I got home from work Matt was ready to go on one of his overnight fishing trips. He usually does these missions on his own which seems to be the best thing to do despite the danger. But last time he took someone out he broke a brandnew rod, his mate fell off the bank, lost his glasses and broke Matt's brandnew reel - they didn't even get a line in the water. Anyway... so this was Take #2 taking someone to his favorite fishing spots.

I dropped Matt and the other guy from the hostel off just before dark and was meant to come back for them the next day after work. I said my little prayer that both of them would return safely and went home - half waiting for a call to come and pick them up early because something had happened. The message came - but only the next day. When I arrived I was sooo relieved to see them both standing there. But apparently that might not have been the case due to what had happened that morning.

The two boys had had a good night on the rocks without major incidents and instead had been catching heaps of fish. Until midday - when Matt finally hooked his kingfish. It must have given a good rumble and Matt's mate was supposed to help him net it to get it onto the rocks. However, the sea that day was a bit rough and the swells super high. One of the waves just washed the other guy off the rocks and dragged him out into the sea.

He must have gone out a good 50 or 60 meters the boys told me later. Was starting to panic because the waves kept dragging him under. Fortunately Matt didn't lose his mind and kept cool, telling his mate to take off his heavy clothes while he heaved the kingfish onto the rocks. He unclipped the kingi and - don't ask me how he got the idea but it proved to be a true lifesaver - tied one of his little chiller bags on the end of his line. He then chucked that out to his mate to hold on to - and wound him in like a fish.

Picturing it actually sounds quite funny and we can now all laugh about it since it didn't end tragic. With the help of another big swell Matt's mate landed back on the rocks. Naked as God made him and with some nasty scratches - but alive.

I don't think he'll go fishing with Matt, though, anytime soon...

Happy News

on June 19, 2012

Everything is going to work out. How can it now, when everything AFTER my visa has expired is already in place? Just got a little payrise AND after the holidays will pick up another little girl to work with at kindy. It's just meant to be, there's no denying it =D

Speaking of that - after getting the application for my police certificate on the way on Friday straight after receiving the letter from immigration I spent another half hour yesterday with a Justice of Peace. Wrote up a Statutory (or whatever it's called) Declaration stating I've never been convicted and have no charges or whatever against me. Apparently that and evidence that I have applied for my police certificate will be enough for immigration at this point to at least make them accept my application until my PC arrives.

So this is Take II, we'll see what happens this time. Please everybody still keep your fingers crossed!

How to really piss me off

on June 15, 2012

When I applied for a new visa last year I was told by an immigration officer that at this point I wouldn't need a police certificate (certificate of good conduct) yet. A few weeks later my visa application was sent back unprocessed because it was incomplete. I was told by another immigration officer I needed to provide a police certificate.

Only because the lady at the German Ministry of Justice was extremely efficient did I manage to hand my application back in on time.

Applying for a new visa this year I was told again that - because I submitted a police certificate last year - I wouldn't need one this time.

Well, guess what... today Immigration New Zealand sent my application back AGAIN! And guess what else? IT'S INCOMPLETE! Wanna know why? Yep, you're exactly right. Because it's missing the police certificate *#&%#&$*

And to really piss me off they're now saying I didn't submit one last year and therefore shouldn't have been given a visa.

What the ****?!?!?

Stop the silence

on June 06, 2012

Kia ora everyone,

sorry for the long silence. Been having some financial shortcuts and wasn't able to top-up my internet. But I'm still alive and active =D Here's a few things that have happened since my last post...

* Matt and I have been fishing at Mimiwhangata and I have caught my first fish on my own rod *woohoo* Mostly Kahawai, but also a few Snapper and a Trevally. I'm proud as and will share some pictures and videos with you as soon as possible. Matt thinks I'm a rather funny fisherman because I talk to my fish all the time *lol* He's also finished his smoker so we're now enjoying beautiful and juicy smoked fish (and happy to swap it for meat or other yummy things!).

* I've once again spent quite a bit of time at the police. Last Saturday two cops came knocking on my door at the hostel and took me straight to the station. But don't worry. I'm still being a good girl *lol* Some asshole had stolen lots of our food the day he moved out of the hostel and we reported it to the police. So I just had to give my official statement at the station. Next step will be having him arrested and hopefully found guilty for theft. That'll teach him.

* Today is the big day - my Immigration Application is ready, I've got all my paperwork together. So we're seeing a Justice of Peace today to get everything stamped and certified - and THEN we'll finally send it off. I'm getting really anxious - I have waiting and not being able to do anything to change your situation. My current visa expires in 5 weeks. And it's entirely up to Immigration to decide whether I can stay here with Matt or not.

That's the latest news for today. I'll keep you posted when anything happens and put some pics and videos online as soon as I get my internet sorted.

Ka kite guys =D

Happy Birthday, Mara :-)

on April 24, 2012

It's been a bit more than a week since my birthday party but I did want to write about it nonetheless and thank everybody who was there for making it such an unforgettable day =D Each and every one of you contributed in their own special way and I am grateful for the busy helpers I had and the wonderful friends I have!

Matt, Ngahuia (one of the girls from the hostel) and I had spent the night before the party in the kitchen preparing the fish, making salads, baking pies and banana bread and brownies and my birthday cake. Only took us about six hours and we finally finished just before midnight.

Nevertheless it was "early rise and shine" for the three of us the next morning. Ngahuia had once again happily volunteered to help with further party preparation (sucks when you live in the same place and don't have your own transport *ggg*). We had good fun from the start blowing up balloons in the car along the way.

After spending some more hours cleaning and cooking and Ngahuia and Matt almost setting the fish on fire it was time for the guests to arrive. I was really happy to see Matt's sisters had made it all the way up here to celebrate with us! We all had a really jolly time and the few of us who stayed overnight played games until the early morning hours while Matt and his sister's fiancé spent some bro-time together going rock-fishing.

Here's some pictures of a really awesome day =D

I'm getting angry

I've been a Community Support Worker for almost 3 months mostly cleaning for elderly people who - due to their health - can't accomplish certain household chores on their own anymore. Almost every time I visit a new client to relief for their normal cleaner I get praises over praises after I've done my work. It's little things like "Oh, the floor has actually been mopped this time." or "You even used the toilet brush to clean the toilet." or "Your cloths are actually dirty when you've cleaned the house."...

One of those clients I was only meant to see a couple times actually called up my boss and asked if I could stay permanently. And I've had a few others who were toying with the idea. What on earth is wrong with some people over here? The work ethics are SHOCKING! I feel sorry for a lot of my clients who so much depend on their Support Worker to help them around the house and yet nobody really seems to care.

Just the other day I went to a house where the normal cleaner had been only a week ago. Then why do I ask you were there spider webs allover the place? Why was the toilet stained as and why the mirrors filthy? If you're not prepared to get on the floor and do some - yes dirty - work THEN FIND ANOTHER JOB!

You gotta love New Zealand!

on April 23, 2012

Just today one of my Home Support clients was talking about Guavas and how yummy they were. I've never actually had one - only as a flavour in yoghurts. So the old lady said she was going to make me a small glass of Guava jam next week. How sweet :-)

Well... now guess what... When I came home from work I saw a friend of mine rounding up one of the trees outside the hostel and putting fruits into a bag. We actually have a Guava tree right outside!!! There are so many ripe fruits and since barely anybody knows about the tree heaps of them have been falling to the ground and eaten by the birds. What a waste...

Curiously I tried one and OHHHH let me tell you, what a delicious treat! So upstairs I went to get a bag for myself *heehee* That will be a nutrious pudding after dinner tonight :-) According to Wikipedia one single Guava has FOUR TIMES the amount of vitamin C of an orange!!!

Oh and here is some more great news: My car passed its WoF (Warrant of Fitness) today *woohoo* So I don't need to worry about how to get to work during the next half year. Thanks to the nice Scottish auto technician who looked the other way here and there :-)

Good things will happen to those who believe

on April 13, 2012

It's been a bit quiet again here lately. It wasn't that I didn't have anything to say or that nothing had happened. On the contrary. My life at the moment is full of constant adventures, battles, happy moments and lots of questions. But sometimes sorting through the mass of information in your head isn't that easy.

Today I'll start by saying thank you for all those wonderful birthday wishes in the past week. I am grateful for all my friends out there no matter how many thousands of kilometers away they might be. Thank you for your constant love and support and also for all those wonderful pictures I received for my birthday photo wall. I just picked it up today (it wasn't meant to be ready until next week which would have sucked because my party is on Saturday but hey - hence my title for this post =D

I put the poster on my bedroom wall for now and I can't tell you how much warmer the room already looks and feels! Some of you who have sent me pictures won't find them on the poster simply because I received them too late. But nevertheless they've been put onto the wall as well and on Saturday - for the big party - you guys can all join me and celebrate with me :-)
Speaking of birthdays - being 30 doesn't actually feel as bad as I thought it would be. I had a wonderful day last Friday with Matt. It was a beautiful sunny day - very surprising considering it's already winter and has been raining heaps and heaps and heaps in the last few weeks. So we made the most of the day and went to the beach :-)

This one is towards Whangarei Heads and we stopped to watch some anglers off the wharf. I've got some more pictures of beautiful Ocean Beach just have to upload them these days. Speaking of fish - yep, we even did go fishing that night. Tried a new spot out towards Mimiwhangata. It took us an hour to walk to the rocks. Over paddocks we went passing horses and sheep, climbing steep trecks and along cliffs where left and right there was nothing but abyss.

But the view in the end was worth the effort! Check this out...

Unfortunately it wasn't a very successful night. One Trevally (turned into live bait), a snapper, 2 kahawai and an eel. Would have been a lot more but not long after sunset a shark was attracted by our berley and munched it all. Luckily it buggered off after it had eaten but it was quite a show to watch!

At least we do have enough fish to live on for a while. Saturday is the day for "my" big snapper. The 20-pounder Matt caught a few weeks ago is finally being smoked. We'll also make some raw fish and I'll do some baking for the party. Lots of preparation but it's going to be so much fun =D I've never hosted a big party like that - but then you only turn 30 once =D

Prior to my big day I must admit I had been in some kind of early midlife crisis. You know how when you grow up you always have a picture of yourself in mind about when you are older? Well, that picture barely ever turns out to be reality. My life has taken some unexpected turns in the last few years and I guess I just had to accept that some things just didn't turn out the way they were planned or meant to be. Who would have thought that at 30 I'd be living in a hostel, facing constant money problems, changing my career I always thought was THE only right one for me...

And yet looking back I wouldn't change a thing. I am actually happy where I am :-) After years of moaning I finally have a job that I actually enjoy. I've got a man by my side I know I can count on. Friends who make me cry with laughter and a family on three different continents.

Life hasn't always been easy. But that's what makes life so wonderfully exciting. And eventually, finally, everything is slowly falling into place. Bit by bit. Good things will happen to those who believe. You just have to keep your mind and your eyes open. And be happy about little things.

One thing that made me smile today? Got the break lights fixed on my car for a lot less than I thought it would cost PLUS found a mechanic who will not be too picky when it comes to warranting my car as long as it's safe :-) So when the school holidays are over I should still be able to get to work and back without having to walk 60 kilometers daily *yay*

Summer is gone

on March 14, 2012

In addition to my last post I now have to say that I paid the price for not sleeping more lately. I got sick with the flu on the weekend ;-/ Sore throat, couldn't swallow because it hurt so much, runny and/or completely blocked nose, feverish feeling, annoying cough... just felt really yucky... had to stay home on Monday which was good for my body because I am slowly feeling better - but bad for my pocket because I am not entitled to paid sick leave yet. Bugger!!!

Speaking of work - some of my friends are getting a bit confused as to what exactly I am doing here (jobwise). Well... five days a week I now work with special needs children (which means mainly delayed, disabled, handicapped...) for a few hours until lunchtime. It's called Education Support Work and my job is basically to help these children integrate at kindergarten, interact with others, work on whatever weakness they have and make sure they can participate in any activity kindergarten provides. I really enjoy it, the staff is lovely and helping me a lot and the kids absolutely adore me =D I wish I had more hours, but there might be something coming up in the near future.

Three to four afternoons I then work as a so called Community Support Worker (CSW). It's mostly cleaning for older, injured or disabled people who can't do certain tasks anymore but still want to maintain a certain amount of independence and mobility in their own home. The way it works in New Zealand is - your doctor or health specialist can make a referral to one of the companies employing CSW when they think a person is in need for help. Together the company and various health specialists then come up with a plan where they decide what tasks need to be done around a person's house and how much time is to be allowed to do that.

For me at the moment it's mainly vacuuming, dusting, doing laundry and cleaning. But it can also include grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, showering, cooking, ... always depending on the degree of mobility and capability of each client.

In the last few weeks I have met some really interesting characters doing this job. Starting with my very first client that I will just call "my darling old lady". She's in her 90s but doesn't look a day older than 70! I was only meant to help out while her cleaning lady was on holiday. Well - she was so impressed with the speed AND the quality of my work plus my honesty (if I work only 2 hours instead of 2.5 as allocated I still only put 2 hours down on my time sheet) that she decided to keep me on *yay* So I now see her regularly once a week and we always have some really great chats.

Last week it was her turn to impress me. We were talking about fishing and I told her about the MASSIVE snapper Matt had caught a few days before. Unfortunately my phone had been acting up and all the pictures were gone. So guess what she asked me... "Do you have them on Facebook?" I repeat - this lady is in her 90s!!! My own mom, in her mid-50s, doesn't even know how to turn a computer on and my darling old lady asks me about Facebook! How cool is that =D

But anyway... so that's two of the jobs I have at the moment. Tuesday and Thursday, in addition to that, I still do night shifts at the restaurant I have been working at for more than a year now. Hence my last post. But working mornings at kindy, then doing home support and then working a night shift at the restaurant - only to get up early the next morning to go back to kindy and home support - it's really killing me. If it wasn't for the money I'd never gone back to the restaurant. And because I know how it feels like to get close to being burnt out I am finally leaving hospitality at the end of March.

Life is too short to be wasted and I'd much rather keep exploring the country with Matt and improve my fishing skills. So that maybe one day I'll be as lucky as he and catch one of these big beasts...

It's called a snapper and this one here weighs almost 10kg!!! Here's more pictures if you'd like to have a look at how I'm spending most of my weekends these days...

I miss my bed!

on March 02, 2012

I just can't do this anymore... worked half a day at kindy yesterday then 8.5 hours at the restaurant. Didn't finish until after midnight and now I'm up again just after 7am... I'm glad my Home Support client cancelled yesterday no idea how I would have handled that on top of everything else ;-/ Sleep deprivation seems to be a constant part of my life *sigh* soooooo glad my days in hospitality are really and definitely numbered now... only 4 weeks to go *yay*

I wash my hands in blood

on February 28, 2012

Had a really busy yet awesome weekend with lots of fun and adventure :-) attended my first baby shower for a friend who's due in 2 weeks! How exciting :-) We had a lovely picnic in the park with teddybears, balloons and cool games.<p>
Sunday was fishing day and Matt and I got up really early (4.30am!!!) hoping to catch some big ones. I have to admit I let my darling go ahead to our rock while I stayed in the car and napped until the sun was actually up...<p>
My plan to go running at the beach in the morning was unfortunately destroyed by a big group of Maories fishing and I just don't like being watched while I torture myself. So I packed my bag and climbed down to where I hoped Matt was happily catching our dinner.<p>
Unfortunately the fish just didn't wanna bite... by 3pm we had one snapper just about legal. So what next? Well, my darling is very determined and refused to go home without a properly filled chiller bin. So we hiked for about half an hour climbing over rocks, sliding down steep cliffs and wading through knee-deep water to another secret spot. <p>
By 6pm we were finally lucky :-) Kawais *yay* just kept on biting! But since Matt was busy catching he actually wanted me to do the rest - which involved killing and gutting those poor buggers. Sorry, just couldn't do it. I'm slowly getting used to watching and in theory know how to do it. But as soon as I had the knife in my hands I started feeling really sorry for the fish. Typical city girl... <p>
I did agree to scale them, though - but it was a lot harder than it looked. Especially since the fish were still twitching and jumping so no matter what my hands, my legs and even my clothes were bloodstained soon after. What a yucky feeling!!! <p>
Now I'm about to try filleting a fish for the first time on my own as I want to make some more raw fish. What a delicacy :-)

I'm a tenor!!!

on February 14, 2012

If you know something about music you might look at the headline and think - doesn't she know anything about music?!? Yes, I do. I've been a soprano all my live, a soprano II at my last choir in Germany, the Little Lights of LE. I haven't found a new choir yet and have missed singing ever since I arrived in New Zealand.

Well, the search is over =D Last night I went to a New Member Night with the Whangarei Harmony Chorus - and absolutely loved it! It's an all-women choir in the style of American Barber Shop. A capella, no instruments, four voices. As the barbershop was based on men's voices it remains like that until today - so you have your lead (melody), bass, baritone and tenor.

There were three younger girls including me, everybody else is between 40 and 70 I'd say. Apparently they have a few troubles finding younger voices for the "high pitched tenor" which normally sings the part just above the lead. So they were quite happy to put us three there. And it was awesome! We did an interpretation of Elvis' "Love me tender" and already learned a whole new song. Practice is once a week and lasts THREE HOURS!!! That's going to be interesting... But I'm really looking forward to it =D

Snip, snap - SNAPPER!

on February 13, 2012

Kiwi summers are about two things mainly - beach and BBQ. And since we finally had a sunny weekend and my trip to Auckland got cancelled (wanted to go to a Roxette concert, had bought tickets AGES ago - then it got cancelled only Friday night because the singer had fallen sick on the plane) I decided to spend my weekend on the beach =D Mattt was working Saturday so I had the whole day to myself and after about 1.5 years went to my favorite beach again: Matapouri along the Tutukaka Coast. It's about 40mins per car from Whangarei, a rather windy road at times but very scenic. I went for a swim in the cool ocean, battled some minor waves and took a looong sunbath. Life is good =D

Sunday I let Matt decide where to go and he opted for Oakura which is towards Helena Bay and Russell. Awesome choice (pictures will follow)! While he climbed along the rocks and hills to find a good fishing spot I again enjoyed the lazy life at the beach.

Once the sun started hiding behind the clouds and the wind got stronger I grabbed "my" rod and followed Matt along the rocks. I must say I'm getting more and confident jumping from stone to stone, climbing uphill and finding my way through the bush. Only got stuck on a rather steep bit once but luckily a local teenager came by and "saved" me *lol*

Once I reached Mattt he was all excited - he had caught a STINGRAY!!! A massive one, too. Poor thing was stuck on his hook - we didn't intend to take it home. Matt has tried stingray before and didn't like it - and I just think they are too beautiful to be slaughtered. First time I've seen one in the wild! What an adventure =D Matt managed to cut the poor thing off the hook but couldn't put it back into the ocean as it had a long barb that could kill you. So we left it in a rock pool filled with water and for those who are as concerned as I was - by the time we left the tide was coming in again and a big wave took the stingray right back to where it belonged =D

Later on we also saw a pool of dolphins swim by! And Matt caught enough fish to last us weeks *ggg* Some good-sized Kahawai and a snapper. I didn't catch anything, but at least I'm getting really good at casting and I'm sure it's only a matter of time until I hook something...

We ended the day with a typical Kiwi summer tradition - a BBQ at the beach. Smoked fish, lamb chops and Kamo Kamo (a bit like a massive sized zucchini). What a perfect weekend =D

Blessed be he who has true friends

on February 10, 2012

After having bought my car - which by the way is awesome to drive, just needs a name now *lol* - I was pretty much broke. All my savings gone, overdraft had reached its limit. I was anxiously waiting for my first payday at my new job. Which was meant to be this Wednesday. Well - can you imagine how I felt when on Thursday there was still no money in my account? And to make things worse - when I called them up just to be informed that because of the system they have my first pay actually won't go in until the end of February?!?!? With not a cent left in my pockets and no back-up plan, already owing half of my rent - I thought the world had collapsed. How was I supposed to pay my bills? Let alone shop for groceries or get petrol in order to get to work?

Let's just say I wasn't a very happy person on Thursday. In fact I was a mess. Most Germans are known to need security, especially financially. I knew once I got my regular payments I'd be sweet again. But how to survive the next two weeks?

Well, my desperate prayers were answered a day after in the form of what anybody who has them can call themselves blessed: true friends. So today things don't look even half as gloomy as a couple of days ago. I won't be starving. I won't have to be afraid of being kicked out of the hostel.

So here is to all the wonderful people in my life whom I know I can always count on, who make me smile when I'm feeling low and who laugh with me in good times.

Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.


My new toy :-)

on January 31, 2012

I am really excited - I'm starting my new job today *woohoo* My body isn't quite used to getting up that early anymore but I'm sure it'll soon adjust. Right now I'm not only looking forward to working with children but also to actually get to work - in my new car =D

Since the kindergarten I'll be working at is half an hour away from town I rather sooner than later needed a vehicle to get me there. Been looking on TradeMe for a while but nothing came up that A was affordable and B reliable enough to last a few months at least. Until this weekend.

It was a rather spontaneous action but the girl was anxious to sell and I anxious to buy. So she came around yesterday, I had a little test drive around the block and when Matt and Rob (guy that works at the hostel) gave their approval as well - we had a deal =D

There's still a few things that need to be fixed before the next WoF (Warrant of Fitness for all non-Kiwis - similar to TÜV in Germany) but the estimated costs are reasonable. Will see how she goes on the open road today and hope she doesn't die on me or break down. That'd be a laugh...

New beginnings

on January 24, 2012

2012 is bound to be a good year =D Summer has finally arrived (although last night was so cold that I needed woollen socks and a fleece jacket and there was a bit of frost on the cars parked outside the hostel this morning) and my days as a lazy bum (meaning unemployed) are about to be over *woohoo* Just before Christmas I had a job interview with a lady more or less from the Ministry of Education for a position as Education Support Work (where you work with kids that have special needs in kindergarten).

They told me straight after the interview I was hired and they were going to get back to me with details and my contract. Hadn't heard from then since and was really getting worried. But - yesterday I finally managed to get someone on the phone - and I will start working for them next week =D It will only be part-time and apparently not too many hours yet. I will know more when I sign the contract on Friday.

BUT there is more good news. I just got back from another job interview and if both employers are ok with it I will also start working part-time as a Community Support Worker (which is mostly assisting elderly people with daily chores or caring for injured/disabled people). Since that will be more flexible with hours I should be able to juggle things around and end up with enough to equal a full-time job. At least after a while once  igbet more and more clients.

I am really looking forward to these new challenges. I've always enjoyed working with people but being in hospitality full-time just wasn't the right thing for me. I'm still doing the odd hours as a waitress at my old job helping out if someone calls in sick or whatever. But even after having been back there for a few days has confirmed my decision to leave.

Meanwhile I've started looking for a car as I will definitely need one with my new jobs coming up. Haven't found one I can afford, yet, so might have to rely on my own feet, the bike my brother gave me almost a year ago for my birthday (which up to this day hasn't been used) and public transport - bad as it is up here. I'm still confident things will work themselves out. Always have one way or other.

"Über den Wolken..."

on January 17, 2012

There's this famous German song that translates into "Above the clouds freedom must know no boundaries". And yes, being up in the air is one of the most exciting things ever. I've always enjoyed plane rides no matter if on big commercial Boeings, rusty old Antonovs or shaky Wilgas. Among the aircrafts I've been wanting to go on for ages are helicopters and gliders. The first is still on the list - but thanks to the Whangarei Gliding Club one of my wishes has just come true.

My host dad's father happens to be the president of the club and has told me for months to just come around on a nice weekend and someone would give me "a lift" up into the air. Never been able to make it but the last few days Matt and I were house- and dog-sitting for Philip's brother and his family so we were just around the corner. Then Sunday was finally the day of days =D

One of the club members, Alex, has been flying for over 20 years and agreed to take me for a ride in his two-seater. I was a bit scared, I admit, but mostly excited. As a sports journalist in Germany I had been writing about a major gliding competition for years and watched heaps of them going up and coming back down. But actually sitting in one and getting ready for take-off... let's say I had a few butterflies in my tummy.

After all the checks had been done and everything was set there was no turning back. Within seconds the glider started moving and we went upwards. MAN THAT WAS SCARY!!!! Worse than on any rollercoaster I've ever been on! After only 20 meters or so the glider's nose went steeply skywards. I was screaming all the way and thought I was getting sick. But that feeling didn't last long at all. Once we were actually up there and level all I could think was "How beautiful!".

Alex explained a lot to me, told me what we were seeing - we had free view all the way to the Bay of Islands! He even offered me to take over and fly but I thankfully declined. I was happy enough just enjoying the view and taking pictures. Unfortunately the weather circumstances weren't too good that day so after about 15mins it was time to head back down to the airfield.

Once again I was a bit scared thinking "Surely landing will be even worse than goin up" - but nope, nothing, As Alex had said before to calm me down: "It is just an easy glide." And it was. Before I realized we were back on the ground. What an adventure :-) I've just finished uploading my pictures on Facebook. If you wanna have a look, click here :-) Matt also took some videos which I'm hoping to share with you soon.

The downside of living in a hostel

on January 03, 2012

So far I've never had trouble with anyone here at the hostel. Until today - when I found out that someone had been stealing my entire box of expensive gluten-free cereal. It had been sitting unopened in the cupboard while Matt and I were gone on our trip. But when I lifted it up this morning to open it it was suprisingly light.

Well, guess why. THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT!!! Someone had opened the box at the bottom, emptied the entire bag, stuffed it back inside the box and put the box back in the cupboard so it looked untouched. BLOODY BASTARD! I'm off to work in a few mins and have nothing left to eat *grrr* We all know who it was - too bad that thieving mongrel has already moved out again.

But at least I was just told that apparently as soon as he left the hostel he got arrested by the police (again!). Serves him right...

Fresh fish is the best!!!

on January 02, 2012

There's two things I know for sure about being with Matt. 1. Life will never be boring. 2. I will never starve. It's half an hour past midnight and I just had a massive feed - crumbed fish (freshly caught Trevally and Kawai), veges (from Matt's dad's garden) and home-baked chips. Gosh, I'm full... and what a day it has been...

After cutting our camping trip short due to weather conditions we spent most of yesterday and today unpacking, doing TONS of laundry and re-arranging our gear. Close to midnight on New Year's Eve I watched DINNER FOR ONE - it's a British comedy sketch from the 1960s that is very popular at this time of the year in Germany and is normally played by every single TV station at some point during the last night of every year. Matt didn't think it was as hilarious as I do but I guess despite him having a British mom he's just not used to the British humor *lol*

Have a look for yourself... here's the YouTube-video I found...

Anyway... I enjoyed it a lot =D Haven't seen it for a while. The rest of the night we looked at all the pictures we have taken during our camping trip (about 400) and relived the funny and adventurous moments we had. More about the trip including pictures will follow soon as promised.

After finally having finished cleaning etc Matt's first question was: "What are we doing today? Where are we going?" Having a car is really handy - thank you again heaps, Angie!!! Since I'm actually starting to learn how to fish (yes, I really am...), the weather was nice and the sea pretty calm we decided to go back to "my rock". Those of you who read my blog regularly - that's the one where I thought I was going to drown a few weeks ago. But we went when the tide was low so this time I had no problems climbing onto the rock - with a rod in my hand! Here's a picture - you can see a figure in the distance which would be Matt. That is where we have to climb to in order to fish - and where he caught some massive ones today =D

Before that I spent hours and hours searching the sand for little shells, cat's eyes, rocks and whatever crossed my eyes. I love being at the beach. Matt caught heaps of kinna (sea urchins) which I tried but didn't really like. While searching for them he found this huge sea shell for me which will get a special place in my room. I need some more shelves and window sills and containers to store all the things I/we keep finding at the beach :-)