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by Angela
on Jul 10th, 2007

Farewell Aoteroa

E noho ra

Well, today is the day. I had my fish and chips,  coffees, sushi, and savories (at Copenhagen Cafe) .  I saved my last Friday’s meal for pizza from Pizza Carto but Pizza Carto was on “Winter break”  oh well, Ciao pizza carto.

Jim and I visited the ocean yesterday.  Just to have a look before returning to the midwest.  Yeah Peoria is not “the” town, but I must say that I missed it a lot while I was in NZ.  So I look forward to returning home and getting back to my gardening, work and some daily routine.

Tessa, Deb, Annette, and the ladies thank you for always making me feel welcome.  It was really nice working around you.  I’ll try and post pictures of my backyard under development.    Ngaira, Keith, Fiona and John; I am so glad we got to share Thanksgiving dinner 06.  Chris, Min and the girls thanks for being frequent life savers.    Mum, Jen and Lena thanks for visiting me in NZ and Australia.

Well, the blog is beginning to sound as though I just won an award ;-).  LOL
Jim and I had a wonderful time traveling around NZ.  We now have renewed interest to travel around the USA.

by Jim
on Jul 7th, 2007

Are You Geographically Impaired?

gc1776globe.jpgEvery few months I read another story about how people in the US are geographically ignorant. 20% think the Sun orbits the Earth, half can’t find the Pacific ocean, none can name all of the States capitals after they graduate 5th grade, etc… But watching the UK version of “Millionaire” after work has shown me that the Brits aren’t much better and can’t name half the capitals in Europe (those countries ending in ‘ia’ are particularly pesky). I’ve always thought I was pretty good at geography, but some recent memory lapses have scared me, driving me back to an excellent quiz site:

This is an oldie but goody, and one that ignorance-fearing folk should visit every so often for a tune up. I gained some false confidence on the USA test, scoring 147/150. Off to Europe! Hmmm…96/117…not fantastic (thanks mainly to those ‘ia’ ones). But we now live in Oceania, so surely I must ace that test, right? Nope. That’s where things fell over so badly I dare not post my score. Africa, the Carribean, China, India… all testing disasters!

So, this little site has knocked me down about 23 pegs where I rightfully belong: with the rest of the geographically impaired. Study hard, Grasshopper.

by Angela
on Jul 5th, 2007

Farewell Aoteroa : Part 1

It’s amazing how fast time flies.  Jim and I have been in New Zealand for 1 year and  6 months.  I will be heading home to Peoria in a few more days.  This profersional OE has been a challenging one (of course until I started my career break in March 07) but most rewarding at the end.

Last week, I joined the ladies at the Trimble office for tea.  Kay brought in a fantastic “Tim Tam Cheesecake” and savouries.  For those who are unfamiliar, “Tim Tam”  are chocolate biscuits covered with more chocolate :-).  I’m going to have to pack some home.   Savouries are sausage rolls and mince pies.  Savouries are very typical snack food, quite fattening but delicious. I’m definitely going to miss teatime and of course the ladies at work (it’s not all about mince pies is it now? ;-)).

The ladies at Ronald McDonald house where I volunteered made an Orange Almond cake on my last day.  It was a gluten free cake which in my book means diet cake.  So I had two huge slices !!!!!.  Hmmmmm … that was yummy.  I’ve got recipes from Christine on Pavlova and Lemon Meringue Pie too.  Volunteering was a really good experience for me.  I actually enjoyed cleaning for a change…. unbelievable isn’t it.  In practice though I do realized that I prefer cleaning together with other people helping than on my own (eg: I cleaned my oven at home,…. not as fun trust me!).  I also enjoyed bringing in bake goods to the house for the guest.  All and all I am so glad that I spent my Thurs and Fridays there for the past 2-3 months.

Jim and I are slowly checking off the things that we enjoy doing in New Zealand.  We really like the abundance of restaurant selections.  Thai Rendezvous on Barrington is always one of our favourite.  I cycled to Countdown and Funky Pumpkin for a quick stop to pick up some groceries.  It is winter so that’s probably my last time cycling in NZ.  I also walk from my house to the Cashmere hills and back again.  It took me about 2 hours.  We’ve been to the Riccarton market two weeks ago and I will probably go back again this weekend.

to be continued…..

by Jim
on Jul 3rd, 2007

Hanging on by Thread

Update: Never mind the title. It’s over.

It’s judgment day for Team New Zealand. The America’s Cup pursuit had been going quite well for them through the Louis Vuitton round-robin, right up to the 4th race of the finals against Alinghi. The first of the best-of-nine regatta went to the Swiss, but NZ came back to take next two races. This was a bit of a shock to many, since Alinghi had been heavily favored and these were legitimate NZ wins, not major Alinghi mistakes. But races 4, 5 and 6 have gone badly for NZ. Though race 5’s loss was dramatic due to a sail tearing apart and falling into the sea, at least there was some hope in the thought of, “what if the equipment hadn’t failed?” But in race 6 they were simply out smarted and made some real blunders.Alinghi can win the regatta and retain the Cup later today. I’ll try to stay up, but with the race starting at 1am here (3pm in Spain), work will be hell in the morning. On the other hand, if it ends up a dramatic win, I’ll kick myself for being lazy. TBD.

by Angela
on Jun 13th, 2007

Friendly Feline?

It’s about 1:35pm, Wednesday afternoon.  I heard a little meow coming through the dining area window,  looking over toward the direction was a brown orangey fluffy cat.  I decided to go out and have a look at her.  She had a collar on her neck with the name and phone number on it.  The cat’s name is “Butters”.  I decided it was alright to let her in the kitchen and roam around while I give her owner a call to see if she was lost. 

Well, Butters according to her owner has been paying visits to people in the neighborhood.  I was her second stop :-).  She came right in with no hesitation.  Really adorable but boy does she have a plan.  She went right to the dining table and then to the kitchen and decided to settle right next to the fridge.  When she is all situated, the purring starts!.

butters_2.jpg  butters1

Ahh.. she cracks me up!.  Apparently the fridge must be where her owner kept the food.  Unfortunately I don’t have any cat food in the house.  After a few minutes, I decided to give her a little saucer of milk (trim/skim milk).  Very little milk because Jim says, milk is not good for cats.  Well, this one had hope for some other food i’m sure because after taking two licks of the milk she meow and thumped her nose at me and trotted right out of the kitchen.  Can you believe it?  Golly geez!

I guess I can see from the feline perspective of purring 3 minutes straight by the fridge and all this silly human can offer is a stingy amount of “skim” milk!!!  What’s the world coming too???? 

by Jim
on Jun 7th, 2007

America’s Cup-date


Quick update: Team New Zealand blew straight through the Louis Vuitton finals defeating the Italians 5-0. By winning the Louis Vuitton Cup, they’ve earned the right to challenge Alinghi for the America’s Cup. That series will start in late June.

by Angela
on Jun 5th, 2007

Nor’wester Big Bad Wolf

If you have read The Three Little Pigs or watch the cartoon animation from Disney, you will know the wolf I’m referring to. I am sitting at our dining table looking out at the evening sky. I can hear the wind gaining strength.  The wind in Christchurch is ferocious. When the nor’wester comes through, it always looks like Armageddon. The thick cloud is dark and gloomy with slight dashes of red peeking through. As the wind blows, I hear it rumble through. I hear the doors creek a little, I see the trees bend sideways, and the whistling wind running through the house. When we first moved here, I could not sleep at night when the wind blew. I felt like one of the little pigs, cowering with a pillow over my head and wished that the wind would just die. Each gust sounds like the wolf saying “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!!” (note : result of watching too much cartoon when growing up!).

little pig

I’m not sure if I’ll miss the nor’wester, I haven’t made up my mind. It is however, a living in Canterbury , NZ experience.

by Angela
on Jun 4th, 2007

Mum’s visit to NZ

My mum visited us in New Zealand from May 20th to Jun 03rd. My sisters and I are so proud of her because she managed to travel on her own to an English speaking country. It may seem like a little thing to us but for a 63 year old lady it can get quite intimidating. Lena reminded her not to bring and food (dry) for me because if the inspection dog barks at her bag, she might not know how to explain what’s inside. So she brought nothing but her clothes. To her very disappointment when she arrive at the airport; the dog was no where in sight. She kept saying if she had known that she would have brought a few things from home that I loved. That’s mum you see.


Well, I showed her around Christchurch especially the flower gardens since she loved gardening. It is not the best time for botanical gardens since it is Fall going to Winter but it did not matter to her as long as there are still flowers on the bushes. She found fuchsias very attractive, unfortunately it will not grow in the 30C and 100% humidity of Malaysia. After the visit to the gardens she has renewed interest to do something about her garden at home.

I wanted to show mum a few of the sights that I feel every person visiting NZ should see. Jim and I attempted to see the Whale from Kaikoura but failed to get on the cruise each time. The first time, the sea was too choppy and it was canceled and the second time, the cruise was fully book. My mum and I rode the TranzCoastal train to Kaikoura and booked ourselves for the tour. She has little idea what a whale is but know that it is very big (not knowing exactly how big). The weather on the day of the cruise was perfect, calm waters and clear skies. whaleOn the cruise we spotted two sperm whale. The bigger of the two was 18.5 meters long. I can’t really explain what it’s like seeing the biggest mammals in the world…. you’ll just have to use your imagination. Mum was just having a ball, saying she never ever imagined it would be that big. Just the smile on her face as she held on the rail on the front of the boat says it all. We also saw a huge shoal of dusky dolphins, about 500 to 600 of them just playing in the water and doing acrobats. It was quite a sight.

On the following week I took mum to Auckland and Rotorua. We didn’t not spent much time in Auckland other than to visit the Auckland Museum. After Auckland, we drove to Hamilton in the middle of the night. Mum was not happy that the highways were just two lanes and without lighting. It was just an hour drive so it wasn’t too bad for me. We reached Hamilton and checkin to the hotel. Upon checking in to the hotel, we were given a bottle of red wine. We kept the wine for Jim since neither of us drink. The next morning we drove 2 hours to Rotorua. Rotorua is place where there are a lot of geothermal activities. Rotorua, I believe means “Ring of Fire” in Maori.

As we entered Rotorua, we could see steam just rising from holes in the ground. This I don’t mean as in a special park. You see it from most openings in the ground. It’s quite surreal. I raced to Wai-o-tapu so that mum can see the Lady Knox geyser go off at around 10am. We made it and it was awesome. Mum sat and watch for 30minutes until the water shooting out was about done.lady knox

Then we walked all over the park, visiting sulphur caves, mud pools, other pools with orangey stuff all over, and steam coming out of any openings in the ground. All the lakes had within the park are hot spring pools. The only down side to Rotorua and cannot be faulted is the smell of rotten eggs :-). The smell comes from sulphur. It smells like rotten eggs in most of the places there. I am guaranteed there are no snakes around here. Mum and I walked many hours in Rotorua to see all the different sites. The next morning, mom said gosh it stinks around here 🙂 LOL.

The two weeks flew by very quickly. I had a wonderful time travelling with my mum. She does a lot of funny things which makes the trip even more interesting. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to show her around New Zealand. She had always wanted to see NZ.

by Jim
on Jun 3rd, 2007

Things We’ll Miss: Libraries

This is the first of Things We’ll Miss–those big and little aspects of NZ that we particularly like. It’s not like we’re not leaving tomorrow, but we’ve already started planning our repatriation. As such we’re starting to take special note of those things that we’ve come to enjoy here in Christchurch and NZ.

library.jpgWe’ll miss the Christchurch library system. Of course Peoria has libraries, but we’ve found the Christchurch network particularly good for a number of reasons:

  • Newer buildings with modern layouts
  • Recent books, lots of magazines and other periodicals
  • Cafes in many of the branches
  • A website that lets you find, reserve, and transfer books. (Sorry, the Peoria CARLWeb is too crappy to count.)
  • Local branches that we can bicycle to
  • People. The libraries are usually bustling. It’s great to see little kids scanning the shelves and checking out armfuls of books.

I read a promising report on plans to upgrade the Lakeview branch in Peoria–including adding a cafe–but while that helps the North Siders, the downtown library still is down right depressing.

I don’t expect the Peoria library system to receive an overhaul anytime soon (if ever), so for us the fine Christchurch libraries will definitely be missed.

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