Archive for June, 2007

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.

by Jim
on Jun 1st, 2007

The NZ Elite Compete

Sorry, we’ve been a bit slack with our blogging of late. The closest thing to a real reason would be a work trip to the US, but even that’s a poor excuse. We’ll try to do better…

vm1j7426w_2col.jpgThe big sports event for NZ this year will be the rugby world cup which starts in October. Until then there are the normal little tournaments for rugby, netball, and international cricket, but the past month has also had a lot of coverage of the America’s Cup. I must admit I knew very little about the Cup until the heavy media coverage here piqued my interest. A brief look at the AC time line and it’s pretty obvious that America’s Cup was rightly named, but that we’ve sure slacked off of late. Team New Zealand on the other hand has done very well, and their skippers and tacticians are sought after by all of the top crews. They’re just now starting the final series of the Louis Vuitton cup (the winner of which challenges the holder of the America’s Cup), and Team New Zealand is facing Luna Rossa from Italy. The first race is tonight and I’ll be watching… at 1am 🙁 . I’ve sailed once in my life and know next to nothing about ships and nautical racing, but for whatever reason this competition has held my interest. If I had to guess, it would be that Team New Zealand–with just fraction of the bankrolls behind the BMW/Oracle and Alinghi ‘syndicates’–is doing quite well based on talent and a bit of luck. So go check out the flashy America’s Cup website, learn a bit, and root for Team NZ!

Update: Team NZ wins, up 1-0 (best of 9)


01spellkiwi.jpg One more update for today since there’s been such a drought of posts. A very cute story in the past day has been local Christchurch girl’s recent success at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. 13-year-old Kate Weir made it through the fourth round–into the top 60–before stumbling on “jardiniere”. An interesting twist is that the judges have had a hell of a time understanding her NZ accent, since to the American ear the NZ “a” and “e” sound very similar. TV3 has a video of the final word and subsequent judge’s deliberation, this time whether she was saying “j” or “g”. It sounded pretty obvious to me, but my ears have been recalibrated down here so it probably should. Whereas 99.99% of Americans probably couldn’t tell you who won the bee (do you know?), this young lady who made it “only” into the top 60 is something of a celebrity here, with the media beating down her hotel door in Washington, and lunch invites coming from the NZ Ambassador. Good on her. (The judges wouldn’t have gotten that one either.)

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