Alright, after too long away from this blog, I have been given a reason to renew it, and reinvent it as "Living as Kiwis: The Gary's Adventures in New Zealand" or something like that. (As I've said before--creativity is not my strength).
For those of you who this is a surprise to--let me give you the basics. Josh and his buddy and fellow ortho resident, Henry, drew the short straw on going to England with their residency program. Not one to sit back and mope-Josh decided to come up with and alternative "international rotation" option for them. Their friend Mike had already done some legwork last year to set something up in Auckland, so they picked up where he left off and voila--a few months later we are living in Auckland temporarily!
Josh will be a here a full 3 months and Liam and I will be here until the end of July. Everyone asks if I am taking a LOA from work and the answer is no. My job is one where I can work from almost anywhere, so I could have just done it from our home here, but even better-- my company has an office here in Auckland so I'm able to work from there. I will, of course, be taking my fair share of vacay too, but not 2 months worth!
So here we are! We arrived in Auckland yesterday after a 2 to 3 hour flight to LA and a 13 hour flight to Auckland. Liam did really well and 13 hours in coach was not nearly as bad as I thought it could be (mainly because Quantas is a pretty sweet airline). Liam did get some sleep but it was probably only 7 hours or so, not his usual 12 (more on the consequences of this later)
Our first intro to Auckland was a friendly one, the airport volunteer who took one look at our 10 luggage items and knew we needed help. She helped us load up two luggage carts, get them through customs (and our close call where we could have been fined since we forgot to declare my "gum boots" aka rain boots/wellies), and then direct us to the best transportation option, all without expecting or taking a tip.
Our next adventure was our arrival to the new apartment--at 6:30 AM. Technically check-in (since it's an apartment/hotel) isn't until 2 so it was a little dicey for the first half hour since we weren't sure if we would be able to get into the place early or just walk the streets of Auckland for 7 hours. Fortunately, once the manager arrived she was able to give the okay to let us in early and we got to see where we would be spending the next few months.
The thing about doing this "corporate apartment-type" option was that we knew there would be some big benefits but suspected there may be some, trade offs too. Below I will list the "good" and the "different" (since there is no such thing as "bad" here--we are in New Zealand people!) about our new home away from home.
Immediate cable and internet (no need to set anything up--it was just plug and go)
Really good location--right around us there are a few restaurants and bars and plenty more in walking distance. Parnell--one of the neat suburbs (what they call neighborhoods around here) is also walking distance as is my office and downtown Auckland. Best of all the big Auckland grocery store is across the street which is hugely beneficial-even more so than we thought it would be as you will see in the "different" section.
Nice, new place with new furnishings etc. and full stocked with appliances, kitchen-stuff, etc. (I'll post some pics below)
This place is small! Nothing around here is that big but there were a few options at least somewhat bigger. I think this is probably around 650-700 square feet so Josh, Liam, and I (and anyone else coming to visit) will be getting very close over the next couple of months. Plus it was pretty hard to find spots for our clothes and our 10 bags and suitcases!
Just enough stuff for 4 What I mean by this is that there is exactly 4 of everything--(e.g., 4 forks, 4 glasses) which means we will need to wash dishes frequently and may have to buy or request a few extras for when we have guests here. Interestingly--there are only 3 chairs for the dining table though!
And now--for the most different of all--I would like you to witness exhibits A and B.
Yes, that is our refrigerator you are looking at, or as Liam calls it, "Liam's frigerator" since it's just his size (he's already broken one egg since he can just reach in and pull out whatever he wants) So as I mentioned earlier, we will definitely be taking advantage of having the grocery store across the street since we will need to make daily trips!
Here are a few more pics of the place:
Above is the view from the balcony (you can see the top of the sky tower in the top left corner)
Okay, if I haven't bored you by now--I'll finally get to what we actually did with our time today. For the most part we just got our bearings and got some basics for the fridge (and some NZ cell phones). The weather was great in the AM but we got to experience the Auckland rain (very cold and windy) in the afternoon--it didn't stop us though! Liam was replaced for much of the day by someone we will call "impostor child". Our sweet, always good, little child was possessed. Clearly these are the consequences of not enough sleep. At one point today, after we let him take a nearly 3 hour nap--we got him up so we could head out for the afternoon and also try to get him back on schedule. That's when Liam screamed over and over again words I never thought I'd hear him say "Liam stay in bed! wahhhhh!" Eventually he seemed to recover once we got him outside. A few pics:
Liam loved the rain so much--when we got home he just wanted to hang out in the cold on the balcony
We were all asleep by 7 pm--which explains why we are all now up at not quite 5 AM on Monday
I promise my other entries shouldn't be this long! But I will basically be using this as my online journal to chronicle our adventures here, so if you are interested--feel free to stop by and take a peek every once in awhile!