Saturday, October 17, 2009

...just got in from work and don't feel much like writing but thought i'd post some of the pictures i've been promising people from my very first Kiwi rainbow...

Rain on the harbo[u]r 
(our Northern Irish friend keeps making fun of me for not spelling words with 'u's, to which i keep telling him is entirely inefficient and completely unnecessary)
Can you see it? 

The view from my bedroom balcony, i shit you not.
Katy and i could only just stand out there laughing at this rainbow. 
We live here. 
i wonder when [if] the novelty will ever wear off. 

...Tomorrow night we have been invited to our very first official Kiwi  party... despite the fact that it's honorng the 23rd birthday of a man who grew up in Wales thrown by his Canadian girlfriend... stay tuned for some great pictures and stories...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cabbage & Kings

Well friends, you're probably sitting upside-down, on your dark half of the world, canopied by your Orion's Belt and Big Dipper, wondering what the hell the infamous tripod here has been up to...

Quite simply, the answer is not much. We're finally getting settled into our varying work schedules and the new culture of such environments. i'll let you read Katy's blog for details on the house warming party gone a bit awry. 

Mostly we've been navigating through various day to day tasks with slightly more difficulty and confusion than at home. Many of the grocery store commodities we've all grown so used to and even fond of, are simply non existent here. Tubes of cookie dough do not exist and Karly can't find any peanut butter M & M's to save her life. i didn't even know i loved them so much until i couldn't have them... 

At the video store one day with one Mark Collins, i was admiring the candy display and wide variety of M & M flavo(u)rs, wishing aloud, i murmured something about looking to see if they had any peanut butter ones. This didn't seem like such a stretch since they have fucking orange flavored M & M's... What the hell are you thinking, New Zealand? But the cashier (who i still suspect to be under the influence of cannabis every time i return to said video store) practically screams "You two MUST be American... you put peanut butter on EVERYTHING." Okay, look here, weasel-faced-movie-guy-who-i-am-actually-kind-of-fond-of-in-a-novelty-stoner-movie-guy-kind-of-way, it's really quite simple... peanut butter tastes really good on stuff and it tastes really, really good with chocolate... if i should expect anyone to understand, i would think it would be you, Retardedly Stoned Movie Guy, so cut me some slack here. 
It wouldn't have been so bad if he wouldn't have suggested we purchase some "Pineapple Lumps" instead (Hey Pineapple Lumps advertising agency, calling your candy product "lumps" probably wasn't the smartest selling point). In theory, a pineapple flavored fruit snack covered in chocolate sounds fairly enticing. Except that in reality they taste like marshmallow versions of banana Laffy Taffys covered in poo. i haven't been back yet to give Ol' Smoked Out Of The Gourd a piece of my mind just yet (we have some really overdue films). 

In other news, i have successfully taught myself to flawlessly open a twist off bottle of wine without any hinderance (Jack would be so proud of me!)... and on that topic, for such a multi-cultural and diverse nation, New Zealand's wine selections are ridiculously continental. i miss using my wine key!
i have also successfully taught myself to keep my fork in my left hand while eating and use both hands and utensils in order to look less American while dining. 

i am enjoying a job with a much smaller staff and truly appreciating a feeling of being far more than disposable at my work. i am also enjoying drinking on the job. But what i can't say i really noticed or could put my finger on about New Zealand's more laid back lifestyle, i finally got when i started working food here. NZ is (quite subtly) missing the American competitiveness we've all grown so used to. i never fear for my job. i'm never nervous about asking someone to repeat themselves or show me how to do something. i never feel stressed at work and i don't really feel sorry when i mess something up. People (coworkers, managers, and customers) just don't care to punish you mentally for such things the way they do at home. And hell, it's not like i'm working for a tip, right? 

Now if only i could readjust my iTunes account to New Zealand so i could continue purchasing albums... i'd be set. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

a little tale to hold you over

i know it is impossible to cover the ground between the weeks we've been in this apartment, in our new jobs, in our new lives, and today, my Monday off. So instead, within the next couple of blogs, i will touch on some of the highlights that are sticking out in my memory, peppered with some of the cultural differences we've been clumsily navigating through... 

Let's begin with one of my favorite stories i think i've ever heard from one of my new friends. It will take a little creativity to imagine the story told in context, quite casually, in the accent it was given, as well as a little trust just to believe that it all actually happened. 

So i got off of work around 1:30a Friday morning. If you've worked in a restaurant or a bar you know how much you need a drink when you get done serving drinks to drunk, obnoxious strangers... and this necessity for such a drink was probably one of the worst i could remember. Thursday nights are when the kids come out, apparently. i spent my tipless hours at work serving 18 year-old children drinks while they shook their shameless bodies to the terrible renditions of 90's ballads past (ballads i am fairly certain these kids were infants during... imagine checking an id and looking for a birthday before 1992 before you serve the baby-faced, child prostitute giggling like a goldfish in front of you a vodka, raspberry soda, or worse yet, an RTD like a cola and bourbon already bottled and ready to be served, er Ready To Drink). Needless to say, i felt old and slightly over qualified for such a job. And i needed a drink. Maybe several because the free staffie i was served after work did nothing for my foul mood. 

So i headed to a much sadder establishment of Kiwi youth on display in napkin-clothes, climbing on tables, and drinking their nasty vodka, lemon/lime, and bitter concoctions with a kid called Johnny from Newcastle (places don't really have to close here till like 4a). After discovering the tragic absence of Maker's Mark behind the bar, i asked for what i thought was a simple Jameson, and soda water with a twist of lemon. After being told that they only had lime, i accepted the latest disappointment and said that would be fine. Then the bastard proceeded to put lime cordial in my fucking whiskey drink. Lime cordial is some fun novelty people like to pour into everything they put in their mouthes (including beer). Then the same bastards have the audacity to make fun of us for drinking 3.5%alcoholic beer out of a can! Oh how i wish i could fly my entourage here for two days to haul around to the bars and show people how things should be done...

Anyways, if you've never talked to someone from Newcastle you should know that the English country is very, very close to Scotland and therefore the accent sounds Scottish but sprinkled with some of the most ridiculous phrases you've ever heard a human utter. Johnny lives in a closet (The Harry Potter Closet) of an 11 bedroom house down the street from us with a bunch of kids that i work with... an upgrade from the tent he lived in for a year in Australia. So Johnny casually began a story about when he went on holiday with his mates to Greece...

...The story begins with him absolutely pissed (they just say pissed instead of like piss drunk) at a party with some strangers. Somehow, someone poses the idea of a nighttime skinny-sip in the sea. Sounding like a good idea at the time, the group heads to the beach and hits the water, clothes on the shore... Unfortunately for our new friend, the Grecian police show up shortly to enforce the law. No big deal, right? This isn't a barbaric country where one needs to fear for his life from the police... Well, it turns out that our new friends had decided to dip on the beach of "some eco-friendly turtle beach where they go to lay their eggs" and pedestrians are not allowed to frolic about mindlessly pissed out of their gourds naked in the ocean. After being beaten, yes beaten, by the police Johnny was allowed to put his school-girl mini skirt back on (oh, had i forgotten to mention that the group was at a themed party?) and was quickly taken to prison. In a foreign country. Where he was beaten some more and thrown into a cell with his two new friends, also wearing nothing but mini skirts... sans undies, mind you. After the first night while his new mates had a good cry, the boys thought they were being released. No, no... he was separated from the other teary two and placed in a cell, in his skirt, with three giant men. Luckily they were good-hearted Christians who wanted to convert him and although hungry and thirsty with no food or water for the next two days, he was fairly unharmed. After begging his friends to post his bail and promising to pay them back he was released and although the court interpreter refused to interpret the story of how he was punched in the face and beaten by the police, he was free. Then his mate's mum calls from Newcastle. "Is everything alright? What's been going on?" "Oh everything is fine. No news." "Nothing happened with Johnny?" "No. No." "It's in the National Newspapers. It's everywhere. They're saying he was apprehended for a protest..." You can still google his name and the name of the city he was in and read about it. i can't remember any of those necessary details, of course, but they're there just the same. 

Maybe you have to be here, maybe you have to hear him tell it, but honestly, i thought it was good enough to write down. Still makes me laugh out loud. 

Haha, promise to post at least one more blog before my weekend (Mon-Wed) is over...

Our Place on the Harbo[u]r

Let me welcome you to our not quite humble abode. 
Our apartment is set on the third floor of the high rise Crown Tower complex, nestled just in the corner of the heart of Tauranga City Centre. The first two floors are hotel accommodations and we're still getting used to collecting our mail from the front desk and buzzing our friends in from outside on a snazzy video phone from the future. 

This is our front door. Just a sharp right from the private elevator. The lights in the hall come on as you walk down them... They know. They're watching us. They're self-aware. 
The view up the street from our balcony... People give utterly shitty directions here... there is no left and right just up and down, over and arounds. 
i like to sun on this couch. It also comfortably accommodates all three roommates with pillows and comforters for movie time. All we need now is a tv... 
A look into the second sitting area and a corner of the kitchen. 
Tiny oven, tiny refrigerator, tiny New Zealand... silly big counter suitable for beer pong. 
Our dinner table is a little ghetto, i will admit but all we need is a huge tablecloth and we're set... That's my pile of seashells in the center that i collected on our first day at the beach. 
Gnarly won the master bedroom. Baby Katy conceded and took the small room with the big closet, leaving Shark and Gnarly at the draw. Shark drew the angry face wearing a tophat. Needless to say... i drew a less than angry face.
Yes, that is my private balcony. Good thing the room is so spacious for my multitude of possessions... Er, all i have are books on the windowsill. 
Shower from the future... It steams, offers five optional heads, and plays the radio... all the showers have see-through doors here. Although i wouldn't label Kiwis exhibitionists, i guess they are far less affected by the Puritan values America was founded on (like savagely wiping out entire populations of Native Americans clearly in our way of manifest destiny), because after all, they are a country bred from convicts shipped from their homelands. Small jokes. 

The spa tub none of us have used. A month and a half in and i still loathe NZ toilets with their buttons instead of handles. It's also pretty strange the way English from two different countries can have such a variation in the expressions used to describe the need to urinate... baffling, really. 

The view from my balcony. Look for future blogs with the photo of the rainbow that settled itself at the foot of on of those mounts. 

i promise to post more pics and actual stories from our new home here in Tauranga in the next couple of days!