Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gidday, Mate!

It's week two in my new office, and day 23 in Christchurch. We've been fairly busy since my last post.
Forrest bought a car. We're naming it The Wild Blue Wonder.

We checked out Arthur's Pass National Park. Pictured is a waterfall in the Devils Punchbowl.

We bought a giant leek, at the local farmers market.

I made Leek risotto with sizzled mushrooms, my sous chef helped.

I also made ham and cheese scones and ginger crunch slices. I even bought a special slice pan for the occasion.

We took a few walks around our neighborhood, Sumner/Clifton. The water you can see is the Pacific Ocean.

Finally, here we have some photos of our house, and the gondola that takes us up to our house. The gondola is private for our Track. There are about six residences that use the gondola and you need a code to get into the gondola area. It's so much fun, kind of feels like a carnival ride to and from work! You will see a flag on the gondola, this is in support of the New Zealand Rugby team, All Blacks. Several signs can be seen throughout the city proclaiming "Go The All Blacks". seems like quite a mouthful.

Lastly, my goal for this work week is to use the local terms "mate" and "cheers" appropriately and in the correct context thus increasing my assimilation into this culture. Forrest seems to be stuck on the phrase "sweet as", I think he just does it to annoy me. ;)

Here's what my name card at work looks like, now if i can just get my coworkers to call me Sara instead of Cera - (sear-ra).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

brown paper packages, (not) tied up with strings

Well here we are in our second week of work. Back to detesting Tuesday because it's in the middle of the week and drinking weird coffee.
We are getting settled into our new house, or unsettled as I experienced my first earthquake this past Sunday, at 8:35pm. A 5.5 magnitude quake. good lord.
Prior to the shake and rattle we rolled to a lovely bay town called Akaroa, pronounced ack-A-row-A.

We walked around a bit in the seaside town, it's quite beautiful/peaceful/charming. It was a little chilly, so of course, i had to buy a hat, decorated with a sheep.

We ate the local standard, fish & chips, from a restaurant called, Akaroa Fish & Chips. We noted that the fish portrayed on the sign looked a bit disgruntled, perhaps it saw too many of it's kin folk thrown into the deep fryer? But seriously, who (in their right mind) doesn't love fried things? we purchased some little brown packages, all origami folded to contain fried goodies with just the right sprinkle of salt. mmmm.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You got it all sorted, mate?

We are quickly approaching the end to my first week back to work. Most of my coworkers have been lovely, asking me daily if I have things “sorted”. This means, basically, am I all set? Do I have things figured out? They offer to help with various life things, show me around, offer tips on the local way of living. Very helpful! I was even offered a chance to take a few driving courses, being that I’ve never driven on a left-hand side of the road country. How kind!
Accomplishments this week, survived 2 site visits, new steel toed shoes, 10 tea breaks, delicious meals made in our new kitchen (chicken tikka masala, smoked chicken and mushroom with alfredo over pasta, chicken breast over mixed green salad, chili and cornbread and …. the week isn’t over yet!) Can you tell I missed cooking? We now have internet at home! I survived my first Christchurch bus trip home from work (Forrest had a company event) and my first after work function (pizza and drinks in the “chill out” room). My first adventure taking the bus home from work: waiting 45 minutes at stop A for bus to come, after two offers by strange men for a ride to a different bus stop and a car full of stupid pubescent boys yelling at me, walked to bus stop B. waited 10 minutes for bus, took 40 minute bus ride home. if you are good at math, you will have calculated my 15 km (9.3 mile) commute to end up at an hour and 35 minutes.
Notes on food here, I’m not that impressed, yet. I am still holding out! The spices you can purchase in the store are cheaper than the states, they sell organic venison, the peanut butter is not good (and not just because it doesn’t have an extreme amount of sugar in it, it literally doesn’t taste like peanut butter), meat pies (think pot pie) are everywhere, everyone sells Chinese food/fish and chips/hamburgers, risotto and rocket salad are very popular (separate dishes), I might hold off on drinking red wine unless it’s from Australia or California but the savigon blanc is quite excellent. No notable coffee to speak of, but Forrest warned me. I’ve always thought instant coffee was terrible, and I still do. I do miss good coffee, especially Stumptown from Portland, Oregon. I hope to try green muscles soon; they are famously from New Zealand. Randomly, several dozen bakeries we have seen are Gluten Free. I asked a coworker and basically it’s a new trend here. We even had gluten free macaroons at afternoon tea time on Tuesday. (They were actually very tasty.)
but I can’t quite figure out the bacon. What is middle bacon? Why does it look so strange? What is the regular bacon called?
Also of concern, why is dog food kept refrigerated and sold in what looks like GIANT Bob Evans sausage rolls? The refrigerated dog food really scares me.
Oh and I almost forgot, the potatoes. They are bagged and covered in dirt, why so dirty? I guess I was spoiled getting relatively clean potatoes in a 5 lb bag.
One thing that does make me feel good, the low-fat milk is called “Trim”. That is just what I want to read first thing in the morning. Trim! Yes! I also am falling in love with golden kiwi fruit. thanks to Christina for the long distance food tip.

Here are a few photos from our trip to Hanmer Springs, we checked out some wineries on the way down to the hot pools.

We love our new house, we get to ride a gondola to/from our car and view the Pacific Ocean the whole way. We have met some of our neighbors; they are all friendly so far!
I’ll try to post a movie of our daily commute to our house soon!