Monthly Archives: August 2012


So, after my last post, I received a nasty comment from one of my most faithful readers.  This reader was upset/concerned that there was too much information on the minutiae of our lives here and not enough presentation of the fun and beauty of New Zealand.  It’s a reasonable complaint.  But, I have been busy with helping to set up the basics of our lives here and have not put a lot of effort into editing images and telling a bigger story.  I tried to explain about Maslow’s Hierarchy, but it went right over her head (and, who would have ever expected to read about Maslow’s Hierarchy in a blog about skiing in New Zealand).  But, that’s about to change!  Yes, She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed will finally get to see some photographs of beautiful New Zealand and of her family having fun in New Zealand!!!



We’ve been here for about three weeks now and this is the first weekend that we’re going to just sit around the house and be locals.  The first weekend, we drove to the ocean and Oreti Beach, just west of Invercargill on Saturday, and then to The Catlins on Sunday.  We made it back to The Catlins last Sunday.  I’ll share photos and more about The Catlins in another post – I’m still working on those photos (in part because I’m still trying to get my computer to work). During our second weekend here, we journeyed to Te Anau and then Queenstown.  Again, I’ll put some of those photographs later.  Just allow me to write that Te Anau and Queenstown are two of the most beautiful towns/cities that I’ve ever visited.  I can’t wait to get back to them.


Whilst in Queenstown, we took a trip up to The Remarkables Ski Area, a few kilometers south of Queenstown.  Down in the valley where Queenstown is located, the weather was cool, but very pleasant, even warm, for a skiing town.  When I’ve been in Colorado and Utah ski communities in the winter, there’s always this crispness to the air.  It’s warmer here as well as more humid.  The low-lying areas didn’t have any snow on them, but we very green for my perception of winter.



Getting to The Remarkables is about a twenty minute drive up the mountain on a gravel road.  It’s a beautiful drive and there aren’t a whole lot of guard rails alongside the road.  The ski area itself seems smaller than the few American ski areas I’ve visited, but it is larger and more terrain and vertical than Wisconsin’s ski areas!  🙂





While everyone else was skiing, I stayed safe with my camera, in part so that someone would be able to drive home.  The skiing looked fun, but not too long or technical – except for the rocks.  Since the temps were hovering just under freezing, it wasn’t really too cold and the kids enjoyed themselves for quite some time.  We’ll be back to The Remarkables or some other ski area either in the next few weeks or next winter.  But, it is a strange feeling to be skiing in August just a few weeks after we were broiling in Wisconsin!

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Hi Honey! We’re home!

Well, we’ve found our permanent house for the coming year. We had an exciting time Sunday noon, moving two small carloads of food and luggage to the new house.  It took all of about an hour, and that’s because we were taking our time.  🙂



The first temporary house, at 96 Kew Road, was just across the street from the hospital and owned by the hospital.  It was an older, smaller home.  It was a nice place to start and would have been fine if needed, but it is nice to be in a newer, slightly larger home.  We’re now at 630 Elles Road, Invercargill 9812, NZ, if anyone would like to send a CARE package our way.  I don’t know what it would contain, as Asta & I are quite happy with what we’re finding here.  The kids on the other hand, especially Aras, do miss their American foods.  The mac & cheese isn’t quite the same; “bacon” here is ham as we know it, and anything else about which Aras would like to complain.  But, I digress…



It was supposed to rain and possibly hail today, so I thought that I’d better take some photographs while the taking was good.  Actually, it only rained a few times and has turned out to be a nice day.  Our “new” home is actually a new home that was most recently occupied by a gynecologist and his wife while they were here on a similar locum tenens work visit as Asta is on now.  It doesn’t seem that this house has yet had a permanent owner as it was on the market and available, but also made available for the possibility of being rented as a furnished home.  And that’s where we come in.



You may “click” on the pictures in this gallery to see larger versions…

The house is ~133 square meters, which translates into about 1300 sqft.  It’s certainly smaller than our home in Fitchburg, but we like it.  It’s warm, cozy and sunny.  The biggest issue is that while we were used to each having our own space in our Fitchburg home, it’s not as easy to get away from each other here.  We’re about a kilometer south of the hospital and Asta is looking forward to walking to work and getting some exercise.  And, she’s also looking forward to the chauffeur driving her to work on rainy days.  The other big benefit is that we have much better internet service in this house than was available in the Kew Road home, so it’ll be easier for me to share more through my blog.  And, this also means fewer trips to the public library to use their wifi!


The next big chore is to buy a used car…


OK, I guess that this all for today.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

46 S EnZed signing off…


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Kiwi School

Aras & Juljia at Waverley Park School (definitely NOT one of my better photographs)

Aras & Juljia are now in a proper Kiwi school!  YIPPEE!  This means that Dad now has more time on his hands, in part because he’s not spending nearly as much time playing referee. Which means I now have time to prepare blog postings… J



First off, the schools in New Zealand are a bit more “British” than most American schools.  Aras & Julija are now wearing uniforms to school.  They’re excited!  Other than that, I can’t currently tell much difference between our American school of Stoner Prairie and our NZ school, Waverley Park School.  Chaos is chaos worldwide, and smiling students are a sign of joyful learning.



It must be said that Waverley Park School was not Aras’ and Julija’s first choice, but it was Dad’s choice.   Their first choice school had geckos in a terrarium in the office, the kids eating lunch outdoors (unfortunately, we dropped by for our visit at lunch time) and there were girls practicing gymnastics in their multipurpose room.  Their criteria did not override Dad’s perceptions, so they’re off to Waverly Park.



Everyone at the school has been so nice and wonderful to the kids!  When Asta & I dropped Aras & Julija off yesterday morning, the students were taking good care of Aras & Julija, showing them where to hang their coats and backpacks, where to place their lunches and so forth.  Waverly Park’s classrooms are very similar to Stoner Prairie’s in that they are multi-age classrooms.  The classrooms here are combined 1+2, 3+4 and 5+6.



Harking back to my weather post, the classes tend to more focused on the outdoors, like much that we’re experiencing here.  The classrooms have large windows that let in lots of natural light.  And, the rooms have two doors – one to an inside hallway and the other directly to outdoors.  The exterior door is open much more than the doors in our buildings (more in another post).  So, the classroom is a bit cooler than we might be used to, but the kids compensate by wearing a bit more clothing (I hope).



What else?  Well, the students have a morning “tea.”  This actually means that you get to pull out a snack and nosh it, rather than drink real tea with caffeine – not a good idea for my already feral son.  And, there are no hot lunches – everyone brings their lunches from home.  I do believe that there may be some type of lunch possibly provided on Wednesdays, for an extra fee.  We’ll see.  Other schools that we visited had special meals delivered on particular days – one day might be pizza day, while there were a couple of sushi days at another school.



One of the best things, after just one day of school, is that Aras & Julija were actually very excited when they came home.  I expect that that will wear off in time, though.  But, they were excited about the differences and similarities between their new school and Stoner Prairie.  Best of all, since they were excited about school and studying again, that means that they weren’t fighting with each other!!!



By the way, it turns out that the students at Waverley Park also eat their lunches outdoors, weather permitting.  Aras’s classroom has a pet bird, a budgie I believe.  And, Julija also will get her chances at Waverley Park to work on her gymnastics.  So, life is good after all…



46 S EnZed signing off.

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The Weather…

It seems that one of the most common ways to start a letter to a loved one is to tell them about the weather.  Heaven forbid that we might discuss something meaningful…



Anyway, the weather here is meaningful.  Actually, it’s quite pleasant, compared with the heat wave that we experienced in Madison and are not now missing.  When we performed our research on Invercargill, we knew that we’d be arriving in winter, and that the weather here is generally cooler and wetter than our Midwestern weather.  However, I have been very pleasantly surprised with the weather!



If we were in winter in Wisconsin, then “now” would be about mid-February weather – cold, likely a foot or so of snow on the ground, ice all over and about three grey, gloomy days for every sunny day (or, am I being generous?).  The temp would likely be below freezing most, if not all, of the time.  The trees would be bare and brownish-grey.  The Wisconsin winter world is generally a mixture of white & grayish-brown.  Oh, and there’s “snirt” everywhere – you know, that dirty snow mixture.



In our week in Invercargill, the weather has been very pleasant!  Everything is relative of course – the Invercargillians/Invercargillites/locals may not agree.  The grass and bushes are generally green.  Spring flowers are coming up!  I’ve seen daffodils!  Trees are starting to bud.  We’ve had a couple of rainy, sorta gloomy days, but we’ve also had at least three mostly sunny days.  When it is cloudy, it seems that there are patches of thick, grey clouds interspersed with blue sky – not the sullen, grey blanket that covers Wisconsin so much of winter.  The temps are in the 40F-55F (3C-11C) range, and the humidity is high.  We’ve only had frost a couple of times and it’s “soft.”



And, people here dress “appropriately” for the weather, if you will.  You can see people all bundled up in their woolies and down, while someone else walking down the street might be in shorts, flip-flops and even barefoot!  Personally, we tend to be a bit over-prepared for the weather, wearing several layers and adding/subtracting as needed.



OK, this is the first installment of 46 S EnZed.  If you have questions about our experiences here, please feel free to write and ask – I’m always thinking about the next topic…

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