Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Its just been over a week since I returned to New Zealand and I've got a room in a house a couple ks away from work.  It wasn't my first choice, but the lady I was going to rent from didn't return my calls for several days.  So I decided to take my 2nd choice.  Its with a couple in their 50's who have a Japanese exchange student.  It will be interesting living here as I've already been locked out!  This evening I went out for a ride along the valley road and did 2 laps.  It ended up being a 40km day.  The scenery was pretty cool and the elevation burned a little.  Thames is remarkably hilly and biking around town will be challenging.

So I'm looking for a car, but we won't be able to get financing here until we have a resident visa and a New Zealand Driver's License.  So I'll be looking at more worn in cars than I was originally intending otherwise it will be a few months before the visas get sorted.  I did take out a Nissan Expert and a Honda Odyssey today and rather enjoyed driving the Expert.  We are looking for a vehicle that will allow us to take our toys out.  Did I mention that they is mountain biking, tramping, and a rail trail all in the area?

So I spent the first week in the Gateway Backpackers and Greg and family were awesome.  He gave us apple cucumbers, tomatoes, and plums from his garden.  He also offered to take me out fishing on his boat once I get settled in.  I met a lot of interesting people in the hostel and if a single room was cheaper I might have stayed until Beth comes over.  I met a couple from Christchurch who were up to tramp the Pinnacles and a couple other tracks.  They have asked me to keep an eye out for any accounting jobs as they would like to relocate up here.  A Dutch girl talked me into doing the Pinnacles on Sunday.  It was a fun tramp even though I twisted my ankle while running down the trail to make sure we were on the right path.  I'm positive that I could have finished quicker than the 7 hrs, but the Dutch girl and I talked and I motivated her to push a little harder.

I'm starting to piece together the environment that I'll be working in and I've buried my head into understanding the database structures and looking over the reports that I'll be managing.  I have a feeling a lot of analysis is needed to ensure that the reports are accurate and necessary.  I'm also being tempted by my peers to play some footy on Fridays during our lunch break.  Did I mention that we can wear shorts on Friday?  I'm going to see when I can start rocking sandals to work.  Our developer and dba rock shorts everyday.  I'll have to see what our boss says about my position.  If I can rock shorts on a daily basis I would be ecstatic. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Trying to settle in

Sorry I've not taken any real photographs or done much exploring.  I've been quickly tossed into the mix at the new place.  Its a bit interesting.  Hopefully I can get my feet under me or its going to be a bumpy ride.  So I'm busy searching for a room to live.  I've found one that I liked and left a message with her last night.  Its on a no exit road that ends at the beginning of a several hour trail that meets up with a lot of other options.  I would have to either catch a ride with a co-worker (none found yet) or buy a car.  Regardless a car would be necessary as the closet grocery store would be 12 miles away.  Been surfing the sites for cars as well and that is how I spend my time.  Trying to settle in. 

Off to end my first week of work.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

MN Winter Experience

So last I left you, I was counting down the days until I returned to the States.  I had one of the longest flights ever as I flew from Auckland to Sydney to Los Angeles to Chicago to Minneapolis.  It didn't help that I had close to a 6 hour layover in Chicago.  I was greeted by a harsh dose of cold.  The highs were predicted to be below 0 (F) for a stretch and then it got close to 20 above before I left.  That is right, I'm back in New Zealand already, but that will be another post.

So being home meant seeing a ton of friends and family and eating at my old haunts.  My parents and one of my nieces came up that first weekend I was back to say hi.  Beth's family came up the following weekend.  Each weekend I was busy destroying the house as I was making 3 piles of stuff.  The get rid of pile (sell or donate), the bring to New Zealand pile, and the keep but keep in MN pile.  We had designated 3 different rooms for this task.  I didn't realize how much stuff I have accumulated over years that I haven't seen since it was packed.  I gave my dad a ton of books that I was keeping in case I was going to read them again.  I did purchase an e-reader while I was back and added a few books to the electronic library.  Its not the same as having a lot of book shelves, but that many books is hard to travel with.

I played with June and Asa as well as took them each out for a special outing.  I took Asa to his skate boarding lesson and then indoor rock climbing.  We had a short lunch at Punch Pizza his favorite and one of my former employers.  Then for Juniper, we watched Tinkerbell and Kung-fu Panda spin offs and we took her out to Chin Dian.  Several older couples thought that she was Beth and I's kid.  I had a lot of fun with each of them and I'm sad that I am missing out on their lives.  Asa did comment that he wanted to visit us in New Zealand and that he wanted me to stay longer in MN.

I caught up with former co-workers at a couple different points and it was much of the same since I have left.  My former boss still hates the chops and there is still turn over.  I went running with one of my former coworkers and then shared a quick meal at the Butcher and the Boar.  I was told that I sucked multiple times by the majority of people.  I would show pictures of where I had been living and talking about how the weather was awesome this time of year unlike MN.

There and Back Again

The first evening back, I was sent an email from a recruiter I had been working with on the job in Thames saying that I was offered the position.  This wasn't entirely unexpected, but they wanted me to start right away.  I was able to get a starting date of Feb 11, which meant my trip to the States was going to be really abbreviated and some of the things I was planning on doing were going to get tossed out the window.

So I'll be working for the Thames-Coromandel District Council doing SSRS Reporting.  The town of Thames is roughly 90 minutes from where I was living and at the entrance to the Coromandel Peninsula, a local summer hot spot.  On one side is the Firth of Thames (a bay) and on the other is the Coromandel Forest Park with some elevation to play in.  There is supposedly 60+ miles of trails back there and will probably account for a lot of my time.  There is also the Hauraki Rail Trail that my dad and I did in December to be ridden.  I want to explore more of the Gorge. 

Our expression of interest in the skilled labor visa was accepted and now we are working on the next part of the application.  So that allows both of us to live and work here for a couple years.  After that we are looking to apply for permanent resident status.  Well it is time to make some new friends, find a new place to live, and a car.