Monday, March 4, 2013

Immigration woes

So here is a quick update:
We are doing our immigration paperwork and it is taxing.
FBI background checks (6 week time period)
Medical Exams with blood work and chest x-rays (Charged 3 times)
Educational background checks (Ordered transcripts and sending diploma)
Previous Employment checks (Emailed previous employers for information)
Current Employment checks (Stopped in HR for files)

Was told that I would have to apply for a 2nd working visa as my current one expires in just over a month.  I asked if I couldn't get an extension until our residency application goes through.  I was told that it could take up to 9 months for that to happen and that I need to have a valid working visa in order to continue to working.  Ugh so basically have to spend close to $300 on that and a day up in Auckland at the Immigration office as I have to sign some form in front of a Justice stating that I've requested a background check from my home country and that I have not committed any crimes.  Funny things is that the items needed for both applications are about the same, but the fees are drastically.  I'm going to call Immigration again and see if they can't explain some other options as the first girl wasn't very helpful at all.

Beth is compiling her paperwork and will be sending it over to me to compile into a gigantic amount of paperwork.  She is also busy trying to rent out our house and packing.  I kind of left her with a large amount of stuff to do.  I get to deal with immigration, housing here, and purchasing a car.  She has gave her final day at her current job, but is also starting to do some consulting work during her free time.  So if you are in Minneapolis and want to live in NE we have a duplex we are renting out. 


Thanks for Bri for making this post possible!

This past weekend, we had some awesome weather and I did some riding.  Albeit I would have liked some rain as it was a dry 82+ degrees.  I don't ask for rain often, especially after last winter when it seemed to never let up, but it is really dry here at the moment.  Anyway, I grabbed the bike that I bought off a friend while I was back home.  Well that is how I was told to explain it by a certain individual before I was allowed to enter the country.  Technically I did purchase a new bike off of a friend.
Just outside of town

I left the house before most of the house was up and told Heather that I was biking to Paeroa and would be back this afternoon.  I quickly road down Pollen St looking for the Farmer's Market as I would have liked to have a pie stashed for later, but they weren't set up yet.  So I just road down the street and hopped on the trail.  I took a quick detour and went over the new bridge to take a shot a little out of town.  Then it was back on the trail and time to pass some fools.  I was prepared with 2 bottles of water, 2 bananas, an orange, and a flat kit. 
In Te Aroha. 

I wanted to break in the disc trucker with a long rough ride and my 110km didn't disappoint.  I comfortably finished the distance in just over 5 hours with a break for ice cream, bathroom breaks, and a roast roll from Ben's Roasts.  I keep giving this place business and I think he is the only one that works there.  I found the place when Skog was visiting last August and then took my dad there after we did the entire Hauraki Rail Trail in December.  I happened to call my parents while eating and told my dad where I was at and I could tell he started to salivate at the thought of the massive roast plate he attempted to finish a few months back.  I stopped next door to a bike shop to see what kind of prices they have on mountain bikes as there is a couple trails close by and a park up in Whitianga.  There happens to be paintball as well.  Hopefully they are a little cheaper than the other places I have found.  So the shop owner was telling me about the new rage of 29ers and I told him I have a rigid 26 back in the States and that when I do purchase I'll probably opt for a 26".  If I go big, I'll go Pug big.
110km of this.  Bone shaker indeed

Hobbit sized pony.

So I turned around and started back up to Thames only to be stopped for a 3rd time by some Waikato University students conducting a survey about my use of the trail.  I explained again that I had done the survey in Paeroa and they just repeated the name of the city and I jetted off.  Come on, how many guys on the trail look like me?  They must be wearing sunglasses of unperception -5.  So I'm heading back up the trail and realized that I had a new toy to try out.  I took out the gorilla pod and attached it to my handlebars and started to snap photos while riding.  I took some video but it made Saving Private Ryan look like it was shot with a steady cam.  The constant jarring of the bike did cause the camera to tilt after a bit so I kept fidgeting with it.  I got back to Thames in the early afternoon and had a big meal as I was starving.  The people I'm flatting with asked why I wasn't a chef after looking at what I put together.  Nothing special, diced kumara, broccoli, diced pepper, and diced lamb.  Then again today when I made venison kebabs with grilled onion and roasted tomatoes in a cheese roll.  I think they would steal my food if I left it out too long.

On Sunday, it was supposed to rain in the morning, so I opted to finish my latest book 'The Jefferson Key'.  It is another Cotton Malone tale that blends historical fiction with an ass-kicking ex-government agent with an edict memory, who owns a book store.  So imagine Robert Langdon mixed with either Jason Bourne or Bob Lee Swagger Jr.  These typically are page turners and this one didn't disappoint.  After I finished that, I ended up reading the bulk of Ender's Game which I finished this morning.  Now I'm on to Ken Follett, an author I never heard of until a German girl made fun of me for not knowing this prolific author or historic fiction.

My afternoon was spent outdoors.  I packed my day pack with some water, first-aid kit, spot tracker (still haven't found how to display my maps to you guys), and a little food.  I set off down the valley road, one that I have done several times on my road bike, but I continued on once it turned to gravel.  It also continues to ascend and it bumpy as one could imagine.  My hands were pretty raw from the previous days ride, but my legs and bum didn't bother me at all.  I kept riding up until I got to the DOC visitor center and took a couple photos.  They have a cool 3D model of the area and several large maps of the area on the outside of the building.  The building itself is closed for another couple weeks as they redo their floors.  Looks like polished concrete if you ask me.
DOC Visitor Center

I continued up the road and pulled over to do a couple short loops, which I ran.  I haven't tested my ankle really since I twisted it coming down from the Pinnacles a few weeks back.  It felt good and I got a good sweat going between the grinding up the road and my short runs.  I found another water hole that people love to fling themselves off a high ledge.  Its not that far past the visitor center.  Up the road is Hitoritori Camp site, where the mountain bike club is building tracks.  I've offered up my services to help with this effort.  It will be a good way to get to know the local riders and I can say down the road that I built tracks in New Zealand.  I might be able to find a gently used mountain bike as well.
Kids launching themselves off the ledges