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Thread: 11 days in

  1. #1
    Manks's Avatar
    Manks is offline Serial procrastinator and general busybody
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    Default 11 days in

    OK, so its been a while as I just haven't found the time to post an update. But I'm on my lonesome in the office today and thought I'd make the most of it (instead of using up valuable GB on the internet limit at the temporary digs!). Sorry - it will be llloooonnnnnggggg!

    On 17th September we had a final manic day running around at work and the like tying up loose ends. We were flying JFK-Heathrow before catching NZ1 back via LA to NZ - I know, it sounds crazy. But we saved about 2,000 quid doing it that way than flying from JFK to LAX and picking up NZ1 there!

    I managed to get away from work by about 1.30 and we headed back to the hotel to check out. And we were on our way to JFK by 2.45pm. Now, considering our flight wasn't until 10.40pm and our drive to the airport would, on average, take about 2.5 hours, you might think we were a bit mad. But as Long Island had received a tornado that morning, causing havoc on the roads (and at the airport!) we thought we would be on the safe side. As it was we were there by 5ish, but we didn't care.

    Rather than battle from the car hire place to the terminal with all our bags, Mr Manks dropped me off at the terminal and went to take the car back. We must have looked a right state trying to lug all of that lot around! We'd tried to get a baggage cart but the machine swallowed my $5 note and didn't give me a trolley!

    Got checked in and, thanks to the mercy of having a BA gold card, we headed to the lounge. I got a free massage at their spa - which was much needed after all the running around, dragging suitcases.

    Now, as we were flying economy back to the UK, I like to pick my (extra legroom) seats in advance and had done so for this flight (especially as Mr Manks is 6ft 3 and has to fold up like an envelope in a normal economy seat). Because of the tornado I'd gone online to check the flight was OK and noticed that they'd changed the aircraft type for the flight and just shoved us in any old seats down the back. Luckily there were still some extra legroom options still available so I grabbed one!

    The flight to the UK was pretty uneventful. When we landed the bags came off quickly and we got our bestest friend to come and pick us up and take us off to one of our old greasy spoon haunts nearby! There, proper sausage and egg doorstop bread sandwiches were consumed! And two other good friends came by to say farewell. When we left I was quite pleased with myself for holding it together!

    The crew on NZ1 to LAX were brilliant. A great set of people full of humour and who cared about the service they gave. The concierge talked to us about the lounge options and basically said if we beat Air France and Virgin then immigration should be fine. Once we arrived, however, both aircraft were already in and we were told immigration was a zoo, so we didn't bother going for the nicer lounge and stayed in the transit area.

    This was very basic, but the worst thing was the state of the wireless connection. Hardly anybody could get onto it and when we complained, we were told that the wifi also had to cope with the proper lounge upstairs and there were just too many people on it. Erm, surely that means you need better equipment then if it can't cope with the full capacity of people that might need it. I'd been hoping to update people but couldn't.

    The weirdest thing was being completely disconnected from the world! I had to give up my Blackberry when I left work so I only had a UK mobile and no other access to a computer to sign on here or updates friends through other social media means!

    The crew on the LAX-AKL leg were good but nowhere near the quality of the first lot. Still, the food and wine were good and the bed comfy. Upon arrival we were disappointed with the lack of "Welcome home" and got "Welcome to NZ" instead. And the Immigration Officer didn't even bother looking for My Manks' RRV and proceeded to tell us that his visa was different to mine and he had to apply for a multiple visa. He didn't even seem too bothered when we pointed out his mistake.

    Bags and MAF were dead easy. We declared some food items as our friends had bought us a care package of chocolate before leaving the UK. But they just asked what and were fine when we told them. All our bags were marked with a chalk "F" though. But no hassles.

    At Air NZ domestic recheck the agent said we had too many bags to check (5) and demanded to know if we'd paid for the extra bags. When I told her we'd just flown Business Premier from the UK she still said we need to pay for another bag. A bit more harshly I informed her that our baggage allowance carried over from the UK flight, to which she responded "Did you fly Business or Premium?" She obviously doesn't know the name of her own international Business class product!! So eventually that got sorted - but she said our bags were 20kgs lighter than when we checked them in at Heathrow (slightly worryingly!). But all was well.

    On arrival at Welly we got the Super Shuttle to our accommodation because we had so many bags that they wouldn't fit in a taxi and at least the shuttles have luggage trailers. Within 30 minutes we were at the apartment that work had kindly organised (and paid for) for our first 10 nights. A nice spacious one-bedroom apartment, less than 5 minutes' walk to work. A bit more going back coz it's all uphill!

    And I started work the next day!

    Work has been busy with lots of stuff being thrown at me but I think I prefer being thrown into the deep end. Wine makes a regular appearance at around 4.30/5pm and it doesn't matter what day of the week it is! The work environment is not too different from that I have worked in before, just on a smaller basis.

    Mr Manks has been out exploring a bit and has been trying to look for a job but he is finding it harder than I think he thought it would be. His first choice of the fire department may not happen right now as there are five openings available and over 800 applicants - so he's doubtful he'd get in even with his experience. The waiting list to get in the Police College is currently at least 18 months. So he's even considering the Air Force (he's ex-RAF).

    One of our first tasks was sorting out slightly longer-term accommodation while our container arrives. We've got sorted with a fully-furnished place that is actually even closer to work than we are now! It's small but as I'm out at work every day anyway, we'll be able to cope with it. We managed living in each others' pockets in a campervan for three weeks without getting on each other's nerves!

    Finding that so quickly meant we had our first weekend free. We started some exploring to look at potential longer term areas to live and got around many of the suburbs recommended on here. Our favourite place is just so impractical though! Days Bay and Eastbourne are just lovely but I've been advised against living there and commuting to the CBD every day. The ferry is a good option when it's on, but when it's not, the commute will no doubt be pretty long and miserable! We also spent some time with the lovely M-Squared showing us around her neck of the woods.

    We've also experienced our first earthquake. Although I should say I as Mr Manks didn't feel a thing! The 6.4 one off White Island was felt in Welly CBD I can tell you. But it hasn't put me off.

    Things I've noticed in our first 11 days here:
    - walking down the street, people don't really get out of your way
    - the world revolves around caffeine - any meeting is a damn good excuse to go for coffee
    - or in the case of my company, a client meeting is a good excuse for cheese and wine!
    - some things are expensive, others aren't - you've just got to work out what you do/don't need
    - the driving is not as bad as you might think - especially if you come from East Coast USA! I think the worst example I've seen is my own husband
    - TV also isn't that bad - plenty of UK and US TV programmes that we're used to watching
    - the wind in Welly is not that bad. I've really liked the weather since we've been here, apart from one or two off days - but that's allowed
    - it doesn't take long to get anywhere - it's all so close by
    - trying to keep track of your internet usage is a pain in the a*se! The apartment came with 1GB included, so about 100kb a day = not a lot!
    - if you have a work phone provided through Vodafone (like I do) you can still get the discounts on Vodafone home products - we're getting "Naked" broadband (i.e. no home phone) cheaply because of this
    - and bees are very important to NZ! (long story)

    So, less than two weeks in we seem to be getting along just fine. I think Mr Manks will need some encouragement on the job front, although he had an encouraging chance meeting this morning.

    I think I ought to wrap it up there as it's taken me ages to write and I need to get back to work. And you're all probably fed up as it is!

    Thanks to everyone who helped us get here so far - you've been great!
    Last edited by Manks; 1st October 2010 at 03:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Manks's Avatar
    Manks is offline Serial procrastinator and general busybody
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    Oh and I'm drinking a lot less Diet Coke due to the high cost. In the States we could frequently buy 4 or 5 packs of 12 for a total of US$10. Yes, US$10 for all of 48 or 60 cans. I saw a 24 pack in the supermarket the other day for about NZ$25. Ouch! At that price I might as well buy a pack of beer!

    I should also add that throughout our mammoth journey to NZ, we kept asking each other "does it feel real yet?" and it never really did. Even after boarding the Air NZ flight to AKL, landing at AKL and going through the residents' channel, and arriving at the accommodation in Welly. It all seems normal to us. But then in the nearly 9 years that Mr Manks and I have been together, we're now on our 5th place to live!!! Three in the UK, one in the US and now Welly! Either gluttons for punishment or a nomadic spirit at heart!
    Last edited by Manks; 1st October 2010 at 04:13 PM.

  3. #3
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    Awesome sharing, thanks

    Hope Mr. Manks finds his employment soon! All the best!

  4. #4
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    Brilliant tale. IT is really very familiar and I think when you have moved around you realise that a lot of the difference could happend in your home country. Keep letting us know how it is going.

  5. #5
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    That sounds a bit manic, finishing work, flying and starting new work again in such a short time - I hope you remembered to breathe

    Sounds great so far though, well done!!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manks View Post
    - walking down the street, people don't really get out of your way
    Even after 2 years, this one still bothers me. A lot.

    People also don't get out of the way in the stores to an unbelievable degree. They are seemingly unaware of trolley etiquette in the supermarket--parking right in the middle of the aisle--completely oblivious to anyone else in the store. And will stand right in your way when you want an item off the shelf and won't even budge with a "pardon me" ---and my favorite, will push you out of the way when you are looking at something and grab the one you are considering. Drives me crazy.

    Thanks--I feel much better after the rant!

    And congrats on getting through all the hard stuff and making it here! It's a great place--even if they are blissfully unaware of personal space!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for sharing!!! Glad everything is going well so far and hope the hubby finds a job quickly!!

  8. #8
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    Nice One

    thanks for sharing - for those of us about to make the same journey and face similar hurdles it's really helpful to have a 'walkthrough'

    I was also looking forward to the 'Welcome Home' greeting - I'll have to lower my expectations!

    Be interested to hear your thoughts on where to live when you have them.

    How did you find your rental place - through Trade-Me?

    Keep us updated

    thanks

  9. #9
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    Great post. All the best for all the rest.

  10. #10
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    Hi Manks
    thanks for the update - superb, all the best . . . .

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