Saturday, February 25, 2006

Blissful Blasphemy

So Dave and I went for breakfast this morning, and I ordered pancakes. This in itself was not unusual -- what WAS unusual was how it was served. Three pancakes were stacked clubhouse-style, with two layers between them. One was of fresh sliced bananas, the other of bacon. Surely this went against all laws of God and man.

But, dear lord, was it DELICIOUS. Try it sometime... it is so wrong, and so right at the very same time. Mmmmm...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Meet the New Lair

After having procured the keys, we now have full access to our new home. Dave and I have been scrubbing the place down, and it's amazing what difference it makes already. The walls and windows are much better, and the kitchen ceiling has even changed colour. Well, half of it has -- there is still a fair bit of cleaning to be done, and the kitchen in particular could still benefit from a coat of paint.

Daves' job has been to evict the spiders, then to hunt us a couch. Strangely, there seems to be a lot of blue couches on the second-hand market right now. As luck would have it, this goes well with the art-deco style of the flat itself. Filling the place with plants will be a lot of fun, as there is a ton of light in the place. Not a lot of direct light, mind you, but quite a bit of ambient light. Plants are very happy here.

Speaking of plants, the hibiscus in the backyard is a monster. I have never known a hibiscus to be so hardy as to hold its own against weed strangulation from all angles, but this one does it with enough leftover energy to blossom like there's no tomorrow. I look forward to taking better care of it, not to mention the other neglected plants in the yard. In doing some rudimentary deadheading, I was startled to find some weird-mutant-New-Zealand-grasshopper-thing perched on my hand. Upon closer examination, I saw him extend his two very distinctive front legs, which had been curled beneath him beforehand. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Matthew, the praying mantis living in my yard.

(I'm still stunned I'm living somewhere where a praying mantis can live in one's yard.)

What's even funnier is that, in my recounting of this story, a colleage of mine stopped me before I mentioned the bug was a mantis to say, "Oh, so you've met the prehistoric mutant grasshoppers, then?" I then said no, it turned out to be a mantis... but apparently, in all seriousness, I have prehistoric mutant grasshoppers to look forward to as well. Will keep you posted how that goes.

Other than that, Im still getting used to working in a new environment. I only know the names of about 15 people there, but the good news is that that is about a third of the people there. The survey workings in and of themselves are getting less mysterious, and I hope I will be able to contribute soon. What is encouraging is that it seems very common for people to have new-employee-itis, and thus are very understanding to others with the very same condition. In fact, this high degree of movement among the nations' working populace partially explains the booming job market, which in turn explains the significant number of immigrants drawn here. At a team meeting (7 people), I sat down to notice that the co-op student was the only Kiwi at the table. Today I even met someone from a country that I had not even heard of -- that certainly doesnt happen everyday! Then I got to hear about how Tuvalu is making royalties off websites that end with .tv (instead of .com, etc) because that is their country's official web domain. You really do learn new things every day. :-)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Week One

Statistics New Zealand... the green frontier. No really, the building is six stories of emerald green glass situated on the newly-developed Harbour Quays (pronounced, "Keys", apparently). I almost feel as though I should be skipping to work each day in glittery red shoes with a motley crew of semi-human companions. Well, theres no shoes, but the cicadas are almost big enough to fill the latter requirement.

Stats New Zealand is a neat environment, as well. They allow themselves acronyms that are actually fun. For example, I met someone from the department of SOUL. My division, until recently, was known as SMASH. That's pretty cool, if you ask me. Somehow, I seem to have lucked out with a sweet desk location. View-wise, I have bright turquoise ocean and some rolling green hills from 10:00 to 3:00 (or, for my math-crew, from (3 pi/4) to 2pi). It totally rules, and yes, I seem to be managing to do all the reading despite it. ;-) Work itself is going to be busy... apparently, I will be responsible for a Disability survey, developing an Injury survey, and being a fallback person for a General Social survey. Eep. Luckily, the people there seem really nice, so hopefully I can ease in to the general pace with some help.

Since last week, there are only two other things to report. One, the Rugby Sevens (a special tournament held yearly) is taking place this weekend, and I never have seen anything like it. That has nothing to do with the sport, mind you -- what happens is that groups of people dress up in themes or identically, and then go to the game. Last night Dave and I sat on a bar patio overlooking the crowd and spotted a myriad of Marilyns, a group of Waldos (as in, "Where's"), some barnyard animals, Bravehearts, traffic lights, tribal men, Hooter-girl drag queens, KISS, construction workers, girls in towel wraps, several Supermen, fairies of both genders, Flintsones, men in womens underclothes, Duffmen, and a ton of nurses and policewomen. This is totally incredible, and Dave and I will be partying it up tonight in our Canada gear.

News item two is that Dave found us a great flat. It is tremendously spacious (probably over 1000 sqft) with gleaming red hardwood floors, its own beautiful garden where hibiscus grow like weeds, crown mouldings on high ceilings, and a view which is not done justice by the term "breathtaking". The trade-off is that it needs a good cleaning and polishing, the kitchen is nothing special, and the curb value is nearly negative. Truthfully, Dave had completely written it off when he walked by it the first time. But we were both turned completely around when we saw what a treasure it is. So we signed the lease today, and will have posession Friday next week, by which time some minor flaws will be fixed, and we will be able to start cleaning and furniture-finding. Pictures will come then.

In the meantime, here is a picture of me on top of one of Wellington's hills, overlooking the harbour. This view is a little like the one we have at our new place. Enjoy!