Our new found friends..

K and I have been having good and nutritious food for lunch everyday ever since Ah Ming agreed to cook for us. There's always meat and vegetables, and sometimes soup, with cooked rice of course.

Yesterday, we had herbal chicken soup and fried eggs and vegetables. K aske Ah Ming for recipe on cooking herbal soup, cause he is still with the belief that i am pregnant so he wants to make some nutritious soup for me. Ah Ming was nice enough to cook the soup for lunch a few days later.. haha.. = )

Work was until 430pm yesterday. It was another crazy day for me. After about 2 hours of work in the morning, i was transferred from the packing line to do pre-grading. Basically, grading is where the kiwi fruits gets checked for flaws and poor quality before it goes onto the conveyor belt for packing. Pre-grading is the very first stage of quality checks before the kiwis goes into the line for grading. So i had to stand on a platform and look at thousands and thousands of kiwis rolling over in front of my eyes on the conveyor belts. My job was to pick out the bad ones and throw them away. I was like throwing 100 kiwis evert 5 minutes i think!! And after about 2 hours, i was completely giddy from all the scanning. I nearly fell down when i started to walk to go for my break cause of the giddiness.. I complained to K during the lunch break and he offered to switch places with me. And so after the lunch break, i went back to packing.

During the afternoon tea break, i couldn't find K. The 2 aunties who were working at the same area as him saw me and told me that my husband is giddy. I got a bit worried so went to look for him in the car. Usually, we will head out to the car during our tea breaks to get some warmth from the sunshine. And there he was.. he looked half dead.. and i couldn't help but laugh.. haha.. very mean i know! = P

Luckily for us, the day ended early yesterday. Ah Ming invited us for dinner at his house, so after work, we went supermarket shopping. We took the opportunity to pay cause they have been really nice to us, cooking lunch for us and all. And always giving us snacks, fruits and sweets!
After the supermarket, K and I left and went to look for an internet cafe, while Ah Ming and Adreana headed home to cook. They refused to let us go back with them to help with the cooking. Eventually, K and I couldn't find the internet cafe. We ended up parking somewhere and sleeping in the car. Around 6pm, we headed to Ah Ming's house.

We had steamboat for dinner. It was another super delicious meal. Ah Ming had cooked Tom Yum soup, and there were so much ingredients. Mee pok noodles, meat balls, fish balls, fish cake, prawns, mushrooms, sweet corn, vegetables etc etc.. Once again, totally unexpected. I would never have thought i will be having steam boat in someone's home here in New Zealand!! haha.. For dessert, we had home cooked steaming hot green bean soup.. Absolutely delightful.

We chatted ALOT during dinner, and the two of them kept pushing stuff to us.. food, packet ingredients, chocolates. They had a few friends from Malaysia who overstayed and were deported back. So all the food stuff that their friends bought are now stuck at their house. It was really a lot of food.. Around 9pm, we headed to our contractor's house to collect our pay check. So now, K and I are slightly richer.. haha.. Just slightly cause the pay is for one week and collected every Friday. We only worked like 2.5 days last week so.. = (

Work was until 230pm today. For some reason, it was super cold today.. and i got so uncomfortable that i was so happy when the supervisor wrote on the black board that we are knocking off at 230pm! After work, K and I went shopping at the nearby mall.. For dinner, we had Chinese buffet.. not too bad... I had goreng pisang.. haha.. another nice surprise..

There are a whole bunch of teenager boys who just checked in this morning into the guest house.. and they are making so much noise now.. Sigh.. That was the reason why K and I didn't cook, cause our UK couple friend warned us that the kitchen will be very messy tonight because of the boys. Luckily they are only staying for one night.! = )

K and I just had a long call with our tenant. This was after a whole series of emails and complaints from our 2 tenants. They is a huge tension between our 2 tenants now.. and it has grown so bad that one is threatning to beat up the other, and the other is wanting to make a police report move out. Sigh.. We have asked K's mom to help with this, hopefully everything will be settled soon. Really worried they will damage my house man!! I rather not have the rental money than to have my lovely house in ruins because of 2 childish men... Is it really so hard for 2 men to live together? I thought usually they will just ignore each other and go about doing their own thing .. i wonder why like that.. Really so suay choose the wrong tenant..

So far, this is the first time. Everytime we rent out our room, our tenants are all very nice people. Maybe because this time it's the first time we rent out 2 rooms. And we are not around.. Hai.. Anyway, tomorrow will be our last day at the packhouse. Then we are moving off again!! Can't wait.. = )

Photos Galore!!

4:38 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Finally, i managed to get access to my thumbdrive! I asked the guy at our guest house to unlock the CPU for me.. haha..

So now you guys can see all the funny photos of me and K working at the packhouse.. Feast your eyes.. = )

Copyrights reserved, and no further distribution of the photos below please!! = P

The entrance to the kiwi packhouse..

That's me looking all funny as a "factory worker" .. holding the super tiny kiwi fruit!!

That's Mr. K!

The boxes and boxes of kiwis that we packed..

The conveyor belt that the kiwi fruits come tumbling out from..

The whole jing gang (our colleagues)!!

The simple things in life.. (27 May 09)

4:32 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Here I am, lying in bed and blogging.. K is already sleeping, but I am still keeping the lights on.. Super inconsiderate woman ! = P

We are back to work again this week. Our off day on Sunday was not that bad after all, cause after I shut down the laptop and about to leave the Mount Action Center, we saw a couple playing badminton. I was too tempted. So I approached them to ask if we could join. They agreed. So we played for 30 minutes. Didn’t perspire a bead but my heartbeat increased so that’s as good as it gets. The center provides badminton rackets and shuttlecocks, but of extremely lousy quality. I had to ask the staff there to change 3 shuttle cocks for me before I decided to go into their store room and choose for myself. The first 2 he handed me were so bad I asked if he had any better ones. He handed me a plastic shuttle cock. I nearly fainted.. = ) But when I went into the store room to see, it was worse. The “best” shuttle cock I could find was out of shape and had missing feathers. Sigh.. Oh well, at least I got to play my fave sport! And made new friends. The guy’s from Texas, and the girl from Switzerland. And apparently, the two of them just hooked up on their trip here in New Zealand. Seems like a lot of couples we met here managed to find their other halves when they get here! Maybe it’s just for the company, then once the trip is over, they will go separate ways..

These past 2 days have been quite tiring for me and K. On Monday, we worked full shift at the on Monday cause the girl in front of me was transferred to do grading (QC check). It was quite an experience. I think I am becoming an expert now at packing and checking kiwi fruits. = )

Today, I again mended 2 lines. One for the huge ass jumbo size kiwi, and the other line for the really cute tiny baby kiwis. K was at the line behind me and we both worked like mad today. All the way until 630pm. This has been the latest shift so far. This morning around 11am, the assembly line malfunctioned and the whole thing stopped for about 20 minutes. It was a good rest break for us, and everyone started chatting cause there were no kiwis to pack. I took the chance to take pictures of me and K at the packhouse. Will post some on my blog soon.. = )

K and I have been cooking dinner almost everyday now since we started working. We had the best baked potato and ham ever yesterday. It was actually the last remaining portion of the baked potato we made on Monday night. We cooked too much so every night we just add more cheese and re-bake the dish. And yesterday was the best texture and crispiest version. We also made Campbell’s mushroom soup and had more of our cold pasta. K pan fried some lamb chops for his dinner. I can’t seem to get sick of my cold pasta despite having it for lunch and dinner for 3 days already! = )

After dinner, we headed to the supermarket to buy groceries for next day’s lunch. I made a salad of potatoes, apples, hard boiled eggs and celery, with mayonnaise. Then we used the internet at the guest house to check our emails. There was a sign beside the computer that says “$2 for half hour” and below the sign, a little “honesty box” for you to put the money to pay for what you used. So cute. Unfortunately, the CPU was locked so I could not insert my thumb drive at all to upload photos or my blog. Bummer!

During work yesterday, Adrena was mending the line behind me so we chatted for a bit. I thanked her for the delicious chicken soup, talked a bit about how I missed Singapore food, and also how I miss eating rice dumpling, cause last Sunday, I spoke with Dad over the phone and he mentioned that now is the season for eating rice dumpling. Adreana then mentioned that Ah Ming will be cooking glutinous rice for dinner that night, and she would bring some the next day if there are any left. I was thrilled.

And so today, K and I had glutinous rice for lunch. And stewed pork as a bonus. The rice came with mushrooms and small shrimps just like the way it should be. It was delicious. I never expect to have such wonderful home cooked dishes for my meals since I came. First chicken soup, now glutinous rice. Ah Ming is really a fantastic chef. I’m so glad we met this couple!! = ) We shared one box of my cold salad, and gave the other box to Ah Ming and Adreana.

During our morning break today, K finally asked Ah Ming if we could buy lunch from him. We figured it was the right time to ask since they voluntarily offered us food twice already.. = ) And guess what? He agreed!! So we are having home cooked mixed vege rice lunch tomorrow!! So happy… It’s really weird how I can get so excited over food these days. I guess this is what being away from home for too long does to me.. = (

Our Super Rainy Off Day!

4:20 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
K and I are at Mount Action Centre 5 minutes drive from our guesthouse, watching Filipinos play basketball. We heard about this place from this young UK couple also staying in our guesthouse. They basically work at the guest house too, in exchange for their stay there. The Action Centre is an indoor sports center where there are like 4 huge basketball courts and one hockey rink. People play all kinds of sports here, from basketball to badminton and netball and even tennis. The UK couple had asked us to join them for a game of badminton yesterday when we first met day on our check in day. I was so excited cause they told us they were playing with another German couple who were really good. In this freezing weather, I was so looking forward to a good workout and perspire for once! I haven't had one single bead of perspiration for the past 24 days since I arrived, kinda feels weird. = )

Anyway, we didn't play badminton in the end. Firstly, because K and I had to work at the packhouse. Secondly, the courts were fully booked. Bummer! Yesterday we packed kiwis from 8am to 330pm. So it wasn't that bad. The assembly line didn't go crazy like it did on Friday, but I nearly went crazy. There is this Malaysian Chinese man in his early to mid 40s who is also working at the packhouse. He happen to stand at the line next to me yesterday (which is not the first time already), and for the WHOLE shift, he kept irritating me with his non stop meaningless chatter. I just wanted him to leave me alone cause I want to concentrate on my work, and I had to count the number of kiwi fruits I was throwing away. Plus, I had a scratchy throat (I think it's from the dusty environment in the factory) and was totally not in the mood for chatter. He would just turn around and talk to me, telling me useless stuff like he used to drive a lorry in Malaysia. Then he would ask me if a particular kiwi fruit is okay to pack. One time, the supervisor came over and asked everyone to look out for kiwi fruits that had too much black lines on the skin. Those we need to throw away. Ever since then, that uncle kept turning around and asking me if this kiwi is okay, that kiwi is okay. He even has time to turn around and check MY kiwis. Then if he saw some kiwis I had packed but had lines, he would ask me if I should throw those away instead. Wah Lau!! It was so so irritating I felt like punching him in the face. I explained to him that it was not possible to achieve 100% quality checks, especially if the conveyor belt is churning out so many kiwi fruits at one time! Also, the supervisor said to throw away those kiwis that had TOO MANY lines, not a few lines! So when I ignored him, he asked me to go and ask the supervisor to confirm! I was pissed off at why his belt was churning out so much slower than mine that he had so much free time to keep turning around and talking to me. I ignored him most of the time. Then when he saw K talking to another Malaysian guy, he said to me: “Hmm.. seems like you youngsters have more to talk about. Maybe I am too old.” I faked a smile at him, hoping that would shut him up. Then 1 minute later, he turned around again and told me that he used to tell a lot of jokes when he was in Malaysia. Then he asked me if I can understand Hakka. I shook my head. It was just endless. I had to do something before I really punch him in the face.

So I turned around to the girl at the line behind me, and asked her if she could switch lines with me after tea break. K was behind her, so I told her I wanted to be nearer to K so I could talk to him. She agreed. I couldn't wait for tea break. At 10am, we had our first tea break. I am really beginning to get used to the factory worker life here. Every break is so punctual. 15 minutes, then the alarm will sound and we will all get back to work. Not 1 minute more. So at 1015am, we were all back to work. The stupid uncle made a comment on us switching places, then all was peaceful. At least for me. He started to bother the poor girl. But I think she enjoys it cause she kept entertaining and talking to him. Perfect.

For lunch, K and I had pasta again. The Malaysian Chinese couple that we met (Ah Ming and Adreana) gave us a box of chicken soup, which was totally delicious. It had chicken meat, potatoes, carrots and some vegetables. Haven't had clear Chinese soup for such a long time, so yesterday's soup was a welcome treat for me.

Ah Ming and K has been hitting it off quite well these few days, and K told me Ah Ming used to work as a chef in one of the S11 coffee shops in Jurong. Apparently, he is the chef of the mixed vegetable stall. No wonder their lunch always looks so delicious!! K and I are contemplating asking Ah Ming to cook lunch for us, and we'll pay him. But K says we need to wait until they are more comfortable with us before asking. Really don't feel like having pasta salad and sandwiches everyday for lunch. And we are too lazy to wake up early to cook. For Ah Ming, he said it's just a matter of waking up one hour earlier to cook. He makes it sound so easy!

Since today is our off day, K and I had planned to take a ferry to visit White Island, an active volcano over at Whatakane. They have tours to walk around the crater and stuff like that. But when we drove for about an hour there, the lady at the tourist information center told us the ferry was not leaving dur to bad weather conditions. So we ended up having fish and chips in Whatakane for lunch. After that, we headed to the town center for some shopping. I bought myself a nice pair of beige suede boots. The good quality pair of boots only cost me NZ$50. Super cheap! Sigh, how I wished everything else here is as cheap!

It's basically been raining the whole day now. What a let down! Tomorrow is another day at the packhouse. We will be working for another one more week before we head off to Hamilton for another 2 weeks' of free stay with another 3 families. Then maybe we will come back again to work at the packhouse, if they still want us!

Okay, that's about all for now, I guess there won't be much to blog about once I go back to work next week. Hoping to take some photos of us dressed funny and packing kiwi fruits so I can post on my blog.. = )

K and I are going supermarket shopping again now. We're making baked potatoes and luncheon meat for dinner.. Yum yum.. = )

Our 107th Anniversary

K and I celebrated our 107th anniversary today.. By working half day at the pack house.. haha.. i guessed that is our anniversary gift from the pack house!!

After work today, we had our pasta lunch, then headed to the motel where the Malaysia Chinese couple were staying to take a look, cause they are paying like 30 to 40% cheaper than us. Eventually, we didn't like it. Too far away from anything.. and not very nice environment.

This morning when we woke up, the car was totally frosted, and there was ice on the wind screen! Apparently, the temperature dropped to 0 degrees last night. Incredible!

After visiting the motel, K and I went to take a walk at Mt. Manaugui. It was a very scenic walk with views from the mountains and of the sea. I kinda enjoyed myself..

After the walk, we went for our anniversary dinner at this Thai restaurant. Lousy food.. expensive price...

Going back now to make lunch for tomorrow's work.. another day at the packhouse!! = )

Our first day of work!

4:49 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
K and I started our first day of work at the kiwi pack house yesterday.

We woke up at 630am.. even earlier than i usually would even when i was working in Singapore!! It was so bloody cold i didn't want to go out at all.

Anyway, we woke up still, made sandwiches for breakfast and lunch cause the pack house don't sell food. We were nearly late for work, but luckily we made it. Upon reaching, we were asked to wear gloves, a shower cap and apron and allocated to assembly lines with carton boxes. Then the next thing i knew, i was packing kiwis.. The kiwis came out on the assembly line, and i had to scoop them into a carton box and pack them.. then roll it out to someone who would stack the boxes up.

K stood in the line behind me. We worked from 8am to 6pm with 3 breaks in between. One at 10am for 15 mins, one at 12pm for 30 mins lunch and another at 3pm for 15 mins. It was quite fun.. and at be quite stressful. Kiwi packing can sound like an easy and brainless task, but there is actually a technique and a system behind the whole process. One mistake and it will be a mess cause the kiwi fruits just keep coming out from the line, and you have to keep up with the speed, and check for the quality of the kiwi at the same time.. so not as easy at it seems!

Plus, we had to stand on our feet for the whole day. By the end of the day, K and I were aching all over! It was so bad.. like the first time i worked as a waiter during my school holidays! Plus, poor K was transferred to dump unwanted kiwi fruits during the last 2 hours of our shift.. so when i saw him at the end of the day, he looked 80% dead from all the tonnes of kiwi fruit carrying! = ( And the environment is quite dusty and dirty.. got one pimple on my face already... K said we came here for the fresh air, and now we are breathing dirty air and dust.. haha.. so ironic..

K and I went to the supermarket after work yesterday to buy some groceries, and we prepared my favourite cold pasta for dinner yesterday and for lunch today at the pack house. So we had pasta for lunch today.. much better than the sandwiches we had yesterday for lunch!

Today was our second day at work, and because there weren't much kiwi fruits, we only worked half day until 1pm.

About 12pm today, the whole assembly line went haywire. It was still manageable at the beginning when we started our shift, but then it went crazy.. The kiwi fruits just kept rolling non stop out of the assembly line. There was no time for quality checks at all. We just kept scooping the kiwi into the boxes. At one point, i got stuck cause i had no hands to pack all the kiwis into the boxes.. I was so desperate i raised my hand and waved it frantically for help... One of the stackers came to my rescue cause K also had his hands full.. It was so funny!! Can u imagine me with my hands full of kiwi fruits and no hands and boxes to pack them.. and the kiwis just keep falling out from the conveyor belt. haha..

There are plenty of Malaysians here at the pack house. Actually, we got the job through a contractor who is also a Malaysian from Penang. We met a Malaysian chinese couple at the pack house and have started making friends with them.. Hopefully we can hang out on our off days.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and we still have to work.. sigh.. wonder when is our off day. Hopefully tomorrow will be half day again.. really don't mind earning less money.. haha.. = )

Goodbye Auckland!

3:52 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
K and I left Auckland and headed down south to Tauranga on Tuesday. We had decided it was hopeless and boring to continue staying in Auckland cause there were no jobs, so many Asians, and nothing much to see and do.

We reached Tauranga after a 3 hour drive. On the way, we stopped over at Pokeno to check out the biggest ice cream, upon recommendation of our previous hosts. True enough, there were 2 shops selling like 16 scoops of ice cream on a cone! I had 2 scoops only. We had lunch there, and then headed off to find accommodation.

Luck was not with us, cause most of the backpackers that we had short listed were out of rooms. Part of me blamed K cause he refused to let me call up the backpackers hostels cause of the expensive phone charges. Instead, he insisted we drive down and ask instead.

After about 45 minutes of fruitless attempts at finding us accommodation, we drove into a guesthouse called Seagulls. They advertised their rates at “From $65 a night”, so we thought it must be expensive. But I was glad we tried it anyway. We managed to get a really decent room with double bed plus attached toilet for $270 per week for both of us. Here are some pictures of our room:

The next day, we woke at late.. seems like even though i am on holiday, i have been waking up early every day.. but it's always to go shopping or sight seeing lah.. haha.. so shouldn't complain too much. We woke up around 11am, had sandwiches for breakfast.. then headed out for some exploring around our area. We also started our job search and went into almost every fruit orchard in the area. We finally found a job packing kiwis at a packhouse in Te Puke, and will start the following day. Our first job!! = )

For dinner, we had Chinese buffet at a restaurant called "Peking Restaurant". Very nice chinese food. Got lemon chicken, fried rice, fried noodles, sweet and sour pork, fu yong egg, vegetables etc.. and free chrysanthemum tea and dessert. After dinner, we headed home early and slept early to prepare for our first day of kiwi packing the next day!!

A Familiar Face..

3:49 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Last Sunday, K and I met up with our good friend Brion in Auckland. He had changed his original London flight to Auckland. = ) We picked him up from his hotel in the city around 11am, then asked him what he wanted to do.. We had 2 suggestions: Go to Snow Planet to ski / snow board, or go sight seeing. After realizing that the skiing / snow boarding wasn’t gonna be on real snow, B chose sight seeing.

So first, we brought B to the famous La Cigale French Markets. It was actually very smaller compared to the other markets we have been to, but the things they sell there are of better quality. The people shopping there are also all more “atas” type. We wanted to have some tea and criossants there but it was so crowded and the cafe had no seats for us. B bought a Nutella french crepe and we all shared it. It was SOOO delicious... = )

Next up, we brought B to all the volcanic hills that we went previously for some gorgeous views of Auckland city.. Unfortunately, not long later, it started to rain. And for quite long. B was really unlucky. It rained all the way for at least 2 hills that we visited. At least he saw some sheep and took photos with them!! = P

After the rainy sightseeing, we went to Sky City for buffet lunch. We went to the casino to sign ourselves up as members, so we could get half price for the buffet lunch. So typical Singaporeans right! = P

The buffet was decent, but below average, so B was complaining throughout.. I thought it was okay though for $10. There was pasta, fried rice, calamari, fries, ham, vegetables, and even coffee and desserts. I like the fried rice and one of their cakes in the dessert section the most. And their hot chocolate was heavenly. We met the Yen family at the buffet restaurant. Such a coincidence. Actually, I felt quite bad cause Mrs. Yen had asked us out for the buffet before, but we didn’t go with her but came ourselves. We chatted a bit, then they left. 10 minutes later, Mr. Yen came back and passed K a discount coupon for petrol. As usual, they are SOOOO nice to us!! = )

After lunch, we took B shopping at Sylvia Park. He bought some toiletries, and we bought ourselves some thermal wear from Kathmandu cause they were on sale. When the shops closed at 6pm, we went supermarket shopping. Because we were leaving Auckland for the farms and orchards in 2 days, K and I had to stock up on toiletries and stuff, so we dragged B along to the supermarket.

After that, we headed for dinner at our fave Italian restaurant La Porchetta. We ordered 2 pizza and 1 pasta to share, but I was too much for us, even with big eater B around.. = P

Eventually, we had to pack half a pizza home. We headed to Movenpick for some ice cream after dinner.. It was soooo delicious.. I guessed it must be because I had been craving for ice cream for a long long time. But I got so damn cold after the ice cream that I was shivering..

We sent B back to his hotel around 930pm that night. I was glad to see a familiar face finally, and wished another one would come along soon…

Our Best Friends' Wedding!

Last Saturday, K and I “attended” the ROM of EK and S on MSN. We had arranged with EK to do the video conferencing at 415pm Auckland time, 1215pm Singapore time. As the internet connection in our host’s house was unstable, K and I had wanted to do the video conference in the library where they had free wireless internet. But library closes at 4pm on Saturdays. In the end, we had to go to Goong’s house to use her wireless.

We reached her house around 4pm. As usual, technology always fails us at the crucial moment. We could not connect to her wireless network on our laptops, so we had to use her husband’s laptop instead. Lucky his laptop has MSN installed on it. By the time we had logged on, it was already 430pm. I was so so worried I will miss their exchange of vows !! But when we logged onto MSN, EK was not online. K kept saying they forgot about us cause it was their big day and there must be a thousand important things to attend to.. I was so sad.. But refused to believe K so I asked him to stay online for a while more. 10 mins later, EK came online. We saw the whole ceremony on video, but unfortunately, there was no sound from either one of our laptops, so I couldn‘t hear them exchange their vows, which is the most important part! Plus, our laptop had no video cam. So in the end, we could only see them, but they cannot see us. We had to type messages on MSN to communicate. Ferene and June were also there, and they kept showing me the food they were eating at the buffet.. So envious! Really glad to see all my dear friends again.. Miss them so much!!! I was so reluctant to go offline, but Goong wanted to start making dinner, so we had to leave. We headed home after that, with the intention to log on again at home, but there was no internet connection when we got home. = (

Oh well, at least I get to see them and “talk” to them. Hopefully we can do the whole video conference thing again, this time with both video and sound! I asked them to arrange one day for the conference.. Not sure if it will be possible!

My first shopping spree!

9:14 AM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
K and I met up with Pui again on Wednesday. We went to the One Tree Hill for some gorgeous scenery and saw a lot of sheep on the way uphill.. My first sheep sighting!! I was so excited! = )

The strange thing about the One Tree Hill is.. There's supposed to be one tree on the hill, but the locals said the tree had been cut down by the Maori , so there are no more trees on the hill. But when we went up there, there were plenty of trees... so not sure about the whole background story there..

After One Tree Hill, we headed to this Malaysian restaurant that Pui's cousin in law had recommended for its Nasi lemak. The place was packed. We were fortunate to find a parking lot AND a table before the crowd started streaming in. I had Hainanese chicken rice, K had Nasi Lemak and Pui had chicken rendang with coconut rice. It was decent, although not what I had expected. I think I had set my expectations too high. Was hoping it will taste like those in Singapore!! So no, I still have not satisfied my craving for Nasi Lemak yet.. = P

After lunch, we continued with our search for my pair of perfect boots. Went to the NZ No. 1 Shoes clearance store at St. Lukes. I didn't buy anything, but Pui ended up buying a pair of Navy Blue PVC boots for a super cheap price of $10. Can you imagine?!! So cheap right!! After St. Lukes, we dropped Pui off cause she had to pick up her cousin in law and niece from work and school. We were invited for dinner at her place before we bring go out again after dinner.

So K and I headed to Dressmart and shopped there for 2 hours. There, my shopping spree began. I bought a pair of dark brown cargo pants from Glassons for $8. Ridiculous price. And that was the only reason why K would let me buy.. = ) We headed to Pui's place for dinner around 6pm.

Dinner was totally yummy. Pui and her cousin had prepared stir fried cauliflower with carrots, corn and chinese sausages, tom yam soup, fish ball soup, meat and spring onion omelette (my fave!) and stewed pork with potatoes! I totally enjoyed my dinner tonight.. One of the best!! = )

Pui and I washed up the dishes after dinner (hated that part), and her cousin cut some really juicy apples for dessert. After that, we headed out again to Sylvia Park to shop. We met Pui's niece for the first time today, cause the last few times we went over, she was in school. Her niece is only 20 months old, but she could already feed herself so well. I was so amazed, cause my 5 year old niece cannot even sit down and finish her entire dinner without whining. K says it's all dependent on how the parents train the kid. I must make sure my kids are as independent next time!!

My shopping spree continued after dinner at Sylvia Park. I bought 2 thick woollen hoodies for $40, one ¾ long knit top for $15 and K bought 2 berms for $30. We headed back home around 9pm, me a very satisfied girl that night !! = )

In Retrospect..

9:13 AM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
As the title of this entry suggests, I am going to write in retrospect to catch up on all the “lost” days that I did not had time to blog on.

On Tuesday 12th May, K and I went to the Parnell Rose Gardens, which was supposedly famous according to the tourist brochures. K and I had argued much on whether we will be able to see roses at all since it was autumn. Stubborn me kept insisting that roses grow the best in cool weather, so K relented and we went. When we reached there, I was so disappointed. All the roses had withered and died. Only a few nice ones remained. We had packed sandwiches, with the intention to eat them at the gardens. But after a few bites, I feel so sad looking at the dead roses I decided to eat my sandwich in the car instead.. = ) We bought the BBH (backpacker's discount card) and the WWOOFing membership card as well on the same day. With the WWOOF membership, we will be able to search for hosts to accommodate us for free in exchange for our labour to help them with whatever work they have (gardening, picking fruits, housework etc.)

We had dinner at the Taiwanese couple's house on Tuesday. K had some problems with the Toyota Windom and had sent an email to Mr. Yen to ask. Somehow, since we didn't have anything to do that day, we text to ask if we could just pop by so he can have a look at the car. We ended up having dinner there. Mrs. Yen cooked stewed Satay beef and potatoes with rice, fried vegetables, sausages, prawn salad and also prepared pineapple and grapes for us for dessert. We also met their 2 daughters, and as usual, they were too kind to us. Before we left, we took with us 2 of their thick winter jackets, pants and gloves for skiing / snow boarding. Mrs. Yen kept insisting that we return them unwashed after our trip in 6 months' time. We are totally grateful for their hospitality and still wondering how we can repay them!! = )

On Wednesday 13th May, we met up with Pui and went out the entire day. We went to the famous Piha black beach. The view was gorgeous.. And the sand is really black and glittering like crystals! The place is so NOT commercialized (and hence extremely pretty) that we can't even find decent food there. At first, we thought since it is such a famous tourist attraction, it will have decent food, so we didn't pack lunch. Apparently, the people of Piha fought hard to prevent their home from being commercialized with shops and tourist cafes etc. We had to walk through fields of “lalang” and cross a small stream to get to the beach. I got my shoes and socks wet from crossing the stream, but it was worth it.. Even though we got caught in the rain in the middle of the beach where there was no shelter at all.. haha.. I am kinda getting used to being caught in the rain already these days.. = ) For lunch, we found a small pathetic cafe and bought one hotdog sandwich to share among the 3 of us, coffee and hot chocolate. We had a fat orange cat for company. I thought we will be able to find something more decent once we leave the beach so I didn't eat much. Unfortunately, I had to go without food all the way until 430pm cause we went to anther part of the beach, then the drive down took so damn long... We drove to a shopping mall to look for my boots at a clearance store, and had yang chow fried rice and sweet and sour soup for lunch. It was delicious. Not sure if it was because I was hungry though! And the soup only cost us $2 a bowl for a decent size bowl (enough for 2 people)!

I didn't buy any shoes in the end cause the range available at the shop was all crap.

For dinner, we had Italian at the same restaurant we were at on Monday: La Porchetta. This place sells decent pizza and pasta for a reasonable price. After dinner, we headed down to a bar called “Snatch” in Ponsonby where there was supposed to be a free stand-up comedy act by wannabe comedians who are still “under training”. We saw the advertisement at the backpacker's hostel where we bought the BBH card. We spent about 30 minutes at the bar, and had a good time laughing.. For free!! = P We left the bar around 930pm, sent Pui home and headed back ourselves.

So.. that's what I have been up to these days.. Feeling much happier now cause I've had much better food since I arrived!! = )

Period still not here yet though.. >_<

Asian Invasion..

It's been 3 days now since i've had access to the Internet..

Today, K and I went to the library again.. but only for an hour before the library closed at 530pm. And the way they "close" the library is to ring the bell and switch off the lights without warning.. I surprised cause usually in OUR libraries or any public place like shopping malls or museums, people usually give some kinda announcement over the PA system.. haha.. Here they just switch off the lights without warning.. = )

This morning, K went upstairs to do an interview / presentation with Stephen for this life coaching course that Stephen was doing. So i went out for a jog around the neighborhood. Feeling so fat and unhealthy since i came here! It was a nice jog, except that i got caught in the rain (as usual the rain just comes and goes without warning)..

We had lunch with Christine and Stephen (our current host family) today at a Thai restaurant called "Khun Pun". I told Christine that the owner's name is probably "Pun", cause Khun was a kinda salutation in Thai. = ) Lunch was not too bad. We had Pineapple fried rice, Phad thai, green curry, stir fry vegetables with peanut sauce and fried beef with rice. Topped it all off with hot chocolate and tea. This restaurant was cheaper than the one we had on Martha's birthday, but of course, it wasn't as nice.

We had a long chat over lunch, talking about the economy, politics, culture etc. We learnt so much from them, about how the influx of immigrants / foreigners is destroying their local culture and making the locals here frustrated. There are just too many Asian people here, and most of these Asian people come here and instead of assimiliating into the local culture, they set up their own little "China Town", refusing to learn how to speak proper English, and taking advantage of the free healthcare here. Christine's in healthcare, and she says there are so many elderly people from China who have never had proper health care in their lives, then they come here and maximize the free healthcare here. So much so that there are not enough resources for the locals to get proper medical care. Then there is the problem of increased crime due to the Asian gangs and triads that were never here before.

Because of all these "Asian Invasion", the bulk of the wealthy New Zealanders are all moving out of their own country, leaving only the middle to low income earners to pay for all the taxes that are providing for the free healthcare etc here. And the government is not doing much about it cause they want to remain popular and stay in office for the next 3 years. Quite a pessimistic situation huh??

ANYWAY.. they did admit that they might be biased so we should talk to more people before we form our own opinions..

After lunch, K and I came home to pick up our LPG cylinder and headed to the petrol station to top it up. Apparently, it was still 3/4 full but for some reason, our heater did not work with it. So we top it up full instead. When we arrived home to drop off the full cylinder, we saw this little creature by the driveway where we parked.. It looked so clumsy when it strutted its way across the grass! Think it's a hedgehog or something.. couldn't confirm..

After the library, K and I came home and cook instant noodles for dinner.. We managed to tap into somebody's wireless internet so here I am , blogging.. while K is watching "24" on TV.. = )

Another day at the library

K and I are now at the Devonport public library using their free wireless internet.. Think we will become regulars of the libraries here, which is ironic, because we never go to the library in Singapore!

Yesterday's visit to Devonport was nice.. We climbed up to Mt. Victoria, an extinct volcano, where there was an excellent 360 degrees view of Auckland city.. We had our sandwiches there on top of the mountain.. it was nice.. = )

We left Mt. Victoria after it started to drizzle.. Drove down and parked the car beside the library, then started to stroll along the beach, and the harbour, and the shops along the street..

In the evening, we went to the Northcote Town Center close to where we were staying.. It was like a mini Asian town, with all the Asian supermarkets and restaurants.. There were Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Korean stuff. We went into a few of the supermarkets and i was overjoyed to see all the familiar Asian food! I bought my favourite Korean instant noodles and a can of stewed pork for my dinner tonight.. We also saw fishballs, all kinds of Chinese sauces and 3 in 1 coffee mix.. But I still cannot find my 3 in 1 Milo.. i am SOO craving for Milo! Back home, i drink 1 glass of hot Milo everyday, and now i can't even find one packet here.. So sad.. = (
For dinner yesterday, we bought a big packet of $2 fries and made our own Fish and Chips at home. K had hot and spicy Korean instant noodles and sausages. I drank every single drop of the spicy soup from the noodles.. It was yummy. Think i will shorten my lifespan from eating all these instant noodles.. = )

As we were walking along some of the Asian restaurants, we saw one with a notice for hiring waiters so we went in to enquire. Left my number there, even though they only wanted people with waitressing experience in New Zealand. I told the girl that waitressing is the same in every country, and that i had plenty of experience in waitressing in Singapore. Hopefully they will give me a try. K and I will go back to ask again tonight. K suggested to tell them to try me for one week and then pay me whatever they think i am worth. I am still thinking about this idea..

Tonight, K and I will be meeting a Taiwanese girl (we got her contact through the nice Taiwanese couple) to chat. She is also here on working holiday and currently working at a cafe. She will be leaving Auckland on 20th May, so we were hoping we can take over her job at the cafe when she leaves. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

Actually, i also don't know why i want to find a job so urgently. Yesterday, on top of Mt. Victoria, K and I were calculating our finances, and concluded that we would have enough to last us for the 6 months if we live on a budget. I guess i am just bored of doing nothing much everyday.. so rather have a job and meet people.. = )

We will be heading to Parnell today... Told K i want to visit the Rose Gardens.. and hopefully find some cheap and good lunch there.. = )

Auck-Land of Rainbows and Strange Road Names!

Auckland should not only be called the Land of Sails, but also the Land of Rainbows. Since i arrived here one week ago, i have seen more than 8 rainbows.. and 3 of them are full, solid. 7 color rainbows that stretch across the clear blue skies from one end to another. Simply gorgeous! = ) Just looking at them makes me really happy..

The road names here are really strange too.. they have roads like "Papatoetoe", and "Pupuke" etc.. so cute and at times totally impossible to pronounce!

Yesterday, K and I moved to our 3rd house down in Lydia Avenue. Among the 3 families that we stayed with, i think this family is the most wealthy. Their house was huge and very near to the city. In fact, from their house, we can see a fantastic view of the city skyline.

We had the entire basement apartment to ourselves. It was actually their son's apartment but he left home to stay closer to the city where he work, so the apartment was left vacant. The apartment was great! We had our own living room, kitchen, bathroom, and NO ANIMALS!! Their only dog lived upstairs with them and were not allowed into the basement. That's not all, the apartment was also very clean with no dust or bits of hair lying around on the carpet. And the bed was a queen sized bed with really nice bedsheets and they even have an electric blanket! Last but not least, their son also had a gym work out machine in the apartment! Perfect.

And the bathroom had one single tap that can be adjusted for both hot and cold water. Unlike the previous 2 houses we stayed in, where they had separate taps for hot and cold water. I can never figure out how to use those individual taps, quite irritating to me actually!
But of course, nothing is perfect. The kitchen had no stove, only one microwave oven. So for dinner yesterday, K and I went to Pak N Save again to buy some food for dinner. We also dropped off our job application forms and resume at their counter. I had microwaved spaghetti bolognaise and delicious golden kiwi fruit. K cooked sausages with maggi noodles. We also bought fish fillet and baked them in the oven until crispy. It was delicious. "Sleepless in Seattle" was on TV, so we ate and watched the show until about 1030pm last night. Plus, we have no internet access at the basement. Then this morning, there was no water in the house cause there was some pipe repair works going on. Sigh..
I slept really well last night, and my blocked nose is finally cleared! Looks like things are going well now.. except we still haven't found a job yet.. = (
Right now, K and I are at the Takapuna library for the free internet access.. We went to the flea markets this morning. It was pretty similar to the Otara markets that we went to yesterday, except the people looked much wealthier here. We bought some $1 boxes of chocolate sticks there. They also sold fresh pasta which we sampled and was really yummy, but K refused to let me buy cause it was quite expensive.. sigh.. i am SOOO craving for some Italiano food!! = )
After the markets, we walked down the streets of Takapuna, went to the beach and saw this mad dog harassing 2 little toddlers until one of them fell down and cried. The mother started quarelling with the owner of the dog.. So 2 women fighting over a stupid dog.. it was quite funny.. = )
Later K and I will be going to Devonport to explore. It's supposed to be an old naval base with really beautiful scenery. We've packed our own fillet fish with cheese sandwiches for lunch later. Still not sure what's for dinner.. At the rate we are going, i will soon go crazy from missing good old normal food! Always eating bread and microwaved food.. don't know how long i can last..
Plus, i really think i might be pregnant. I am 2 months late already.. I talked about this to K, and he said we'll wait one or two more months and if i really am pregnant, we will spend all our NZ dollars and then go back to Singapore.. He said i can then have all the Italian food i want.. haha.. = P

A very lazy (and rainy) Friday..

K and I stayed at home the WHOLE day today.. We were so determined to go jogging today if it doesn't rain, and look for jobs if it does rain.

Eventually, the rain did stop for a while, then rain again, so we kinda ended up hooked on the laptop and newspapers looking for jobs. For breakfast, i made ham and lettuce sandwiches. K cooked instant noodles with vegetables for lunch. And the whole time we were preparing and eating our food, the dog kept following and stared at us, as if asking us to feed her. Somehow, after my one week stay here, i am beginning to appreciate cats more than dogs, cause cats just leave you alone. But the dogs keep following you around, sniffing you and keep wanting to lick you! Then again, i woke up this morning and found a big hole in the plastic bag that had our loaf of bread in it. And one big bite on 3 pieces of bread. I found out from Martha later that it was her cat who did it. Bummer!!

K made a few calls this morning from the job notices in the newspapers but no luck. After lunch, K went to bed. He woke up much earlier than me today, so he went to catch up on sleep. With the stupid cold weather, we didn't feel like doing anything at all, except to crawl under the warm blankets in bed!

So when K went to bed, i continued my job search. I made a few calls, sent out nearly 20 job applications for customer service, receptionist, baristas, survey administrators, paper runners and even data entry / work from home jobs. The one i most wanted was actually working for Subway.. haha.. maybe can eat for free..and healthy food too!

Martha came home from work around 330pm. She had bought some frames to frame some really gorgeous shots of wildlife animals. It was DIY so i helped her with the framing and taping of the frames. K woke up around that time, and got down to helping her with the frames too.
Then around 6pm, K and I headed out to buy pizza for dinner. We had planned to rent a dvd too, but the dvd shop that Martha was a member of was too far. So in the end, we went to buy the pizza only. Before that, we went to Pak N Save supermarket, bought toilet roll, a bottle of Coke, some ham slices for breakfast tomorrow, and apples and kiwis for fibre. We also took job application forms from the counter. Will drop them off tomorrow after filling them up. Pizza was from a Pizza Hut branch close by. Their delivery was done by car, so i thought that was a pretty easy job. But K didn't want to ask if they were hiring, for some reason.
We waited 30 minutes for our stupid Jumbo Meat Lovers which cost us $12. But i guessed it was worth it cause it was delicious and HOT!! = )

So the 3 of us had pizza with Coke while watching "New Zealand's Next Top Model." Then after that K and I watched "Mean Girls" all the way until 1030pm (Martha went to sleep halfway). Tonight is another rainy night. In fact, it's one of the worst ones i've seen for the past week. I just had my hot bath , so really shiok now..

Yesterday, K and I went to pick up our second car from the Taiwanese couple. Again, they were super nice to us. We had hot tea, prawn crackers, and fresh Kiwi apples again. And they cooked lunch for us. It was instant noodles, but delicious cause they put a lot of ingredients: Eggs, Vegetables, Prawns and crab meat! They also gave us lots of namecards to find jobs and good food at cheap prices. And when the lady knew i had nose problems, she gave me a whole toilet roll to put in the car! To top it off, they lent us their steering wheel lock for the car, offered to lend us wool blankets and clothing if we need some, and gave K a packet of Taiwanese brand cigarettes when they found out he smoke. The cigarettes were really cute. When you look into the stick from the end that you put into your mouth, you can see this little red heart shape. So cute right! = )

I really love this Taiwanese couple. At first, we thought they were nice because they want us to buy the car from them. But even after we had paid them, they still gave us things and still so hospitable!! Maybe this is our good karma since we hosted a Taiwanese girl in Singapore before and were really nice to her.. haha.. hopefully we will meet more people like them!!
After we picked up our car, we went to visit Goong and Pui. We had some difficulty finding her house, cause all the unit numbers were so similar. 2/390 and 2/390B were 2 different houses. So got a bit confused there. We chatted for about an hour or so over hot tea. I went to see Goong's new born, so cute!! And very very tiny.. Pui said Gary will be coming over in the week of 22nd May, so we're looking forward to meeting up with the two of them again!

Tomorrow we will be moving to our next host family. For this one, we will have our own bedroom with attached bathroom. Plus, this family only has one dog. Hopefully, it's a small one.. Crossing my fingers!! = P

Our much nicer 6th day in Auckland..

It's our 6th day in Auckland. I'm beginning to get used to the weather here, and didn't wear my white winter jacket the whole day today.

K and I woke up at 830am today, just so we could catch Martha before she left for work. Yesterday we missed her cause we woke up late at 11am, so thought it won't be so nice if we missed her again today.
I had warm baked beans with 2 slices of white bread for breakfast, while K had ham and lettuce with chocolate spread on his bread. Apparently, Martha is like K. She hates baked beans. K says baked beans are the fave food of the UK, and that's why they fart a lot.. haha.. = )

Martha left for work around 930am, and K and I surfed the internet for a while before we headed out. First stop was to view this car that we spotted on Trade Me. It was the best thing that happened to us today. The first car that we bought had some problems with the fuel tank leaking, and the front lights going on and off on its own. So we had been looking for a second car for the past few day but with no luck. Until yesterday, but because yesterday we didn't have time to meet up with the car owner, we delayed it until this morning. The car owner was a Taiwanese couple who had moved to Auckland more than 15 years ago. They were really really nice to us.. but of course that was not the only reason why we bought the car (yes, now we have 2 cars!). The car itself was very well maintained, and it was clean inside, unlike the first car we bought. The first still had trash inside when we bought it, and K and I had to go to a self serve machine to vacuum the car yesterday. But it was quite fun though! = )

Anyway, the couple invited us into their house for some hot tea. The moment I entered their house, I wanted to shift into their house.. I could really see and feel the difference. The house is so clean!! It's really interesting to see how an Asian's house and a local house can differ so much in terms of cleanliness. I mean, so far, both the houses I have stayed in are really dirty with lots of dust, cobwebs, and of course animal fur. This Taiwanese couple had a dog too, but a really small one with a pathetic bark = ). And it was locked outside in the garage rather than in the house. So no animal fur. Perfect!! And they have really nice smelling toilets, and a washing machine!! I couldn't find any washing machines in my first 2 houses. Interesting.. they probably bring their clothes to the dry washers every week or so. So we had hot tea, and then really fresh and delicious New Zealand apples and oranges and chicken biscuits to go with the tea. We chatted with the couple for nearly 1.5 hours. They were so hospitable, they even helped us to look for jobs and car insurance. We called a few places on the spot using their phone. Apparently, they know quite a few people. They have a daughter who is studying fashion and had worked in a fashion retail outlet before. According to them, the outlet needed people who could speak Mandarin, so they promised they would ask for us. Then they gave us the number of this golf course resort owned by a Taiwanese and we called them immediately, but were asked to send in our resumes by email. They also told us how we could install this program called VOIP Busters for really cheap calls overseas.. And the best thing, the offered to cook noodles for us for lunch. So nice right!! But they also mentioned they were quite bored with nobody to talk to, so maybe they wanted our company also. But we declined the lunch offer. I just didn't want to impose on them too much, although I regretted later.. haha..

Because we had our first car with us and I didn't know how to drive, we agreed to pick up the car tomorrow instead. I am so happy we met this nice couple. = )

When we left their place, we headed to buy some fish and chips for lunch. The fish and chips were recommended by the Taiwanese couple. They also told us that we could get a really nice view from this place called the Ladies' Bay (which is really close to their home). So that was what we did. The fish and chips were really cheap, about $5.60 for a big piece of fish and lots of fries. By the time we got to the bay, it looked like it was going to rain, but we decided to head down the stairs leading to the bay anyway. I took a photo of the sign just before we walked down the stairs.

30 seconds after this photo was taken, K noticed a huge rain cloud blowing in our direction, and immediately shouted: “Run, car, now!” We started running just when the rain started to pour.. haha it was fun.. We thought we had to eat our lunch inside the car again today. But about 3 minutes later, the rain stopped. The rain is really crazy here. It just rains for a few minutes, then stops. Cause the wind is so strong, it blows the rain cloud away easily.

So when the rain stopped, we made our way down the stairs and finally had our fish and chips at the bay. It was not VERY nice, but still one of the more “holiday” things we've done so far, having fish and chips by the big blue sea in nice weather. We had a few pigeons again for company. They were just hovering above us waiting for the food we will leave behind. But of course, we were not going to waste a single cent of the $5.60 we paid!

After lunch, K and I just sat there on the breakwater for a while, took some photos, then headed back to the car. When we reached the car, we saw a full solid rainbow. It was beautiful. Second time in my life I've seen a full rainbow.. so nice.. = )

We headed to Auckland city after that around 330pm. We were supposed to meet Yuri for dinner at a Japanese restaurant at 6pm. So we went to Martha's office to park our car. Then we followed Martha out to the park to bring her dog for a walk. Then we headed to the city to walk around before meeting Yuri at 6pm.

The original plan for dinner was at a really expensive French Cafe downtown. But I didn't want to have French, so I suggested Japanese instead. Also, my Malaysian colleague was also supposed to meet us, but in the end, only Yuri turned up cause the other guy had to clear some work. Which was all the better cause we could talk more casually since I know Yuri much better.

We had sushi, chicken teriyaki, beef shabu shabu, edamame and chawamushi.. Best meal i've had so far. It was not very cheap though, but I wasn't complaining since ExxonMobil was paying!! = P

By the time we finished dinner, it was around 845pm. K and I had to walk past a very dark and lonely park to get back to our cars. For the entire walk back, I was quite worried for our safety. I had my umbrella and whistle in my hand, and K had his swiss army knife in his. It's strange how K makes me feel nervous like this. I never feel like this when I travel alone overseas!! I guess I am really lucky nothing has happened to me so far. = )

We reached home around 10pm. Martha was still awake, and so was her dog and cats. We chatted for a while, and arranged for her to fetch us to her office. We had asked the Taiwanese couple to meet us there with the car. K and I are planning to settle the car stuff tomorrow, then come back home to look for jobs. Then in the evening, we will celebrate Martha's birthday with her.

So far so good.. things are starting to feel more like a “Holiday”, although I am still irritated by my blocked nose. It hasn't cleared since I arrived in Auckland!! The skin on my nose is peeling from all the tissue abrasion and sniffing.. sigh..

Our second host

Our second host stayed closer to the city area. Martha was a lady in her 50s i think, and self employed. In fact, she has a really interesting business - Funeral Services.

Her house is a simple 2 storey house, with the living and bathroom at the bottom, and bedrooms upstairs. And she has a huge black Great Dane, and 2 cats. More animal fur on my clothes..

Actually Martha had prepared our bed on the living room sofa, which folds out to a queen size bed. But K and I decided to take her spare room instead, even though it has a super single bed only, cause it was much warmer! Plus, i didn't want her big dog jumping on me when if I am sleeping in the living room!

I had much better sleep in my second home. For some reason, the room was much warmer even without a heater.

Yesterday, K and I went to Martha's office in Auckland city. She had another bird in her office. She showed us around her office. There was an underground room where she put some very nicely done coffins, and some church benches for small scale funeral services. It was very interesting for me to see all these..

We parked our car outside her office, and while she left to run some errands, K and I explored Auckland city. We went to the War Memorial Museum (which was another interesting expeience), then to University of Auckland campus and then to Queens Street where we meet up with Anne for coffee. Before coffee, I popped into an ASB branch office, and managed to put my name into K's bank account to make it a joint account. Apparently, this branch accepted credit cards as my 2nd identification. Stupid.

During my coffee conversation with Anne, we bitched to each other about how much we disliked Auckland. She hated the city life, and the lack of diversity cause there were so many Asians here, especially Chinese people. She didn't feel like she was in Auckland. I bitched about how things were not going too well for me, how boring this place was, how expensive food was (a normal food court meal is at least NZ$8-9), and the bloody cold weather. = P

After coffee, Anne headed back to campus, while K and I drove back home. On the way back, we stopped by the supermarket and bought some groceries at this place called "Pak N Save". Apparently, the things here are the cheapest among all supermarkets. And they don't provide plastic bags. If you want bags you have to pay 10 cents each, and pack your stuff into the bags on your own. Cashier won't do the packing for you. Of course, we didn't know. So we ended up with all kinds of loose grocery items in the car.. haha.. Dinner was maggi noodles for the past 2 nights.. food here is really expensive. Don't know how we are going to survive if we don't find a job soon.. hai..

Today, we slept late. Woke up around 11am. Martha had left for work so it was just her pets and us. We made breakfast - cereal and apple juice, used the net for a while, then headed out to settle some more administrative stuff. We went to the Inland Revenue office, applied for our IRD number (based on my credit card) cause the first time we tried at the post office and they didn't allow me to apply cause i only had my passport. We still need to wait 2 weeks before we get the stupid number.

After the IRD thing was done, we went to this sushi bar and packed some sushi for lunch by the beach. But the rain had to come. So we parked our car by the beach and ate inside the car instead. We had a few pigeons for company as they sat on the front of our car and watched us eat through the wind screens.. it was nice.. So far the nicest things i have done since i landed in Auckland.. The past few days has just been too many administrative things! Don't feel like i am on holiday at all!!

After we finished lunch, the rain stopped so we stepped out and took a walk around.. There was a rainbow at the horizon, and this humongous bird by the rocks, which i took pictures of, of course!

K and I headed back around 530pm and went to the supermarket again, this time to buy dinner (cause i refuse to eat maggi noodles again), and sun screen. Still can't believe i forgot to bring my sun screen. The sun here is really horrible.. so strong!!

I have just finished eating my dinner : Microwavable packed fish with mashed potatoes..

Martha just came back.. will continue blogging tomorrow.. Hopefully it will be a fine day tomorrow!! = )

My first and second day in Auckland!!

3:45 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
Kia Ora! That's "Welcome to New Zealand" in the Maorian language..

We arrived at the airport after about 8 hours flight.. Ek, S, June, my sis and mom came to send us off at Changi Airport at 6am in the morning.. so sweet right!! Ferzana and Elsa came too, to see Keson off. My sister actually cried at the airport.. hai.. so like her.. make me want to cry too. She wrote me a letter, which i read on the plane. Feel so bad that i have to lie even to my dearest sister.. Oh well, sometimes, we have to make some sacrifices and do certain things in our life that are against our conscience. As long as we can live with it.

On the plane, i met a Soka member. He was the flight steward serving us on the plane. What a small world. Actually, i found him familiar the moment i saw him, but i didn't say anything. Who knows, he came up to us while serving us drinks and said we looked familiar too. Think we met during one of the NDP training when i was still in Soka then. So we kinda had special service lah on the plane.. he kept asking us if everything was okay, then even gave us postcards to write to our families and friends. When we alighted from the plane, we passed the postcard to him for him to post for us. So nice right! I also managed to watch 3 movies on board: Paul Bart - Mall Cop, InkHeart and 3/4 of Twilight..

My dramatic life started the minute i landed in Auckland Airport. At the immigration, i was told i couldn't pass through, cause my Visa letter was done using my own passport number. And i had with me my new passport. We ended up waiting outside the immigration area for like 45 minutes before we were finally let through. Lucky our plane landed early, otherwise, my host will be waiting outside for very long! So we got our luggage, went out to arrivals, and saw our first host family - George, Jane and Kathy. It was raining then, and the drive to their house from the airport took about an hour. This family is very chatty, which was good, cause I was quite tired from the flight then.

When we reached their house, we just unpacked our sleeping stuff, bathed, and headed to bed.
We had agreed to meet for breakfast the next morning around 9am. Our room was actually in another house. They had 2 houses, one where the couple slept, and another where their 2 daughters slept. Their eldest daughter had left to work in Melbourne, so we slept in her room. The room was quite dirty, and it was super cold. And we didn't have a heater! I didn't sleep well at all the whole night cause it was raining. I woke up with chest pains, like my heart was frozen or something.. so cold!!

Next morning, we overslept, and woke up at 1015 instead. We were woken up by George. K had set the alarm for 830am Singapore time.. haha.. So we quicky got dressed and went to the main house to meet them. Jane had cooked a sumptous breakfast for us. Fresh eggs, bacon, bread, butter, fruits, croissants and orange juice, followed by hot tea after that. My first New Zealand breakfast was delicious!!

The family's house occupies about 3 acres of land. They have a garage, 2 houses, a garden with a huge treehouse, and something like a mini farm. They also have 3 big dogs, 1 fat cat, 6 chickens, 2 sheep and 2 little pigs called Renu and Vegas. The pigs were like running around the house, so cute!! Apparently, they were not very worried about the Swine Flu cause the pigs are their pets and not from Mexico.. = )

During our 2 day stay with them, i had so much animal fur and dog hair on my clothes that i gave up trying to brush them off. Don't understand why the people here love to have SO MANY animals..

After breakfast, we headed out to the nearest Westfield Mall. K and I got ourselves a prepaid sim card from Vodafone. We also set up a bank account. Second drama episode. Apparently, i need a 2nd form of identification to set up a bank account. But i only have my passport. Credit card was not allowed. So in the end, only K had a new bank account. When we went home, i sent out an email to arrange for my IC to be brought here by Pui, who was coming on Thursday.

We had planned on buying a car, but there wasn't enough time for car shopping. George's colleague and the girlfriend (both from China) was coming over for dinner, so Jane cooked up another sumptous meal for dinner. We had roast chicken and lamb, cooked rice, stir fry vegetables with oyster sauce, and roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes and rock melon. Delicious. I was so happy to eat something Asian so early in my trip!

After dinner, we played the Wii that George bought in the afternoon, until about 12 midnight. I was so tired and kept asking K if he wanted to go to bed, but we thought it wasn't so nice since the 2 guests were still around. I managed to keep awake for about 30 minutes more before i gave up and announced that we are going to retire for the night. I was thinking how rude these 2 Chinese guests were, staying at people's house and refusing to leave even though it was so late! It was then that we realized they were sleeping over for the night. So stupid right! If we had known, we would have gone to bed much earlier instead of waiting for them to leave!! haha..

The second night wasn't much either, it didn't rain the whole night so it wasn't as cold. But still no heater. I learnt that their heater run on gas, which was expensive so that's probably the reason why there was no heater. They also seem to love the rain, cause their water comes from water storage tanks, so when there is rain, their water is free. Otherwise, they have to pay for the water.

The third day, we went car shopping. Their car sale was like an auction market at a huge carpark, where people just park their cars there and put up notices on the prices, mileage travelled etc on the windscreen to advertise. We saw a couple of cars we liked, took the namecards, and then headed for brunch at Denny's. K and I gave our host family a treat for their hospitality. We called the dealer for a White Ford Modeo that we liked, but then was told the car had been sold. It was fated i guess!

After brunch, we headed to Westfield Mall again to buy controllers and more Wii games, and then back home. During the drive, i was so tired i fell asleep. When we reached home, K and I packed up our luggage and hung around the main living room with the family, playing Wii and surfing the net for more cars.

In the evening, we left our family and said our goodbyes. George drove us to meet a car owner, and then to our second host family.. We bought the car finally. It was a really good buy. Can't say what car it is, keeping it a suspense for now cause somebody reading this blog will be sharing the cost of the car.. haha..