June 22, 2007

Six Seven Month Review

So, here we are a whopping six...errr…seven months later, and we are still in love with the city and country we have chosen. Many fellow emigrants told us that after six months, the novelty of the people, their language, etc. will wear off and we will be longing for everything American.

I am happy to report it will take longer than six (or even seven) months for us to become jaded! I still giggle and then mimic whenever I hear the TV announcer say “20/20” (tweeenty tweeenty), or whenever anyone says “Fiji” (feeGEE), and we are still learning more and more new words every day.

And while there are a few things we can’t buy here that we miss from America, we are trying to find replacements (or… bribing people to send them to us). Could someone please send a note to Bounce that dryer sheets are sorely needed here? Liquid softener just isn’t the same.

At the end of May, the weather was starting to cool, although the autumn had been gorgeous so far. The last weekend in May was beautiful - the sky was clear and sunny with temperatures in the 60s - so we went for a hike in the Mt. Victoria town belt (and brought our camera this time! I’ll post them next.)

June is the equivalent of December as far as seasons go, and until last week, we had only needed to use our space heater in the living room a total of three times for about an hour or so. Our little place is great for retaining heat – especially on a sunny day. We do use our electric duvet most nights, though. I am certain the weather (and our apartment) will get cooler as winter arrives full on…

Because so many of the trees here in Wellington are evergreens, we have not had the spectacular colors of the New England autumn. And while I miss the yellows, oranges and reds, not seeing such a marked change eases the depression that often accompanies the slide into winter. Looking out the window in front of my desk at work, I see loads of green trees and bushes; the view isn’t much different than in the summer (this picture was just taken on Tuesday!). The days are quite short now, though, and I’ll be happy once we reach our shortest day of the year (today) and start moving towards the longest day of the year again.

Sometimes I sit and reflect on the huge move we made across the world and wonder how it was even possible. Who would have guessed this would be my life? I’m still trying to grasp the fact that I’m married (almost 10 months now)! After all the struggles I had living in Oklahoma, Pittsburgh and for a time, Maryland, it's clear to me that I finally found the place where I belong.

And it feels like we have been here for years. Settling in has been quite easy for us – I think that is largely due to all the research we did before moving. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Wellington (and New Zealand!) is incredibly beautiful. I love that I can stroll to work in 20 minutes, and get almost anywhere in Wellington by bus or train. From our apartment, we can be in the city, at a beach, or in the woods (known as ‘the bush’ here - hee!) within 10 minutes walk.

Also, New Zealand doesn’t really feel like a foreign country. The money is still the dollar, even though the notes look different and aren't paper; the architecture is very similar to what you’d see in America, and much of the food is familiar as well. All of this (plus the internet) gives us the illusion that we aren’t that far away from friends and family…until we try to schedule a phone call or look up flights to the US. It is kinda trippy to hear friends talk about hot weather, the beach and other summer vacations. The calendar may say June, but my mind just thinks “It’s winter. Period!”

While we are quite happy here and would not consider moving back to the US in any foreseeable future, we do miss our friends terribly. Leaving the people we are close with was the only difficult part of our move. I’ve been able to keep up with a few girlfriends through an MSN chatboard, which is a great way to get the everyday news without having to write long emails. It helps make the world feel a little bit smaller. =)

Now for some news and accomplishments!

  • The biggest news is that Darren now works at Weta. He is just finishing up his fourth week there, and has work at least through July. Everyone but the very top people at Weta are hired on a contract basis and so only work when Weta has current projects. Darren can only mention projects that are listed on the website, but cannot say what exactly he is making or working on. One of the projects is Avatar.
    More than anyone, Darren owes this huge accomplishment to Chris LaMartina and Jimmy George. Darren did the special effects for their movie, Book of Lore, right before we moved, and with stills from the movie and pictures of his work was able to create an amazing portfolio. You can see the Grindhouse trailer here, and the official trailer here. (Recognize that zombie?!)

We miss you guys!

  • In other news, Darren and I volunteered to lead the Meetin site here in Wellington. We both joined Meetin in Baltimore back in 2004 and made a ton of very good friends, many of whom were at our wedding (most importantly, our officiant, Amy!).

  • We thought Meetin would be great here in Wellington as there are so many things to do, and the people are so transient. We had Mikey (the founder) open the URL in February, and now have 89 members! We’ve already made some good friends and have had great fun. Meetin (and Mikey) has had some great press lately in The Washington Post and Businessweek, and even has a Wikipedia entry!

  • We will be visiting the US in August for a couple weeks to attend Bryan and Sarah’s wedding. As we subtly pushed these two adorable people together, we take full credit for their impending nuptials! We are very excited for them and can’t wait to see what a beautiful bride Sarah will be!

      • We are also in the first stages of planning our Disneyworld trip for September 2008. Our hopes are to have a huge Magical Gathering – so drop us a note if you’d like to join us there! September (in our experience) is the best time to go to Disneyworld – the weather is still nice without being oppressively hot, the prices for Disney resort hotels are the lowest of the year, and attendance is quite low as many children have just started school. We are planning to be there for 10 days, but those joining us certainly don’t have to stay that long!

      I think that’s it for the major news so far! And the adventure continues….


      Jessica said...

      Well sadly after over a year, I am still saying things back to the TV like "small fetish for shopping myself" and "feta veg pizza" - fitta vig just cracks me up. You'd think i would be over it.

      Congrats on the work with Weta - the portfolio looks good with still shots!

      I keep feeling like Halloween is around the corner with this weather. It's just not right to have it in the spring.

      Glad all has gone well in your first half a year!

      Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

      This reminded me a lot of what I felt like after six (or seven) months in New Zealand. In my case, I didn't make it back to the US until I'd been here 19 months, by which time I was well settled in.

      I'd guess that the reason there aren't dryer sheets here is that most Kiwis hang their clothes out to dry, using a dryer mostly (or even only) in winter. So, in New Zealand's already small market, there wouldn't be enough users to justify importing them. But, that's just a guess.

      Congrats to Darren on working at Weta! That's really good news.

      d said...

      Darren sends his thanks! =)