Friday, September 27, 2013

This weekend so far.

Hey Hey!  There is a lot of catching up to do, but I figured I would just go ahead and let you know how this weekend is shaping up. Aaron and I are sharing the weekend call this weekend, so we have to hang kind close to town. Also, the weather is not ideal, so I'm just working on some projects to get settled into my new place.

Yesterday, a patient from the clinic dropped off a couple of fresh flounder that he had just caught. Aaron was home over lunch (while Rebecca and I were stocking up on groceries in town on my day off), and this guy just walked up to the door and gave him some fish!  So It was Flounder for supper last night!
I didn't realize they were flat like that and that both eyes were on one side of their head. shows how much I know about Flounder...

I also learned that they are delicious.

So after dinner, we decided I would take the pager Friday and Sunday nights, and I had a quiet evening with the pager until one call in the evening about a guy who needed pain meds, but we can't do prescriptions after-hours, so he was out of luck... sorry, pal.
Then it was nearly a full night's sleep until 5AM when the PRIME pager went off, which is the emergency pager. That would be scarier if the now three emergencies we've had to respond to had actually been emergencies. This was no exception, and by the time I got there, the ambulance and fire trucks and everyone was already there, and all the people were fine. (1-car accident, 3 passengers, all ok).  

So I got all that squared away and came back for another hour of sleep then started tackling projects around my house, including re-arranging my kitchen, which was previously the least-intuitive working space you've ever seen. You know how sometimes it's easy to just know where someone keeps their silverware, cups, plates, etc?  Not in this place. The plates and cups were in a drawer. The silverware is to the very far left, second drawer down, the upper cabinets pretty much only had tiny dishes and tea/coffee supplies. The pots and pans were in a drawer under the dishwasher (the big open drawer is my one-rack dishwasher).  So after some shifting of things, my kitchen makes a lot more sense now.

After that, I went and replaced the glass in the broken window in the garage for the neighbors. I figure it's the least I can do for all the future favors they give me, including borrowing those bikes and some kayaks and other gear not pictured here.
Can't even tell which one was broken, huh?

My next project is choosing which hangers are the worst and replacing them with the normal hangers I bought at the store yesterday. I don't think I got quite enough. This is what the hangers look like here:

The worst part is that the hook part slides down through the wooden part when you pick it up by the wooden part.

In-between projects, this is what I've got going on here:

That is Keo, the neighbor cat who comes over anytime he wants, especially if the neighbors leave for the weekend. He can actually open the doors himself, so he just strolls through at will. 

Been a good call so far, so hoping it stays this way. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Longwood Forest

It rains a lot here, and after exploring the nearby forest, we understand why.  It takes a ridiculous amount of water to support the lush vegetation.  

 Guardian of the Forest

 It was a lot more difficult than it should have been to get into this tree.

 A beautiful spot for cloud watching

America's Cup

Does anyone else care about the America's Cup?????

We had never heard of this before, but it is apparently a very long-standing, prestigious boat-sailing race, and the two teams currently battling it out for victory are New Zealand and The Good Old U.S. of A.  We didn't even know it was happening last week, but it quickly became the topic of conversation with every person in clinic and beyond. When the buzz began, the Kiwis (New Zealanders) were thrilled that they had risen to the top to take on America in the finals. The Final series is as many races as it takes until the first team reaches 9 victories.  
  You see, America won last year, so everyone else has to compete to take on the previous year's winner. Something that has complicated this is that apparently someone on the American team cheated in some way, so America was penalized 2 races.
  So by the time I catch wind that any of this even exists, New Zealand is winning 8 races to 1 (really 3, but subtract the two penalty points). It's the talk of the town....
  Then in True come-from-behind, thorn-in-the-side-of-the-world fashion, Team Oracle (USA) has rallied and has won every match since then to now have a tie of 8 to 8. There have been crazy delays, races that have been thrown out due to taking too long, and just lots exciting things that have drawn this cup out to be the longest one in 160-something years (don't quote me on that number). so we have started getting into it,  and it is actually really exciting to watch as it turns out. We walk into clinic chanting 'USA" and sending out texts and alerts to everyone in the clinic to remind them that America won again, and again, and again, etc.
  So tomorrow morning is the final race. Since it is first to 9 points, someone will win if the race doesn't get cancelled due to weather. We are SOOOOO hoping for another American Cinderella story to really be able to rub it in to the good people of New Zealand.  At this point, Team USA has actually already won 10 against the Kiwis. And we are on a 7-win streak. One more, and victory is ours.
  New Zealanders are reportedly terrible losers, but even more terrible winners. We'll see how this goes. I've already heard a lot of talk start shifting to 'well there are more Kiwis on the American boat than there are Americans'.... just trying to cling to some form of victory.   Come on Oracle, I'm counting on you. I've got a victory dance to do.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What did you say?

When moving to New Zealand, it was comforting to know that they speak the same language as we do. But it's not exactly the same as it turns out. Here is a sampling of things that don't quite make sense at first: (New Zealand word with US equivalent)

Tea = actual tea
Tea = Supper
Biscuit = cookies
Rubbish = trash
Give Way = yield
Takeaway = carry-out
Flash = Fancy
Wee = little
Hire = rent
Knackered = tired
Are you alright? = How are you?

Common Phrases:
Good as Gold


The accent is a whole different issue as well. We have to ask people to repeat themselves a lot. But overall, the Kiwis have a great accent.  We often wonder what it would be like to hear them arguing with eachother. Also,  I was told by a patient today that I had a 'lovely' accent.  So the adventures in English are ongoing. If there are any particularly hilarious miscommunications, I will be sure to let you know.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lake Manapouri and the Fiordlands...

Before work began we decided to head up and at least get a glimpse of the Fiordlands.  It was a few hours away and a beautiful drive.

We drove towards and passed the Takitimu mountains and watched them get bigger and bigger.

We made it to Manapouri, a small town next to Lake Manapouri 
with beautiful views of Fiordland National Park

The weather was cold and rainy.  The water was choppy.  Clouds covered the mountains.

Still snow on the mountains...

Pictures don't do it justice...

Different local plants here.  
Rebecca is enjoying taking close up pictures.
Some kind of shrub beginning to open up.

Headed to Te Anau before turning back.  Saw a rainbow over the Taki's.

We went to the cold, windy beech from there.  Lots more to come.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Driving on the Left

This actually hasn't been as hard to get used to as anticipated. Maybe we are extra aware of it, and just trying really hard, but it’s going pretty well so far.
The Trickier thing is getting used to the fact that the cars are a mirror image of the cars at home. The driver sits on the right, gear-shift is still in central column (so to be used with left hand), and the gas pedal is still on the right, but that makes it right next to the door.  But that still isn’t the worst part…….
You don’t realize how many times you use your blinker until you accidentally turn on your windshield wipers instead of your blinker every single time you make a turn. The blinker switch is on the right-hand side of the steering wheel. That’s actually the hardest part about driving on the left.

Despite all that, we are seeing a lot of beautiful sights by driving around on the left!!!
Like Sheep and Hills, 

Streams with mountains in the distance, 

and oh yeah, another red deer!

Day at the beach...

Still lots of old pictures to catch up on.  After Auckland, we flew to Christchurch and then Invercargill.  Our clinic manager Natalie picked us up and drove the rest of the way to Otautau and our new home.  The next day we drove to Riverton and the beach, about 20 minutes.

City of Riverton along the coast

A couple of seagulls fighting over a stick in the surf

Cool rocks with the waves coming in

Cole found a slide (that didn't really slide)...

Rebecca and I found a whale...

After the beach we went back to Otautau.  On the way back we got our first view of the mountains.

View of the Takitimu Mountains (Or just "Taki's") from north Otautau.
(With cute baby lambs)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rebecca Had a Little Lamb

In our several visits to the house of the clinic manager and her husband (Natalie and Poss), the topic of their bottle lambs came up, and that they were needing someone to feed them this weekend. Rebecca has decided that she would be a great lamb-sitter (and she is!).  So we currently have two baby lambs running around our yard, getting bottle-fed every 6ish hours. Lamb-sitting is pretty fun!

 Rebecca named them Mary and Skip

 This is the view out one of my bedroom windows. They like to come up onto the porch and cry for food.

 Lamb-Sitter Extraordinaire!

Adventures so far...

We finally made it!  We're sharing a blog with Cole, so I'll try not to be redundant.  And as you all may know I don't have NEARLY as much to say as Cole does.  :)

I am behind on posting though, we have several days adventures that need to be caught up.

First day off the plane was spent in Auckland to take care of some quick administrative stuff with the NZ medical council.  Got these pictures while we were there.

Sky Tower, Auckland, NZ
(People actually repel off this thing with ropes!)

Down on the docks in Auckland

Lots of cool seagulls and other birds

Victoria Park, Auckland
(Surrounded by London Plane Trees)

Lots more to come, we are taking pictures faster than we can sort them!

Getting Settled.

Hey Hey!  About time to get the updates rolling, huh? I can’t believe how much has already happened here in the first couple of days. This will likely be the biggest entry of the entire blog. I’ll try to keep it to the highlights.

The flights down were uneventful, but long. It is 13 hours from Los Angeles to Auckland.  I actually slept for a large portion of it. I would have slept more, but the people in my row kept making me get up so they could go use the restroom. I swear they were taking turns every 30 minutes to peck me on the shoulder to wake me up. I bet they didn’t even have to go to the bathroom. They were probably just jealous of my awesome sleeping skillz and lashed out by waking me up repeatedly…

After arrival in Auckland, I actually got to spend some time with the Whitings, and we explored Auckland together. We even got cell phones set up…so we thought. Turns out, the people at the phone store lied to us about the coverage in the area we were moving to, so we got all set up with the wrong company and had to repeat the entire event the very next day in Invercargill.

After a couple more uneventful flights to the South, we landed in Invercargill where our clinic manager picked us up and delivered us to our home in Otautau. Along the way, she did nothing but deliver music to my ears about all the things I wanted to get information about. I expected to take a month or more to find individual people to talk to about hiking, kayaking, maybe getting a wetsuit, hunting, and going to the tropics from NZ. Turns out, she answered all of those things, with very promising answers within our first hour!  It was amazing.

Turns out, I will move to a 2 bedroom apartment that is attached to the house of some real outdoor sports enthusiasts in 2 weeks. They apparently have all the bikes and kayaks we could possibly use. So that sounds good.

As for the wetsuit (and any other camping gear), the clinic manager told me she had one I could use!

And here’s the kicker: her husband is a major hunter. She told him I was interested in hunting stag, and within 24 hours in Otautau, he already took me out RED STAG hunting!!!!  This was unreal.  I had a blast, but I didn’t actually get one. A couple other local guys came along, making it me, and three guys from Otautau, and one of the guys got a beautiful 9-pointer. We were all together, and it was really exciting.  I still can’t believe that things are just falling into place so easily.  Amazing.

In other news, we have now explored the surrounding areas, including mountains as well as beaches. Equally beautiful.  The countryside is stunning here. Sheep everywhere. Rolling hills with snow-capped mountains in the distance. The coast is 20 minutes away. The mountains and the Fiordlands are just over an hour away.

We have one more day until Aaron and I start work at the clinic.  So far, so good in New Zealand. Stay tuned for more adventures from here. I’ll try to keep them shorter after this!