Monday, 29 October 2007

Halloween Down Under

Although most people here think Halloween is an over-hyped American holiday corrupting the youth of Down Under-lands, they're always keen to join in on a Halloweeny drinking session or pumpkin carving, and they typically find out the latter is surprisingly enjoyable (example: Steve last Halloween). This year we're doing it proper style...started off with staying up late to watch Exorcist last night, pumpkin carving at the hostel Tuesday night, another at work lunchtime Wednesday, going to see 1408 later that night, Halloween drinkies Friday night, and perhaps more drinkies Saturday night. Bring it on! The only thing missing is Linus in the pumkpin patch:(

Happy Hauntings Ya'll!!

Friday, 26 October 2007

Why I love my husband

We're trying to get out and about and see more of Auckland, so last weekend we went to the Auckland Museum. I had read beforehand that the $5 admission was a 'suggested donation' but wasn't sure I had the guts to say I wasn't paying. Am now used to English museums being free, and the ones in Australia also seemed to be, so I didn't reall want to spend the $5. Anyhoo, when we got to the entrance, Steve just started to breeze through and the cashier stopped him and asked if we had tickets. He just said: "It's only a suggested donation." so she gave us two tickets which said $0 on them and off we went. Fab museum by the way, surrounded by a huge park and some gardens, and connected to the War Museum, so could be a whole day out....for free!!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

The difference between the US & Australian Consulates

US Consulate:
Wait in lobby of building until 8am
At 8am, make mad dash to lift as all others waiting, even those who arrived after you, will be rushing ahead of you (tip: last one in, first one out!)
Get in line for security on 3rd floor (see above re: mad dashes)
Take out mobile phone and any electronic devices before putting bag through xray machine, and hand to guard to keep while you are inside.
Put bag through xray.
Walk through metal detection machine.
Proceed inside.

Australian Consulate:
Go upstairs anytime (they open at 9am) and get a number.
Go back downstairs until 9am and have a coffee.
Go back upstairs, wait til you are called...and take care of yr business.

Monday, 22 October 2007

It's almost that time!

We (fingers crossed) will be submitting our spousal visa for Australia this week. Wish us luck!
Modified to add: Turned in in today (Wednesday)!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Fast Americans

No, I'm not talking about that girl you went to high school with;) I'm having to do a list of every trip abroad I've taken in the past 10 years, for my visa application, and what strikes me most is how short some of these vacations were. Five days in Mexico in 1999, another five in France, three in Canada, and so on. I wouldn't even think of going somewhere for such a short time anymore as a matter of course, but then again, sometimes as an American, on American vacation time, one has little choice. It was an absolute luxury to spend an entire two weeks on the beach in Rarotonga for our honeymoon, and to think once we move to Australia, we'll be able to take vacations of that length without any eyebrows raised from employers, is...awesome!

The height of poor Customer Service

Today we got a letter at work from a vendor in response to a complaint we had about their customer service recently...poor response time, no acknowledgement of enquiries etc. The letter read something like this, with a bit of exaggeration:

Dear Sirs,

In response to your comments regarding the customer service you have received recently, we have this to say:
Your staff is ignorant.
The answers to the questions asked of us are something they should already know, therefore we saw no need to reply.
Your handover from leaving staff to new staff was crap, and as a result your new staff have no idea what they're doing.

Kind regards,

Um, I'd hate to say this is an accurate example of customer service down under, but....

Death & Taxes

Only two things in life are...ah wait, I wanted to talk about the two most stressful things in life, which are supposed to be death and moving. Add the nailbiting process of applying for a spousal visa while in a country other than your home country or your new home country to the move, and moving might get up there close to death in terms of stressfulness;)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Xmas in Christchurch and New Years in Queenstown

Very original city names aren't they? Anyhoo, we're finally going to see some more of New Zealand. Flying in and out of Christchurch and then renting a car to drive down to Queenstown and back. My dumb ass booked our flight home at about 9am though, and it's a 6 hour drive from Queenstown to Christchurch:/

Monday, 15 October 2007

Who's your daddy?

My old man won't let me call him my old man because he says that would mean he's my dad...and he calls his dad his old man and his mom his old lady, the latter of which kinda weirds me out...

He also doesn't want me to call his mom and and dad...the only time I've ever seen him be possessive;)

Saturday, 13 October 2007

The F Word

Who cares about Al Gore; Doris Lessing won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. I wonder what she would think of the end of the car race I watched last weekend. Although I think car racing is a bit dull in itself, my only real issue with it is the way the industry objectifies women, and the fact that many of the men who are so into this sport, think nothing of it. Two examples--- 1) at the end of the race, there were two young women, who looked as if they were dressed up as cheerleaders, standing behind the winners/anouncers and...oh wait, they were just standing there, barely dressed and shivering in the cold. I asked Steve what they were doing, what they were there for. Nothing, he said. So, I said, they're just there to stand and look pretty...they don't really exist? You're not offended by that? 2) On these car formus he's on, many members have as avatars half-naked women, two half-naked women in bed together, etc. I think the car racing industry and those who support it should be ashamed of themselves, but of course, they would allo say "It's no big deal. What are you, a feminist? Typical woman, over-reacting..."

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Hard to break old habits

Every single time I go to the Post Office here to buy stamps for my international mail, I have the envelopes out in my hand, forgetting that they simply give you the stamps and point you outside to the mail box.