We really like it here, have you gotten that feeling? And I do try to be as positive and optimistic as I can be on any given day. I try. Some days that works out OK for me and some days I am a real crab. What can you do? I know I am not the only one.
So Dennis says I've painted a far too rosy picture of life in a foreign country. Granted, we are not in China. We do all speak vaguely the same language and crime and poverty are far less than what we're used to at home. We aren't eating chicken beak soup or breathing smoggy air or riding to work with four people on a bicycle.
But you see, this is where I digress! In counting our lucky stars and reveling in all that is fabulous and similar about living here, I have been skimmimg over the difficult parts. Such as the fact that I have had no Internet for the past week despite 5 visits by NZ's finest phone company, Telecom. I finally broke down and bought a 3G USB thingie for my laptop from the Vodafone store, so that my vast array of readers wouldn't have to wait any longer for my blog posts, but as of today, still no broadband at home.
They either show up and say, gosh we can't find any troubles, but let's switch out the port in the cabinet down by the dairy, or they don't show up at all. And previous to this past week of zero Internet, we've had 3 months of dodgy Internet and long periods with no phone service. It comes and goes as it pleases. The power also goes off for no apparent reason and so does SkyTV. It always eventually returns. So far.
Venturing out of the house and into the rest of the world, I could complain about the sum total of 50 miles of actual freeway here. The maps will lead you to believe that there are at least a couple of different 4-6 lane divided highways just like we know as our Interstate highway system. Entrance ramps, exit ramps, big green signs, rest stops with donuts, ice cream, and fried chicken. And Cheetos. Nope. Around Auckland, that's what you'll find, but a few kilometers out and that freeway turns into another winding two-lane road through mountains and zillions of sheep with trucks coming at you way too close. Six months of car sickness is what we've got here. We're cool with it now, but it's rather trying sometimes. We do a lot of driving.
And the driving. OK, so again the positives first -- I just can't help it. The drivers here are overwhelmingly polite. They "merge like a zip" instead of cutting each other off. They drive the speed limit (I know, you're shaking your head thinking, but gee Karin, you aren't usually a proponent of that!) They don't go through red lights, they wave each other through narrow streets crowded with parked cars, and stop in roundabouts that are jammed with rush hour traffic to let others go through. Very polite. Very considerate. HOWEVER, driving here is a freaking nightmare because of all of the healthy, happy people that are constantly out walking, biking, rollerblading, running...and darting out in front of me from between parked cars and scaring the crap out of me on all of the twists and turns. Good God! And the hordes of children walking (no school buses) to and from school. It's a constant automotive skills test. In fact it's rather like Frogger. Of course I am in one of the little trucks trying not to hit the frog, but you get it, right?
Back to household subjects again, I think that way back when we first got here, I told you all how there's no heat in the houses and they have single-pane windows that do basically nothing to stop the wind from visiting you in your bedroom at night and blowing papers around the kitchen. We had pouring rains and roaring, insanity-inducing 50 mph winds for nearly two months. It's warmer now, so that has been conveniently forgotten, but it was not pleasant.
Well, anyway, a bit of the frustrating side of living here for you all. Aren't you glad it's not perfect here? Honestly though, despite these things, I would stay here indefinitely given the opportunity. :o)