Monday, August 25, 2008

We have a home. We have a car. And we have COWS!


Prior to our arrival, Andrew and Kay (our newly adopted NZ parents), made arrangements with a member of their church for Lowell and I to rent a cottage that is attached to a currently vacant lodge. We had no clue that they were making these arrangements and were so pleased to find that they cared enough to begin paving the way for us. We now realize just how important both of our extremely hospitable parents (in Canada) must be to students and other visitors (especially the foreign ones). We have appreciated Andrew and Kay SO MUCH!

So, back to the lodge. It’s in the country side and is complete with a locked gate and beautiful drive way (Speaking of celebrities!) …

…as well as COWS in the adjoining pasture. Makes us (mostly Lowell) feel right at home! Mooooooo…

Here's our cottage from front and back:

Here are some shots of the the lodge and grounds:

ZABU- we have our own gazebo! BOOK YOUR FLIGHT NOW!!

The owner of the lodge plans to turn it into a centre for disabled/special needs kids, but since it’s currently vacant, we were allowed to take whatever we needed from the main lodge. It was super fun perusing through the lodge and picking up what we wanted to use. It felt like Christmas!

We have not yet unpacked all of our stuff, but we’ve already found a home for most of the stuff from the lodge. Here’s our kitchen:

And here’s the living room:

Note the HEATERS. NZ does not have central heating. So even though it’s +15ish Celsius outside (just finishing winter), it feels like zero OR COLDER inside. DEFINITELY a big adjustment for us (especially since we left Lethbridge in +35 Celsius weather). We can handle -50 Celsius with windchill in Edmonton- but no central heating? NO CAN DO! The heaters have been little life savers, and have gone a long way to making us (me) feel more at home.

The bedroom. We are sharing a single bed. BOTH of us. In ONE single bed. How many of you are sharing a SINGLE bed with a 6 foot 3, almost 200-pound DUDE? Good thing we like to snuggle!

So the cottage is super, and after a grocery shopping trip to our nearest supermarket, we filled the cupboards and fridge!

We stocked up on NZ brands so we could soak up the experience. We bought Milo which is their version of hot chocolate. It's pretty good, although it doesn't compare to my Momma's hot cocoa (but then again... nothing does!) :

It turns kids into good soccer players!

It was so satisfying making and eating our first homemade REAL meal in our new little home. I made Kylie’s famed taco soup. It made us feel right homey (but also miss Kylie and the rest of home a lot)!

PS- We’re not sure how long we’ll be here because it is unknown when the Lodge will be up and running, but for now… we have about 8 beds at our disposal, so all you potential visitors better start making travel plans. NOW!!


While we were still in Canada, Lowell was in contact with a Couch Surfer named Chris. He suggested that we purchase his car as he was traveling to India for a few months. We didn’t commit to anything, but let him know we were interested. Once we arrived, we contacted him, and he came over (to Andrew & Kay’s house where we stayed for the first 2 nights) to show us the car. He took us for a little spin, then stopped in a parking lot and suggested that we take it for a little drive on our own. Just around the block. In less than a minute, we returned and he was GONE. Completely vanished! We thought perhaps we had just inherited a car, but eventually he showed up again (with a new pair of trousers in hand). He was extremely interesting and very entertaining.

So now we have a car. A light blue 1991 Mitsubishi Chariot. It will hold our visitors AND their luggage when we pick them up from the airport (HINT HINT). It’s perfect!

The only problem is the whole driving on the left side of the road thing. I’m adjusting quite well, but there have been some interesting instances! I’m now no stranger to smacking my arm against the door or throwing my hand out the window while attempting to shift. I'm also constantly turning on the windshield wipers when meaning to signal. And the fact that I need to look up and to the LEFT to see out of the rearview mirror feels completely abnormal and unnatural. And slightly unsafe. Insurance is not compulsory in NZ, but we have every intention of getting it ASAP (Don’t worry Dad, we’ve been TRYING (in vain) to get it. At first we thought everyone was being friendly and honest by sending us to their competitors, but now we get the impression that nobody wants to deal with us. We're the complicated Canadians!)

So, we're making this place home. I definitely have not been without my (vicious) bouts of homesickness, but things are really coming together here and we have a lot to be thankful for.



marcandorkylie said...

Wow, looks great you guys! Julie, I can totally relate to the feeling cold all the time! As well I know Marc can relate to always hitting his hand on the window too! Thanks for all the pictures!Wow that is a lot of exclamation marks!!!!!

Anonymous said...

We're excited for you two getting settled in... and all your new experiences! Nice cows!! Love Mom & Dad T.

Shelley said...

ah milo. since being in NZ, i STILL buy milo and drink it. YUM! NZ has the best chocolate and ice cream! And you'll adjust to driving on the left quick. The hard part is returning back to canada and remembering to drive on the right again. It took me 2 days to learn how to drive on the left and 3 weeks to adjust back. oi!

Have you gotten in touch with heather or malcolm yet?

Janice Vandyk said...

sounds like an adventure Julie!
are you going to be working down there too? what does your husband do again?

Lowell & Julie said...

Kylie- the heaters TOTALLY help. That, and baking. Totally warm the place up AND make it feel (& smell) like home!

Mom & Dad T- We like our cows too:)

Shelley- The ice cream IS good (although maybe not so good for the ol' bowels). We haven't contacted your friends yet, but we hope to in the near future now that we're getting settled!

Janice- I start work next week Tuesday (Sept 2). It's a 7-month maternity leave position that I'm covering (as a Speech Therapist). Lowell is continuing his distance masters program in counseling psychology. After he finishes some other video projects that he's doing (they were jobs from home), then he might look into a little part time gig. Yeppers!

jill said...

Yeah!!! Congrats at getting settled so quickly! It looks amazing! Don't worry the home sickness will subside soon! I'm sure you will have lots of visitors to help with that! God bless!

Stacey said...

Hey cuzez! I just emailed our friend Andrew to see where he's at - will let you know what I find out. Sounds like you already have too many friends to deal with, though. ;)

Shelley said...

love the new layout! your blog looks all kiwi!!

Bloggy Mama said...

Sounds like a grand adventure.

Amy said...

Hey Lowell and Julie,

Love the new layout! And welcome to NZ :)

I hereby offer my services if you'd like to meet some more natives and perhaps do some sightseeing/exploring any time...

my email is hamymonkey (at) gmail if you're interested :)