Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hub's arrival, acquiring a doggie, home and then our furniture's arrival !

(metaphorically speaking)  wench's hub      
arrives to rescue her !

My hub arrived 2 months after me; yey, I was going to have an extra pair of hands, all his love and moral support, after living alone in NZ, sans any immediate family/friends for the first two months :)

I even did a trial run to the airport the day before with my GPS, so terrified was I that I'd get lost and miss his plane's arrival!

One of the first thing we did once he'd arrived and settled, was to find a home to rent (instead of my furnished apartment) and get ourselves a little kiwi baby, Paddy-wag to help us feel like a family, sans any of our kids, g.kids, siblings and SA mates...We found our puppy Paddy-wag on Trade Me (check it out at www.Trademe.co.nz where one can buy cars, homes, computers, furniture, baby goodies, pets etc in NZ !)

This is Paddy-wag (our Jack Russell/Shitzuh) aged 2. He adores retrieving balls & chewing sticks, & helped us to get over missing our SA doggies we'd re-homed - & to feel like a family. 

The article below is about us living in a home sans furniture, whilst awaiting our container's arrival. We made do with borrowed and bought bibs and bobs as immigrants do, until the thrill of the container's arrival 6 weeks later, with the unpacking of boxes galore. It's such a thrill unravelling fragments of one's previous life, but brings a waterfall of tears with it...

Thoughts from a loo with a view 
Published in The Witness 18/11/08                                                                           Eve Hemming

The three of us — my husband, Paddy-Wag and I — are sort of residing in our virtual reality home. But recently the harbour lady called to say that “our ship” (with our container aboard) arrives soon. That was an off-the-Richter-Scale thriller. So then we shall have a home with real furniture in it. 

Meanwhile, the best (and only) throne in the house is the loo. It has a spectacular view across Manukau Harbour. It’s also a terrific vantage point from which to watch every international jet’s bulbous belly impossibly hanging in suspended animation before landing across the bay.

The tree that scrapes against the window ledge is the spring home to a pair of New Zealand pigeons. These are the most robust bellied of the pigeon species. A bit like the jets, one feels awed at how these rotund chaps actually acquire the art of ever becoming airborne and how they manage to suspend themselves upside down in the delicate filigree-leafed branches to devour wads of sprigs. If one obliquely squints in the general direction of the tree, one would wonder why some lunatic had planted two rugby balls up there. Below the tree is a pastoral scene, where four horses graze contentedly, their blankets, which have protected them from the wet, cold winter, newly removed.

The land of the long white cloud is indeed just that. Bulwarks of clouds scurry, build up to a crescendo and vanish with the click of a celluloid frame, to reveal a fabulous rainbow arched from one end of Auckland to the other. There are generally four moments in a day — sun, clouds, rain — then the rainbow. One dresses accordingly. It’s the land of layered garments.

In the three months of living here, I’ve grown to love the place. I love the quirkiness juxtaposed against the phenomenal orderliness. In so many ways it’s similar to home, yet it’s diametrically opposed — the lurking paradox.

Talking of rugby balls, there’s the same rugby mania here, with cars adorned with little black flags, the way the blokes at home have their Springbok and Sharks banners out. And talking of rainbows, believe me, it’s a far bolder multi-hued rainbow nation than South Africa can boast. In my work organisation alone, there are over 10 different cultural groups and/or nationalities.
On the converse side from home, it’s a land that’s receptive to its constant metamorphosis. There’s a constant flux as people come and go. Some go to big brother, Aussie, and some arrive from South Africa, China and India, among others. Helen Clarke, the previous prime minister, talks about a brain gain as skilled immigrants arrive, whereas South Africa bemoans its brain drain.

It ticks over to near perfection. It’s thrilling when one is phoned to say the garden furniture will be delivered at 10.07 am and, oh boy at seven minutes past, there’s a knock at the door. It’s a zero-tolerance country on law and order, and having hailed from a laissez faire system (a polite way to put it), one truly has to learn to dot the i’s and cross the t’s to ensure not getting a fine. It’s a real skill being an accomplished Kiwi and I’m still getting there.

Clocks are here for a reason, not as decorative wall features. And the work ethic is intensive, as it’s the only way a country of 4,5 million people can operate profitably. Labour is limited, so mechanistic contraptions can attend to anything in a jiffy, 24/7.

From the loo window I can see that things are hotting up in our neck of the woods. Elections were held recently in New Zealand, which was fun to survey from the sidelines as a persona non grata. And yes, if I was the new prime minister, there are things I’d aim to change. There’s no Nirvana, but globally speaking it functions impressively away from the hot spots on th
e planet (other than the potential volcanoes  * 

It’s a place that works, regardless of the world’s larger forces. Being part of the global village, though, sadly means that negative social influences and the global recession have infiltrated this gloriously pristine place. But it has a rich heritage and a titillatingly metamorphic vibe.

• Eve Hemming was a local headmistress before emigrating to New Zealand.

* And of course I must add the sad reality of earthquakes subsequent to having this article published.


  1. You've sure shared a very brilliant thoughts about the place, I love how you defined your happiness and gratitude with the comfort you've found with that. Finding a true home is finding one's peace of mind and heart.
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  2. Thanks Sophie. Appreciate your deep thinking response. Warm wishes Eve :)