Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The eagle has landed

We're here! Actually we're well into Day #4, and there's so much to tell you! First we'd like to share a couple pics we shot of our beautiful city. This is Wellington Harbour, where Jake and I took a walk on our first full day. We've gone running along the boardwalk there the past two mornings as well. 

The weather has been absolutely spectacular here, although everyone we meet tells us we're very lucky to have this many sunny days in a row. Below is a shot of the skyline on the waterfront. KPMG's building is one of them, but I'm afraid I can't identify it in this shot. I think Jake's crossing his fingers for a harbour view from his office, but we'll see. And yes, I said harbour. :)

The reason it's taken so long to check in with you, dear readers, is that we've been focusing on finding a house to rent and a used car to buy. Jake's been fantastic with learning how to get around the city and even how to drive on the "wrong" side of the road. It's been pretty strange to ride in the left-hand side of the car without a steering wheel or brake pedal, but I'm getting used to it. I'll try driving before long, but not quite yet. We've visited lots of neighborhoods and rental houses, and actually missed a good rental today by 30 seconds -- no joke. Some of the neighborhoods are high up on hills like the one behind me in this pic. 

In the meantime though, we're in a nice little temporary apartment in the heart of Wellington. We like it, but we're definitely looking forward to unpacking all the bags and settling in. Did we mention that all nine of our checked bags made it through our four flights perfectly on time? Nothing was missing or broken. An amazing feat of aviation coordination! Although of course they charged us $144 more than they'd quoted us on the phone, but whatever. We're happy to have all our stuff. 

Our first 36 hours were spent napping, doing a bit of unpacking, wandering around our new city, coordinating with the front desk for a key that would work on our room door, and reading the operating instructions for the clothes washer, the oven and the dishwasher. You'd think they'd be easy to figure out, but neither of our master's degrees were of any use whatsoever. 

We're chilling out at home right now before we head out to celebrate New Year's on the harbourfront. I guess NZ (pronounced "inzed"; not yet sure why) is one of the first places in the world to see the New Year, so that's kind of cool. 

Everyone we've met has been so warm and welcoming. Our experience at the bank when we set up our account was just spectacular. Before we left the states, Jake and I had an absolutely infuriating experience with Commerce Bank. At our bank here, people are friendly and know what they're doing -- I wanted to hug the lady who set up our account. We're really looking forward to meeting some folks and seeing much more of this place. 

Oh yeah, and after all this big talk about sheep, we haven't seen a darn one of them. Sheep count to date = 0. 

Love you and miss you all! We'll check in again soon. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our emotional baggage is checked.

We're here at KCI looking at our plane from the window. Should be headed to Denver shortly. Check out some shots of all the bags we've been lugging around. Whew -- we were happy to get those checked in. I think Jake's back is ready to give out. They were all packed strategically to be about 49.3 lb., just under the over-weight-limit-fee range. 


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Wichita! We are here visiting Jake's family and friends before we head out on Friday. We've moved all our valuable possessions into storage at my folks' place in Mooresville, Mo., and had a good visit with my side of the family. I'm glad we got to see some snow before leaving, but I could have done without the ice storm and five-degree weather. I'm not sure how often we'll have access to phones and e-mail over the next several days, so we'll check in as often as we can and we'll let everyone know our contact information.

For now, our plan is to head back to KC tomorrow (Christmas Day) afternoon and stay in a hotel near the airport. We'll need to return our rental around 9 a.m. and be at the airport by 10 a.m. to check in all our bags -- all 450 lb. of them. From KC, we fly to Denver, San Francisco, then the big 13-hour flight to Auckland, NZ, then just a one-hour hop to Wellington. Supposedly, someone from our relocation service will pick us up at the airport and take us to our hotel. That's the plan, anyway.

It's hard to believe it's almost time to leave. Lots of monkey moods going on ... happy, excited, sad, confused, tired... But it's all good. We'll check in again soon!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Takin a bite outta the big apple

As we mentioned before, we had the chance to run up to New Jersey for an orientation session with KPMG about Jake's upcoming assignment, so we took the opportunity to visit our friends Mike and Karessa in New York. Jake's been there a few time, but I'd never been.

This is just outside Mike's place.

Okay, wrong camera setting, but doesn't it look like they're having an awesome time? Things just seem to move faster in New York, I guess.

So we headed out to dinner, and to my surprise and delight, I learned that Mike lives just down the street from Times Square!

On Broadway, we stopped in this little place called the Stardust Diner, where all the servers are Broadway performers in between gigs. They all took turns singing, and I was able to snap this beaut.

"Cue the van... now say cheese..."

Okay, call me a small town girl, but I've never seen an auto-TP dispenser, so I HAD to document it. You certainly have to crank your own paper towels though. Not sure about these New Yorkers...

And then we came to eat at a little French restaurant, where we ate with Mike and Karessa, and also with Robb Shutt, one of Jake's colleagues who works in NYC. Fantastic food, fantastic sites, fantastic company to share it with.

Our going away party at Shark's

Lots of photos to share, but I have yet to figure out how to post a actual slideshow. Until then, I'm afraid you're going to have to scroll to see all our crazy friends. We got together last Saturday night with some folks out at Shark's, a pool hall not far from our place. 

Aaron and Jami organized everything -- you guys are the best! 

Erik and Asher

Mike and Lea Ann

Gretchen and Lisa

Christy and Erik

The Swearingens

Corey and Lea Ann

That's Asher on the left, and I'm afraid that's me on the right. Who knew I'd turn into a dancing queen after a couple drinks?? Not long after this shot was taken did I swing my arms wildly (in a super-hot dance move, I'm sure) and knock over a full glass of water. Of course it landed all over the electric cables on the floor in front of this guy with the guitar. Whoops! It probably scared the bejesus out of him. But he escaped electracution, I got him a new drink and we were soon grooving again. 

Thanks everyone! We had a great time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

N Y C Ya Later!

Jake and I are in New York City -- the third (and final?) stop on our nationwide farewell tour -- and what do you know, I've forgotten the cable that allows me to download photos from the camera. So you will have to wait a bit longer to see photos from the Big Apple and from our KC going-away party from Saturday. I didn't want you to think we've forgotten you, dear readers.

Also, anyone in KC who'd like to help us load up the U-Haul this Thursday night around 7 p.m., we have free beer to pay you with.

Love the comments everyone! Keep them coming.


Friday, December 12, 2008

The great fishermen

I think Jake made sure his assignment in New Zealand wouldn't start before he could go on the annual December fishing trip with the guys. He's there now, and apparently it's a huge competition. Whoever catches the big one has bragging rights for the year. And apparently it's a pretty dangerous undertaking ... word is that Aaron got a bloody lip yesterday wrestling a fish. (The report was unconfirmed, so he could have just tripped over a tackle box.) Thanks Nick, for sending this photo in from the lake. Hope you guys are having fun!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Welcome to Vegas Baby!

The second stop on our nation-wide farewell tour was Vegas! We just got back from an exhausting weekend of the usual Vegas shenanigans. Jake and I went there about five years ago when our friends Aaron and Jami got married, and it was great to visit again. 
We went with Jake's favorite Golden Tee partner (I guess they also work together) Mike, seen below on the right with his wife Amy. We also got to meet and hang out with Amy's sister Pam and her husband Corey. 

The day before we left for Vegas was my last day at work, and so a few of us went out to celebrate (or mourn my leaving, however you'd like to see it) at Charlie Hooper's in Brookside. It was a great opportunity to visit with some folks and say goodbyes away from the office, and to try out an actual New Zealand beer. Thank you Sharon for organizing everything. I will definitely miss all the awesome people I've worked with there. But for now, I'm certainly enjoying my retirement! 


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hang in there...

Whew! We've been totally busy with dealing with the travel agent people, the relocation people, the KPMG folks (in the U.S. and in NZ), the insurance folks, U-Haul people (they're actually pretty awesome) and storage people. No joke, last night Jake and I sat and did four hours of paperwork. All those e-mails are hard to keep track of. But it's coming together. We now have a binder with all the important stuff divided into well-labeled sections, and it helps me relax. 

All this on top of our jobs, although my last day at work is two days away. I'm excited about what's coming up, but definitely feeling sad to leave the folks I've worked with for seven years. That is a big chunk of my life. But I think it's time to welcome my next chapter... as a lady of leisure. ;) Well, at least for a while.

Hang in there, dear readers. This blog will surely get more interesting when we get where we're going!