Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
It's been nearly a week since we arrived in Nelson, and time has really flown by. Despite the quick passage of time, we are just now starting to feel settled and really getting the lay of the land, and learning the ins and outs of our new job. Between getting settled here, we are very much enjoying happy news of a brand new baby back home, and hashing over all kinds of plans for our return- which suddenly seems right around the corner.
**You may notice a new shiny green badge in the sidebar of my blog. Matt just discovered the 350 Challenge, and if you have a blog, I encourage you to add the badge to yours. When you add it to your blog page, the Challenge offsets 350 pounds of carbon in your name. The more badges there are on blogs, the more readers will see them, and chances are those readers have a blog- and so it pays forward. Click on the badge to read more **
At home here in Nelson, we have finally gotten all of our clothes into drawers and gotten situated in our room, done a giant grocery shop and planned a menu for the next two weeks, and yesterday found ourselves a couple of used bikes that we will be ready for us on Tuesday, with a buyback that means they will only cost us about $50 each! I haven't been on a bicycle in six months, and am looking forward to commuting on two wheels again.
(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
There is a guitar here, which Matt immediately took advantage of by learning some new songs!
The bright and sunny living room (lounge).
Our room, with the necessities of life: surfboards and a writing desk.
Tonight we got started on our weekly bit of garden and house work in exchange for our share of the utilities, pulling some weeds and doing some cleaning around the house. It feels oh so good to get my hands in the dirt again- it's been quite awhile since I worked in a garden. The garden here is a delightful tangle of tomatoes, herbs, grapevines, and geraniums, and we are so enjoying cooking with fresh herbs again- basil, rosemary, tarragon, sage, marjoram, thyme, and lots and lots of parsley!
Blossom, the ancient, smoochy, and (benign) tumorised resident feline.
At work, we are now fully into the swing of things, having had all kinds of product knowledge hammered into our heads, and in between setting up for the Easter Sale are now able to properly fit tramping packs for customers, explain the difference between different Gore-Tex jackets, and give the run-down on all of our member benefits while trying to sell as much as possible to every customer. I sound snide, but ultimately it's actually a really fun job and the work days fly by very quickly with so much going on. As you're all probably aware, I'm not a huge fan of consumerism, or retail for that matter. In this case, I've made peace with working in a field that is contradictory to many of my beliefs, not just by the fact that it's a job and I need it, but because we are selling (for the most part) products that help and encourage people to be active and enjoy the outdoors. And also, it's temporary.
So far Matt and I have worked all the same shifts, and our manager is kind enough to try and give us the same days off, which isn't always possible. Starting Monday, we'll be working different shifts, but mostly on the same days, overlapping in the middle of the day. I work the early and openings shifts, and Matt comes on at 10 AM most days and works through the end of the extended sale hours. We work with a team of really good and fun people, and are both pretty much enjoying ourselves, despite trying to remember a billion different things at once- info on all the products, how to organize and "action" things coming from the stock room, set up displays, and do various kinds of intricate transactions at the till. It's really interesting to learn the ins and outs of yet another industry, and very nice to have full-time employment for the next couple of months.
With everything else we've been working on, we haven't had a chance to get to the beaches here yet or do a whole lot of exploring. The weather has mostly been lovely (Nelson is one of the most reliably sunny places in the country) and we have gotten to know the CBD (Central Business District, i.e. Downtown) decently well, and have been driving partway to work and walking the last mile or so each day, so we get exercise, cut down on petrol, and see a lot of Nelson by foot. When we get our bikes, we'll be able to bike on the Railway Reserve, a paved trail that follows an old railroad grade, from the bottom of the hill we live on, all the way into the CBD- pretty handy, and a beautiful ride.
Some views from the living room:
Strangely, it barely feels like fall here at the foot of the sounds. A week ago, up in the high country, there was absolutely no doubt that it was autumn, but down here the climate is incredibly mild and the seasons change about a month later than they do in the mountains. So we're enjoying a bit of Indian Summer as we head toward April, the southern hemisphere equivalent of October.
After work snack, and a shameless plug for a delicious drink that I'm pretty sure is unique to this corner of the world: Bundaberg ginger beer, from Australia.
The sweet frittata we made for dinner tonight, with ham, potatoes, and sultanas in it.
Tonight's moonrise from the sunroom.
The lights of the Nelson 'burbs just after sunset.
I know it's not epic beaches and highland musters, but hopefully all of you are still enjoying our travels vicariously. I promise we'll get to exploring the area more soon, and share our findings here! There are so many amazing things going on in this little region, there is plenty of epicness to be had, we just need the time to find it!