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Cate in NZ

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Everything posted by Cate in NZ

  1. Wow, hello again. Can't think how many years it's been since I last visited and I'm gobsmacked that I remembered my log in! But I'm glad to see that the forum's still chuntering along nicely although it looks a bit different these days. Anyways, I'm just procrastinating from study so had an odd impulse to drop by again! Best wishes to all in Omlet land.
  2. No, I wouldn't choose to live in the UK again, assuming no major change in my circumstances. I used to be a major contributor to this forum until around 4 years ago, & those who knew me then may remember some of my agonies re emigrating. My husband was a police officer in London, rapidly approaching his 30 years service & probable enforced retirement, but he got a job offer to transfer to NZ police. I, at the time, was very bored in my job, but in a comfortable little rut really & with 2 teenaged children. I loved the idea of emigrating, but had any number of panic attacks around the whole issue of leaving friends & family & uprooting to the other side of the world. However fast forward 5 years (I arrived here June 2008) & it's the best thing we ever did. I've only been back to the UK once, last year, & whilst I loved catching up with friends & family (including some Omlet friends) I returned to my NZ home with a sigh of relief. I love our life here, great friends, kinder climate, smaller population & I haven't sat in a traffic jam that didn't feature sheep for years! Scenery is lovely, beaches, bush, mountains, also volcanoes & earthquakes! Swap all this for my old life in the UK? Not a chance! Teenagers are now young adults, over here they can afford to drive & insure their cars & both are at uni building good careers for themselves. Which may or may not feature future work experience in the UK. Most young kiwi's travel, having knowledge of their "whakapapa" (family history) is pretty much a Maori cultural requirement & kiwi's travel to discover where their ancestors came from. My 2 have the passport to get into Europe without stress, so I expect them to return, almost a right of passage. It was a big move for sure, I had so many doubts, but no regrets. So, yes, given the opportunity I'd encourage anyone to travel overseas & experience life in another country. It doesn't have to be forever after all.
  3. Another good one, especially for sending photos, is eBuddy SMS. Free texts & the facility to fancy up your photos with word bubbles, text boxes & pictures. Can obviously used for lots of very sensible normal texts, but unfortunately I seem to have got into the habit of indulging in lots of silly text conversations featuring lots of joke photos & silly captions. Great fun & worth a try. I assume it's available over there, if it's got as far as tiny, ever so slightly backward NZ it's surely readily available in the UK.
  4. Hmm, not sure I'd describe myself as "dying off", more moving on maybe. For me I'd been a very enthusiastic contributor to the forum for several years, logged on several times a day, got involved, arguably sometimes over involved in forum goings on and made some amazing friends. But then my life changed, dramatically, when we emigrated. Suddenly I realised than I needed to get out & make new friends or else I was going to have a very lonely, unsocial life over here since I didn't know anyone in NZ except my husband & children. So I logged off & went out & started joining things & meeting people. Since I no longer keep chickens, or watch British TV, or even really keep up with British news any more suddenly I was finding that most of the general chatter on the forum didn't really engage me any more. I very rarely log on these days, only it's a wet, windy, winter evening here now & I'm idly browsing the net & relaxing in front of the fire, in preference to getting of my bottom & preparing tea! But I have made some amazing friends through Omlet, whom I try to keep in touch with on Facebook, & I was even lucky enough to be able to meet up with a couple of ex forum friends when I was back in the UK on holiday in May. In retrospect I went through a stage where the forum assumed too much importance in my life, & I feel happier, & in many ways healthier, now that it's only a teeny tiny part of my life, but I will always be grateful for the friendships I made here. Life does very much go on, even after the forum starts to lose it's appeal or relevance!
  5. My suggestion, for what it's worth, would be a voucher for a pedicure once little one has arrived. When you're pregnant you spend months not being able to reach your toes, and it's just nice to have a little bit of pampering. Of course it's not something she'd be able to take advantage of immediately after a c-section, but a nice treat for her to be able to look forward to. Especially if there was someone else, (a kind Aunty maybe ) who'd be able to look after the little ones for her whilst she took the time out for it.
  6. Sturdy, comfortable & closed in (you spend many hours on your feet, & the oddest things drop, or drip onto your feet during a working day....hence the closed in suggestion!). Rubber soles for nights.....nothing worse than a nurse on nights clumping around in noisy or squeaky shoes. Things that seem soundless during the day can make one heck of a racket at night when everyone's trying to sleep and you're trying to creep around without disturbing them. Typically nurses shoes aren't elegant, unfortunately attractiveness is never a factor when you're working on the wards, but seriously this is one area in which comfort & practicality has to rule over style every time.
  7. It was all a bit edge of the seat wasn't it. Plenty of adrenaline (& beer ) flowing these parts last night, I can tell you. Unfortunately I missed the Haka, too busy tootling around doing other things, but there's been lots of positive comments on it, the French team have been praised for recieving it & responding appropriately....even Maori TV went to great lengths to comment on the French response. It was, apparently, pretty unique to have a Northern hemisphere team accept & respond to it, it being very much a pacific island thing....and a huge cultural thing for Maori. Seriously, there's a haka for anything, & it is a process of them performing & the person/ team/ whatever to whom it is being done recieving it & responding. Good result though, thank goodness
  8. Normally I'm one who shies away from too much Christmassy stuff too early, but this year is looking like an ex ception as my sister is coming for the entire of December! I'm planning a roast ham, heaps of salads & probably a pavlova with lots of fresh strawberries. Every Christmas I've spent here so far has been too hot to even contemplate a big stodgy meal so light & fresh is the way to go. We'll follow that with maybe a walk around the forest or taking a boat onto a lake, maybe go for a dip. A Christmas trip to the beach is inevitable, but that'll be either Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. I've done no shopping whatsoever yet, but no worries, I always wait until December to tackle that chore & it'll be easier this year as my sister has agreed to take my family gifts home with her so I needn't worry about postage. I'm really, really looking forward to Christmas this year!
  9. Oh, thank you Omletina, that is such a kind offer. But I couldn't expect you to post anything over here, besides, unfortunately, we have a different DVD system, NZ are on a different region to UK ones & I'm not sure what the difference is, but it does mean that most UK dvds won't play over here. Thanks again for your kindness though.
  10. It's going to be a good match I'm sure, but I've got my fingers firmly crossed for England. It's all incredibly sociable around here, everyone's having a great time, lots of English fans in town over the past week, stopping off en route to Auckland for tomorrow's match . We're off to watch the match with friends at their home tomorrow, lots of food, drink & cheering I'm sure. My daughter & I went to watch the Ireland v Russia match last weekend since it was at the stadium at the bottom of our road. The atmosphere was amazing .....first rugby match I'd ever actually attended, & it was such an experience.
  11. Oh, Slaithwaite is lovely, such a pity I'm unlikely to watch that show (as far as I'm aware it's not shown here). One of my oldest (as in duration of friendship- we went to primary school together) & dearest friends is a dairy farmer in Slaithwaite..... if you get doorstep milk deliveries it could well be from my friends cows!! I know they have a thriving local milk round. I do love Yorkshire though......even though I was actually brought up in Lancashire.
  12. Sheila, I'm not sure what to say, I can't believe what a horrible time you're having at the moment, & I can't begin to imagine how devastating this must be for you. I am glad though that your Mum went peacefully & I seem to remember that she was elderly and not in the best of health. I know that that doesn't make the loss any easier to bear....that's still another shockingly big hole in your life, but it seems more an acceptable, end of an allotted lifespan, passing, than the total, shocking tragedy of losing Shep. You are so much in my thoughts at the moment, I send you so much love & good wishes, & hope that you are being well supported and comforted by family, friends and some very good memories. Take care.
  13. There's been some brilliant matches, & great scores, as well as some big suprises so far in the RWC...I didn't expect to enjoy it, but I'm finding myself glued to some of the matches. Wales beat Samoa this afternoon The Ireland v Australia match was incredible, I would never have predicted Ireland to beat one of the great rugby teams...but I'm over the moon that they did. Now for England v Georgia this evening. I've got the ironing basket lined up and the tv booked to watch the match...if the tension is as great as it was yesterday evening (Ireland/ Oz) I'll probably not make much headway on the ironing though...but the intentions are good. You're right Daphne....sport is huge here and the Kiwis seem to live & breathe it.....and they're dreadful losers. They expect to win this year, and to be fair the All Blacks are in great form, and it is on home territory so expectations have to be high. But if they lose there will pretty much a state of national mourning I'm sure
  14. I'm finding it pretty much impossible to ignore!! So much excitement & they're all warming up for the opening ceremony in Auckland now, saturation coverage on tv at the moment. I'll be watching it with Kiwi friends tonight.....go the All Blacks, & I'm lucky enough to have 3 matches at our local stadium, 10 mins walk away, so will be going to watch Ireland play Russia there.
  15. Sheila, you are in my thoughts. I'm not sure if I'll be around with a glass or cuppa at the appropriate time, what with time zones and all, but if I have been thinking so much of you over recent days. I hope the day goes smoothly for you & that Shep is remembered in the way that he, and you, and the family, all deserve. With much love. x
  16. Sheila, I am so sorry to read your news. What a tragic accident! I simply can't think of any words adequate to express my feelings, but you are in my thoughts and prayers at this terrible time. Sending you much love. Cate
  17. Aww Lesley it seems incredible that things just seem to be going from bad to worse for Lauren, I had really hoped that there would have been some progress for her by now. She, and all the family, show such courage, dignity & strength in holding everything together. My heart goes out to Lauren, I hope that things start to improve for her very soon, and whilst I'm no longer a regular contributor to Omlet forum, I do still thing of you regularly and am in awe of the way you keep on coping & smiling & being there strong & supportive for her.
  18. It's a long time since we had au pairs, but we had a short series of au pairs when our children were little. Steffie from Austria, Janna from Czech Republic, Christina from Valencia & Thea from Denmark, all of whom were fabulous. Although Janna was really interested in maximum income (she was a hard worker though, my house has never been so clean as it was when she was living with us, she did housework for relaxation!!) & when she found out that there was more money in elderly care than child care she moved on quickly. I'm still in contact with Steffie & Thea 15 or so years on. Our horror story was with Indre from Lithuania.....we got cocky & thought we could do a private arrangement, she told us she was Danish, we didn't check sufficiently & ended up with an illegal immigrant who was work shy & didn't like children! She left very abruptly when she shacked up with a much older man locally. She was very attractive though, tall willowy, long blonde gorgeousness and I think she achieved what she wanted to. I think her hand was forced when she realised we were putting 2 & 2 together about her immigration status, & had reported her to a friend who is a senior immigration officer. I'd go with the suggestions about setting firm rules from the start, let them know what you expect, remembering that they quite possibly are used to doing things in a different way, but do treat them as members of the family and give them the opportunity to share bits of their culture & language with you. High points of our time with au pairs was coming home from work one day to 2 children & Steffie in a flour filled kitchen, all of them covered in flour & dough & mess, but so very proud of the apple strudel they'd made for tea, & another time Thea entertaining my children on a snow day building little igloos in the front garden. I drove home from work on a cold, dark, snowy evening to find the front garden filled with glowing, tea-light filled mini igloos. Even thinking about it now makes me smile. I have to say I always felt very strongly about giving them enough time off & the opportunity to study. I knew a lot of people who used au pairs, paid them the minimum wage & expected them to work all day whilst the parents were out at full time work, & I tended to feel that that veered on exploitation. My opinion though & I guess it worked well for some....Janna would certainly have liked me to have worked her harder (& paid her more!). I think though that when it works an au pair arrangement can be a fantastic experience for all concerned.
  19. Paola, wishing you a safe trip back & I hope that you settle back into UK life quickly & easily.
  20. Thanks for the responses, I'll definitely check out that link Squiffs. I'm blowing hot & cold on the idea, there are some real benefits, it would be great to have a base while we're back in the UK rather than camping out with friends & relatives, or moving from hotel to motel to B&B & all the grief associated with continually moving around, and of course there's the advantages of having someone stay in our home. We might even find someone who likes sheep & willing to tickle their chins & top up their water for us whilst we're away. Our girls like a bit of attention! But I'm not good at being trusting....I worry more about the potential for identity theft than actual theft if I'm honest...we'd move valuables to a friends' place for safe keeping & top up the insurance on everything else. But it's probably hard to disguise your identity when you're doing a swap, and of course we do still have established identities in the UK which could possibly be targeted and misused by someone with bad intentions. It's a bit scary. And the getting everything else spotless before the swap could be a challenge Thanks for the input though...definitely given me a bit more food for thought.
  21. I think it depends on the maturity of the child rather than chronological age...also on how easy the journey is. If there are changes for example those can really throw out an otherwise straightforward journey. I'd suggest doing the journey with your children first, looking for landmarks to help reassure them that they're on the right route for when they're doing it solo, and so that you can assess how easy, or otherwise the trip is. You can, hopefully, deduce from that how well you think they'll deal with it, and, should they end up ringing you en route because of any concerns you'll have a mental picture of the journey so you can reassure them. Or panic if you don't recognise where they are! For what it's worth I think I'd have trusted my very switched on & alert daughter to make a long journey solo at an earlier age than her brother who would have lost himself in his ipod, gameboy (which was his travelling companion of choice in childhood) or cellphone and completely missed his stops, probably emerging from his game induced trance in Inverness or somewhere similarly way past the intended destination. I take it from that that you're planning on returning to the UK in the near future? Goodbye Singapore then? Good luck with your future plans.
  22. English, fluently and the only language in which I can confidently hold a proper conversation. Welsh, used to speak it well, but not lived in Wales for a very long time and forgotten most of what I ever knew. Oddly enough I can understand it far better than I speak it these days. Maori, long, long way from fluent but working on it & improving all the time. French, just a smattering of O level (whoops, showing my age there!) French...can often communicate what I want with a lot of gesticulation and good will to go along with the few words I can remember how to string together. Anything else, maybe a few odd words here & there but really not a hope of making myself understood.
  23. We're planning a trip back to the UK next year, my first trip back since we moved out here in June 08, & I'm busily trying to work out the arrangements. Problem is we're travelling as a family of 4 adults, so whilst we've had many offers of accommodation from friends & family I'm not sure that too many people would be able to accommodate us all comfortably or for long. So we're looking to book accommodation for the time that we're there. But 4 weeks in June is looking to be fairly prohibitive, besides which we will be wanting to move around a bit, from Kent and London, to Wales, Yorkshire and Manchester, with a few other stop offs en route....hence we're seriously considering a house swap, which would give us a base from which to move around. I know there are a couple of websites that help with advertising and arranging swaps, & I intend to surf them carefully, but there's nothing quite like personal recommendations/ experiences to help point out the pros & cons. Has anyone in Omlet land got any experiences of house swapping? I'd be very grateful for any opinions or advice to help me decide if this is worth seriously considering.
  24. Just caught up with this. To echo Sheila thank you for the updates, and thinking of you and the family. Sounds like you've all had a tough time, especially Lauren, but it sounds like she's proving to be a strong young woman. Take care
  25. Another ex forum regular here just checking in to say hello, I remember you both well Rachel & Martin, great to have a quick update on old forum friends. Gina I'm so sorry to hear about Thelma, but it sounds like she had a good long life with you. Bet your garden seems just a little bit emptier without her out there. I too am chicken-less these days, missed keeping them for quite a while but my life has moved on a fair bit with children heading off to uni, 3 sheep, 2 dogs & full time work so I've managed to fill the chicken gap in my life. Really good to hear from you all, hope that you both manage to revive the chicken keeping hobby Rachel & Martin.

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