The grass is not so green
My sincerest apologies for my complete and utter lack of posting. I am quite busy completing my registration as a pharmacist [I have a law and ethics interview in 3 weeks that I feel somewhat obligated to pass]; I also have gotten hooked on staring at our wood burning stove for hours on end.
Last weekend, we began house hunting, and found our dream home. Sadly, it is a bit out of our price range...even sadder, it's only around $400k (US). It has a mostly separate guest unit (with it's own entrance, bathroom and kitchenette). If you would like a luxurious place to stay while you visit us, please consider purchasing a Lasko NZ Time Share. No contribution is too small or too large.
A short aside on looking for a house in New Zealand: Unlike the US, there are no buyers agents. The seller has a real estate agent (unless selling the house him/herself); while the agent may appear to be your best friend, he/she has a fiduciary duty to the seller to get as much money out of you as possible. It is very common for the listing to not include a price--homes are often sold by auction, or even worse: "tender", which is like a silent auction where you don't know the starting bid. The seller is not obligated to accept your offer, but you are obligated to buy if your offer is accepted. Open homes are popular, but they typically last only 30 minutes. An agent may show all of his/her current listings in a single afternoon (one after another). NZ real estate agents seem to be unfamiliar with staging; showing a freezing cold home is not unusual. Moldy shower curtains are also not out of the norm. PS: Proper Kiwi etiquette requires pointing out all the things wrong with the house (to the agent) as you walk through it. (IE: "There's mold on that shower curtain" or "Every window in this house leaks"). If you don't do this kind of thing, the agent will wonder why you're not buying it.
Back to something slightly more interesting (at least to Nico): Otatara Pa
There are heaps of sheeps walking around Otatara Pa.
You may have noticed that these pictures are far less green than others I have posted (particularly if you look back to one of our 2009 trips). It takes quite a bit of rain to keep the hills green, and we are in the driest part of New Zealand. (Though as I type this post, it is raining a wee bit.)
And for those of you who have been following my beloved automobile's journey on facebook, it is supposed to arrive in Auckland tomorrow. We're planning for a weekend in the big city to pick it up.