Sunday, 30 November 2008

Did you know...

- that most people in NZ I know don't have health insurance? Yes, NZ has ACC which means that if you are in an accident (road, mountains, work etc) the state will cover medical help. Furthermore the public health sector will help with all creepy and scary diseases as well, but with a 6 months waiting list it might be too late...
- that I am still very Dutch so I like to be insured
- and that my insurance will cost me only 15 euro per month. Isnt that hilarious? Back home it was 120 euro's!

- you can do free language courses at my school, and handy creative courses for 16 dollars (8 euro)...but not me, because Im not a resident. Or summerschool courses for 100 dollars, but for me 500 dollars, because I am not a resident.
- that a visit to the doctor is 6x more expensive for me because I am not a resident
- that getting some medication for a resident is 5 dollar but for me 55 dollar? Because I am not a resident...

So that, and because I just really really like it here (no surprises there I guess?), made me decide to get residence. I just heard that my application is accepted and that I now have to prove everything I claimed to be. Don't you love paperwork?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Castle Hill

Time flies when you are having fun!! So just a brief post about 3 weeks ago when I went bouldering at Castle Hill with Hamish, Amy, Steve, Michelle, Belinda and Patrick. Bouldering is climbing without a rope (I can read my sisters and my mums mind now: 'and WHY would you do that, you fool?').

Basically it is climbing but you stay low at the ground and you focus a lot on your technique: so you don't really climb high up, but more short climbs while someone can still catch you if you fall. Which I did of course, and I cut my hands open. I managed to do some great stuff and got stuck at the end at this rock which just did not agree with me...damn. Have to go back.

Truly a great sunday: Steve, Michelle and Belinda were hilarous (one picture Steve is helping good boyfriends do!) and especially Hamish -and yes also Patrick- were in great form. Im such a beginner...But hey, they might be better rock climbers, I'm better at climbing trees and houses...

Monday, 3 November 2008

Cass Saddle / Lagoon Saddle

The other weekend New Zealand had a long weekend (three days off!) so Berit and I decided to make the most of it and head out of town for a overnight tramping trip. The day before we left the weather was horrible which made me feel like cooking which resulted in a culinaire feast on the tramp itself. Berit nor I ever had a home made 3 course meal while tramping and I think some of the people in the hut were very surprised too to say the least (if not jealous...!) Especially when I took out the bottle of wine (ok ok, for this occasion in a plastic bottle to keep the weight down)

The trip was in one word superb. Since it was really bad weather the day before, we had heaps of snow and it was freezing on the first day and almost summer on the second day. The rivers were quite high, so we got to practise our rivercrossing skills...The track was very diverse (forrest, tussock, riverbeds etc) and I was in great company: Berit and I had some good chats and great laughs.

But I guess pictures say it all...And considering that the sun was too bright to see what pictures you were taking I think we did pretty good!


I have been raving about the fact that Christchurch is so close to the hills, Port Hills to be exact, but it's time for some visual help to understand why I love it that much.

One initiative which is definitely worth mentioning is Wednesday Walkies. The mother of a friend of my friend Michelle organises a 2 hour walk every Wednesday (that explains the name!) around the Port Hills. We gather at 7 PM and every week I get to see a new part of the hills. Most of the people in this group are my parents age, except Michelle, Steve, Michelle's flatmates Amy and Hamish and I. But don't be fooled: we sometimes have to run to keep up and while the 'older' bunch is cheerfully chatting and laughing away during the hike, we are often gasping for air and focussing on the walk...I have never met such fit people!

Last week we went to Diamond Harbour and I have taken some pictures of the bay, Lyttelton harbour, the sunset (yes, we hike with a head torch!) and one of the beautiful dogs which accompany us along the trip.

Have I told you lately that I'm in love with New Zealand? Well, I am. Deeply. Very much. And I think New Zealand loves me too...