The first time I drove our car was on 90 Mile Beach, driving along the sand, watching the ocean tide slowly creeping in towards the shore, no speed limits, just sweet sweet freedom...for a specific amount of time. I lasted all of four minutes behind the wheel. I realized that life as the passenger was much more fun for me... plus it meant I got to take awesome photos!

The second time I drove our car was on the Coromandel Peninsula. It was all of a 2-3km drive, down the big, long, windy Mana driveway, across the main street and parked by the ocean, where I proceeded to have a very enjoyable hour or so long walk with Shanti. The walk was wonderful. The return, not so much. Even though it was the middle of the day, the big, long, windy Mana driveway was covered by trees, making it a bit dark, so of course, I put on my lights....

There are some benefits and some drawbacks to having the same car in New Zealand that I have at home... the drawbacks: Things aren't are automatic with NZ Camry as they are with Canada Camry.

Long story short, Shanti and I ended up having to flag done some very burly men to jump start my car when the battery was dead due to the lights being left on. 

Luke laughed at me when I finally told him what happened.

The third time I drove our car was to a job interview. Even though the shop was about a ten minute walk down the road, it was a stormy, windy, cold, rainy day and well.. I had done my hair. So, off I go, driving myself, down the road. The interview went really well and I was quite happy and excited to tell Luke and my roomies when I got home. So I parked the car outside our flat, made sure to lock the door and skipped my way into the building. 

A little while later I had an urge. An urge for PIZZA! I don't know about you, but when I get the urge for pizza... it's going to happen! I LOVE pizza!! One of my favourite foods by far! Sooo, even though the world seemed against us getting pizza (the website was down, the phone number didn't work right away and our favourite show was about to start) we managed to order, for pickup. The night was still very stormy, windy, cold and rainy, so we automatically went to the car to grab our pickup pizza. We hopped in, mouths watering, anticipation building (mainly because we didn't quite understand the pizza lady on the phone and weren't entirely sure what kind of pizza we should be anticipating...) and...Fail. The car wouldn't start. 

Luke looked at me and we both realized what had happened at the exact same time... the lights. 

"Oooooopssssiiiieeee..."

So, out of the car we got, into the stormy, windy, cold and rainy night we went, walking, against the wind of course, hair flailing every which way, rain pouring down our faces, Luke yelling at me, me yelling at Luke (all with a hint of laughter as it really was rather entertaining)

"IT WAS AN HONEST MISTAKE"

"WHY DID YOU EVEN TURN THE LIGHTS ON?"

"I WANT MY PIZZA"

etc, etc, etc

Eventually we got our pizza, ate a piece, walked back home in the stormy, windy, cold and rainy night, managed to catch the last few minutes of our show and went back outside to flag someone down to hopefully jump our poor drained Camry. 

"What did we learn..."  


That Deanna is not destined to be a Kiwi Driver.
 
 
The game plan for Luke and I when we first decided to bring New Zealand adventures into our lives was to travel for a few months, or however long our somewhat limited Canadian funds would last. After the traveling, we would partake in the true kiwi way of life, we would find a flat and earn some dough! Real working kiwis we be! The place to do so: Mount Maunganui! A beautiful small town on the East Coast of the North Island known for its long, white sandy beaches, cafes and restaurants and Mauao, a local hike with beautiful mountain top views. Logically, when one's funds are low, it would make sense to find a job before a home...however, Luke and I aren't often logical... and so... we found a home! This is the story of how it all began...

It was apartment hunting day and we had three appointments scheduled - one for a basement suite all to ourselves, one for a beautiful second story apartment with friendly flatmates and the third one we knew absolutely nothing about. So, smiles on, sunnies on, off we went to find our new home. The simple act of driving around the Mount on a sunny day is enough to put anyone's worries and stress at ease. We took a few moments to take in the big rolling waves of the ocean, the people bustling about in the shops and cafes and the big, beautiful dormant volcanic cone, Mauao, or The Mount. "ahhhh" escaped both of us as we realized that this city was a wonderful place to be, regardless of what apartment we chose. 

Once all apartments were visited and we had foolishly claimed we would give them a "yes" or "no" by the end of the day, Luke and I set out to find a seat by the ocean to have a drink and a think. With lots of discussion, we opted to eliminate the basement suite because it was just a tad too "eclectic" for our taste. We opted to eliminate the friendly flatmates simply because they lived quite far from town. So, by the process of elimination, we chose the mystery apartment. 

This apartment was stunning! It had beautiful large windows, two balconies, a big, open living area and was very nicely furnished. The flatmates would be a friendly couple from Chili with broken English. The only thing weird about our new place was this really strange, uncomfortable feeling that something wasn't quite right...

I have had quite a few moments of "I KNEW that was going to happen... OMG... I have intuition... that works!" throughout my life. Because of these moments, I paid attention to this little twang of unhappiness I felt regarding our new home and contemplated about it. Luke thought I was completely mad for not being as excited as him about our new place. The moment we walked out of it, before we had even seen all three places, he had an ear-to-ear grin and was ecstatic about the beauty! "This is the nicest, fanciest place I'll ever have lived in." And I'll be honest, I wasn't so sure that I wasn't mad. It didn't make sense. Like I said, this place was beautiful!! But, I kept my feelings to myself, we drove back to Terri's house and we got geared up to move into our new home the next day. 

The timing of our scheduled move-in had been a bit vague but was for sometime in the afternoon the next day. So, after doing a bit of work around Terri's place to show our appreciation for all that she had done for us, we put on our job hunting duds, packed our car full of all that we own (which really isn't much), and made our way to The Mount. It was about 2:30pm and the plan was to drop off some resumes, scour the town for "help wanted" signs, move into our new home and crack our bottle of celebratory champagne. wooohooo!!

As we drove in to town, we received a text from our new "flatties" stating that move-in time was 8:00pm... clearly a bit later than we were anticipating. I responded asking if it was alright to have the landlords downstairs let us in but was told, "no" and to "please wait for us...we will be home 7pm now". We were definitely a bit peeved at this change in plan and couldn't figure out a reason that we would need to wait around town all afternoon and evening instead of just talking to the landlords. Now we couldn't take sweet sunshiney moving-in photos. Fail!

In an attempt to keep our moods high, we decided to start on the job hunt. We both went in to a number of places, and both came out with upside down smiles on our faces as none of our prospects were promising. We ended up feeling even more defeated. Fail!

It was finally close to dinner time so we decided to buy a cheap bottle of wine and find a BYOB restaurant to enjoy a nice long, time-passing dinner at. Turns out The Mount has none. Fail!

Sooo, what do you do when all else fails and you're broke and feeling defeated... hit up the BK Lounge, grab some grub and park by the ocean to watch the beautiful sunset behind the mount. Finally, while chowing down on our greasy burgers, we felt happy and our smiles came back. Success!

 
 

Mount Maunganui
My New City

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View from the top of Mount Maunganui
And I live about 4 blocks from the beach. 
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Our Backyard
New Zealand, you've outdone yourself!