Friday, April 25, 2008

Sonic Adventure

K. This has nothing to do with New Zealand, Auckland, or anything about my time over here so far - except for that today I downloaded a lot of awesome music.

I downloaded some new bands and some not new bands. I was inspired by the music from the jPod soundtrack. I now have Fink, Cinematic Orchestra on my iPod, and I added to my collection of Bonobo and Chromeo.

I also downloaded the new Portishead, The Black Keys, and The Raconteurs.

My head is exploding as we speak. I've been wanting to have a nap for the past 5 hours, ever since I got home from the ANZAC Day ceremony at the Auckland Museum. I thought being in bed would help me sleep. Not really. And listening to awesome music isn't helping me sleep because I get WAY too excited. I'm thinking of just putting it on my iPod and going out for a really long walk. But I'd like to nap first. Sigh.

I've also made a 10-hour long playlist for Mark's party tomorrow. It consists mostly of The Corb Lund Band, Elliott Brood, Neko Case, The Sadies, and all the usual suspects (Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tones of Home

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kia Ora Mixtape

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Thank you friends! Thanks for the invitations, the stories, the wine, the venison, the music, the bread-slapping, the laughs, and, most importantly, your open arms.

(pics to come)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Personality Types

Turns out it's not where but who you're with that really matters.
- Dave Matthews, "Best of What's Around"

Travis and I are learning how to live with each other. The other day we were discussing Myers-Briggs personality types. Travis is a INTJ. Apparently that means you're a brilliant judgmental intuitive introvert. I think this statement (from the wikipedia article) sums up his personality to a T.

INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake... INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play... Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel... This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals... Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.

Here's another excellent article on Caring for your Introvert. I really laughed out loud at parts of it... apparently Travis really is an introvert.

Travis kept sending me all this information on how he was an INTJ... and I said, "I can take the hint - I'll leave you alone!"

I took a weird online version of the Myers-Briggs personality test. I told Travis, "The questions keep repeating, but I'm answering differently every time!" But, apparently that's how they distinguish one type from another.

It turns out I am a INFJ. I am also an introvert, but then again I already knew that. This is what wikipedia says about INFJs:

According to Myers-Briggs, INFJs are conscientious and value-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear vision, which they then execute decisively to better the lives of others. Like their INTJ counterparts, INFJs regard problems as opportunities for them to design and implement creative solutions.

Travis read somewhere (I have no source for it) that INFJs and INTJs are a well-suited match. Now that we know "pseudo-scientifically" that our personalities jive, we also know how to deal with one another. So, when we get into heated discussions, it basically comes down to either one of two things: 1) Travis wants me to be more reasonable, or 2) I want him to be more affectionate.

Try the test... it'll take about 5 or 10 minutes - the outcome is interesting. You'll find out exactly who you are if you didn't already. ;)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Latest Email

[my latest email to family... enjoy]

So, we've changed time here in NZ... I believe we're now... 6 hours off of saskatoon. I thought we were moving to 4 hours off.... but it's 6. Sorry if I told people the wrong way before. (according to my computer's clock, Saskatchewan is 7 ours off Auckland. I think this "clock" needs a fixin'.

Today Travis and I went on a wine tour on Waiheke Island. We want to move there (not going to happen, btw). It's really really nice. 35 minute ferry ride to downtown Auckland. We were told by our tour guide that real estate has boomed there in the last 15 years, and in the last 10 years the price of housing increased 700%. Ya. 700%. But it's gorgeous... it was basically where all the hippies moved 30 years ago, so we were told that if you want to invest in property, buy property where hippies currently live because it'll always increase in value in 25-30 years.

We went to 3 vineyards, a brewery and an olive estate. Very interesting. Did you know that olives are basically inedible off the tree? I didn't know that! They're either made into olive oil, or soaked in water for 5 weeks, changing the water every day (to get rid of the bitterness), and then soaked in brine for another few weeks, then they're ready to be stored or canned or whatever. But it's quite an involved process to be able to eat an olive. All 4 olive oils we tasted were certified extra virgin - the extra virgin olive oil you buy in stores is not actually extra virgin... that classification is a misnomer. To be declared extra virgin the oleic fatty acid content must be below 1%. As well, all 4 olive oils we tasted had a very grassy flavour to it. It's really weird. The woman who gave us the tour told us that one of the oils would have a "fresh cut grass" flavour... but we thought all of them had a grass flavour. Shrug.

Yesterday was a really, really laid back day. I did a bit of work, and re-potted some plants. We cleaned the house, and returned Emma's car. We jogged back. I'm having a hard time walking today because I had a personal training session with my neighbour, Paul, on Friday and he worked me to the ground. Shuttle runs, lunges, squats, leg presses, some boxing, push ups, and do it over and over. UG. So my feet are really sore today after the big workout on Friday and running yesterday.

Travis is doing well. He's planning to go to some area where they have Kokako birds on Thursday - he's doing his research on locating Kokakos using an array of microphones placed in the forest... so he's going to do some initial analysis this week. I told him given enough notice I'd come out to be his assistant. I don't think 4 days gives me enough notice to bank up some extra work time... plus, it would include waking up before the crack of dawn, since the kokakos start making noise early in the morning. Arg.

That's all I've got. I haven't written many emails recently since I started my blog. I hope to write one or two posts on the blog per week, and they won't really be the "what I did this week" type of posts.... it'll be more the perceived cultural differences between here and Canada, or just weird things that Travis and I have noticed. We've got a list of things that I'll write about in the next little while. I also plan to post more pictures on there soon, too. Also, feel free to comment on the blog. Here are the links to our pictures and to my blog:

Talk to ya later! And Happy Birthday Uncle Bert!

Amy and Travis

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pedestrianism in Auckland

If you visit Auckland, there are a few traffic tips you must be aware of, especially if you are a pedestrian.

A general word of caution: you are taking your life into your hands walking anywhere in Auckland. This means on the sidewalk, too.


  1. Avoid crossing the road

  2. if the first point has you continually walking around the block, you will need to break rule 1.

  3. Pedestrians do not have the right of way. Anywhere. (except crosswalks, and they're rare, so drivers regularly forget to slow down for you)

  4. Sidewalks, or "footpaths" are general guidelines for where pedestrians should walk. Be especially careful when walking near carparks (parkade), alleys, or anywhere else where it looks like the sidewalk has a slight dip in the curb. Cars are almost always coming from below or above (in the case of parkades), and will take a run at getting up the slope, so if you're at the top of the slope, be prepared to either:
    1. stop to let the car pass in front of you or
    2. run like hell to get out of the way. I suggest #1.

  5. Waiting at traffic lights will take forever, especially if you forget to press the crosswalk button. These are on EVERY street corner. If you don't press this button, you will not get a walk light, and you will stand on the corner waiting and waiting for no cars to cut in front of your path, or until someone comes to press the button. Even if the button is pressed, the crosswalk for your section of street might not get a pedestrian crossing light for what will seem like 10 minutes, which is the reason most people jaywalk.

  6. You can jaywalk. It's the fastest way to get anywhere. I'm not sure if it's legal. Everyone does it. And, unlike in Saskatoon, if someone starts to walk in the middle of the street in what SEEMS like the middle of traffic, no cars will stop to let you by. You wait in the middle of the street until all the cars have left, then you boot your ass across.

  7. Always look in ALL directions before crossing the street. There may be a car doing an illegal U-turn in the middle of the street and decide that he wants to run you over in the process. Be aware of these people at all times.

  8. The cars drive on the left side of the road, therefore you're expected to walk on the left side of the sidewalk. That might help you get better prepared for driving on the left side...

  9. Walking times. Say you have looked on google maps where you'd like to go. You've used the distance measuring tool and you've found that your journey will be 2km. You figure that will take you X amount of time to get there. Add AT LEAST 50% to your time. You need to factor in hiking mountainous streets, waiting at street lights, and getting lost. Not every street is marked at every intersection. If you don't know what street you're on, you might need to walk a little ways until you find a street sign, especially in residential areas (Travis said, "I'd say most streets aren't marked").

I may have missed a few. I'm starting to get the hang of walking in this city. I can't wait for you to visit!

Friday, April 4, 2008

On the Road Again

Driving is something I've done since I was 12 years old. I learned how to drive in a wheat field, as did most kids who grew up on farms in Saskatchewan. Driving a car is a right of passage on the prairies. You then get your own car, and you drive that car everywhere. Having said that, you wouldn't imagine how excited I was to come to a big city and not have to worry about driving a car.

There are drawbacks to not having a car in this city. For one, Auckland is a city that is very spread out. Despite the city having smaller houses (by Canadian/Saskatoon standards), the houses closer together, and built on hills to maximize land usage, it is a city that is VERY spread out. I wanted to take a dance class... the class is in Botany Downs. I live in Newton. To get to this class it would cost me $6.60 and 90 minutes on the bus... one way. There is no way I'm spending more on transportation than I would to take this hour long dance class. Fortunately, the rest of everything we need is within walking distance. When I say walking distance, that means within 3km. If it's farther than 3km, we will walk one way, and take the bus home.

Travis and I like to go camping. Not having a car makes it a lot more difficult to pack up and head to the beach on a whim, pitch the tent, and have a weekend away from the city for cheap. If we had to, we could rent some gear, hop on a bus, arrive at a bus stop in the middle of a town and try to figure out how to get to the nearest camp site, and it's probably not close to the beach at all. It's fall now anyway, so we probably won't be going camping until spring. However, fall here so far is MUCH nicer than a Saskatchewan fall...

Upside to not having a car... we don't have to pay for gas, buying the car (duh), insurance, parking, parking, parking, gas, and worrying about hitting pedestrians.

We did go for a drive the other day. Both Travis and I were really apprehensive about driving on the opposite side of the road for the first time. Fortunately, Emma's car is an automatic, so that made it a lot easier to learn. Both of us had issues with remembering that the signal lights are on the right side of the steering wheel, and the windshield wipers are on the left. I always wanted to grab the gear shifter with my right hand... I'm a dominant left-handed driver - I prefer to use the steering wheel with my left hand so I can keep my right hand on the gear shifter. Instead I kept my arm out the window. Travis was my "left side man" - he made sure that I didn't get too close to traffic, curbs, etc on my left side. I did pretty well, but only in comparison to him. I had to yell a few times "TOO CLOSE! TOO CLOSE!" He was also a bit more tense than me, and he had a harder time with the signal lights. Those windows were getting wiped a lot.

We made it to our destination and back unscathed, so I figure it was a successful trip. We needed to load up on things that were too difficult to carry back on the bus - like shelves, coffee tables, terra cotta plant pots, plants, groceries, table legs... and we made sure to go FAR to make the trip seem worth while. It wasn't that far. It was only 9km from our house. I think we're giving the car back tomorrow. Neither of us really have the desire to take Emma's car out joyriding now that it's the weekend. Too much traffic, and not enough patience to deal with Auckland drivers, which I will discuss at a later date.

... Coming Soon to a Blog Near You ...

Pedestrianism in Auckland - Taking your life in your hands