Monday, 24 October 2011

Rugby madness

Finally we've come to the end of six weeks of Rugby World Cup 2011 here in New Zealand. The average New Zealander probably has no idea what's happened in the rest of the world during this tournament, because there was nothing on the news or in the papers that was NOT rugby. And there will probably be a couple more weeks with 'analysis'...

Anyway, the final between France and New Zealand was an unexpected thriller and great to watch. I was literally jumping up and down on the couch, texting with Age, who was watching the game in Adelaide, and texting with my brother Maarten in The Netherlands, who apparently also watched the game there! The All Blacks won with only one point difference.

Here a report of these txt conversations during the match, which started at 9pm.
(A Try for NZ - 5 points to NZ)
9.17pm - Age: Try!
9.18pm - Evelyn: Are you watching the game, eh? Those French made a blitz-start, didn't they?
9.18pm - E: He missed!
9.19pm - A: Yes, shit
9.19pm - E: That's already the second one he's missed

9.30pm - E to M: Rugby final now: try for NZ
9.30pm - M: That kicker Leepu missed already three penalties
9.30pm - E: Yes, that's not very good, isn't it. Weepu.
9.40pm - E: Aaargh overextended knee
9.40pm - M: Softie, he's just tired
(When NZ's number 10 got carried away from the field after his knee bent the wrong way)

9.40pm - E to A: Aargh overextended knee, eeeeks
9.41pm - A: Yes, couldn't see it properly, but doesn't look good, eh
9.41pm - E: Yuk yuk
9.44pm - E: Ooooowwwwww
9.44pm - A: Woooeaaaaaa
9.44pm - E: Pfewww
9.45pm - E: Ow, punching each other now
9.46pm - A: Just a bit of teasing and provoking, eh

(Halfway Break)
9.56pm - E to A: Cup of tea, dishwasher is running, cookie
9.56pm - E: Finished my cookie
9.56pm - A: Tssssk.
9.57pm - A: I still have to have dinner - I can't cook right now
9.57pm - E: Yes that's impossible now. I had chicken and satay for tea
9.59pm - A: Yummm

9.59pm - E to M: Second half now.
10:00pm - M: Predictions from the analists here: France is going to win
10.00pm - E: Awww really? That wouldn't be good for NZ's self-esteem.

10.01pm - E to A: I'm texting with Maarten, he's watching the game also. Comments during the break in The Netherlands: France is going to win!
10.01pm - A: Nah, that's not going to happen

10.01pm - A: Wow, that looked quite good, eh
10.03pm - E: What, from France? (no idea what he's talking about really)
10.03pm - A: That kick
10.05pm - E: Different kicker
10.05pm - A: Donald
10.05pm - E: Duck
10.05pm - E: Whoooaaaa
10.06pm - A: Goal!
(8 points for New Zealand now)
10.07pm - E: Aaaaarrrgghhhh
10.07pm - A: Shit
(Try for France, which makes it 8-5)

10.07pm - E to M: Eeeeeks a try!

10.12pm - E to A: They're getting a bit nervous here, the commentators. They think France is currently performing better than the AB's. They're running just that little bit faster and seem to want it more.
10.19pm - E: The commentators aren't very happy anymore

(Somewhere here the French scored 2 more points, which made it 8 to 7 for NZ)

10.25pm - E to A: Olala
10.25pm - A: Yes, that wasn't very good
10.26pm - E: It's not very good at all anymore

10.31pm - A: Nice kick
10.31pm - E: Yes! He's making his World Cup debut here in the final
10.33pm - E: Ooowwww
10.33pm - A: Hahaha
10.35pm - E. Six minutes left
10.36pm - E: The commentators are expecting a dropgoal from the French anytime now
10.36pm - A: The AB's got to show them something soon
10.37pm - E: Sonny Bill Williams, Sonny Bill Williams

10.37pm - E to M: Ah hotshot SBW in the field now
10. 38pm - M: Is that Kiwi slang for Handsome Maori?

10.43pm - E: Aargh
Final whistle - New Zealand won 8 to 7
10.44pm - A: Pfffff
10.44pm - E: My goodnesssss

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Cosy together in the bathroom

Age has a nice new friend in the bathroom. He does hide and seek now and then: one day he's sitting quietly in the corner and the other day he's gone. And the next day he's back!

This one doesn't fit in the category 'slap with a shoe'.

- Evelyn

Friday, 14 October 2011

Bye Ziva!

Today I've brought Ziva away to the vet to be put down. I just couldn't face it anymore seeing her all day long and thinking 'I have to bring you away soon'.

Her back end wasn't getting any better and she ran out of time.

Very sad, although Ziva's been really happy all along.

- Evelyn

Monday, 10 October 2011

Got the job!!!

Yes yes yes!!! Got an 8-month contract at the University of South Australia as Instructional Designer at the Division of Health Sciences.

I will be responsible for the design, development and implementation of an education model in the context of Aged Care.

For insiders, this means:
1) setting up a training and mentoring program to enhance clinical supervisory capability;

2) developing a structured orientation program that inducts students and staff to aged care inter-professional placements;

3) and developing the contents of the Aged Care programme.

All in all a broad range of tools and resources will need to be developed, including online.

Woohoo, start 7th November.

- Evelyn

Friday, 7 October 2011


Ik heb de hele avond al zo'n lol over die NS plaszakken!
Ieder uur komt er weer een nieuwsberichtje bij met een mening van een of andere betrokken groep en verdwijn ik onder de tafel van het lachen!

- Evelyn

New blog added in links

Now and then things change a bit in the right-hand menu. I've just added another blog, which may be interesting to follow. It's from Maaike, someone I know from rowing, who has sailed the world, met a farmer and lives with her farmer in France. Her life on the farm can be followed on her blog.

Her blog is written in Dutch. Maybe the google translate module can help a bit :-)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sleepless night

Yes I know, we kept to ourselves the last couple of days, but that had its reasons:
  1. Age is working now, and is the one with the mobile internet connection. Long story short: I'm not so well-connected at the moment :-)
  2. We have been busy with our new car
  3. We have been busy with a lot of other things, you know, like cooking, reading a book, walking along the beach...
This sleepless night I mentioned in the title has to do with 'the perfect car buying scam'. The scam works as follows:

Look for a car on the internet. Find one you like from a very kind private person, not a dealer. Make sure the car is as far away located from you as possible, in a tiny village. Test-drive the car on the weekend and be really happy with its performance. Agree on a price with the owner and pay a $200 bond that you arranged beforehand from the bank, where you just opened a bank account because you are new in the country; because of that you haven't got the money yet, as it is still underway from New Zealand to Australia.

Receive a receipt that you have paid the bond. Then the long weekend starts, and banks don't transfer money on holidays, so the first possible day you can pick up the car is the day the money comes through, which is Tuesday. Arrange with the very kind owner to pick the car up on Tuesday after work. Because you have found this car as far away as possible, it will be a trip of 1 hour to get there, but you are looking forward to that too, as you get to drive back in your new car, and even have dinner somewhere on the way back.

Arrange with the rental car company that you will return the rental car you have been driving all the time that evening. Get yourself picked up from work by your girlfriend with the rental car and start the pleasant drive to your new car's destination. Your girlfriend has been busy all day getting the money sorted. This precious cargo sits safely tucked away somewhere in her handbag. The very kind owner preferred cash above a bank cheque, so the handbag is a lot heavier than usual.

You are enjoying the ride very much, as you are reading the map and just found a lovely scenic drive down to the coast where you are going to. You arrive at the destination, the car shines beautifully and is ready to be picked up. The very kind owner has arranged the necessary form, and together you'll fill this out. The money is handed over and finally the car is yours. The owner is sad to see the car go. You can't wait to get in the car and go. So off you go then, with your girlfriend driving the rental car. The girlfriend thinks the car looks rather cool, when driving behind the new car.

You and your girlfriend are quite hungry, so you decide to have something to eat near by, in fact about 1km from where you picked up the car. You both have a hearty meal of home made hamburgers and fries, with something to drink, and then decide to go home, but get some petrol first. Your girlfriend gets in the rental car and drives to the nearest service station, about 500m away. She gets her petrol, pays and finds it strange that you haven't showed up yet. She digs in her handbag for her phone, where she finds your message: 'the car is dead'.

Hmmmmmm. That doesn't sound all that well, does it? So I drive back to find Age sitting in the BMW, which does absolutely nothing, not even the interior light works, while everything just worked fine before dinner! In the dark (it's evening after all), we try to read the owner's manual, you know, that lovely booklet that comes with your car, which you only touch when something is not quite right. Our first thought is the battery of course, but that would be really strange, as there were no signs at all before that there would be something wrong with the battery.

So then we thought of the key. We had the feeling the battery in the key (and we only got 1 key) was flat, and we figured that the key communicates with the electrical circuit somehow, so maybe that was it. So off we went to the service station again (with the rental car), where an ultra friendly staff member helped us out. Yes, they had a battery for our key, yes they had the tools to open the key. All fixed within a minute, we would be underway soon.

One thing we found in the manual was that after changing the battery in the key you have to reset the key with tons of difficult steps like pushing the left button on the key 3x in a row, then also the right button, then turn the key in the ignition while you press those buttons, turn it back, release pressure from the right button, etc. And then the central locking mechanism should click into place and it would all work again. So Age, our master programmer, tried it 20x, but the car was still dead. We looked under the bonnet, but couldn't find anything wrong with the battery and/or the fuse box. Everything looked lovely under the bonnet (in the dark).

Hmmmm. What next?? We rang the very kind previous owner, but he had never experienced anything like it before, and is not a mechanic, so couldn't help us further. Fair enough.
Then we rang roadside assistance. We weren't members yet, so had to sign up on the spot for assistance: ka-tsjing: $280. As we were in this beautiful far away town, roadside assistance would be with us hopefully within an hour - they had to come from Adelaide. It was only 8.45pm, so not that late...

Fifteen minutes later (!), a local tow truck suddenly appeared. The friendly faced tow trucker had a battery pack with him, and hoped that that would help. It didn't, our battery was just fine, but the car wasn't doing anything. Very strange, he thought, but he could tow us away to a nearby yard, where they would repair the car first thing in the morning. We had no other choice, as we were stranded on a parking spot on the main road in this village, a parking spot where you were only allowed to park for 2 hours.

The friendly faced tow trucker said that he understood our concerns, but we could trust him, as he was police vetted. And we could drive with him to the yard, to see where the car would stay for the night. So we gave him our one key, and he got to work and placed our car onto his tow truck. We started to make some pictures, as somehow this started to feel like the perfect scam to us.

We followed the truck to the yard, where a car repair workshop was, and the tow trucker unlocked the gates and reversed in. Before he got our car off his truck, he asked whether we had insurance on the car. Not that anything would happen to the car, it would definitely going nowhere behind the gates, but you never know. No, we only had third pary insurance, which we thought was enough. It would be a bit strange to insure the car at 10pm at night. Luckily for us the tow trucker offered to ring a family member who worked for an insurance company who may be able to do something. But no thanks, we didn't think insurance was necessary.

So he got our car off the truck, locked it, and placed a note for the mechanics under the wipers. We also got a business card so that we could call the repair company the next morning. And Age asked a business card from the friendly tow trucker.The towing bill was $55. Then the tow trucker left and we went in our rental car back home to Adelaide.

But not really. Either everyone in this village was incredibly friendly, or they were all involved in the perfect car scam. We drove away... and took the first left after a few kilometers, and again, and again. And were convinced that we would see the tow trucker again, with a bunch of other friendly locals, busy getting our car whisked away from the yard.

But our car was still there when we arrived back, and there was no one else. So reluctantly we drove back to Adelaide, where we had a bit of a sleepless night, well, what was left of it.
The next morning, Age is taking his shower (a loooonggggg one to wake up) and his phone rings - at 7.15am or so. The mechanic: they had found the BMW with the note, they had had a look and found out what was wrong: one of the contact points of the cable from the battery to the fuse box was corroded and so the cable was split in halve (if I understand it correctly). We could pick up the car in half an hour if we wanted to.

Plain bad luck. No evil locals!
The previous owner of the car felt really sorry after he heard the story and offered to contribute whatever we wanted to compensate for the expenses we made.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


 We almost missed this Koala, as it wasn't sitting high up in the trees where we were looking, but quite low at our height!

 Age's busy making a pic of the Koala.

Sunbathing turtles

Evelyn in Glenelg, reading the news + email on phone.

 And... our new car.

It's a long weekend here now: labour weekend. We're all a bit confused at the moment, as since today we have daylight saving too (missing an hour!). Tomorrow is Age's last holiday before work commences on Tuesday. That means that I'll have to sort myselves out from then on :-)

Besides buying a car we've been busy opening a bank account here, and sorting out how buying a car works, insurance, and getting an Australian drivers licence. We found out that the temporary work visa we have at the moment is quite restricting in some respects: we can't get a credit card for example, or buy a house. It looks like working towards permanent residency will be one of the next things on our list after we're a bit more settled in.

Work-wise for me there are some things happening too: I have been asked to do some more instructional design work for a distance polytechnic in NZ, and on Thursday I'll be having an interview with the University of South Australia for an 8-month instructional design project, starting early November. Exciting!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Our first spider!

So we're sitting on the couch in our new apartment (next door from our previous apartment), where we have this antique fire place. Painted black, with a white border.

And suddenly, while watching tv Age says 'o'. And there is our first creepy crawler: a white tail spider. Crawling from the blackness onto this bright white boarding.

We recognise it, as we have them in NZ too. Of course this particular one is a lot bigger than any of the white tails we've seen before. Doesn't surprise us as everything is bigger here.

Anyway, a slap with a shoe and then some prodding with a kitchen utensil and it's gone to white tail heaven. That's what Age promised me, as I wasn't sure he actually hit it - i was sure it disappeared back into the blackness.

Age said that if it survived this treatment he'll immediately go back to NZ.

- Evelyn