I’m losing track of how many snippets I’ve posted, so this is the next one.
1. The long awaited job.
Yep, I started working for real today. Up to now I have just worked for the Salvation Army on a volunteer basis but today I started a real job for real money. I am working for a specialised printing company as their business development manager for South East Asia, doing a business plan for how they can enter the very attractive markets in Asia. I have already spent some time with the people and know their processes quite well, but today I had an even more in-depth orientation. A very fascinating industry because it is unusual – it spans printing and painting – but that is a technical discussion for when there is a lot of beer on the table.
Suffice to say that I now leave the house before Jules in the morning and arrive at work at 8:00 – a mere 25 minutes after driving out of the garage (as opposed to 90 minutes on a good day to Midrand). I will be doing a lot of research and planning, then an implementation plan over the next several months. It is a good business (with global reach) which is small enough to have a family feel but large enough to make an impact. This is exactly the type of job I had been discussing with Pearson but they deemed it totally impossible to operate from NZ…
If the plans work out I will be travelling a lot (again) but we’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it. I am very excited, motivated and happy. Traditionally Karen and I leap into our swimming pool fully clothed when one of us gets a new job, but this time the ritual will have to wait until (1) we are both here and (2) the water in the Tamaki strait is warm enough to jump into (clothes or not).
2. The long-awaited school term
Jules started her second school term today (they don’t do workers’ day here). They also have a different winter and summer uniform so we had to shell out some more money for new shirts, skirts and a scarf.
For winter the school uses the tartan of the Macleans family, but just for the girls, fortunately. One is spared the sight of teenage boys waltzing around in kilts. Jules was happy to get back to school. This holiday contained just too many days of pure vegging blamed on in the weather.
Winter is here because it is rainy and dark, but it is not cold yet – I guess that is still coming. The rain is also generally very light, just the occasional squall and then nothing for a few hours. Highly unpredictable but not really very intrusive.
3. The last holiday excursion.
For the last week or so we have had two boys in the house. Connor Boyd and Michael Kruger are on a gap year touring the world one backpackers at a time. They had spent several months on the south island exploring the terrain around Christchurch (including the earthquake) and taking in all the adventure that is to be found down south. They had kayaked with the dolphins, bungeed down a cliff and sky dived before black-water rafting through a cave.
After all this excitement it was time to come to quiet ole Auckland for some R&R. There was little to offer them in terms of thrills and they are not really urbanophiles so there was a lot of vegging and watching videos with the odd excursion to a fair or a museum.
So on one of the last days before they left, we thought it would be good to go back to the zoo, but the weather was a little damp so we thought we would go to the museum right next to the zoo which offered a little more shelter. MOTAT is the Museum of Transport and Technology – that is what most Aucklanders call it, but to Jules it was TMBPOTP “the most boring place on the planet”. It really is a boy’s place: housed in a disused water pumping station from the turn of the century it has many big machines driven by steam with charcoal devouring furnaces linked to giant boilers linked to equally giant pistons which move enormous shafts which turn huge wheels while emitting steam, noise and the intoxicating smell of oil and fossil fuel combustion. Boys like this. The three of us were fascinated. Jules was bored to tears.
While we poked at machines, pressed buttons and pulled various handles, she rolled her eyes and started irritating the boys just for a little diversion. She was mildly more excited by the overview of computer games – from the very first Nintedo games to the very latest ones. They even had the ancient (but still working) game of screen tennis (two paddles, one net, one square object flying hither and thither. She and I played space invaders for a while but then it was just more BORING machines and cars and trams and yadayada.
But then things perked up considerably when she discovered the stocks towards the one corner of the museum and there followed a jolly good medieval internment for her and Connor. I forgot to bring my rotten eggs with me so we were limited to smelly verbal abuse which I relished.
In truth the museum is meant for younger children and it is in need of curatorship. It is owned and managed by the city council and there are clear signs of neglect and insufficient funds. There are some displays with no signs or explanations. Much more could be made of the atrefacts they own, and the few attempts at interactivity could be greatly expanded. But we had a nice day out anyway.