14.05.2017 - 14.05.2017 16 °C
So many dolphins.. not enough whale!
Benanna's 14th country
14.05.2017 - 14.05.2017 16 °C
So many dolphins.. not enough whale!
18.04.2017 - 21.05.2017 14 °C
Auckland has been almost all work and little play for us. It's nearly time to fly back to the UK for a couple of months to sort our lives out, aka - sort through the piles of boxes of stuff we really don't need but left at Anna's Dad's place. We know all our hard work will pay off once we come back to New Zealand to do all the exploring, and we are incredibly excited for this too.
Where to begin... well Ben has been promoted to manager at our work place as Albert, the current manager went off to get married. Ben has now completed his 3 weeks management role and he did that well at it that they offered him a full time job as manager, a pay rise and even offered to pay for his flight back! They are super sad to see him go at the end of this week, Ben declined the job offer to move onto bigger and better things in the world of design and illustration. Anna has also been promoted to team leader as she is one of the best fundraisers in the office. She hits her weekly targets and so happily accepted the pay rise. Lots of hours work and pay rises means great saving, so we look forward to heading back to the UK with full pockets. Working in the city has its perks, sometimes we eat out for lunch and one day we even tried sushi.. adventurous I know! Unfortunately we have had to work more Saturdays than expected due to public holidays and the phones breaking on more than one occasion. And being on the phone fundraisers.. the phones up and running are kind of a key aspect of the job!
We did take a bit of time out of work as we won movie preview tickets to a film called Get Out. We arrived and were greeted by Vodaphone staff who handed us free popcorn and escorted us to our seats. It was a really good movie and we would recommend a watch. It was worth taking the evening off work for it considering we never win anything.. ever!
We have been trying to do something touristy every weekend to break up the office work. One weekend we headed to Waiheke Island. We got the ferry over and had an all day bus pass to explore the beaches, cafe's and boutique shops. It is a lovely island as you can see...
Of course we have found the time to head to Auckland's outlet shopping centre. Not only are we addicted to discount bargains, but it's bloody cold here now and we needed some jumpers! It is as cold as 5 degrees at night now, and we are facing a lot of rain and wind. We are ready to head back home for a couple of months to miss the worst of the winter. Of course we have also had to purchase some umbrellas. We miss having a car! Over the past 6 weeks, we have managed to get through 4 seasons of Lost, so I think that demonstrates how bad the weather is!
On our last blog post, we amused you all with some crazy cat stories, so as promised here is a picture of the crazy cat...
We finally have gotten around to sitting down and booking our tickets back. On the 31st of this month, we will be flying to Vienna, spending 3-4 days there which includes seeing Anna's favourite Bruno Mars with tickets right at the front! Then we will head to Heathrow where we will spend a week in London before heading back up North to be reunited with all our clothes! We are so excited to see all our family, friends, belongings and CLOTHES. Living out of a backpack for a year and a half has been tough, and we are glad to see the back of it now. We are ready to come home and indulge into our wardrobes. Once we get home we also plan to get our websites up and running for all our projects we set up in Australia so that when we return to New Zealand around August we can freelance and say goodbye to backpacker jobs, and backpacking in general. Thats right guys, we plan to come back with suitcases!
On another tourist weekend we went whale watching. It was absolutely freezing cold and we only saw one very shy whale right at the end of the day. We were so disappointed but we did see hundreds and hundreds of dolphins that were all swimming right around our boat! We will definitely be booking another whale watching trip when we get back, we are determined to see Orcas which are often seen right by the city!
Ponsonby road is the foot capital of Auckland. We have been here a couple of times now enjoying what the foodie scene has to offer. One night we headed for an asian place but for those of you who read our Australian blog posts... it was no Rice Paper Scissors. We also met Anna's friends from back home, Davie and Julie-Ann. Julie-Ann was Anna's old manager from a waitressing job 6 years ago back in the UK. It's so funny how your paths can cross, it's a small world. They have lived out in NZ for the past 2 years or so now and we enjoyed chicken and their best Auckland hints and tips. When we return to NZ we plan to fly to Auckland so we can finish our touristy adventures before heading to Wellington to live. Julie-Ann has even offered us her van which has a big queen size bed in it to help us get around the North Island. Now we are even more excited to head back!
As it's only a week until we leave, we decided to cook our housemates dinner as a farewell. Ben made his signature lasagne which went down very well. Anna made 2 desserts which wen't down even better, banana choc chip loaf and hot apple cake. Mmmm. That weekend we also had American style pancakes with bacon and syrup... it was a good weekend! Sadly we didn't get any pictures.
Just before we leave, Ben has decided to develop an awful itchy rash in a mad allergic reaction to something unknown. We spent last night in A&E for 4 hours where he received steroids in all forms. Hopefully it sorts him out. We are hoping its the pets or the washing power or something. Last night we discovered that NZ has the highest rate of asthma and eczema in the world due to the pollen. As Ben is asthmatic, this is not good news. Hopefully he isn't allergic to NZ or we won't be coming back after all!
We have enjoyed Auckland the best we could over the last 1 and a half months considering the weather and all the work. Everyone seems to thinks it's really expensive here but we find it ok. Good wage, ok rent, cheap food if you go to the right places. Apparently Wellington is cheaper and is a better place for us to kick start our careers so onwards and upwards we hope!
P.s. Below is a link to where you can see Anna's images from last few shoots in Oz and Nz:
And here is a praying mantis...
Our first two weeks
02.04.2017 - 17.04.2017 20 °C
What a lovely surprise.. a posh Emirates plane! After flying around Australia with Jet Star, it was a pleasant upgrade. We planned to sleep the full 6 hour plane journey to avoid jet lag as much as we could. But once we sat in our seats, fluffed our pillows, spread out our blankets and flicked trough the free and recently released movies on the mini tv's on the headrests, we knew we wouldn't be sleeping for a while. What surprised us the most was all the free food and drink that kept arriving.. we had dinner, a mid night snack and breakfast, not to mention a few different forms of alcohol. We barley slept, but it wasn't because of the excitement, it was because planes are rather uncomfortable.
We landed 30 minutes early and arrived early hours in Auckland. We headed through immigration and were rather disappointed that we didn't get a souvenir stamp. Damn technology! We collected our bags and went through nothing to declare. It turns out New Zealand are quite strict in the customs department. It probably didn't help that Anna forgot to declare her 'hiking equipment'. Her dirty walking boots that hadn't been work since the station. Luckily we passed inspection and were on our way. Whilst we were waiting for the Uber to come and collect us, we grabbed a shitty maccies and decided to buy some NZ sim cards. Organised I know. Auckland's airport had a lot more to offer than Perth's, and we were in the arrivals section! We were off to a good start.
We piled into the Uber and were on our way to our Airbnb. The journey was just so... GREEN! It was very refreshing after living in the dessert for the past few months. We arrived at our Airbnb and met the couple we would be house sharing with, and their pets. A dog called Bayley and a cat called Leo. We weren't too social as we fell straight to sleep, we felt right at home in their lovely house.
When we woke up we headed to the local supermarket and stocked up. We were actually a bit surprised at the lack of fruit and veg and how the food shopping was actually more expensive than in Oz. Then again, we were spoiled by Spud Shed (the cheapeast of the cheap). The following day Anna had her interview at a cafe in New Market. We hopped on the bus which ended up driving straight passed New Market and into the city. Being the panicky tourist passengers, we rushed to the front of the bus and the driver seemed rather embarrassed as she forgot which bus she was driving. We hopped on another and arrived a couple of minutes late. A nervous Anna headed into her interview and 1 or 2 mins later came right back out. After an extremely quick chat, Anna and the cafe owner had organised a trial for later in the day. This gave us time to look about and get settled in our surroundings. After a cheeky Nandos, it was bank hunting time. 3 banks later we found a bank that would allow us to set up an account without proof of address since we had only been in the country less than 24 hours. All we had to do was get proof of employment. This was down to Ben as he had scored a job at Public Outreach in the city. After a lot of phone calls to and fro, we finally received a contract and managed to set up a joint account. It was then time for Anna's trial whilst Ben snoozed in the local park. The trial went well, so Anna thought, but ended a bit suddenly and awkwardly, so it was onto the next one! It was time for an early night.
The following day Anna had two interviews and Ben had his first day. Anna's first interview was what do you know... door to door with the Red Cross. The same job she had in Perth but with a different company. She didn't want this job as the weather and hills were a killer. The rain was nothing we had experienced before, and the city is like a collection of tiny mountains. This did not make good terrain for working outdoors. The interview went well and she got offered the job, although she didn't accept just yet. The second interview was at a Japanese restaurant. She felt a little under experienced but went for it anyway. The interview went well but sadly no call back for a trail... she really didn't want to do door to door in the pounding down rain! Ben had a good first day, it is a nice office, great team of people and he signed someone up! The only shame with the role was that the hours were 1.30pm until 9.30pm. Not very social hours.
Anna went to the shops to buy some much needed umbrellas whilst Ben was busy working. Of course as soon as she bought them the sun came out! It was time for Anna to take on another interview, this one was as unsuccessful as the others, if not worse. Anna arrived at a.. shoe box cafe and everyone who worked their seemed to have no idea who she was or why she was there. Finally the manager showed up only to ignore her. A little while later there was some form of communication, and after a failed training session of coffee training, Anna decided to leave the interview as she was not getting good vibes. She would rather to door to door than work there... oh dear!
On a positive note, we found out it is whale watching season! We are so excited to book the 5 hour boat trip to spot NZ wildlife. The best part about it is if you don't spot any whales, you get to go free the next time. Anna also got offered 2 photography jobs, sadly one was 3 hours away and the other required a car. It just wasn't her lucky week!
Friday soon came around and it was Ben's turn for an interview. He liked PO but wanted to get better hours. He headed to a freight container site expecting to be interviewed for a team leader. He ended up being told that it wasn't the team leader role, the pay was low, if it rains the work gets called off, and he would have to invest in a full uniform plus a pair of pricey steel cap boots. This was not on the cards. Ben decided the best thing to do after a week of failed interviews, was to try and get Anna over at PO. Her training for door to door started on Monday and she really didn't want to go. To our surprise, Anna was offered a job without interview to start on Tuesday... perfect!
That weekend we walked up Mt Wellington. The weather was much nicer and the views of the city were great.
Before we knew it, it was time for a full weeks work for both of us. We absolutely love working together. The hours are totally bearable now we are both doing the same. It's a great team and great pay, as long as we stick to targets then it shouldn't go wrong. Anna even passed evaluation in 3 days, taking after Ben of course. The aim is to get 7 in 5 days. Ben got 6 in 3 days and so Anna did one better and got 7 in 3 days. A team!
After a fun week at work, it was time for 4 days off work for Easter weekend. On Friday we spent the day relaxing and finding new TV series to watch, accompanied by some GF hot cross courtesy of Kate. In the evening, our house mates Kate and Duane cooked us a roast which was lovely, and we had the wonderful entertainment of the cat falling into the toilet! Their cat is absolutely crazy but we love it. Kate and Duane headed away for a night on Saturday and left us a little chocolate Easter bunny to say thanks for looking after the pets, how cute. We decided to take the dog for a walk around Panmure basin, which had some lovely views...
After some food shopping we were soon back at home watching TV and Ben also took the time to do some work for a freelance design job he has. Sunday we headed into the city to enjoy it as tourists rather than workers. In the afternoon Anna had organised a photo shoot in Silo Park. After the model eventually turned up it was a successful shoot. Here is a peek into Silo Park..
It is now Easter Monday, and we haven't moved all day. We are watching the TV series Lost, yes we are a few years late with the hype but at least we can binge watch and not have to wait for new episodes to come out. Tonight we are heading to the movies to watch Beauty and the Beast and also King Kong! That's if we can make it there after all of the chocolate we have eaten. We are also looking forward to an awesome weeks work, until next time!