Sunday, 27 May 2012

Week 2 - Welcome to work & WIND!

Hello Everybody, and welcome to week 2 in Wellington, New Zealand. Firstly thanks to all of you that are looking at the blog, and those who said nice things about last week’s post …. Even if I “do go on a bit” eh Julia! ;)

This week, has basically consisted of two parts:
1) Starting work which has included meeting my new colleagues understanding kiwi slang/ accent, driving a car over here for the first time, and learning lots of things about New Zealand and it’s Mental Health set up.
2) Moving into my new place, which has included some serious bargain hunting, learning of a new use of the word ‘Manchester’, scouting out the local cafes & restaurants, and adding some homely touches! 

Oh I should add whilst all of my mates in the UK take great pleasure in telling me how hot and sunny it is, I have been experiencing my first real exposure to “WINDY” Wellington with a fair bit of rain today!

Firstly as promised from last week’s entry, Just before writing last week’s entry I went for a walk up Mount Victoria and down into Oriental Bay (no comment please Mr Lane!), with some stunning views! Have a look at these…..

Walk up Mount Vic

Walk up Mount Vic

Views from Mount Vic
Views from Mount Vic
Orietnal Bay
Wellington City & Harbour
Up Mount Vic

Ok, so onto the major events of the week. I walked into work Monday morning feeling a little apprehensive and well, let’s face it ‘pretty scared’ as I would soon find out what I was really letting myself in for by moving here for work, and in hope that my new colleagues expectations would match up with what I was confident in being able to do! I was soon put at ease by my Team Leader Helen, and the rest of the team, with humour, character and a cheery disposition. I soon learned that many people had connections to the UK, including some colleagues who had lived in the UK, and one who despite growing up in South Africa, had actually been born in my hometown and had got married in Bury! (Just a few miles from Manchester). So what would be the biggest challenge? – learning the system? Dealing with cultural differences? Getting over the time difference? (I was still waking up at 5am). Answer = none of these, my biggest challenge seemed to be understanding any word my NZ colleagues said that had the letters E/I in. The NZ have a habit of saying the letter ‘E’ as an ‘I’. So the word ‘Ten’ sounds like ‘tin’, and ‘sex’ sounds like ‘six’. I have had lots of fun asking my colleague Jen what the time is if I know her response will include ‘tin to tin’.  This issue is a two way thing though, because with my Northern English flat vowels (especially ‘A’) no New Zealander seems able to recognise my name when I say ‘Dan’ – it seems to them I am saying ‘Darn’… just gonna have to wear a name badge to overcome the issue I think.

Work highlights have included visiting the in-patient unit in a place about 20 minute drive from Wellington, in some seriously lush mountains – and I have to drive myself there tomorrow morning for a 2 day induction. Fortunately, I was taken out by a colleague to visit a client, which gave me the opportunity to have a little drive. I was nervous enough, but then realised the bloody car was automatic! My left foot felt very redundant, and kept pushing against the floor. We made it back in one piece and my driving skills will be put to the test properly tomorrow! I Must remember the indicators and the windscreen wipers are switched round here… I might end up crashing through not indicating, but I’ll have the cleanest windows in the city!
For confidentiality reasons I can’t go into too much detail regarding my work, though I’ll just say I visited lots of community based projects here in Wellington, which gave me lots of optimism as an Occupational Therapist, that there are lots of community support groups, and many mainstream groups to help with social inclusion agendas!

Ok, onto ‘THE MOVE’. Yesterday (Saturday) at 11:30 I lugged my 3.5 Large bags into a taxi and headed for my new place in the city centre. I was met by the little whirlwind that is Sheila, - a Hungarian lady who works on site for the letting company. I was soon keen to check everything that was already here worked ok (tv, pull down ‘James Bond’ bed, dvd/cd/docking station player, shower, toilet, sink etc.. I even have a washing machine & dishwasher in here) and it’s a small studio flat. I soon headed off at the suggestion of my work mates to ‘Farmers’, ‘Briscoes’, and ‘The Warehouse’ where it seemed they lived in a perpetual state of sales…. 30%-60% of most things which meant I‘ve done four big trips (walking), to these places to buy bedding, towels, food, cleaning stuff, an iron, hangers etc…. Things may not be necessarily cheap here, but with these stores having sales every weekend, and the large number of charity / discount stores in this city, you can seriously do things cheaply. This also extends to food! I have seen so many $10-$12 dollar lunch offers, outside bars/cafes/bistros it’s untrue! Just last night, (having almost nothing in my fridge) I trudged off down Cuba Street (no more than 500 yards from my flat) and I walked past the following food outlets: Chinese, Malaysian, Italian, Indian, Pizza place, French, Caribbean, Lebanese, a Bistro, Japanese, and good old ‘Fish place’ doing fish & chips! There’s a bakery, down the road, and a pie shop too!  Visitors will not go hungry here!   
I do have to mention a strange little thing I noticed yesterday: - When I was looking for bedding stuff, there were lots of signs with the words ‘Manchester/Manchesters’ all around the place, and they seem to use the word to refer to bedding and linen. Nobody has been able to explain this to me yet, though the best suggestion I had was that as Manchester was the birth place of the industrial revolution and famous for cotton production, maybe that’s where the name came from to describe cotton like goods? Answers on a postcard please!

Here’s a few pic of my flat now, with the ‘James Bond’ bed as it has now been christened… not in that sense of the word, (for those filthy minded people, I won’t name you here!)
My New Place

'James Bond' Bed

I could go on about the wind and how it almost blew me over yesterday, or the ridiculously slow internet but that seems to have been a blip! So lets end on a positive note and say roll on week three, as now I have sorted started work and found somewhere to live; I can concentrate on getting a social life going! 

Regards from New Zealand! 

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