Our new life in New Zealand – 6.November 1999
Using the washing machine in New Zealand becomes a real adventure. You have to open the top lid of the machine, and first, throw the washing powder into the drum followed by the clothing. Next you pour fabric softener into a pipe in the middle. After closing the lid, you can choose between cold, warm and hot and low, medium and high water level. With a hell of a noise the machine starts and after half an hour everything is done! That is exactly how it seems.
My first washing in hot water turned all of Bernie’s sweatshirts pink (not his favorite colour!); my first washing in warm water covered all dark clothes with white pills (no, there was not a tissue in one of the pockets!). Today I’ll try the cold washing. If that doesn’t work, I can always go back to the Pioneer women method of washing the clothes in the river, hoping that no hammerhead shark bites into Bernies underpants and later lands in his professionally labeled German toolbox.
I can’t wait for my good old electronic washing machine to arrive in our sea freight container from Germany one day. I already gave her away for 50.-DM (yes, the good old Deutsch Mark!) and then at the last minute, when I realized I still have some space in the container, I kept it (and didn’t care that the buyer thought that I was a mean, disloyal, greedy beast – I don’t care, because I am far away…)
My sister has to listen to these comments now, as it was to her best friend that I sold the washing machine. I also took the couch back that I had offered to my sister so generously, thinking I had not enough space in the container. The washing machine and couch are obviously still sailing around Cape Horn in stormy waters.
That reminds me of an old German Pirate song, which my Dad used to play on his record player in the Seventies on a Sunday morning at 6am, while preparing fried potatoes and smoked Mackerel for breakfast.
At least I haven’t had any problems with the dishwasher, dryer and iron yet. Even the toaster, the coffee machine, the kitchen radio, toilet flush and the never seen before extremely noisy In-Sink-Erator that crushes bones, stones, shells and wood before sending it through the waste pipe, they all work perfectly fine.
In New Zealand Coke tastes like Coke, McDonalds tastes like McDonalds and yesterday for the first time I tried driving with the new “old” car on the left side of the road. (And that was an adventure, too!) I hit the pavement three times, bumped in one road sign and the neighbour’s cat (she is still alive, but in a wheelchair now), her tail is still attached to Bernie’s car bumper (just kidding!). My neighbour quickly collected her seven children and the rubbish bin and hid them in her garage. It felt good to drive again (something other than Henry’s pram), but I couldn’t get rid of the guilty feeling of driving on the “wrong” side of the street. I just don’t understand why Bernie and Henry refuse to drive with me…. What’s their problem?
Every morning I take little Henry and go to Hatfields Beach to collect fire wood for the fire place in our living room. Each night the waves bring more drift wood, shells and other interesting items, which I pile in the basket under Henry’s pram. Then I bring my treasures home under the approving eyes of the lady next door (behind the curtain). I have no idea, where my native neighbours get the fire wood from. Maybe I have to send Bernie into the forest one night to cut some trees…
This afternoon Henry and I went to Orewa (the tiny centre of our new home town) and in a small café we had a break. New Zealanders are really clever and inventive. You have no idea what they put on a sandwich. I wouldn’t be surprised to find dog, cat, mouse, jellyfish, Penguin, possum, old car tires, empty printer cartridges, used tape or cut grass on a sandwich one day. Today I saw spaghetti with cheese and baked beans on it. The girl in the café was very, very friendly, patient and helpful. But strangely enough the café closed at 3.30pm – very strange!
To be continued…
(c) Beate Minderjahn