Our new life in New Zealand – 10. November 1999
Our little cottage feels like an old barge dancing on the waves. Noah’s ark would be exactly what I need now. But it has to be water tight from the outside and the inside! It is still raining and raining and this little island seems to go down in a big flood. When we board the Ark I have to remember to take the Dinosaur from the garage, so that, at least, one important species survives (besides cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes and the common house fly). The water inside the house comes from little Henry though, who dribbles so much now that I decided to spend some money on proper goggles and snorkels. I really hope that his habit stops before his eighteenth birthday. It gets even more dangerous when on top of it all, Henry sneezes and the gluey stuff spreads first through my face and then through the whole room like an explosion. Not a healthy situation for my bacteria-phobia tortured plumber husband. Nothing here is safe of moisture and even the paper in my printer has curled already.
Little Henry-baby just had his last bottle for today and now he cries again, because I want him to lie down. He hates it and prefers to watch TV sitting upright. I think this little sailor is sick of the rain, too. We haven’t been able to go to the beach to collect driftwood, nor have any other interesting discoveries. For a few days I tried to feed Henry solid baby food. He sits in his pram (we haven’t got a highchair yet) and I try to push a plastic spoon with baby apple puree into his mouth. He must have remembered the medicine I had to give him this way, weeks ago, for his stomach pain. In a second he changed his little baby face into a grotesque mask, his eyes popped out a few centimeters and then straight away he pushed back the expensive puree with his gluey tongue. It is time for him to get some teeth to block the way back. Then he laughed like mad, while I desperately tried to recover that apple stuff from his chin, before it lands on his monster-washed and turbo-spun bodysuit. We need six to eight a day! Is it normal? As a first-time mum you have no idea what is normal! Anyway… while Henry works successfully against me, our goals seem to have opposite directions, but in teamwork we spread the apple puree round his little Buddha face and even into his nostrils. Henry loves it, has a lot of fun and from time to time he sucks the puree deep down into his lungs. Mum and Dad are not amused! We try making smacking noises and improvised movements to make him understand where the puree has to go. Then he really starts to enjoy the entertainment and he squeaks like a little piglet. After all, a baby needs clever in-put for proper development.
My lovely plumber husband spent the whole afternoon writing job applications and his CV, which of course turns out to be very difficult in a language which you can’t speak or understand properly. So he was determined to translate all his qualifications into nice and tidy English, while I hand-crafted tiny Christmas angels from the nut collection I bought at the supermarket. At least Henry was interested in the nuts and he was happy for me, when another golden angel was born and hung on the wall for drying next to the landlady’s golden plate from her grandmother.
Bernie was writing and writing and nearly forgot his coffee and cigarette addiction with this challenging task. It looked to me like he was working on his memoirs. By dinner time he very proudly presented me with two pages for assessing. After dinner I and Henry started checking Bernie’s writing in the good old German manner (a bit too fussy, maybe!). We marked and corrected every single sentence. Unfortunately my lovely Masterplumber husband felt offended in his honour and in two minutes the discussion totally got out of hand. Henry again enjoyed the entertainment and happily joined in for a while until he preferred to watch TV and let his parents go ahead by themselves. Half an hour later Bernie and me sat peacefully at the computer and reviewed the text again. At that time the dictionary looked like it is 100 years old already and the first pages had started to come out. Finally we printed two pages out, which hopefully are good enough to let someone imagine that my lovely husband is looking for a plumbing job. I had no idea how difficult it was. Every time we had a good idea for a sentence in our own language, we couldn’t translate it, because we didn’t know the most important word. When we then tried a substitute, but couldn’t find that new word in the dictionary either. And if we found a matching word, it had around 37 different meanings and not one of them made any sense to us. Hour by hour went by and the rain outside went on and on flooding our new home country…
After all, only success counts and I am sure, in 124 years we will laugh about it (with no hair and no teeth – exactly like Henry).
Finally Henry is sleeping happily and we are totally exhausted from another busy and exciting day. A few minutes of watching TV before calling it a day, and what’s on TV? A documentary on the sinking of the Titanic! (How suitable!). I can’t watch it!
Did I just see a Hammerhead shark and a huge Snapper passing by my terrace door? I think, I’ll go to the amazing wardrobe and try to find the inflatable lifebelt and some rubber Duckies for Henry…. I am also not sure if the toilet flush in the basement still works with these high water levels outside. Hopefully no octopus will come up the pipe…
Time for bed!
To be continued…
(c) Beate Minderjahn