Tag Archives: Orewa

6.) More Rain and new Stationary!

9 Sep

Our new life in New Zealand – 13. November 1999

My production of souvenirs and Christmas decoration is working well. I just can’t stop these creative phases. If I am not cleaning, cooking, washing with the Washing monster, filling  up Henry’s watery, toothless mouth with food, change his horrible smelling nappies or doing other senseless and underpaid housewife tasks, I am cutting, gluing, stitching, sawing, hammering, and painting. In different shops including the supermarket, I bought everything I need for my creative eruption. I bought a glue gun, picture frames, scissors, hammer, chisel, steamroller, construction crane and a chain saw. I haven’t drunk the brush cleaning water yet, as I used to during enthusiastic paint attacks around midnight, when I was so excited, that I cleaned the brushes in my red wine glass and drank the cleaning water. Even those bacteria can’t kill me!   

Other than that, my days as a housewife are a bit frustrating. It rains and rains and rains like mad and maybe I will have to look up a recipe for seaweed soup. I cook every day, and while I put on weight, my lovely husband is losing weight and little Henry does not understand that you can actually swallow the apple puree.  Each day the washing machine comes up with other mean ideas to trick me and the new curling tongs for $29.95 burned my hair. I am still not able to send e-mails, because I don’t have a proper internet connection, a working modem, matching software or whatever is needed to solve my computer problem. Desperate Housewife!

As soon as my two lovely sleepy heads  will get up I’ll have a new problem.  Now even my coffee machine works against me! What’s the matter with these appliances? Or is it me?  When I made coffee, the paper filter folded down inside, clogged the nozzle, the filter filled up and the water including the coffee powder crawled over the rim. Then the mess ran along the kitchen bench, down the cupboard door onto the kitchen floor and into the gap between fridge and pantry, where I will never be able to get it out again. I think I’ll go in the water… (I just have to open the terrace door and a huge wave will pick me up).

But there is light at the horizon! Soon there will be the Santa Parade in Orewa.  As I was told, people will dress up in costumes and line the streets waiting for Santa Claus to pass in his huge, golden and nicely decorated sledge. He and his helping angels will throw lollies for the kids. Somehow it reminds me very much of Carnival in Cologne, when the prince passes by and throws lollies for the children. Like in Cologne, here they have music groups, dance groups and so on. But at least here it is summer (if it stops raining one day!).  I never understood why in Germany the Carnival  is in February (still winter). They should really change it to a warmer month (like in Brazil). That would solve the problem that 85% of working people in Germany are on sick leave for minimum three days after Carnival. Too much hot drinking and dancing in tiny costumes on a cold winter day….   

 Orewa’s Santa Parade will also be joined by the Harley Davidson club (look more like the Hells Angels), the Vintage Car club (including Marilyn Monroe’s pink Cadillac), an 83-year old Elvis impersonator, a Maori Kapa-Haka group, all local Real Estate agents (who throw business cards instead of lollies) and many children’s sports groups including Judo, Wrestling, Rugby, Soccer, Surfing, Cheerleading and Tae Kwon Do.  The knitting ladies from the retirement village, members of the jam cooking society and the stunt and skateboard survival group from the hospital are also included. Everybody is welcome!    

For my lovely husband, it is time to find a job. He has enough of holiday feeling (he is not that type of holiday person anyway) and I am missing my 174 boxes of stuff, which are still sailing the seven seas. ..

Henry now invents his own language and he starts talking about „Nene“ and „Nengneng“. I guess, these are his new imaginary friends, and therefore we composed a song in German (not translatable!). Every time we change his nappies, we sing our new song, and hairless and toothless Henry laughs out loud. 

To be able to file Bernie’s job applications properly, I decided to buy a punch. Unfortunately I didn’t know the word punch at that time, nor did I know the word for filing or file or binder. The lady in the stationary shop was already hoovering the carpet when I rushed in just before closing time. I took a file from the file shelf and tried to show her, what I want. I need something to make …… (?) into the paper to …… (?) it in this thing.  These are really frustrating moments, when you realize, how important language and communication really is. The lady looked at me like I just fled a mental health institution and then she pretended to have no clue what I am looking for.  I think she was very close to sucking me into her vacuum cleaner. “I want to put little…..(?) into the paper to put it in the …..(?)” and then I showed her the binder again. That can’t be so difficult to understand. Finally that shopping drama had a Happy End and if you know, that the word for the tool is “punch” it is kind of easy!

At the supermarket I bought an odor spray to fight nasty smells in clothes, furniture and carpets. In our bedroom (in the basement of Noah’s Ark) it smelled permanently like cheese and we suspected each other to be the originator. Finally and to save my marriage, we suspected little Henry created this smell. But now, my new Chemical weapon solved the problem and we can put the gas masks back into the huge wardrobe.  The extreme odor of generations must have lingered in the carpets, and you could easily think that there was a dead body hiding under the house. Too much for my bacteria-phobia tortured plumber Bernie.  One more problem solved! I am very proud, it smells like freshly cut lavender everywhere and I hope the cheese has surrendered forever.

Bernie loves the fire place and every night he burns the drift wood from the beach. It is nice and warm in our little cottage (although it is 20 Grad C outside) and it keeps my lovely husband, who is also a certified gas fitter, busy. It is really time for him to find a proper job.

 9am, time to check on my two sailors, whom I haven’t seen since late last night. I feel a bit like a captain left by his crew. But it is so nice and quite here and the coffee is ready! 

To be continued…

(c) Beate Minderjahn


2.) Housekeeping!

30 Aug

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