Speaking of this, we signed a 6-month lease. We didn't want to make too long of a commitment, just because there was still some discussion about possibly buying a house. Assuming the landlord is cool with it, I expect we'll be here at least a year though.
View of our street
The upside to this new place is that it's walking distance to work. Takes about 15 minutes. Morning walk isn't bad (downhill!). We're close to theaters, etc. which is good for S. The place also backs up to parkland, so there's lots of trees and it actually doesn't feel like you're in the city.
S has been very active with the Wellington Film Society as of late, and quite enjoying it. They have started their new season, and the committee has been working hard to engage new members. Generally, attendance at their screenings is already pretty strong but this is looking to build the audience with a bit of outreach. Anyone into film in Wellington should check out their online schedule.
I am volunteering at Zealandia: the Karori Sanctuary Experience (formerly the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary) In particular, I am hoping to become a frontline tour guide. Not only is it of personal interest, but it's also good professional development for me working in heritage interpretation. The training is actually pretty intense, at least time-wise, requiring us to be there every Sat and Sun for a month! It's good, though as this sort immersion really helps you get into the subject matter. Although they've never said it, I would guess that this also helps weed out anyone not serious about following through with the commitment. Beyond the training, we agree to volunteer at least 8 hours a month at the sanctuary. Initially, I expect to be just a helper, perhaps in the visitor centre, at the park entrance or perhaps as a roving guide. Once everyone is feeling more confident in our abilities, we 'graduate' to leading an actual tour.
There's heaps of other stuff - work, etc. that's all adding up to keeping us really busy. One thing I'm working on is the organising of a national conference on interpretation: Some Like it Hot - 15-18 Sept 2009. It's been fun and a good excuse to meet so many people from around Wellington and other parts of the country. The conference is the first of it's kind in NZ, and a collaborative effort between the Interpretation Network New Zealand and the Interpretation Australia Association. Anyone, sorry to "talk shop" so much. I know this stuff will bore many of my readers to tears, but a few of you from my Museum years will find it interesting.
Fernbank is reconstructing the past again - go check it out Atlantans!
Speaking of museums, hats-off and congrats go out to Fernbank Museum of Natural History for bringing to fruition the dinosaur exhibit in front of the building! Believe it or not, guys, I do keep up with your activities and was very excited to see this become a reality (it was only an idea when I was there...) The dinosaurs look GREAT from the photos, and I love the fact they are going to be bronzed. They will look spectacular in front of the buildin -- Can't wait to see them in person. BUT
On Monday, I intend to book my flights for a trip back to the U.S. which is slated for October. This has been my plan all along, but I needed to confirm it was workable at my job and also figure out how to pay for it. Looks like the ticket is going to be with frequent flyer miles (left over from the last trip, and also some donated by my Mom - thanks Mom!) I am SOOOOO ready to go home. Seriously homesick and very excited that it will be in October (Proper fall weather! A real Halloween!). The plan is to do a week in Atlanta so I can catch up with my Southern peeps then head north to St. Louis to see the Yanks.
It will be really great to see everyone. For one thing, neither S nor I have spent time with our nieces, and my nephew is practically a teenager! How did this happen?? It will also be interesting to see how they regard me -- have I changed? (My cousin says my voice has changed but what else?) How will I see the U.S. now that I will have been away 3 years? And, perhaps more importantly, how will NZ look by comparison? Going to be an interesting trip.
OK kids, gotta run. Just wanted to say hi and hope everyone is doing well.
I'll close with a link to a funny blog -- http://fushnchups.co.nz/ -- that comes to us from some Australians living in NZ. There's a term here called 'taking the piss' out of something, which is loosely akin to making fun of it, and this forms the core of their blog. It's generated quite a stir lately, especially among Kiwis without any sense of humour, and highlighted the old NZ-Oz rivalries. I suppose it's not very nice of an American to fuel the fire by distributing it, but the spectacle is too fun to keep to myself. Besides, with American bashing being so popular here, I have to admit it's nice to see NZ get a dose of this bitter medicine from someone else once in a while. Don't worry about them, though - they are staunch and can take it.
Oh, one LAST thing, speaking of Australians...our new fav show from Oz which you Yanks can check out on the internet is ROVE. Highly recommended, very funny. Check it out. My favourites are Hamish and Andy.