Saturday, 27 June 2009

Leaving Holland

After Antony left Holland in October last year I could not have predicted the last months in Holland would be like they were. Stressful, frustrating, lonely, very busy, emotional and wonderful at the same time. Leaving my country and the people I love and worked with behind, made me realize how lucky I actually am and have been. The opportunities I was given in life, the lovely people around me and the great friendships. In one way it made it harder to leave, but with all those lovely friends and family, in Holland and New Zealand, supporting me, made me stronger. So on 12 February I emigrated to the other side of the world to finally start my life with Antony, my great love. Without him, I would be lost, in Holland or anywhere in the world. So I did what I needed to do and I succeeded after lots of hassles. My application for Residency has just been accepted and I’m officially allowed to stay in New Zealand as long as I want!

It was good to spend X-mas with my family in Holland, even though it was without Antony. I’ve spend the last 4 X-masses in New Zealand, so the Dutch candlelight and X-mas diner was nice for a change..;-). A few weeks before I left, the weather decided to give me a goodbye present and gave me the great opportunity to go ice-skating. The best trip was Kinderdijk with Jorien and Maarten. Amazing to ice skate along all those beautiful windmills!


Two of my friends give birth to their newborn in the 2 weeks before my departure, which resulted in a trip to Paris with my mum to meet young Julien and a trip to Amersfoort to see the lovely Marieke. Unfortunately Ruben decided he was not ready to leave the belly of his mum Corine before my departure. I will have to wait till August to see him in real life.

Saying goodbye to my sisters and best friends was hard, but luckily my parents decided to bring me out and accompany me during the trip to New Zealand. We had a good 3 weeks with a trip to the Bay of Islands, our NZ engagement party, family visits, picking a orange car for me, lovely outside dinners and quality time with them. After they left it was time to start my new life in a new country.


Friday, 26 June 2009

Biking to work in Auckland traffic

Traffic in Auckland is to put it…different! First of all, it’s busy. From 630 till 930 and from 1500 till 1900 more cars are standing still than moving. Auckland is blocked! Not enough motorways for the amount of cars. It can easily take you over an hour to get from one part of Auckland to the other. After 1 week of driving to work, Middlemore hospital is 20 km away from Mt Albert, being frustrated, sitting in a car, wasting my time, I decided to pick up my old Dutch habit: biking!

I have been warned several times by family, colleagues and friends how dangerous it is to bike in Auckland. And I must admit it is! The main reason: no cycle paths. Oh, they are building cycle paths, but they are on the main road (so big trucks still pass you very closely) and they just stop all of a sudden. So when you’re happily biking along one of these new biking paths you wouldn’t be surprised to see a sign saying ’cycle path ends’, leaving you to stop, look around to find out where you can continue biking. And by the way, cycle paths and footpaths are sometimes one and the same thing: another sign saying: ‘share with care’..;-) With enough visibility material on back pack, around ankles, on coat etc, big flashy lights front and back, I found my way to the hospital. After doing this a few times I found myself a reasonably quiet route, without too much danger.The best part of my ride is the old Mangere bridge. Because of a new motorway this bridge is closed off for normal traffic and used by people who fish off the bridge from dusk till dawn. So when I pass them around 7 in the morning, they enjoy, just like myself the beautiful sunrise over the city and when I come back at 5 in the afternoon, they are still there, enjoying the sunset over the sea, with a fresh sea breeze.