It has been awhile since we posted a blog, mainly because the month of February has been quite boring for us, and there hasn’t been much to share. As you know from the last post, Trevor developed shingles as soon as we arrived in New Zealand, so between his being sick, working at this Lodge, working on our online business, and most recently my getting sick, there hasn’t been time for much sightseeing!
We have been living in a small suburb of Auckland, New Zealand called Warkworth, which is about 45 minutes from the City Centre. We are working at the Warkworth Lodge, which is owned by a lovely Kiwi family. In case you aren’t familiar with the terminology, “Kiwi” is what foreigners call someone from New Zealand. It’s much easier to say than “New Zealander”. It is a married couple and their 3 children (age 7, 16 and 19). From day 1 we felt like part of the family. Everyone says that Canadians are the nicest people in the world, but I have to say that Kiwis might have beat us! This family couldn’t be nicer. During the first half of our stay we met a fellow Canadian who has been here for the last 3 winters, escaping the cold in Newfoundland. It was nice to have another face from back home. Because she was already working here, this meant that the main room that they use for Helpers was taken, so we have to literally move every few nights to the next available room in the Lodge. There was pros and cons to this. It was nice to stay in some nicer rooms (especially the most expensive room in the Lodge), but it was a pain to have to keep living out of our packed suit cases. After 2 weeks, we were able to move into the “Helper Room”, when our fellow Canadian helper went home.
In a previous blog I had mentioned that we secured this position through a website called HelpX. This is an international website which allows anyone to apply for a volunteer job anywhere in the world. Usually you have to work 4-5 days a week in exchange for room and board. This was never our plan, since we wanted to see as much as we could on our travels, but unfortunately, we were unable to secure a house sit for New Zealand other than our short one coming up in March, so we had to make a decision how we were going to live for the month of February without spending too much money, and there was no way we could afford to stay in hotels. It was really a blessing that this place fell into our lap when it did. It is nice to have a full month of little to no expenses (except for Trevor’s medical bill and our own drinks and treats we wanted to buy ourselves). The downside, as I said at the beginning, was that we never got to see much of New Zealand through February, even though we are living right here, it is hard to get out, and everything costs money, so we decided to just suck it up, work and we plan to see much more of New Zealand in March (we are travelling another month here). We did have one day out though – working on a boat in Auckland Harbour. That is another story in itself, but the short version is that the boat owner is friends with the Lodge owner and he needed 2 extra crew for a wedding that was happening on his charter boat. We were asked, we said yes, we had fun! The end.
Our work schedule was Friday through Monday 9-5, mainly so that the owners could spend the weekends with their children. We were trained on how to run the front desk, check Guests in, answer the phone, etc. The majority of our job was housekeeping though. There are 11 rooms in this Lodge, plus 2 public toilets and a public bath, so we had our work cut out for us! On the days when housekeeping wasn’t too busy, Trevor also got back into his old life as a painter, and did some painting at the Lodge for a few days, and I was mainly in charge of the front desk and Guests.
The days flew by, and I still can’t believe we have already been here for one month! I have no idea where the month went, but, we are both glad it is almost over (tomorrow is our last day of work!) Part of our job was to cook dinner for the family twice a week as well, which was no big deal. It was nice for us to have a break from cooking meals for ourselves as well, so the arrangement was quite fair. We bought some things for ourselves, but we saved a lot of money in groceries this month because they bought us anything we wanted for lunches and snacks. I have also had some good practice driving (on the left side of the road) around town going to/from the grocery store. I am feeling much more comfortable than the day I was forced to drive the highway to the City to take Trevor to the hospital! This was also a blessing in disguise because we wanted to drive around the south island of New Zealand, and without being thrown into that stressful situation, we probably would have still been too scared.
Our days off were spent working on our online businesses. I know I keep saying I will blog about this, but every time I think I will include it, my blog seems so long already that I don’t want it to be any longer. I will definitely write one about the business soon.
You know how people say “it’s a small world”? Well, it is for sure, because one night, a past “Helper” showed up, and not only is she Canadian but she is from Kitchener!! For those who don’t know where Trevor and I are from, we are only about 45 minutes from Kitchener. We couldn’t believe it! She had worked here 5 years ago, and had met a guy from Auckland, and they had actually both moved back to Kitchener together after living in Auckland for 4 years. They ended up getting engaged the night after we met them here, which was sweet. We are now Facebook friends, so we may just see them again back home! We met another Helper from Germany who worked here a couple years ago when he came up for the wine tasting night we all attended (if you follow us on Facebook you know that Trevor got a little drunk). Speaking of birthdays, Trevor also celebrated his birthday while we were here. Luckily he was feeling healthy by then, and we were able to go out for a nice dinner together. Fingers crossed we get to celebrate my birthday somewhere fun and not back in Canada (it is in November, so we will have to see).
I think that is about it. I am sorry it isn’t very exciting is it? We will try to do better! We are leaving here on March 5th (that will be March 4th for those in North America reading this), heading up north about 45 minutes to a small beach town called Ruakaka. We secured a house sit here before leaving Canada. We will be there for 10 days before flying on to the south island of New Zealand for the remainder of March. I promise LOTS of beautiful photos from the south island. It looks amazing and we are VERY excited!