Figuring out and settling in…Life in a new country…Expenses to date…Wonderful year-ago photos!

Tom whistled to attract the attention of this baby alpaca.

Not only must we get comfortable and familiar with a new home in each new country but we must learn how to use a variety of household appliances and equipment that may be entirely different than we’ve used in the past.

Whether its running a washer or dishwasher, firing up an oven (referred to as a “hob”) or making coffee (no electric coffee maker) using with whatever is available, it all requires stopping and taking the time to learn something new.  Actually, we never mind any of these types of learning experiences.

Baby alpaca nursing under this proud mom.  Note another baby to the left.

Add figuring out the Satellite TV, sound and video system in this surprisingly modern house in a rural area near New Plymouth, New Zealand or simply how to hang clothes outside on the pulley type clothesline with the limited supply of clothespins all becomes part of the settling in process. 

Then again, we’re not the typical tourist staying only a week or two with limited needs compared to those of a long term stay.  Most tourists don’t do much cooking and laundry during a short stay.

Baby alpaca referred to as “cria” of which many were born in the past weeks.  Many more will be giving birth over the next month.  We’ll return with more photos, especially once we have a few sunny days.

Then, of course there’s figuring out a working wifi system and bearing the cost for the NZ hot spot we purchased yesterday at NZD $199, US $128, (useless to us once we leave) plus another NZD $270 US $173 for data, enough to last only one to two weeks.

Yesterday alone, we used NZD $45, US $29 of data.  This could become pricey over the long haul.  We hope Internet service will soon becomes available at the house as we continue to incur these unexpected expenses.

The car rental was affordable after careful online research months ago.  For the full three months, the rental fees under a single contract was NZD $2848, US $1817, at a monthly rate of NZD $949, US $609.  Sure, its an older car but it drives well, looks fine with has no apparent body damage other than a few scratches we documented with the rental guy.  

Sunset last night and gas grill we’ll use tonight to cook prime rib.

As for the cost of groceries, we’d yet to address here, we’re pleasantly surprised.  The first time we shop in each new locale, the cost is often higher for our initial purchases when its necessary to purchase household goods such as paper products, laundry soap and cooking supplies such as spices, coconut and olive oil.

After shopping at the Kiwi Meat Market yesterday, we’d purchased enough meat to last over a week including a huge prime rib (tonight’s dinner on the grill), four packs of streaky bacon, one large package lamb chops, several slabs baby back ribs and several pounds/kilos of beef and pork mince for a total of only NZD $80, US $51.  All the meat is grass fed except for the pork which Tom eats when I have lamb.

This huge 1.177 kilo, 2.6 pound boneless grass fed prime rib is tonight’s dinner to be cooked on the grill with a side of mushroom casserole, baby asparagus and romaine lettuce salad with homemade dressing. Check out this great price of NZD $17.64, US $11.34!

With the balance spent at the New World market, including organic veggies for sale in the market from local farms, and…the cost of the meat, we spent a grand total of US $326, NZD $508.  With staples now in our household stock, our next shopping trip will most likely be half this amount.

This morning, I tried to walk closer to the alpacas for photos but after the rain, walking through the dense grass didn’t make sense.  Once it dries out a bit, we’re surely head closer for better photos.  All day, by looking out several windows we can easily see them.  I’ve started calling to them in my “warthog calling voice” as they pick up their heads from grazing to look at me.

This morning, when Tom hung the first load of laundry they started walking toward him.  They’re fenced in but may climb over the fence during the day returning later to stay close to the herd.  Apparently, none of them wander away, not to return.  There are dozens of alpaca on this 35 acre farm.

Photo taken last night shortly before dark of four alpacas who’d wandered to a distant hill.  They seem to return to the herd on their own.  We’ll discover more of their habits as we learn from the owners and observing them daily. 

We’re staying in today, getting caught up on email from our readers, handling banking and financial matters, finishing our laundry and preparing our dinner, all tasks we both enjoy. 

Whether we’re out and about or staying in with tasks to accomplish, we’re equally content.  As we settle in we find our new location truly becomes “home” as we conduct our daily lives, just like YOU, enjoying the many trivialities of the day.


Photo from one year ago today, January 21, 2015:

Ironically, yesterday we received email from Vicki and Jerry with whom we only spent one afternoon on the beach at Hanalei and yet they remain friends for life.  I love this photo of, get this, “Tom and Jerry!”  They became fast friends in only one afternoon.  Click here for details.
I couldn’t resist posting two year-ago photos today when this photo included dear Vicki.  Unfortunately, they were getting ready to leave Kauai and we never got to spend time with them again. To Vicki and Jerry:  “Hello, you two!  We think of you often and hope our paths will cross someday! Thanks for continuing to reads our daily posts.”

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