house maybe

Today has been a good day. Sol went to a viewing of an apartment for rent yesterday. Today she was offered the apartment by the agent. She hasn't accepted yet because we were scheduled to view another apartment (a few blocks from where we live now) today. We just came from there and are very happy with it. The agent said he'd inform us within the next two days if he was going to offer it to us. I really hope he does. It's perfect, it's in the right area for us, and we REALLY, REALLY want to live there.

Well, we'll know by Thursday. If we don't get it, then we'll fall back on the first house.


first two weeks

We arrived in Wellington, New Zealand on the 10th. It's the 23rd now, so we've been here around two weeks.

Here's a compilation video of timmy at manila international airport (you don't want to miss that part), and walking through the airport at Sydney.

We were very lucky to be put in touch with very good friends of Sol's best friend, they have a four bedroom house and are only using three. So we're on a homestay with them until we can get an apartment of our own.

Here are some views of the house, from the outside and looking out the dining room window into the front garden.

And views of the houses around us.

Sol was trying to take a picture of our room when someone popped his head into the frame.

We have half (a very generous half, since our host family is MUCH larger than ours) of the refrigerator. So we shop often (twice a week, or sometimes more frequently) since we need to refill our provisions when our half of the refrigerator approaches empty, or when we're running low on timmy's milk.

We bring Timmy because we both have to be there, so we don't forget anything, and because we can load up his stroller with heavy items, with me carrying the rest of the items for the ten minute walk uphill and home. He had a yogurt snack the first time we did that.

Timmy is an early riser. Normally I would resent that since I'm certainly not a morning person. However, he always wakes up smiling and makes the mornings lovely.

We were concerned about the milk (or formula) that Timmy would drink in NZ. We tried to get him to drink milk in Manila and the first time that failed (my mother-in-law couldn't stand his protests so she gave in and made him formula). We later gave him fresh milk and formula mixes and he was OK with those. We weren't sure how he'd react to NZ milk though, so we bought a can of formula and we researched brands of formula available in NZ, and what the equivalent of our manila formula was here.

It turns out that there was no problem. He loves the milk here and he drinks it better than he did his formula (he would often leave an ounce or more of formula in the bottle, here he drains the milk to the last drop).

And then he sleeps it off.

We've been here two weeks now. Last Thursday, Sol landed a job with Catalyst IT Limited, a specialist in open source technologies. We've got the first few hurdles, ahhh, hurdled. We're now working on finding the right apartment for us. That's a bit hard because we're not very mobile (with Sol starting work tomorrow, and not having a car or being able to drive here). Fortunately, we have had incredible help from Sol's best friend and her husband. Julius has been driving us all over Wellington in our search for an apartment. It'll probably take another week or two for us to settle on the right place. But luck has been with us so far, so maybe the streak will continue and we'll have a place by this week.


biblical fail

Note: that's hosted on photobucket so as to avoid goatse shenanigans, and to be
polite to the original host. The original of
this biblical fail is here


Despedida 2008

On Feb 2, 2008, we had a despedida (going away) party at the Richmonde hotel. This was the same hotel we had Timmy's birthday party at. We certainly didn't have the budget for a function room though. We just rented a two room suite (with dining area, living room and kitchen) and had the party there.

We were concerned it might become standing room only, but it all worked out and while some did have to stand, the flow of people was such that we didn't really have the same people standing for hours.

The theme was "food we'd miss in NZ", so there was mamang's wonderful kare-kare, Amber pancit malabon and another white pancit, mamang's rellenong bangus, a lechon from cebu, malasugui sashimi (it was going to be kinilaw, but Sol changed her mind) and the piece de resistance (hehe, I don't know how to type accents in this textbox, and wouldn't be bothered to do so if I knew how), isaw baboy and isaw manok from Manang, in U.P. Diliman (isaw not showing in the picture, as, I think, Jack and his wife, who went and bought it, hadn't arrived yet).

We had a good mix of people I'd worked with, good friends and cousins of mine, and good friends of Sol.

I was very happy that we were very lucky, that diggi (from CamiguinAction) just happened to be passing through Manila and he brought Jaime, Julia and Paco.

There were a few babies there too, so Timmy had a good time walking around with them.

and of course, there was the penguin stuffed toy, now called "Hug" since he taught Timmy how to Hug (something he does enthusiastically now, almost exclusively to women, and when he says "Huuuuuuuu" while doing)

Timmy was also able to say goodbye to his maternal grandfather, whom he doesn't see enough



Today we made some forward progress. We went to the nearby Johnsonville town center to get some prepaid phone SIM cards and to open an account. We got both things accomplished. Both were very pleasant experiences. So we've got phones now, and our cash is out of our hands and we've got ATM cards.

Tomorrow sol goes to get her tax ID number (IRD). And then, I figure, she should be working on Monday :-).



the lopsided results, and causes, of the USA-Israeli war on palestinians

Americans don't care though. And for Israel, well, while there's land to be stolen, there will be blood.


WE left Manila for New Zealand on Saturday, 9 Feb. The flight was slightly delayed in leaving, so we took off at around 8PM. Landed in Sydney after 7 hours or so, at around 6AM local time, and around 3AM manila time. Timmy slept through most of the trip. He woke up though at around 1AM manila time and didn't go back to sleep. So the last two hours were a bit hard as sol and I had to carry him (he would fight when we tried to hold him while sitting down).

When we landed in Sydney we were a bit confused as to where we were to pick up Timmy's stroller. After some walking around we were told that it would have been shipped through to Wellington. So we went off in search of diapers because Timmy had run out by then (multiple diaper leaks on the plane). There was a little pharmacy in the airport bookstore and they had diapers. That was a Godsend. We also got to change some USD for AUD. Which was just right since we needed to get some water and a snack.

Apparently, in my peregrinations in search of Timmy's stroller I had dropped (i.e., LOST!!!) my passport. I had no idea it was lost, so we were very relaxed while waiting for our connecting flight. Fortunately, someone found it and gave it to AU immigration, who tracked me down and sent it on to our connecting flight gate. So on net, everything worked out well. It could have been a bit of a nightmare though.

I was a little irritated at NAIA international (Manila) because at a security stop the body search guy ran across my envelope of dollars and, when I told him what it was, paused for a bit, trying for intimidation, I guess, and then winked at me and told me it was OK. Which it was, I'm familiar with the rules and we weren't violating any law. Winking and letting me go was fine, but he then started hinting loudly for a tip by saying "Kung Hei Fat Choy", which is the greeting for Chinese New Year.

I wasn't irritated enough to make a scene. I ignored him though, and remembered to blog about him. In fact, every time I've been through NAIA customs, I've never been shaken down for bribes. I've seen a lot of hinting for tips and gifts though. So, things have improved from 20 years ago, when bribery wasn't the name of the game, instead customs officials would extort money and gifts to let undeclared but taxable items through. But things aren't normal yet.

In contrast, Sydney was a joy, and Wellington, International, although a much smaller airport, was just as good. Customs were very efficient and helpful. They could have been more efficient if they'd opened our boxes. But they took our (truthful) word that we only had clothes and such in there. I had to fill up a currency import form for the dollars, but that I'd expected. And in fact, the customs officer actually filled most of it up. She did the math (converting USD to NZD amounts) and, when I took my time trying to understand what to write in the form, she went ahead and entered most of the numbers, leaving me to enter just passport information and signature.

We are staying at a home-stay. That is, with friends of a friend who has a spare room. We'll stay maybe for a week or two, then we'll search for and find our own apartment or small house. Timmy was a bit confused about sleep last night. He slept most of the night, but fitfully, sometimes waking up and crying. He did sleep through most of the night though. He's having his morning nap now. He's slept longer than he should, so I'll be waking him up and maybe he won't have his afternoon nap so that he'll sleep through tonight again. All together, he's sleeping pretty well. That was our main concern. He has no problems eating and walking around, but we can't tell him about sleep yet. He's already half adjusted though from last night. I expect that he'll be fine by tomorrow.


last day

We're leaving for New Zealand tonight. It's been a panicked last few days having lunch with best friends, playing badminton with new good friends, packing things, removing heavy already-packed things (and that's not yet complete), converting USD to NZD (that wasn't completed either, they didn't have enough NZD since we didn't notify them ahead of time, we'll complete when we land) and me giving my last postgresql lecture (CASE WHEN, how indexes work, optimization, explain, explain analyze, ...).

But we're finally almost done. Just a few last items and we leave for the airport in 5 hours or so. 3-4 hours to wait and we'll be on the plane. I hope Timmy is able to sleep on the plane since it's going to be a long 10-11 hours to NZ (including stopover in sydney).


Cracking up

Timmy had a lot of fun

and again:

I've got a lot of videos, but I need to edit some of them into compilations. That takes time since I don't actually know what I'm doing when I do those edits :-). We're also booked solid for all meals til we leave for New Zealand on Saturday. Since most of those meals (or the occasional badminton game) are at malls or clubs some distance away (all interesting malls and restaurants are a significant distance away) travel time is a factor too. Likely I'll push up a compilation from NZ. That's not going to be a great thing to do, given the bandwidth limitations there, but one must bow to the tyranny of time.