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A rugby team weíve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Letís go teasing them!
Hi everyone! I hope you are all fine, enjoying New-Zealand or dreaming about it ;-) First, I will tell you a bit about myself. My name is Nils, Iím a young French man (24), have studied software engineering and worked two years as an IT-Manager close to Strasbourg in France. Iíve met there my lovely girlfriend Emilie. Iíve got German and Dutch family and Iím used to travel since my early childhood. Our story (related to New-Zealand) started last year in November. Emilie and I had both a work contract ending in December. We both thought that it was a great opportunity to travel Ė well, when youíve found a long term job itís hard to leave for more than two weeks. A friend of mine who spent one year in New Zealand told me a lot of good things about this country. An English speaking country where people are described as very nice and where the landscape should be wonderful? A rugby team weíve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Letís go teasing them! We applied for a working holiday visa online. I got mine after three days and Emilie needed to send an X-Ray of her lungs because she has spent more than 3 months in Russia. (She had to prove that she has not the tuberculosis disease). Couchsurfing, WWOOF, HelpX Ö There are a lot of websites made for travellers who need a place to stay (in exchange of a few hour work a day, or not). We arrived mid-January in Auckland and spent the first night there at a Couchsurferís house. We went next day directly to Te Puke where our first WWOOF-hosts were waiting for us. We couldnít find a better place! The people were so lovely and their place was so beautiful! We had our first woofing experience on their kiwi orchard: three weeks of weeding (we didnít know at that time that weeding is the most common WWOOF-job), grabbing thistle out, thinning, housekeeping Ö We saw for the first time kiwi vines and learned that kiwifruits are not always perfectly shaped like the ones we buy in the supermarket. We also heard for the first time about the devastating PSA-disease and could feel how worried our hosts were. But even though, they kept a positive mind and kept smiling. We decided at that time to buy a car. Hitchhiking is nice and works well in New-Zealand (compared to FranceÖ) but when you see only one car per half-hour driving in the wanted direction, it makes you. We had a look at that ads on the New World panel and texted the first interesting one to ask for more details. First answer from the guy: ďR u indian?Ē. Strange. He texted us later that Indians are not good to deal with. OKÖ We arranged a meeting to see the car and what a surprise. The guy is Indian! Trying to sell the car of one of his friend stuck in Australia and who canít get back and blah-blah. We didnít buy it. Finally, we bought a second hand car at a garage. It feels much safer when you donít know much about mechanical stuff. Taupo, Gisbourne, Hastings, Palmerston North, OtakiÖ We spent a few weeks woofing/helping/travelling through the north island and met a lot of great people. All our hosts were nice and made us feel welcome at their home. As we needed money for our journey, we worked as apple pickers at an orchard close to Hastings. Finding the job was not an easy task considering that we were still in Taupo when we looked for it. We searched for a while on the internet and found the contact details of an orchard manager. We called him and on our way to Gisborne we stopped in Hastings to meet him. They even rent caravans to the pickers. Great! Apple picking is hard work. You have to climb up and down a ladder all the day long to reach the summits. It can be freezing, your hands are getting cold by touching apples, sometimes they are wet and the water pours down your arms while you are picking them. And you have still to pick fast if you are on contract (and want to earn more money). We saw pickers who worked like robots. Some days, one of them could nearly pick as much apples as Emilie and I together. But even if it was hard, it was a great experience. The manager and the owners at this place were (and still are!) nice and friendly. We had a lot of good times, met new people and made new friends we will certainly meet again back in Europe. At least, we spent a week-end in Wellington with another French couple we have met in Taupo. After three months spent on the countryside, it was so strange to be in a big city again! We arrived in the south island in May and continued our journey, woofing/helping here and there. We also had our first bad experience with a host, but never mind, we had a great time with all the others, thatís the important thing to remember. Finally, weíve landed in Queenstown at the end of May and plan to stay until the end of our journey here. The snow is late this year and itís really hard to find a job: for a car groom position, Jucy Rentals got 180 CVsÖ Thatís CRAZY! Luckily, Emily found a job at a bakery and she can pay the rent for our room while I keep trying finding a job. I pity all the shop/bar personal who have to permanently tell to people like me that they have nothing available, but most of them are understanding and trying to help us and to cheer us up, thatís great!
Submitted by: Nils De Winter Date submitted: 23/07/2011 9:24:45 p.m.