Saturday, April 28, 2007

Congratulations Andrea!

I'm very proud of my little sister. She aced a test to get into a nursing program. She's always wanted to be a nurse. She got a little distracted by a cute little boy named Andre (my nephew), but now she's on a mission. Good on ya!

*Big thanks to Kurt for reformatting my old hard drive and cleaning up my old college computer for Andrea. May she suffer as I did with late night studying! The rewards are worth it.

For every girl and every boy, Yay!

Here's a link to my favorite radio station here in NZ. If you want to hear what all the cool kids in Auckland are listening to, this is it. I recommend listening to it at 7 am our time or 1 pm Portland OR time for the morning show. Then you'll get the title.

Radio 95bfm

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Exchange Rates

When I was living in the States I couldn't care less about exchange rates. Now I'm a little obsessed. The kiwi dollar has risen against the US dollar to the highest it has been in 23 years.

This means that in the last six months our kiwi dollar is worth about 15% more against the US dollar. It was .60 kiwi cents to the dollar and now it's about at .75.

The US dollar has also been dropping against the euro as well.

We've been planning on sending some money back to the states to pay down some house debt but we might as well wait to see how high the kiwi dollar gets compared to the US dollar. Plus a regular savings account here gets about 7% interest as compared to 3-5% in the states.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

High,stinky, hot, and cold.

Roberta and I had the opportunity to take a week off from work and have a nice vacation. We started if off by heading down to Taupo which is about 4 hours south of Auckland. There is a "World Famous in NZ" glider field there that does week long training courses. Roberta was interested in going solo so this was perfect. When we got there the weather couldn't have been any better for gliding although it could have been a bit warmer in the mornings. Luckily we found a nice natural hot spring river that you could go sit in and bake.

We stayed in bunk rooms on the glider field for our time there and they were really nice. There was this Czechoslovakian guy named Dennis who had some sort of OCD which made him the perfect club mother. He was always running around making sure that everything was done just right and that everyone had what they needed.

I was expecting to go down there and do training myself in the two seaters with an instructor. We did one check flight and he oked me for flying in their PW5(single seater) which was a little scary as I only had about 5 solo flights in the PW5. It turned out nice because the thermals were booming the first couple days and I had a few really good flights.

I took a second check flight to get my ridge orientation. To fly on a ridge you use the up going wind that is striking a ridge face. That means that you need to fly really close to the ridge face, which at times can be fairly nerve wracking. After getting checked out on the ridge I spent two days carving out the corners and having a great time. It really teaches you control because if something goes wrong you don’t have much time to recover.

Roberta was able to get some really good compressed instruction on flying because the weather was so good. She had a number of hour long flights which leads to great instruction time. By the end of the camp she was doing the takeoffs and landings with little help from the instructor. With a couple more days she could have been solo.

The final day that we were supposed to fly there the weather packed in so we decided to head over to Rotorua which is know for its stinkyness due to geothermal activity. The good part about that is it also means there are a ton of hot springs. Roberta was to do the swimming portion of a half triathlon the following day so we just chilled out in Rotorua and did the tourist thing. We checked out out the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland which was really nice and stinky.

The following day we headed down to the lake where the triathlon was and Roberta and her team got mentally prepared.

Roberta started off the swimming portion in a pack of about 200 people.

If I was doing it I probably would have ran into the water and then scampered back out because of the temperature of the water. I am a cold water weenie though. Their team finished in a good time and everyone seemed to have fun.

It was a fun vacation and good to discover new parts of NZ.

Oh yeah, our cats are still cute.

Click here for more pictures of the trip