Lot of news to share
NEWS flashes: We have not seriously hurt each other while arguing about each other’s driving! We rented a house! We had a bit of fun today! We are eating well - and often!
The word “dog” sends shivers down Realtor’s spines; they shake their head and frown, “hmmm, very hard”. Some have been nice and have tried to be helpful, others pretty much slam the door in our face. The reality is that there is an overall shortage of rentals ……we were not to be dismayed. How can we even live without a dog? What would we talk about if we didn’t have a dog? We would find a rental house! (I think I can I think I can I think I can!)
We decided to cross the harbor bridge and go to a hilly area just north of the city with the inspired name of North Shore. We found the real estate office (after loud squabbling in the car how to get there) and found Rob. After much shaking of head his face lit up, he had a place not yet on the market! Come back later and he would take us!
The house is old (1950s?), dark on the inside but the new owner will paint. It is very solid and has a decent kitchen. They will leave the frig and washer! There are 4 very small bedrooms, 2 lounges (LR), VIEWS! + walk out basement (with laundry, ½ bath, and room for guests, storage, etc.) that opens up to a large yard. Being near the top of the hill allows cooling ocean breezes to circulate. It’s funky and best of all they will accept Kenzie! The rent starts May 1st so they have time to get it cleaned up. After what Howard had seen it was a no brainer. We are excited!
The neighborhood is right between Northcote (Asian) and Hillcrest (tony). I stumbled into a constable’s office and he said it was “right good” except for the “double nut” several doors down but “not to worry he is harmless!” Two minutes from the house is a shopping center with several medium sized Asian markets, bakeries, other Asian stores selling mysterious things I don’t understand, the constable’s office, and a sweet little library with WIFI! The library is really colorful and busy, very welcoming. The abundant mature wisteria all along the front must be beautiful when in bloom.
About 10 minutes due east is Takapuna, a beach town with two large towers which we can see from our new house. Today we found a motel w/ all of a 3 minute walk to the beach and will move there tomorrow so we can learn the North Shore area a bit better (and not drive the bridge). I plan to visit the many schools in the area too. Takapuna is lovely, very fancy, lots of great shops and restaurants. We made a note of the Irish Bar for St Paddy’s Day!
Yesterday had a positive and productive meeting with a professor at the University of Auckland. To learn the “context” I will begin my “journey” (Maoris are really into the concept of a life journey) working with children. Since I have worked with adults for so long it sounds refreshing and FUN to work with kids in a student centered, active learning, and educational atmosphere. Since we talked about NZ so many months ago I had thought I would need to learn the system before I could teach teachers at a university or do something at the tertiary level. Working as a teacher feels right: it will be fun to be with kids again & a great way to learn the community as well as WHY NZ is rated one the best educational systems it the world! Plus it will be easier to make friends working as a teacher! Social constructivism is still the dominant pedagogy since mandated (punitive) tests have not taken over (yet?).
There is a big controversy about national standards all across NZ. People are not worried about standards. Most schools have already developed their own system of accountability; the concern is that this conservative Gov’t - under Prime Minister John Keys and Ed. Minister Anne Tolley – will copy the US and the UK despite proven un-success with national testing and contemporary school reform. Schools in NZ are their own selves, they operate with a Board but not an over arching district so are independent yet public. The national curriculum gets high praises and each school charts their own course to meet student need. In today’s Herald the principal of a school in Christchurch declared they would NOT adopt the standards! Great drama! Also learned that the International Reading Association is hosting their WORLD CONGRESS conference in Auckland this July! Of course I plan to attend!
Walking the beach today was a celebration of all we have accomplished. We are home tonight and it feels good to (finally) relax.