Terence gets to fly around

Some of you already know that I am working for the National Library of New Zealand as a computer guy (read DBA and system administrator). Well, the technologies we have are quite impressive, so they are sending me on a training course for the big Sun server we have (an E25k). Since we have 2 people from us going and we are in Wellington, and another company in Auckland has 3 people going, the company giving the course is going to pay for us to fly up to Auckland and is going to put us up there for the course. Cool. This will be 4 days early October. I've already told my workmate that if they give us a fixed amount per night for a hotel we'll stay in a backpackers and spend the difference on drinking!

Then the week after that my company is sending me to a training course for one of the products I have to upgrade in Melbourne, Australia!! This is cool as it is a chance for me to see a bit of another country. The training course is 6 continuous days Mon to Sat 8.30 to 5pm (except Sat is to 6pm!!) so I have decided to take 2 days extra at the end to have a bit of a look around and also a bit of a break. If anybody has experience of Melbourne and can suggest some things to see or do drop me an email.

I had to apply for an Aussie visa since I am still on my South African passport - NZ passport holders can just flounce in no worries mate. So Friday I sent in the forms via courier with my passport and a bank cheque and a courier bag on the inside for them to send my passport back in when they are done. Checked on the internet that the package was delivered to them at 7.15 on Monday morning. Then I was surprised when I got into work on Tuesday that the return bag was there sitting on my keyboard!! How is that for a postal service, and a government service? Now I have a business visa to enter Australia as many times as I want in the next year and stay for up to 3 months each time.

Lea was checking my passport and she noticed that our Returning Residence Visa into New Zealand had expired - it was only valid for 2 years. So we are legally here on a Permanent Residence permit which we got within the valid period of the RRV, but as soon as we leave we won't be allowed back in except on a 3 months visitors permit, and then we can't work until we apply again for Permanent Residence and we might be declined. So today I went to the Immigration dept in Wellington to get the RRV renewed for Lea, Bianca and I. Don't need to for Caitlyn, she is here legally as a citizen. Lea dropped me off there on the way to drop Caitlyn off at daycare. I got there at 9.10, spoke to the reception at 9.15 and got a queue number, got called at 9.20 and was finished by 9.30 with RRV's in our 3 passports in time for Lea to pick me up on the way back and drop me off at work. Beat that South African government! Over and over we keep getting impressed by the service of Government departments here. Now we have no expiry RRVs so we are really Permanent Residents of New Zealand.

We have a webcam at home and have setup skype and Windows Messenger (MSN Messenger). Email us if you want our contact details, we'll be happy to chat online to people. We might also start a video chat (one way if you don't have a webcam, then we talk and you type back) if you want.

I was on the train home last week sitting next to someone from my work chatting to them, and after I got off at the station (Porirua station) the bloke sitting in front of us turned to the woman I was sitting with and asked if I was Terence White from South Africa. Turned out to be a guy from my class at school, Mark van Heerden. He gave her his email address and had to write his name down so she would pass it on to me the next day. I've sent him an email and he has written back, we will get together sometime and chat properly. He has been here about 7 years, stays a bit far from us but works close by in the city. He has a 8 month old baby named Molly. Pinky, are you thinking what I'm thinking? Right, baby fight!