Cheers to summer!

We have had such an exciting weekend that I am not sure where to begin!
First things first. On Wednesday we went and checked out an apartment and starting Monday evening we will have ourselves a home! It isn’t exactly an apartment. We have our own room, bathroom, refrigerator and deck but there are still shared kitchens and lounges. It is right on the beach though, and even though we still lack complete privacy, not having to buy kitchen items or cleaning supplies and those kinds of things really cuts down on costs. And there is always the chance to make new friends! I don’t have pictures yet of the new place because someone was still living in the room but I will take plenty when we move in tomorrow! One interesting point about the place is there is a pet goat named Kevin and I guess he gets free roaming rights into the lounges and kitchens. So that should be interesting… From our apartment it takes 45 minutes to walk the lake trail into town so I’ll be getting myself a bicycle real soon.
After we checked out of the hostel on Thursday we headed to twelve mile delta where we had a tree planting job lined up. The location is absolutely stunning. Crystal clear streams feeding into the lake and of course mountains as far as the eye can see. Although Queenstown is by no means a city, it was still nice to get away into the quiet surroundings.

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We set up our campsite and had a walk, then headed back to make some tacos and get some sleep. It wasn’t too cold and with all of our new gear that we scored from the Salvation Army (two sleeping bags, three hats, gloves, and a comforter for 26 bucks!) we were actually quite toasty.

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In the morning we headed over to the tent to meet Stuart, the campsite manager. He is from Australia but was offered this job to maintain the campgrounds and now he and his wife and two daughters live in a big van on the location and he just kind of keeps things going. There is no running water or electricity at the campsite so it is kind of amazing how they are doing it. They have been out there for two years! Outside of solar panels I don’t know what they do for power but it doesn’t sound like they own televisions or anything. What a life! We met our fellow tree planters and got down to business. Put 1000 trees into 1000 holes.

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We actually killed it. We were supposed to work for five hours but we had all the trees planted in about three hours. We met some awesome people too. We made some friends from Sweden, France and Germany who are also all living in the area so it will be nice to have people to hang out with in town. Because Stuart had enough money to employ us all for five hours we sat around and weeded some plants for a while and then when we were bored of that he went up and got a big cooler of beer for us all to share. His complaint was that we all worked too fast and drank too slow. I guess this is a pretty typical Australian mindset.

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While we were working though I got THE call. The Department of Conservation called and offered me the ranger job at the visitor center in Queenstown!!! I am so excited! Unfortunately I don’t start until October 19th so I will need to find some temporary jobs in the meantime but the Swedish girl does these temporary jobs and they keep her occupied so I am going to apply there tonight but it’s such a relief to know I have an almost sort of big girl job coming! I can’t wait! And then in more good news, Alex got a call from the DOC too. I had mentioned he was looking for work at my interview and someone on the interview panel called me and told Alex to send him his resume. I guess the job is something in pest control (NZ is trying to eliminate all rats and weasels and other enemies of the Kiwi bird in the National Parks) so Alex will meeting with him tomorrow to discuss the job! We will let you know how that goes as soon as he finishes his interview. So in the space of three days we have a home, a for sure awesome job, and a maybe hopefully awesome job. Basically we are on cloud nine right now. We worked with the trees for two days, and yesterday it even snowed but it was really nice to contribute. Maybe someday we will come back with our grandkids and show them the forests we planted.
Last night the snow came in and it completely changed the landscape. The mountains were blanketed with fresh coats of white and the town was packed with people and their snow gear saying this will be the last good ski of the season.

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I can’t wait for summer! (haha to all you suckers going into winter!) Things have been really falling into place much easier than I ever dreamed they would have and this summer might be one of the best of our lives!
Love you!
By Tracey

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