20 May 2006

Home Sweet Home

Our stuff finally arrived today! Our belongings have traveled for over 3 months, and today, the movers pulled up in a big truck and offloaded our belongings. Now our back room is completely full of boxes, and I have to go through the boxes and inventory them to make sure they all survived the trip; but, at least our stuff is here.

When I told the truck driver that it took over three months for our belongings to get to New Zealand he informed me that the rest of the load on his truck belonged to a woman who moved from Hawaii, and she had been waiting 5 months for her stuff!

All of our boxes filled our back bedroom nearly to the ceiling. Let the sorting begin.
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Foundation Ropes Course

On the weekend of May 12-14, 2006, Gaby and I took part in a basic technical ropes course here in Christchurch. In New Zealand Search and Rescue training is funded by the government, through an organization called SARINZ, the Search and Rescue Institute New Zealand, and classes are offered through Tai Pouitini Polytechnic. What a great way to support the instruction of those folks who contribute so much as volunteers.

The course was taught over three days, and Friday evening we went over several of the knots commonly used in Search and Rescue. All day Saturday and Sunday morning we utilized class time and hands on skills tests to reinforce concepts. The chief concept was to train complex, and act simply. In other words, to train at a high level, and then implement only to the complexity that needs to be done. We were taught many skills to enable the quick setup of expedient anchors to move a patient in a safe manner.

On Sunday Afternoon we took to the field to put our newly learned skills to practice. We braved a fresh southeaster bringing cold winds and plenty of wet while we had fun setting up progress capture systems, haul systems,and edge protection around a route chosen by the instructor. The exercise was a great success! This was a great opportunity for folks to understand what it takes to set up systems and just how simple and fast they can be. One of the most difficult aspects of technical rescue is to be able to look at a situation and implement a system which is only as complex as it needs to be. Oftentimes simple is best, as well as expeditious.

Andy and Kirsty practice the use of a münter hitch.

Class instruction.

Gaby rapelling with a munter hitch.

Simple mechanical advantage.

Constructing a "set of fours." A compact block and tackle setup.
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07 May 2006

The absence of the familiar

I guess I am a creature of habit too. After all, I've lived at the same address for almost 10 years now, the longest I've ever lived everywhere. My head still can't get itself around the fact that, no, this is not a temporary arrangement. What makes it harder, I have decided, is the lack of familiar objects to make it feel like home. Everything is new, including our home furnishings. So, besides the practicality of getting our stuff, there is also a desire to re-establish that feeling of "home" that is definitively lacking: familiar pictures, books, knickknacks, the chime of my ship's clock... From past experience, I know it'll take over a year before I'll really feel "home", and about 5-6 years before I'll really feel "plugged in". We've got a ways to go.
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03 May 2006

Longing for Belongings

We packed our belongings in January, with a final mad dash the first week of February, and the movers picked up our stuff for shipping on February 8. We were told that our shipment would reach Auckland in 8 to 10 weeks time. We had heard from others that their shipments had arrived in even less than 8 weeks, so Gaby and I left LA on February 12, spent a week in the Cook Islands, and figured that in as little as 4 weeks we would have our stuff. However, that has not been the case. In the beginning of April we were contacted by our shipping company and informed that our belongings would arrive in Auckland on April 22. We were also given the container number and the manifest for the ship it was loaded on. Gaby researched the ship on the internet and found that it did not even leave Long Beach harbor until March 13, and the ship was destined for Hong Kong via the North Pacific, with several stops at various Chinese ports along the way, no doubt picking up numerous containers filled with cheap plastic toys before heading back to LA. At some point the container was offloaded in Hong Kong, and then loaded onto a ship destined for Australia. Last week I received another call from our movers who informed me that due to severe weather in Australia - Australia was hit by a bad hurricane the week before - shipping schedules were behind. The soonest possible ship that would get underway for Auckland would arrive on May 9, with no guarantee that our container would be on it. The saga of the stuff continues...
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