Settling Down in (Beautiful?) Blenheim

Since we have last posted, the tables have turned, and we have transitioned from adventuring around New Zealand to settling down, backpacker fashion, in the small-ish town of Blenheim.

Let me explain:

Upon arriving in Blenheim hitchhiking style, we checked into an average sized hostel where we were supplied with a list of vineyard contractors to hopefully get a job doing some pruning. Once we worked our way down the list and found that there was just no work to be had, we scoured the internet and the power that it holds to find any and all possibilities for work and/or eating for the foreseeable future.

Just our luck, we found a wonderful little hostel by the name of Lemon Tree Backpackers looking for a couple to take over as the weekend managers. After approximately three minutes of sweet-talking our way into the position, we moved into a quaint little studio apartment complete with no hot water and one working lightbulb. We started working that evening and have thus been fully trained in the ways of managing the hostel and everything that comes with it.

Common area, plus our apartment in the back

Dorm rooms

That being almost exactly two full weeks ago, we have also done other types of paycheck work:

I worked two days on a vineyard picking grapes and two days picking shallots, but Dennis worked only one day picking grapes and then was offered a full time position at a mussel factory!

What does a shallot field look like? Well it kind of looks like nothing. Like it actually looks like nothing. It's a bunch of dirt and looks like a field that has already been harvested. I worked two 8-hour days on my hands and knees in a shallot field, and I still don't think I would recognize one.

Shallot field

Also, these are shallots:

Shallots

So here we are, in our little apartment just a few blocks from the river that runs through town. We are surrounded by lemon trees and apple trees, and have all the mussels and clams we could ever desire. We now have hot running water and three, count 'em THREE, working lightbulbs.

Ralphie (Bungleye)

We also have a cat.

And when I say that we have a cat, what I actually mean is we've taken custody of a local stray that sticks around the hostel.

And when I say that we've taken custody of this cat, I mean that we've moved her food source into our apartment, but we do have a cat door, so I think that it's serendipity or something. Anyway, it's our cat and you can't tell us otherwise.

Her name is Ralph (Ralphie), but due to her two different colored eyes, Dennis has taken to calling her Bungleye. She's not that kind, but she's a cat. I'm not sure what more you expect.

We've moved up significantly in the world in just the last few weeks: from living in a tent through a cyclone, to staying in what amounts to a closet (a "room" in Auckland with no windows), to sleeping in our car, and finally to a studio apartment with our own bathroom and cat and couch (in order of significance?).
 

Our apartment

Blenhiem is not the most picturesque place here in terms of what New Zealand has to offer, but it's really not so bad. It looks like we will be here for a couple of months or so, and then onto the next adventure. Meanwhile, Dennis is working in a mussel factory and I am spending my days trying to find a job. Currently, I'm waiting to hear back from Burger King. (Now there's a sentence I just never expected to hear from myself. Mom, Dad, aren't ya proud?)

Apple and Lemon (?) Trees