Work is going well so far. I've had the last three days off, but I'm working literally all weekend. That's fine by me; my coworkers are now my social group, so going to work means spending time with them. All my hostel friends have now taken off, even Steve, the Aussie guy who had been at that hostel just as long as I was. The last few days of having the boys around was awfully fun. Travis and Jonathan, a couple Americans that now live and work at the South Pole, came back from their side trip, as did Tim, my wine tour buddy. Lots of BBQing was done and some good drinking as well. It caused a bit of a twinge when they all headed on their way, particularly Tim, as he and I hung out together quite a bit. I rarely find those people that I am instantly comfortable around, but he was one of them. Maybe we'll meet again someday, and if not, it was a wonderful NZ memory.
It's funny, I really do feel like what I'm doing can be described as nothing other than a "working holiday." Yes, I've got a job, and it takes up a good amount of hours, but on my days off, I've really not got much going on. I'm free to sit around in a garden and read all day if I wish, which is what I did yesterday. Once I get next week's schedule, I think I'll plan a day hike out at Abel Tasman, before it starts getting too cold. It's nice to not have any obligations besides showing up to work. I got my first paycheck too, so I can really start thinking about how I'm going to budget in order to get to some of the really cool stuff when Leah comes to visit in May.
I'm also starting to think about plans post-August. Nothing solid yet, of course, but I need to figure out before too long if I want to spend a whole year here or not. It's crazy, but August already seems so close. Only 5 months away! I mean, I've already been in NZ for almost 2 months! February straight up disappeared on me. Time just doesn't stop its rush in the least, does it? Ah well, I'll be thinking about it, and I'm sure it'll get written about here as well. It is exciting to plan!
Oh, finally, I got the pictures I've taken so far up. You can find them here. There aren't a ton, but hopefully you can get an idea of how goregous this country is!