Went walking Sunday with Darryl's boss' wife. Her husband W was working on a Fun Day in the park with pony rides for the kids and stalls of local goods while Darryl held down the fort at the coffee cart. The Queen Elizabeth Park which is about 10 minutes from us by car is enormous - 1,600+ acres - and goes right down to the sea. You can walk through farmland, beach, and wetlands. There's a little antique tram in the park that will take you round trip from the beach deep into the park to the Tram Museum - we took it on the way back. Looked at homemade soaps and baskets and saw the horses and petting zoo and listened to a great group of fiddlers. Had our snacks, said hi to W and headed back - about 2 hours walking total. Very laid back day off.
I was going to wait for Darryl to get around to posting so I didn't bombard you with too many sunset pics in a row, but he hasn't gotten around to it. So... 2 more nights in Kapiti.
We've been to see the dreaded tax specialist in Welly, and after he told me his fees he had to ask if I was ok. But on the bright side we will have filed correctly in two countries when he's done. I didn't learn much at the meeting when he took our paperwork, but will post a (suitably dull) update of our tax situation when he's done if any other expats are interested.
Also starting to plan the details of our Aussie trip which is looking less like our usual mountain, beach and small town tour and more of a big city Brisbane get away. We have so much opportunity to get outside here, and so Brisbane will be more of a change from the usual. We'll be getting to the Glass Mountains or some such though - can't go to Oz without taking in the wilderness a bit. Trying to keep the costs low - any suggestions for clean, cheap and central accomodation in Brisbane's CBD or Southbank are most appreciated, if any of you Ozzies or well traveled readers are out there...
By the way, came across a site with terrific desktop backgrounds from all over the web, for your wallpaper pleasure. Small world.. the wallpaper I found there that's brightening my desktop now is from stuntkid.com -- an artist who lives in Va near where we left.
Apparently Uncle Sam does NOT want our taxes. You could knock me over with a feather. Despite what I had learned from the (extremely nice) people at NZ's IRD - the IRS's kiwi counterpart - both a tax specialist and a more careful reading of IRS Publication 54 ( a mind numbing book for expats) confirmed that my US based income is actually foreign income (in that I earned it while living in a foreign country) and that I qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. I will not give you the brain cloud I suffered by trying to explain the details, but the bottom line is that I should not have been having US federal taxes withheld all this time, and I have to file for 255EZ and the 1040 to get withholding refunded for the last nine months of 2006. I also need to mail off form 673 to allow my employer to stop withholding. I have to pay all my taxes to NZ, despite my US paycheck, though of course I keep filing tax forms in the US until I die.
Not the world'd most exciting info, but perhaps helpful for anyone dropping by the blog who is (or is thinking of becomming) a US expat over here.
Hopefully this will maintain the title of 'our most boring blog post' for many months to come.