This past week I successfully shared my cold with Andrew. He was sniffling and coughing and by Thursday it was clear that we were spending this weekend at home, yet again. We stocked up on some comfort foods and finished watching season 6 of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. Speaking of Netflix, did you know that Netflix, Hulu, as well as all the TV shows that air on-line like ABC and Comedy Central shows are only available in the United States? Well, not to be outdone, I bought a multinational VPN (so I can login from the US or Sweden or wherever) and I am able to catch up on The Daily Show. Especially during election season,  I am pretty confident that it was worth it =) Unfortunately the VPN for the east coast is in New Jersey, so I’ve got the worst commercials ever 😉

I’ve been doing a lot of networking this week, shooting off e-mails and messages to folks on LinkedIn who might be willing to meet up with me to discuss opportunities in Auckland. I had my first face to face networking event at the launch of the Auckland chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). It was a great opportunity to meet people, practice my elevator pitch and learn that just about nobody in Auckland has ever heard of systems engineering. Why is this a big deal? Well, I have my masters in Systems Engineering. So, a quick lesson:

Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem: Operations – Cost & Schedule – Performance – Training & Support – Test – Disposal – Manufacturing.  Systems Engineering integrates all the disciplines and specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation. Systems Engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user needs. From INCOSE:

I’m going to sell Auckland on systems engineering! It’s kind of exciting to have this unique skill set, so I’ve got some convincing to do!

I’ve also been working through my Organizational Analysis and Operations Management classes and planning a long weekend to Rotorua for Labour Day weekend (Oct 20-22). Needless to say, it’s been a fairly productive week. At the cafe where I do a lot of my classes/job hunting they even had pumpkin soup on Thursday! A little bit of fall in New Zealand. What more could I ask for? Oh, and as an aside, it was legit Pumpkin Soup! Not any of this nutmeg and cinnamon stuff that everyone calls “pumpkin” in the states, but really creamy pumpkin-y goodness. I really am fond of this cafe, the baked goods are great, the seats are comfy and the chai lattes tasty! And it’s busy enough to get in some awesome people watching, but not too busy that I’m taking up a seat that someone else would use. The staff are really nice and have no problem with me taking advantage of their free wi-fi.

Most of the soup in New Zealand is cream based. They do have Campbell’s soup, the most popular US soup brand, but it’s only Cream of Chicken, Creamy Tomato or Potato and Bacon. The only broth based soups are the Asian noodle soups, which are fantastic, but aren’t really on our list of comfort foods. I picked up half a roast chicken from the grocery store, carrots, celery, a potato and broth to whip up a chicken noodle soup. Probably wont be as good as my mom or sister’s, but I’ll give it a go. I must have some New Zealand in me, as I prefer to cook cream based soups usually too. I know my mom uses a bay leaf (but I couldn’t justify buying the spice as I never use bay leaves in anything else), but are there any other chicken noodle tips or tricks out there? Wish me luck!