So this week has been insane. I am living in New Zealand! I mean New Zealand! How freaking awesome is that! It’s officially been a whole week today, but time has been an interesting thing here. Some days it flies by while other days last for eons. Not that I’m complaining about those days, but it’s strange. In the States, you get those days too, but here it’s different.
I think my mind is still incredibly confused with the time difference. I mean, its eighteen hours ahead of New York, but since I went from Germany (twelve hours behind here), to home (eighteen), to here after spending about 24 hours on planes and in airports, my internal clock has failed me. My flight left on Thursday and arrived on Saturday, so I lost a day.
Not only was I sick of planes by the time I got to Auckland, but since our flight was delayed (because stupid JFK never gets planes off the ground on time) I missed my connection to Palmerston North. Luckily, I was able to get on another flight that left an hour and a half later, but that meant staying at an airport longer. I wouldn’t have minded as much if the flight I originally was supposed to be on had left on time, but that was also delayed and didn’t leave until a good thirty minutes after I was sitting at the gate, waiting for the next flight.
I must say though, I truly loved the security measures New Zealand has in place at the domestic terminal. This is sarcasm, by the way. The security here is somewhat in the non-existent category. The reason being: New Zealand is so freaking far from EVERYTHING that no one wants to waste the fuel it would take to get here to do anything. So always good. Feelin’ pretty safe here in the country the size of Colorado! So we got on this cute little turbo plane that sat 30 people and headed over to Palmy, as I shall now join the rest of the people here in calling Palmerston North – much easier to type. The flight was so short! Only an hour long. And they gave us food and drinks and yeah, you get the idea. Pretty sweet.
I was nervous upon my arrival as I had no clue who they were sending to pick me up or how I would know, but walking inside I realized how wasted this thought process was. The airport has about five gates, maybe. That might be pushing it. Clare picked me and another girl up and gave us cute little welcome packets with maps and whatnot. We got our luggage – go airlines for NOT losing my stuff! – and made our way to the “shuttle” a.k.a., a car. I went to get in the car and was completely disturbed by the fact that I was sitting in the left front seat and not in the driver’s seat. SO WEIRD!
Clare dropped us off, but not before introducing me to Jeff (I think that was his name – at least that’s what it sounded like), who helped me bring my bags to my room. I unpacked a bit before walking around the campus and getting lost. Shocking, I know. It’s a gorgeous campus, though, so I definitely didn’t mind. I found a few places and then meandered back to my room to finish unpacking. I met some people who lived in my hall and all, but I was fairly tired, so I went off to sleep.
Sunday was the start of orientation, so I spent quite some time in SSLB1. Met a bunch of people, heard a bunch of people, got some free stuff. Fairly basic in the terms of orientation, but since a hurricane destroyed the plans Riddle had for us as freshmen, it was kind of nice to finally have one! But long. Very long. Two full days of information, some pertaining to me and some not, is way too much for my attention span to handle. But Riddle should do something more like Massey. We got these nice binders and whatnot with all the information I think I might ever need on stuff going on here, but it was all nicely presented and whatever, I’m impressed.
The last few days I’ve just been meeting people (some multiple times, but you guys know how I am with names and all) and exploring campus. Kiwi’s (yes, New Zealanders are called Kiwi’s) have this amazing and awesome habit of not walking around with shoes. I am extremely jealous of this ability and so I decided on Wednesday after they made us take off our shoes to go in the bouncy castle obstacle course for team building that I would meander about without shoes for the rest of the day. This was a TERRIBLE idea. Not only was the ground way too hot and my feet were definitely not used to not wearing shoes, so blisters! Not fun, feet still healing. But that definitely won’t discourage my future attempts in bare footedness once my feet are back to normal!
Today I went for a bike ride with the purpose of getting more details about getting certified to dive. While discovering the dates they have are completely clashing with other exciting things going on in my life that I can’t change, I was also disappointed with the gears on the bike I bought. I suppose that’s what happens when you buy, as Kiwi’s seem to put it, pre-loved items, but not only did they randomly change, but the seat is probably one of the most uncomfortable ones in the world. I mean seriously. I need to get a cushionier one ASAP! After leaving the dive and drive center – yes, there’s was a driving range there as well for you golfaholics – (not to mention being thoroughly exhausted from riding past the airport on supposedly flat terrain) the bike decided to malfunction and the chain came undone. Awesomeness. I’m on the middle of a freaking highway with cars going 100km/h by me and I’m moving NOWHERE!
I was able to get the chain back on after going off to a patch of grass on the side of the road, but still. I sincerely hope that never happens again. At least the brakes work on this one though! On my way back to Massey, and I must note here that I DID NOT GET LOST THE ENTIRE TIME – pat on back for me ::excited dance:: – I decided to stop to get some food and ran into some people from my hall, so we got food at The Plaza, a.k.a. a mall, and then I set off again for home. Much of this journey was slightly uphill. People who said otherwise, there was a special place in my mind for you earlier today, FYI.
Not only did I ride my bike for over two hours today with the incredibly uncomfortable seat, I also did laundry! I must say it was quite a productive day. I’m bummed about the diving stuff, but determined to find something else to make it work. After dinner with people, we decided to go on a walk. There is this epic park next to the university, which reminds me a lot of Child State Park or Clay Pit Ponds only cooler and better because I’m in New Zealand! We meandered about on some trails and discovered that one of them leads up right behind The Courts, which oddly enough, is where I am living. Awesomeness! I have found the new place for me to disappear off to. *Random side: I couldn’t help but hear ‘Disappear, disappear! Back, back, over the falls!’ in my mind right then from the trolls on the ride in Norway at EPCOT.
Once we got back, we didn’t feel like going back to our rooms to do nothing though, so we grabbed a deck of cards and played a few games before calling it a night. Sweet as. Yeah, my Kiwi lingo is improving by the minute. I reckon by the time I leave this amazing country, I might even pick up the accent. Yeah, definitely not. Now as I clap my hands like a maniac trying to kill the evil flying, blood sucking creatures in my room because I am almost certain Kiwi’s do not believe in the amazing invention of the screen, I am failing miserably at not getting eaten alive. But it’s all good!
There is so much I need to explore here and want to discover, I don’t know where to begin. This first post is a bit lengthy, but it is covering a whole week! I hope by the time I leave here I will have learned a thing or two more about myself. This whole study/being abroad thing is something I really believe everyone should take part in. I’ve learned plenty about myself and other people and whatnot in the last five months that I can’t even imagine what I will find in the ones to come.
Goals for tomorrow:
- find a cheap, but comfy bike seat
- finish getting stuff for classes, which start on Monday
- explore more of that park that’s right behind where I live
Other things I want to get done within the near future:
- find a dive shop with better hours
- send off those letters I’ve been sitting on for the last few days
- throw out my garbage – although I suppose this should be for tomorrow!
More stuff I want to do eventually while in New Zealand:
- go horseback riding
- go parasailing
- maybe hit up the slopes?!? 😀
- go hiking – or tramping, as they call it here
- travel more!
- go zorbing
I’m going to wrap this up now, as I’m sure the random lists of things has thrown you for a loop. It’s been a great week. I’m extremely excited for the ones to come! Hopefully, I will keep this up – but don’t worry, they shouldn’t all be this long!