We left Oahu on Monday at about eight in the morning. Because of a long layover in LA and crossing the international dateline, we arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday morning at about six. I’m not really sure how that happened, but it did. In any case, I slept through the twelve hour flight because I switched to a different airsickness remedy which did not make me sick. The scopolamine patches that I had gone to so much trouble to stock up on? Yeah, fairly certain at this point that they were making me sick every time after I landed. There’s irony for you, eh? So, since my choices seem to be: get sick while we’re flying, get sick after we land, or just sleep the first day after we land, I’m going with sleeping.
I must say that the Air New Zealand flight crew was really nice; getting me cold towels for the first forty minutes or so, and asking about me repeatedly while I was sleeping. I know they were asking about me ’cause I would semi wake enough to hear Marc reply, “Oh yeah, she’s fine, this is just her standard operating procedure,” as he ate dinner or breakfast. *Laughs* Anyway, my seat was quite comfortable and I’m fairly certain it was a great flight. I’d half wake up every time Captain Summerville gave us an update over the intercom about where we were or what the weather was like when we got close to landing.
The first week was spent becoming acclimated to the time change and weather, sorting out transportation, finding a place to live, talking to Kiwi’s everywhere, and just checking out what will be our new home for the next nine months. The time change was a bit of a challenge, but I think we’ve almost totally gotten used to it. I do think it helped to make the small jumps west like we did along the way. Oh, and sleeping twelve hours on the flight here. Yeah, that helped too. Getting used to the weather has been tougher. Especially because we just came from Hawaii, with it’s 85 degree days and gentle breezes that caress the skin. Here it’s early spring, so although it warms up to about 70 during the day, it’s pretty freaking cold at night. Then there is the rain. I think it rained five out of the first seven days we were here. The first two days the wind would whip away anything that wasn’t nailed down. I think our relief was palpable when we finally saw the sun.
We got a car after the first two days in the hotel, but we’ll be changing to a different rental company as the first one was out to try to pay their kids college educations off the fees. Marc found a good deal, and we’ll be picking up the new wheels on Friday. That’s ya’lls Thursday by the way. New Zealand is actually 17 hours ahead of the east coast, so if you want to know the future, you’ll need to check back often, lol.
We were actually pretty lucky to find such a nice place to live for our first month here. We had tried some of the hostels in Auckland after leaving the hotel, but there was a triathlon going on. With entrants from all over the world, we could not find any available rooms. We ended up in a B & B in Drury, about a thirty minute drive south of the city. While rural, it has a lot of charming idiosyncrasies.These will be explored in another post however. The B & B is on the side of a hill and backs up to MacWhinney Nature preserve so it’s just incredibly beautiful here.
Our hosts, Renee and Marianne, are actually Dutch, and emigrated from the Netherlands eight years ago. They have been an invaluable source of information, and are also similar to us in age and outlook. It’s been really great to hang out with them, their cat, and two dogs. There are also two boarders here; Margaret (and another cat) and Cullum, a young guy doing an apprenticeship in tiling. Both are also pretty nice. Today Margaret gave us a huge map to help us get our bearings. Nice!
We had heard about New Zealanders being a reserved group, however most everyone we’ve talked to has been pretty friendly. Their accents are awesome; sort of a mix of Australian and British. Throw in the words for places and things which remind me faintly of Oahu but are probably Maori (rhymes with cowrie as in cowrie shell) and you’ve got an interesting combination. This actually makes sense, seeing as how Hawaiians and New Zealanders are all considered Pacific Islanders. Anyway, they have names like Tauranga, Whangarei and Papakura here. Kinda hard to pronounce until you’ve heard them a few times, and perhaps not even then. Luckily, New Zealanders seem to be charmed by our American accents (what accents, right?), and when told we’re on a long holiday they all have favorite places to recommend. I’m glad we have nine months here, I think we’re gonna need it. Another thing we’ve learned about Kiwi’s is that they seem to have a pretty good sense of humor. Marc noticed it first on the flight, but we’ve both noticed it driving around Auckland since then.
We’ve been into Auckland city a few times, but always with a destination and purpose that precluded actually seeing any of the city. We’ve had better luck with the flora and fauna of rural Drury. There are a lot of sheep and cows out here. You’d probably laugh if you saw me chasing after sheep to take their pictures. I know Marc did.
At least the foliage doesn’t move. There are tons of flowers and flowering trees here, as well as huge palm trees. We’ve also had a lot of fun checking out the birds that fly around the backyard while we’re sitting in the spa. Today we heard the Tui bird. It sounds like a flute, I kid you not. I think I’m gonna set a goal for myself to try to capture a picture of each kind of bird in New Zealand. Here’s my first one. It’s called a Pukeko, and it’s comparable to a Canadian goose back home in that they are EVERYWHERE. Kinda pretty though, eh?
So, that’s been our first week here. The second week is actually starting out better, seeing as we’ve settling in and are starting to see more of the country. However, that’s for another post. In the meantime we miss all our friends and family back home. We’ve started to get into a routine each morning of waking up and opening up Skype to talk to people. Ten in the morning here is five in the afternoon on the east coast, so we’re usually be available for a few hours each day; unless we’re up and out early. That’s the best way to contact us as it’s free; and with the video chat it really does feel like a visit. So,… wanna visit sometime? Ya’ll know what to do. Love, Cara