30 June 2014

Greetings from New Zealand

After four flights and over thirty hours of travel time, I finally made it to my flat in Dunedin!

I was absolutely ecstatic as we were riding from the airport to the flat office. Window down, arm hanging and head popping out the window — I felt like a dog! Here are some pictures I took. See if you can spot the sheep in the second picture. (There are more sheep than there are people in New Zealand.)

My first thought was, “This is what they call winter?? It’s so green.” I actually laughed at them. But then the sun set…

Forget about culture shock – how about weather shock??

For those who know me, you know I hike Colorado mountains in a tank top and wear my beloved Chacos in all weather conditions. Well, to put things in perspective, this morning I wore two jackets, jeans, and my sneakers. And for the first time in..I don’t know how many years…my body didn’t overheat.

Being inside feels almost as cold as outside. Last night I slept with 2 pairs of socks, 2 layers of sweat pants, and 3 shirts/jackets…and I was still cold. (Pretty sure my room gets below 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.) So the first thing I did this morning was buy flannel underwear and a hot water bottle.

But enough complaining, because this was the view from my bedroom window this frosty morning…

It was my first sunrise in New Zealand… New Zealand, guys…And that’s pretty damn exciting.

So I’ve spent the last day and a half getting acclimated — or rather, spending money. Groceries, phone, bedding, etc. Things are quite expensive here, but at least the currency is rainbow colored and highlighted with native birds.

Some random observations/thoughts/experiences I’ve had so far:

1. I love the Kiwi accent! It’s like a British-Australian-Scottish accent, but still uniquely New Zealand.

2. Yes, the toilet water does swirl counter-clockwise when it’s flushed. (This one is for my brothers.)

3. Right away, I found the need to start walking on the left side of the sidewalk to avoid running into people.

4. Also on that note, I am re-training myself how to cross the street (Preschool style)… “Look right, left, then right again.”

5. My Google, Facebook, and Spotify ads are all tailored to my new location. This clearly isn’t an earth-shattering discovery, but it was just a random life detail (normally taken for granted) that I guess I wasn’t expecting to change so effortlessly. Google probably knew I was in New Zealand before my parents did.

6. Like the typical Coloradan, I don’t know which direction is west without the Rocky Mountains. Dunedin sits in a basin so we can only see rolling hills in all directions, but the Southern Alps (the “proper mountains,” as my Kiwi friend informed me) are still west of Dunedin, so I find that comforting.

7. Coffee is EVERYWHERE!!!! There are even coffee cup holders on the grocery carts. I also found this inspiring wallpaper at a cafe at the Christchurch airport:

I’ll post some pictures of my flat and of local Dunedin soon. Until then… soak up some summer tans for me!

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