Somewhere in the flash that was the last two weeks, I bought a plane ticket, packed up three suitcases of things that made the cut for being important enough to cart across 14000+km, and said my farewells. Amazing how it is possible to gloss over 14 days in one run-on sentence.
28 hours of travel later (4 airports, 3.5 movies, 100mg of gravol, 2 feet so swollen they wouldn’t fit back in my Blundstones) and then I was here. My heart literally skipped a beat when through the clouds upon our descent to Auckland I caught my first glimpse of the ground. Green! So startlingly green I would have thought it was photoshopped, that the set of the Shire was right outside my plane window. After so much heartache and frustration and tears and doubts, I was here.
As if Auckland wanted to wash off any hint of my journey, it greeted me with a fierce downpour. One extremely friendly, very chatty cab ride later (thanks Tonix for picking up the tab!) I was at my Airbnb. The rain discouraging any real exploring for this evening (and who am I kidding, I was barely capable of forming a comprehensible sentence let alone walk around the city) I managed to stay awake until the lofty hour of 8:30PM and promptly fell asleep- no need to count NZ sheep to fall asleep that nite.
For a 16 hour time difference, I managed to sleep until 6AM and awoke feeling refreshed and ready to CARPE DIEM in Takapuna! For someone who doesn’t get too stressed about clothing choices, I must have went through at least four outfit choices… It was bright and sunny outside, the temperature 17 degrees! But past travels had left with me doubts as how to dress and fit in with the locals. While in Spain… 5 years ago?!… the 30 degree weather in May had me in shorts and tshirts, the less clothes the better. But this wasn’t hot to the locals, who were all still in pants and long shirts. I stuck out like a sore Canuck thumb… Settling for jeans, a tank, and a light mac (got to use my new lingo!), I ventured out with a nervous pitterpatter in my chest. Five minutes later, I realized that shorts, dresses, and flip flops (are they called thongs here like in the neighbouring Australia?) were still very much in season, and I was definitely going to be sweating today…
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and though it has only been four days since I first ventured out (trying to be ever so causal and glancing at my Google maps every few blocks to make sure I was on track) I feel like I have walked a thousand miles a thousand times over. The days have flown by and I have barely had a minute to sit down! I moved in with my new flatmate (yes, more new lingo!) on Friday and it already feels like we have been friends for much longer than a mere few days! I am counting my lucky stars that I have ended up with someone so lovely to live with!
The last few days have been a blur of trying to figure out all the nitty gritties of moving to a new and distant country- learning the lay of the neighbourhood, driving on the opposite side of the road!!!, applying for a tax number, finalizing my bank account, getting a Kiwi (autocorrected to the capital K, my iPhone is catching on quick!) cell number, buying furniture and outfittings for my room… Oh, and most importantly- trying to figure out that sweet spot in the day when everyone back home is awake and I can chat them up, who knew 16 hours time difference would be so tricky? Hahaha
I had my first day of work today! Managing to miss the bus, I took an Uber out to the hospital and began a long day of orientation, paperwork, a million new faces and names, and too much time spent doing online modules. All of the not so fun stuff of starting a new job. For all my Canadian nurse and hospital friends, I cannot even begin to describe all the differences between NZ PRIVATE healthcare and the healthcare that I was born, raised, and educated on… and I haven’t even worked with patients yet!
It’s been an exciting and very eventful five days of changes and a continuous onslaught of new learnings and adaptations. There have been many moments when I came face-to-face with the realization that I am definitely not in Kansas (/Canada) anymore. A short list of things that have especially stood out to me-
- People causally walk around without shoes- on the busy streets, in the grocery store, at the hospital
- So many Pita Pits! I always had a good laugh at the “International Training Centre” downtown Kingston thinking ‘where else than maybe the USA are there Pita Pits!?’ (Pita Pit having been born in Kingston) Well apparently NZ!!!
- Very few people J-walk… a real shame cause you end up standing on the street corner for ages waiting for your right away (speaking of which, Kiwi drivers are not the most generous in giving others the right away…) to cross. I know this will make my mom happy, who definitely never loved my causal J- walking everywhere in YGK…
- There are PLENTY of words that are totally different from our Canadiana terms. Living with a Brit means getting not only a good laugh at all the new words I am learning from a Kiwi standpoint but also at the posh ways she says things. One of my current faves- grocery cart (Canada) vs. trolley (UK) vs. trundle (Kiwi)
- A switch to turn on power plugs. So when you plug in your device you have to turn the plug on before you can actually use whatever you’ve got plugged in there and then turn it off when you’re not utilizing that plug…
- There are no screens on the windows, since there isn’t anything dangerous to sneak/slither/fly into your house unlike in the nearby AUS… So everyone’s house are full of flies… Which doesn’t seem to phase anyone?
I have that warm and fuzzy feeling that life here is going to be pretty grand. That is a pretty broad and sweeping guess seeing as it hasn’t even been a week, but if this one week is any indication of things to come, I am pretty damn excited
Beyond excited to be Liv(ing) life abundantly in NZ 💕