Embracing a New Beginning in New Zealand
Journal Entry - October 2016
We arrived in Wellington, New Zealand on October 5, 2016 with 15 pieces of checked luggage and 10 carry-ons. Yes, it was quite the scene as you might imagine or might have seen in my previous journal entry Taking Flight.
We arrived with:
- Tons of luggage - clothes and shoes - mostly mine, few toys, few personal items.
- 1 Job for John
- 1 Job for me
- Zero Friends
- One Place to live - move in Oct 12
- Zero Furniture
- Zero Household Items
- No schools set up - nobody discusses admissions until you are standing in their office with proof of NZ residence
- No car
- No acquaintances
- No clue about anything
- Access to Google - bless this invention
Temporary accommodations for Week 1:
We stayed in a rented house for the first week while our apartment was being prepped for our move-in day. The house was in a great location, with lots of space, furnished with all the necessities, and 2 un-anticipated cats. On day one, the cats jumped on the counter and peed on our first grocery purchase. Welcome to NZ!!!
Week 1 :
- Shopping for a used car, learning points:
- The cars are very compact for tight parking spots and narrow roads. They are deceptively roomy on the inside.
- Car insurance is optional.
- Gas (petrol) is very expensive.
- The steering wheel is on the right, controls are on the left
Shopping for used furniture.
- There are 2 places to find this,
- Trade Me App. It's like Craig's list in the US but no one mugs you, rapes you, or kills you while attempting to make a deal. Great deals on used stuff. Lots of transient people working around here for 1-2 years, so lots of used stuff is available for purchase. While driving around to gather furniture won in this auction, we found many hidden peaks and valleys with spectacular views and breath taking scenery.
- Vic Deals on Facebook - a virtual market for used furniture and goofy photographs
- We rented furniture for 2 weeks for our apartment, while gathering items:
- 3 beds ( 1 bunk bed came with the apartment)
- 2 sofas
- 1 coffee table
- 1 dining room table
- 5 chairs
- kitchen items which included 2 spoons as our only utensils (breakfast and lunches were interesting the first day in the apartment)
- The people:
- I would be remiss if I did not mention how nice everyone is here. No one is in a hurry, everyone wants to say hello, folks want to find out where you are from and how you are adjusting. Shopping and gathering things can take some time in light of all the chatting. For us hurried Americans, this has been an adjustment. We are learning the art to chilling out and casual conversation.
- The language:
- Well it's English, but at times I have needed subtitles. I occasionally had to ask people to spell what they were saying. True story. There are tons of colloquialism which further confuse me. Such as Tramping = Hiking, Timetable = Schedule, Dairy = Corner Store, Rubber = eraser, etc. Basically, I have been having trouble understanding English.
- There are 2 places to find this,
- Move in Day.
- Shopping for household items.
- When was the last time you started from scratch? I mean cups, forks, sheets, towels, plates, etc. It has been 25 years since I had only clothes associated with my name. That was college.
- We needed everything and only for 1 year, so bargain hunting continued. The children did not find our first of many 2.5 hour excursion to The Warehouse (NZ Walmart) that appealing. Apparently, shopping for soap and dish towels caused them to loose their will to live.
- Driving on the opposite side of the road learning points:
- cars behind me were scary (thankfully no one honks or hurries you)
- looking in my rearview mirror to the left was not happening.
- I wish they had "American Driver" Car Magnets or bumper stickers to properly clarify things
- If there was a bad song on the radio, well...... I listened to it.
- Talking Google Maps is a life saver. I should make a donation to this cause.
- Stop lights, zebra crossings, street signs, roundabouts (the scariest traffic creation), parking, and, well, just basic driving was quite the harrowing experience in the first two weeks.
- I learned to really appreciate what Allie, my new driver, has been going through
- Best advice from my British Friend: your body has to be near the middle of the road at all times. At the dreaded traffic circles always look right. No one cares what the people on the left are doing. They are dead to you.
- Enrollment in School:
- More on schools in the next Journal Entry, stay tuned, the beauty of the NZ holistic education system will astound you .....