Kia Ora from New Zealand
After two hours going through customs at the Auckland airport, I retrieved my bioscanned tent seemingly unscathed. Ian and Jane, a very nice Kiwi couple I met in Utah, picked me up from the airport and get five stars for helping me acclimate to NZ. They took me to get my phone set up, held a crash course in Kiwi slang, and gave me free reign of their jetted bathtub (with bubbles). On Saturday, they drove me to One Tree Hill (apparently "No Tree Hill" now since someone got a mean hair and chopped it down...some people's children *sigh*). We walked around the waterfront in Auckland. It was gorgeous! There were some amazing yachts and sailboats! But the winner in my book was this enormous yacht that could house it's own plane. #boatgoals.
Ian and Jane have a beach caravan in Coromandel which is only 30 minutes or so away from my first WWOOFING stay so we stayed there a few days before they were to drop me off at Dharma Gaia. It was miserable weather our first day. It was 57 degrees!!!
Luckily the sun came out enough to enjoy the beauty. It was a welcome thing to wake to. It's been nice to enjoy down time, going for walks and reading. I bought the biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write his Broadway beauty. I worried this biography was going to be kind of boring since that's how I stereotype all biographies. But it is so good! What a fascinating and inspiring story! I'm so proud to be part of a country with founders who overcame so much. It's nice to feel patriotism when our current presidential race leaves much to be desired from American politics.
At the end of my first week here, and Ian says I'm basically already a Kiwi haha ;) I have watched more sports and American related news here than in my whole life. I know that rugby is like football only without protective gear and rules that make absolutely no sense (you can drop the ball and then pick it up again? but then later you can't?!). The best team is called the All Blacks. I learned that sports star Aaron Smith is a disgrace to the All Blacks due to a recent sex scandal in a public bathroom stall...so basically NZ has entitled perv sports stars like home. I've also learned about cricket. Um... one cricket match is like a baseball game that lasts eight hours a day for five days. Does that make you want to punch yourself in the face? Yup. Me too. And sometimes it ends with a tie! WHAT!?!? Americans could NEVER play this game. Also, the object is to knock "bales" off poles...don't confuse these for tiny bales of hay unless you want to be mocked.
Fish and chips are pretty big here. But at a good shop you pick your fish and they batter and fry it up for you right there (no Liz, they don't kill the fish in front of you). I surprisingly really liked the mussel fritters too. I've been made fun of for my love of peanut butter on just about anything (though in Fiji someone put it on watermelon and that crossed a line of weird, even for me). I also love Jane's homemade mustard pickle, which is crazy since I don't much like mustard or pickles on things at home. But they don't like dill pickles either. Apple donuts? Duh!
Then the time came to part ways as Ian and Jane dropped me off at Dharma Gaia, the mediation retreat I'll be working at/ WWOOFING at (yes it's a real thing) for the next month. Thank you guys for making my transition to NZ so easy. I don't know what I would have done without you!