I have been in New Zealand a little over a week–12 days exactly (nope not counting at all). As I was pulling into Hamilton I was in a flight and fight mode. Part of it was the not-so scenic view of NZ that I drove into… lesson #1 most of the images about NZ are from the South Island so I felt like I was betrayed, however, the city is not as bad as what I initially saw because I was running on no sleep, jet-lag, clocking in several hours of research and spending almost 28 hours in travel time.
Some other tidbits I have learned:
1. People walk around barefoot .. yes into stores on the streets anywhere. I probably will stick to wearing shoes.
2. People are super friendly here and coming from DC in which friendliness is sometimes translates into “you are being nice to me so you must want something.” Not the case here.. its sincere which is refreshing to encounter.
3. Kiwi value “work/life” balance so be prepared to come across businesses closing early. I haven’t been in a situation yet where this will piss me off but I am sure one evening when I need something I will get annoyed.. good old USA with its workaholics (I fall into that category).
4. People drive on the left hand side of the road. I rented a car and tested out my abilities, aside for pissing people off at the roundabouts (you need to signal when you enter and exit). I survived and managed to drive out to a coastal town Raglan and experienced the NZ beauty that I had been searching for.
5. “Heaps” aka “lots” aka “loads” is a word that I have added to my vocabulary.
6. Daily earthquakes are a thing here (I haven’t felt one yet but I have managed to sleep through an earthquake in Italy, DC and I am sure some other city) oh and there are several active volcanoes, I guess that’s what happens when you sit on the “ring of fire.” As I was told “Nothing on the island is dangerous except for the island itself,” that sure is comforting.
I am slowly settling into my life in Hamilton and in NZ with my
side kick Daryl Dixon to help me take on a roller coaster of emotions and growth.