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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Book of Kiwi

And so I have begun my trip to the other side of the world in the wonderful South Pacific!

There is a saying amongst New Zealanders of their country: “God’s own.” It only took me about one week before I was sure of my thoughts on that reference: Yep, I agree. My first thoughts upon stepping off the plane in Wellington were (after thinking I would need about 5 more coffees to make it through the time difference…), “Oh man, pinch me again!” I have stopped pinching myself and have fully settled in to the luscious surroundings and relaxed culture. I am getting used to this in a hurry.

New Zealand is a small country made up of 2 islands, which they have skillfully named the North Island and South Island. I am living in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, located at the southern tip of the North Island. Wellington has a very special climate in the world; it is pretty much the first city that interferes with the winds blowing off from the Antarctic. Yes. Special indeed. And chilly, particularly by the summer season!

No worries, I have managed a weekend trip or two in shorts and tank tops, reappearing with pink cheeks!  Summertime in the southern hemisphere – this is awesome.

All of my previous moves overseas have involved foreign languages, so this English-speaking land is a delight. One small snag though… I have this association of “foreign country = foreign language,” which in the past has predominantly been French. To my delight I find I am transcribing my thoughts and phrases into French. Every time someone answers a phone, I expect to hear, “Bonjour!,” and I read and french pronounce random words to myself. HA! Not so much… However, there is a strong presence of the founding tribes of New Zealand, the Maori, and the culture is strong and present here, not stifled as in so many lands, including the US. I am learning much more than just the European-based Kiwi society.

Lake Hawea
My work here is much busier than I had predicted, but I do have 3-day weekends. every. single. weekend. hot damn! Basically I put in ~45 hours per week in 4 days, then take off for 3 days and leave it all behind, exploring all the nooks and crannies of NZ by foot, boat, car, ferry… Right now it is a busy and lovely way to live!
Lake Matheson and Mount Cook
I have more pictures for you all than I can organize currently, but expect wildlife and beautiful scenery soon!
A short “PS” to thank all of those that helped me move out of Atlanta, which was a huge feat: Mom, Rob S, Mike R, Bruno F, Michael McD. I could not have done it without you guys, mentally or physically.

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