After a ridiculously long day of travel, a lost day on the way over, and one missed plane, I’ve finally made it to New Zealand!
I’ve been imagining what my time here would be like for a long time now, and I still can’t quite believe I am actually here. I have already met so many amazing people. It feels a little bit like starting freshman year of college all over again. All the international students make immediate bonds trying to figure out how to decipher the kiwi accent and words that are used in completely different ways from what we are used to. For example, I needed to get passport photos to get an 18+ ID card (so that I don’t have to carry my passport everywhere as ID) and the woman I asked about where to get them started giving me directions to the “chemist”. I thought she was directing me to the chemistry department and just didn’t know what I was asking for. Turns out the “chemist” is the kiwi term for pharmacy. Who knew?
I went on a tour at Orokonui Ecosanctuary the other day. It was pouring rain most of the time and began hailing a little bit towards the end, but we got a couple minutes of clear skies while we were up there. This is what it looked like during the few clear minutes.
The wind was stronger than any wind I have ever felt since it was fairly unprotected from the elements up in the hills. We learned a lot about New Zealand plants and birds, though we only saw a few birds. One cool one we saw is called the Takahe. I also tasted the incredibly spicy leaf of a native New Zealand plant called horopito. I wouldn’t suggest eating more than just a taste!
The Botanic Garden is right across the street from my flat and I have to walk through part of it to get to the grocery store. It is really pretty and has been fun to explore, there’s still much more of it to see though. I went to a new part of it today for my botany lab. We went up on the top of the hill and got tours of some of the green houses and specialized gardens. The view was amazing!
Besides all that, classes started today! I am taking New Zealand Environmental Politics, New Zealand Plant Ecology, and Maori Society. I think it will be a good bunch of classes. I already know people in all of them so at least I can’t get too lost trying to find the classrooms!
Good on ya!