Kiwis and Castles

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Supernanny Gill

My first week here has been fairly eventfull: I've met a bunch of Matt's friends and they're all really nice, I've started to recognize some streets so I'm not getting lost anymore (although there is a whole other side of downtown I haven't explored yet) and I have a job. I'm nannying for a 22 month old girl every afternoon. She's normally well-tempered and very energetic so it's a fun but tiring part time job. I've had a few emails from other people at Weta who want nannies so there is the chance that I'll pick up some work for the mornings, but at the moment I really enjoy my free time. I'm going to start volunteering at an elementary school and get involved in the Habonim Dror group here. Matt and I are heading down to Dunedin on the 6th for Claire's birthday party which will be great because I haven't seen her i a long time! Some other UBC exchange friends are going to be down there so it should be great.
So far I've met very few actual Kiwis here since all of Matt's friends and the family I work for are all British and Australian. I'm sure as I start taking classes and volunteering that I'll meet a whole variety of people and then I'll have some interesting cultural differences to point out. At the moment there really aren't that many that I've noticed: TV channels play a lot fewer commercials which is great but means that shows start at random times and are hard to predict; they don't have pennies which I think is brilliant; tax is included in all the prices which is smart; and with the exchange rate being in favour of the Canadian dollar yet prices here being higher than they would be at home, it makes everything pretty much the same price here; I don't like their coffee. So, like I said, not anything terribly interesting, but I'll keep everyone posted if something funny or shocking comes up.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Safe and sound and upside down!

I've finally arrived in New Zealand! My flight landed at about 8:30 yesterday (Thursday) morning and Matt picked me up at the airport. I went to the apartment and then we went out walking and for a bite to eat. After an afternoon nap to help with the jetlag I just watched TV last night. I wasn't feeling too well but since I'm fine today I think it was just 24 hour travelitis. I slept decently well last night until about 6am. Matt went off to work and I went wandering around the city a little bit. When Matt said that I couldn't get lost I didn't believe him, but he was right. I think Cuba St (where our apartment is) is magical: I wandered, turned around random corners, got myself confused, went into stores and cafes and the museum, wandered aimlessly, and somehow I always ended up back on Cuba St. I think that no matter where I go, Cuba St will just move to suit my needs.
The museum here, Te Papa ("our space" in Maori) is incredible. My legs were already getting tired at this point so I didn't see the whole thing, or even a fraction of it, but what I did see was amazing. I'll go back there sometime soon with a camera so I can post pictures. They have a Shake House where you can feel what it's like to be in an earthquake, a huge blue whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling, and a bunch of neat kids' exhibits. My favorite thing was the traditional Maori meeting place with all the native carvings and decorations. It was beautiful. The only thing that wrecked it were these two girls who had ditchd their New York school group's tour and were chatting in there and being annoying. But despite them, it was still really beautiful. The native people still use it for ceremonies, and although I don't think they're open to the public I'm going to keep checking the museum to see if I could attend anything held in there.
That's all the news for now, given that it's only 12:15pm and my first real day here! I'll be sure to update frequently and post pictures as soon as I take some.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A quick update

Before I forget, Emily just sent me this which is really really funny.
We're back from Jeff's wedding and it was beautiful. It was a lot of fun and I got to see some camp friends from years ago which was great. Matt was able to stay for the extra week (hurray!) so he came up to cottage country with us. He went through the family grilling and moved on to the family friends' grilling and I think he did really well. Being at a lake and playing games at night with the family was actually a lot of fun, but of course it made me miss camp. On the more exciting side of things, I'm going to NZ the day after tomorrow! I'm very excited but also a bit nervous. I guess that's normal since everything is an entirely new experience and it's far away from home. But I've been waiting so long to start travelling that I'm mainly just excited. My next update will be from kiwiland!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Modin's bus accident

Amy just sent me this article about a bus flipping over on the way to Funtown/Splashtown yesterday. Luckily everyone will be alright. She found an update this morning and the boy in serious condition has been upgraded to fair. Luckily none of my girls were involved (as far as I know) but a few siblings were. I know stuff like this happens all the time, it's just a bit more frightening when you know the kids.
On a happier note, I'm all packed up for the wedding in Toronto and my move to NZ. Only 15 more days!