Friday, July 30, 2010

3rd week completed!

This scary looking blue chicken is called a Pukeko

Tomorrow will mark the official end of the 3rd week in New Zealand! I'm already starting to forget that this place wasn't always home. But there are a couple of Kiwi things that still catch me off guard. For example when I walk to school, instead of squirrels, pukekos line the sidewalk. I have gotten the hang of crossing the road, but I have been known to still try and get into the wrong side of the car!

Roger and Cathy's grandchildren are here for the weekend; Davon is 3 and Alana is 1. They are very big fans of Canada.... well they are very big fans of maple syrup, but hey, that's a start! I'll have Davon watching hockey in no time! (that's real hockey, not field hockey). 

On August 8th I have an Inbound meeting at Youth Exchange Officer Graham Rea's house; this is not only an opportunity for Graham to lay down the law, but also a chance to meet the other exchange students in district 9920. I've seen how close the Inbounds in my district back home became, so I can't wait to meet everyone!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Day of School

Pakuranga College has many attributes; their uniform is not one of them. But I will say one thing, although ugly, it is really comfortable.

I'm taking English, Classical Studies, Travel and Tourism, Physics and Journalism. All my classes seem quite easy, excluding physics of course! Everyone is always very interested when I say I'm from Canada, but they don't seem to know very much about 'the Great White North'. Today, when I told my Tavel and Tourism teacher that I lived near Toronto, she exclaimed "Oh! Near Banff!" ...Not quite Miss. But to be fair, besides sheep and Lord of the Rings, what did I know about NZ before I came?

Friday, July 16, 2010

My new home

I moved from Auckland proper to Half Moon Bay on Wednesday to live with my first host parents Rodger and Cathy.

Roger and Cathy's House

They're two very busy people so I was kind of free to explore my new neighbourhood by myself. My 2nd host mom Sue drove me around to show me different areas, so I think I'm starting to get to know my way around. Where I'm living right now is a minute walk from the Half Moon Bay Marina and a 2 minute walk from one of the beaches. It's absolutely amazing, the ocean is literally everywhere!

Half Moon Bay Marina

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kia Ora!

So I've finally made it! When I arrived at the airport in Auckland at 5:30 in the morning I was greeted by 15 people, my host parents and other Rotarians involved in my year. I was really touched that they cared enough to wake up that early just to meet me. The drive home from the airport was interesting as the Kiwis drive on the left side of the road. Every time we turned a corner I thought we were going to die!

I've been staying with my counsellor Bob and his wife Jan for the past couple days. We've been doing Rotary paperwork, setting me up with a bank account and cellphone but also sightseeing around Auckland. It's been amazing weather, 10 and sunny with not a cloud in the sky! But everyone keeps telling me that that will soon change to rain. Bob and Jan have taken me to lunch in a different part of the city every day so I've gotten to see Auckland a bit before I move to my first host family in Half Moon Bay tomorrow.

Auckland is beautiful. The ocean is everywhere you look and there are always sail boats out in the water. The buildings and houses are really different from back home. Many of them look very modern with straight lines and a lot of large windows and glass. (Probably so they can have a look at that ocean!) There are a lot of similarities between Canada and NZ but I'm having a lot of fun learning the differences.

I had my first Rotary meeting last night. All the Rotarians were so so nice to me and very interested in talking to me. They were also really funny and the food was fantastic, so overall a really lovely evening... even though I had to wear my blazer!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sitting at Gate 142

I'm about to get on my flight to Vancouver, from there I'll be flying direct to Auckland. It took until to day for me to realize that I'll actually be living in another country for a year. For the past 5 months I've been driving my friends and family crazy talking about New Zealand and giving them "Fun Facts" but I never thought my departure date would actually arrive! Well I have to board my flight, next post will be from my new home!

New Zealand Fun Facts:
You can fit 37 NZs in Canada.
No part of NZ is more than 128km from the ocean!

And with that I leave you!