First things first.

Well, I’ve been in Auckland a good, what, 36 hours now? A few of them even spent outside of the three main buildings where I’ve been running errands and filling out paperwork. No better time, then, to list some (mostly) context-free first impressions and life lessons.

  1. When was the last time you saw Richard Simmons (yes, that Richard Simmons) doing anything? Because my answer to that question is “three days ago.” Air New Zealand’s safety video is completely built around him dancing on light-up disco squares in shiny spandex and teaching the national rugby team moves like “the buckle up” and “the reach for your life vest.”
  1. Also apparently still marquee-worthy down here: Olivia Newton John. And Collin “I’ve got a cute British accent” Frizzle from Love Actually.
  1. This is something that’s happening. Picture walking out of customs at Auckland International, sitting down to rearrange your backpack, and seeing an old man reading this – your first south-of-the-equator newspaper headline.
  1. Walking into the lobby of a hostel and seeing a Christmas tree made of empty Jaeger bottles does not elicit the same giddy response in me these days as it once would have.
  1. On a similar note, it’s a pretty weird experience being in your room, applying your anti-aging night cream in your pajamas, and hearing an announcement come in over the PA system in the hallway for wet t-shirt contest at the bar downstairs.
  1. Living out of a backpack is wicked hard. There’s nothing more annoying than packing everything up precisely, pad-locking it away in the bin beneath your bunk, and realizing suddenly you’ve forgotten to take out a clean pair of underwear for after your shower. So far I’ve taken two showers. Can you guess how many times that’s happened to me? (I’ll give you a hint: it’s twice).
  1. There don’t seem to be a lot of Americans here in Auckland. So far I’ve met Germans, Frenchies (whom, I’ll freely admit, I basically stalked), and Brits, but zero Yankees. It’s a bit odd feeling more at home speaking French than talking to people who technically speak your own language, but there you have it.
  1. Being the only American in a crowd full of English people is a great way to feel like Kathy Bates’s character in Titanic every time you open your mouth.
  1. It is incredibly easy to set up a bank account in New Zealand. You go to the post office, tell them your name, come back an hour later, and are issued a debit card. I imagine it’s similar to the process you have to go through to get a gun in Texas.
  2. But you know what’s not easy? Going from an iPhone 4 to a flimsy pre-paid contraption, which has a tendency to beep at me for no apparent reason from deep inside the recesses of my bag. I definitely need to get used to living without the old creature comforts!
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2 thoughts on “First things first.

  1. FG! Love your post 🙂 so happy to be reading about your travels thus far. Keep us posted, p.s. the weather looks gorgeous! love from FL!

  2. F-TRAIN! (following suit) I just bookmarked the blog and caught up on your most recent posts. What an adventure you’re on! I also have some stories for you (of the ‘heyyy lily’, emoticon-filled sort), which I will share via e-mail sometime soon; however, I think your stories will certainly have mine beat. I’m already trying to figure out how and when I can come see you in NZ. love from Boston! (again, following suit) xo

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