I have successfully completed my first week in Wellington. And although I’d like to go on and on about all the cool places I’ve seen, it was really just a matter of getting settled. And then subsequently catching a cold from the change in weather. Super unsexy, I know, but it’s reality. Nevertheless, here are some highlights of the week:
I got a bank account and mobile phone. And as uneventful as that sounds, I assure you, it is not. Because to get a phone, I had to drive. I have been mentally preparing for this moment for quite some time. In fact, as soon as I knew I was moving here, I would imagine what driving on the left would be like. My biggest fear was the roundabout. And there are tons here. So I hopped into the car. I originally went to the wrong side of the car to get in since the driver side is on the right. I got in, took a deep breath, and turned the key. After a kind pep talk to myself, I was off. On the left. In the rain. In a manual. As I approached my first turn, I hit what I thought was the turn signal and accidentally hit the wipers. I laughed pretty hard at myself and took off for the store. I was startled a few times by oncoming traffic on my near right but it got easier as the time passed. And if I didn’t have the GPS telling me where to go, it could have ended very differently. Fifteen minutes later, I arrived at my destination and rejoiced alone in the car. Not as bad as I thought. But I like to think that’s because I’ve been preparing for that moment for awhile now.
Aside from the boring settlement tasks (phones, banks, groceries, pharmacies, etc.), there were some nice moments in the great outdoors. This place is very much like living in a postcard. I remember being in awe from the plane and then sitting outside for a few moments when I got to the house. The birds all sound different. The plants look different. And the weather is delightfully different in it’s unique way. I have taken some nice long walks along the coast (which by the way, is about 170 steps from the front door) in search for sea glass and I’ve hiked up to a gorgeous lookout nearby. The views here are breathtaking, the water is clear, and the hills are an enchanting green all the time. The highlight must have been the other night when I got back from picking up food. I got out of the car and was beginning to lock up the car and head inside with my takeout. I looked up quickly at the sky and almost dropped my food. There were so many stars in the sky. And I was standing right near a streetlamp. It really took me a minute to put it all together. Here I was, on the other side of the world, looking up at this vast sky of stars and perspective hit me hard.
It’s not all roses here though. It’s a real place with real challenges. In just a week, I have been through a roller coaster of emotions. I suffered from a bit of culture shock then caught a cold. I struggled but it’s all part of the experience and I knew it was coming. I just didn’t realize it would happen so soon. I have found a lot of solace in reading and writing. And yesterday I did some drawing and made more jewelry. Creatively, I was dying to let out some energy and it was nice to have the space and time to do so. I’ve also missed a decent amount of sleep trying to keep up with American football and baseball scores. I’ve watched rugby, yachting, and equestrian. I never thought I’d be that person. But I have a real appreciation for any sport.
Soon enough, I will be settled and ready to explore some other spots. I have yet to go into the city of Wellington. I like being away from the “big city” for now. But it’s a must and it will surely come with a fun ferry ride into town that you’ll hear more about soon.