Happy 3 week anniversary to me! It’s time to celebrate. But before that, allow me to share what the past week has been like for me.
Today, I played in the garden again! We went to a nursery not too far up the road called Palmer’s and bought some veggies and fruits for the raised beds (tomatoes, chives, cabbage, mixed lettuce, strawberries, basil, asian coriander and beans). All of which were promptly planted when we got home. It was a nice feeling to be diggin’ in the dirt again. But it feels funny to be gearing up for spring and summer feasts.
I’ve attended two meetups in the last week. I was so nervous about meeting new friends and going alone but I forced myself to get out, get uncomfortable, and prove to myself that I can do it. The first meetup was with a group of writers. I really didn’t consider myself a writer but I realized it’s what I’ve been doing a lot of so why not meet people with something in common and bounce ideas off of them.
The writers meetup was really inspiring. It took place at Thistle Inn, Wellington’s oldest restaurant and bar. Everyone there was working on something different and it was fun to hear their stories. After admitting I’ve worked on one too many projects (my first novel, a children’s book, my blog, cookbook, etc.), it felt good to reflect on how much I’m doing. I felt proud about it. And the minute you tell people you lived in New York, it’s all they want to talk about. In the literary community, that’s huge.
The second meetup was an event called Nails and Ales where you use tools to make whatever you want out of wood. Then drink beers. In that order. I met some really cool folks doing cool things in NZ. And I made a stool. Carrying the stool on the bus was the best part. It was another inspiring event given an idea for a nonprofit I’m working on (more details to come).
In three weeks, I’m also noticing some subtleties that I think are worth pointing out and maybe give you an idea of what life is like here.
1. Lingo: Parking lots are called car parks. Qtips are called cotton tips. Gas from the gas station is called petrol. Mocha is pronounced mock-ah. Tahiti, Samoa, and Fiji are pronounced on a different syllable patterns. Massive is pronounced messive. And yes is yis.
2. Signage: There’s lots of signage. Particularly this time of year because there are elections coming up. That confuses me when I’m driving because I think they are something I need to pay attention to or that they will direct me somewhere important. But instead, it’s someone’s face who is running for office. And it’s a shame those signs cloud the beautiful landscape. And in the event you are looking for a yield sign, the sign here reads “Give Way”.
3. Advertisement: It’s way more acceptable here to have women bouncing on exercise balls for a tv ad for bras. Or witness a graphic, bloody accident when watching a commercial about the risk of speeding in a car. There’s a bit less censorship here and I can appreciate that. No use in beating around the bush.
4. Numbers: I’m still having difficulty converting celcius, metric measurement, and NZ dollars. I’m no math whiz either. I do appreciate that the Met Service weather readings say 15˚C is cold enough that you need 3 layers of clothing. The GPS is constantly yelling about how the approaching destination is 300m on the left but I’ve yet to get a feel for how far that really is. And I feel like I’m overpaying for things but it’s really not the case. I’ll get there. Don’t judge me.
5. Time: We are coming into Spring and celebrated the equinox two days ago. It feels funny to be planting veggies so soon and talking about warm weather in October/November. In my head, it feels like April. I also tend to stay up late at night or wake up early to catch people online back home. That means I’m resting when I’m tired and working at odd hours of the evening. I’ll wake up at 3am and get inspired to write but it leaves me feeling sleepy by 1pm the next day. I just hope others don’t misinterpret that when I’m often sleeping midday.
6. Grocery: I love the grocery. There are some really funny items that give me a good giggle. There are candy bars called Time Out, Crunchie, and Flake. My sweet tooth will begin exploring the differences soon. There are cereal bars called Hillary, claiming to give you as much energy as Edmund Hillary, New Zealand’s own pride and joy who was the first to conquer Mt. Everest. Why wouldn’t you name a granola bar after him? I’ll also be sampling New Zealand oranges soon which apparently are not peel-able and must be cut with a knife. And at the grocery store we frequent, you have to pay extra for the plastic bags to put your groceries in and pack them yourself by pulling off to the side at the exit after paying.
Three weeks has taught me a lot about myself and it flew by. I’m really enjoying it here and NZ is growing on me. Stay tuned because I’ll be posting my New Zealand bucket list soon.