Okay, so I've fallen off the radar for a few weeks. But I did say I would update again when I came down from the cloud. I'm not exactly down from it yet, but since I don't know when I will ever be I figured I should make an update.
Everything has fallen in place exactly as I've wanted it to. I seriously can't believe how easily and quickly it has all come together. I landed myself a great house with three great roommates (flatmates). I watch really bad TV (usually American) with Christo every night and relentlessly ask him questions about how things are done in New Zealand. Caleb by fluke is a PhD student in the psych department at Victoria University, the thing that brought me out here in the first place. He knows just about everyone in the department and the city, and I now feel like I have met them all myself, at our house, his friends' houses and at bars. And Kylee has invited me home for Christmas. I was reluctant to say yes since I don't want to impose on someone's family Christmas, but it turns out that they are celebrating this year at family friends', where there will be a mish mash of people to fit in with. Apparently there will be turkey and a true NZ Christmas barbecue. :)
The job front couldn't be better either. A few days after I arrived in Wellington I met with two profs and the manager of the Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research (which I will now call CACR for simplicity's sake) at the university. They were all super nice and genuinely seemed to want to find me work, but unfortunately had no money, so things didn't seem hopeful at first. I took one of the prof's advice and emailed my CV to the department administrator and asked her to forward it to all profs in the dept. saying that I was looking for research assistant and teaching assistant positions. Within 6 minutes I had heard from two professors: one looking for an RA and one looking for a TA. The next day I heard from Morgan, the CACR manager, saying he had a small job for me, if I wanted it. He wanted me to put their annual report together on diversity research that's been conducted this year in NZ for the Human Rights Commission. So I arranged for meetings with all three, on Dec. 12. (I gave myself a break for my bday--Dec. 11--and actually made friends just in time to celebrate!)
I successfully landed all three positions. I will "tutor" two to three lab sections of a second year research methods class (I'll actually be teaching the labs), starting at the beginning of March. I will be a part-time RA for a fairly new prof at the "uni" who does developmental research (with kids), starting at the end of January. (I'm not a fan of developmental, but she is quite social and clinical too, and there is a lot of flexibility. She wants me to help her design and implement her research program.) And I started the report for CACR immediately! It's all completely on my own time, and I have until the third week in January to complete it.
The biggest most recent news is that I had an impromptu meeting with the acting director of CACR, who just happens to be the person that I asked to supervise my research. I thought he was taking me for lunch to discuss the report (it was my first time meeting him, and I wasn't sure he actually knew who I was), but it turned into this big discussion about Maori people in NZ and Aboriginal people in Canada and people in lower classes and on and on. It was almost like a grad school interview minus the nerves; he was really laid back and easy to talk to. I told him that I wanted to take the Masters program but couldn't afford it without a scholarship and he suggested that I do a PhD instead. There are no international fees for a PhD, and get this, PhDs take 3-4 years here, with no course work! I was floored. I told him I was really interested in the cross cultural Masters courses and he told me I should try to audit a couple this year. And you don't need a Masters to enrol in the PhD, just an honours. So I'm heavily leaning this way. I need to look into it, but it looks entirely feasible. Crazy!
The only crappy thing about Wellington are the hills. They are beautiful but unbearable. They made me have several "oh s***, what have I done?" moments when I was apartment hunting that first week here. And I unfortunately now live at the top of one. I posted pictures just so you can see what I'm complaining about.
Otherwise, things couldn't be better. This week I am going to take a mini-trip to Nelson, on the South Island. It apparently has the most sunshine days of any part of NZ. I plan to go to the beach. Lots. (Sorry, it had to be said.) I'm going from Boxing Day until Dec. 30. I'll be back just in time for New Years, when I will be partying with the "flatties" and their friends at Caleb's friends' party.
That's all I've got. I may try to update more often, but don't hold me to that.