I finally arrived in New Zealand early this morning! Traveling for a whole day straight was very tiring, but it was all worth it when we descended into New Zealand. Seeing an aerial view of the country, I could tell it was something very different and beautiful. We arrived at sunrise and seeing the vast coastline stretching out endlessly told me that I chose the right country in which to study. After picking up my bag and going through customs, I caught a shuttle that would take me to the "Uni" as they call it here. There were two other men on the shuttle with me, both native Kiwi school teachers coming back to their home from a ten day confrence trip largely all over the world. It was interesting to talk to these men and get a native's perspective on the country, while also taking in all the sights of my brand new home first hand. It was evident that most cities or villages are contained in a small area, while there are no suburbs. The development here goes directly from city or residential area to vast countryside. It is perfect, and so different than America. I saw a goat grazing in someone's front lawn and some sheep in a pasture, along with glittering ponds and lakes leading into great hills and craigs. It was all beautiful and I smiled for almost the whole ride to my Uni.
Once I arrived, one of the RAs let me into my room and showed me around the Student Village area where I live. There is a rec room and two lounges, laundry, and a computer lab, along with ten different housing buildings. And this is just one of the residence halls here! Alone, Student Village is probably 1/4 the size of all of Fredonia! Its quite a shock.
After unpacking and taking a much needed shower after 24 hours of flight, the RA that let me into my dorm took me on a trip to the supermarket. It was called Pak and Save, and it was a lot like Aldis in America. I picked up some food items that I needed, but not without some surprises. Sandwich meat all comes directly from the deli, the store had no packaged meats. I had to step up and tell the girl working how many KGs I wanted! Luckily, a girl who came with me to the store helped me order what I wanted. As I was trying to get tomato sauce to make pasta, I found out that "tomato sauce" is actually ketchup. The label of the can I finally ventured towards read "Pasta Sauce." There are a lot of the same brands as in America like Kellogs, and Extra gum, but all the packages look completely different. There were also many different kinds of brands that I did not know.
I came back and put away my food and make a sandwich. After a few moments of relaxing, and skype with my parents, I went on a walk around the campus. It is a huge campus; very spread out over a large area. I saw the lecture buildings and different shops that they have here. Nothing is open yet though, because school doesn't officially start until next week. There is a gym right next to my dorm buildings and it costs a membership fee, but prides itself on being the cheepest student membership rate in Hamilton.
After my walk, my flatmate (suitemate for those of you in America) Michelle, who is South African, asked if I wanted to go out with her and her manager from work. Although I was extremely tired at 5 in the afternoon (it seemed so much later!) I agreed to go with my new carpe diem mind-set. Stephanie, Michelle's manager is French and we all met at her Indian boyfriend's house. A comment was made that it was like a meeting at the United Nations with all of us sitting around the table. We ordered pizza, and I was surprised to see that one pizza was spinnach, tomato, nuts, among other things, and the other one was chicken apricot (very sweet!). Not to mention, some of the crowd didn't know what pepperoni was. We had fun talking about different cultures, among other things. One of the men worked on a tourist fishing boat. It was evident that he was passionate about what he did. Although we planned on going downtown, we all agreed we were too tired and I headed back to my room at the university.
A note on the picture: This is my new room in NZ. It is very small. About half the size of a room at fredonia, but I do not have a roommmate. The bright orange comforter was supplied.
A note on the entry title: Kia ora means hello in Maori.
A note on the location: I am actually in Hamilton, but the map marker was not cooperating.