If you told me I’ve only been in country 10 days, I’d say you’re mental, can’t be that short. Well, now it’s been…just about 2 weeks, two weeks tomorrow when I arrived here (I take far too long to actually write these posts). They’re gonna come in spurts, I can’t submit them from my residence, the internet is VERY limited. Therefore I need to wait till I have a free moment at work. Right then, status report.

We were met at the airport and taken to our initial housing: a Hostel. I had never seen a hostel before so I really had no idea what to expect. I best sum it up as a hybrid of a hotel and a dorm. The room is just your bed, kitchens are open access. Overall it was quite nice, tho a tad cramped with all my suitcases in addition to my roommate’s. We went on a basic walking tour of Wellington, saw the major places. That afternoon we mostly had off, then dinner, nothing big. The major challenge of the day was staying awake till 8-9. I had been awake since Monday morning. In order to quickly adjust to New Zealand time schedule, I needed to stay awake until about midnight Tuesday (home time). The time difference is (to Phoenix) 4 hours behind, but a day ahead or rather 20 hours ahead, I find the former easier.

Day two started with ZEALANDIA! It’s a nature preserve at the edge of town. They surrounded it with a 10 foot tall fence. The trees are cleared about 9 feet to each side of the fence. They are VERY serious about keeping predators; they even had us inspect our pockets and bags to ensure we weren’t bringing anything with us into the preserve. It was beautiful, but cold. The weather the first few days was not nice, cold, windy and misty (It has since warmed up). I couldn’t take the pictures I wanted, My long lens was MIA (deep in the suitcases) so I made do with the shorter one, but that means in pictures you’ll see white blobs instead of birds (once I find internet capable of such uploads). That afternoon and evening we had to ourselves, I just hid in my room, I was still quite tired.

Day three was cool. We began with a tour around Wellington to see shooting locations from LORD OF THE RINGS. It was cool, but not quite what you’d expect. If you’ve ever seen Plymouth Rock, it’s like that, still cool, but not as big as anticipated, at least for me. For example, the filming locations for Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith is a quarry, we got to look at a quarry from the far side of the road (it’s still working). I think my favorite was up on Mt Victoria. Up there the shortcut to mushrooms and night scenes with the Ringwraith were shot. It was cool to look up a hill and see where they made the famous silhouetted shot of the wraith. That afternoon was Te Papa, a giant museum on the Harbor of New Zealand, it’s a museum, not TOO much to say. Ate dinner with an intern who had been here 2 weeks, by herself (don’t envy her for that).

Now we’re on Saturday. From here on I’m on my own. That morning I was put in a taxi and sent to my new apartment. It’s a lot like a hotel room, not bad. The rest of the place looks as though it used to be quite nice, but it’s since fallen into disrepair. I’ve never once seen someone that works here, though things occasion are cleaner than when I saw them last. Well this is when it really hit me: I was essentially alone with NO clue what to do. That was a hard day, felt like crap, called home, the works. This is what we call “culture shock”. No matter how big and strong you are, you will break down crying at least once in confusion from the shock. EVERYONE I’ve talked to (a large pool) says the same thing. I am much better now, kinda settled in.

Thoughts: The food here is…ok, mostly small places, still trying to find places I’ll regularly visit. If you come here, I hope you like Thai/Malaysian/Indian, you’ll be eating that a lot. That’s not the problem, the REAL problem is prices. Yes the American dollar is worth a little more than the New Zealand Dollar, but thing here cost about twice as much, so your money doesn’t go quite as far. It’s been tricky finding affordable places that provide food I’ll enjoy many times. Also need to budget my money, 20 weeks is a long time. Alright, I’m off, I’ll tell about week one at work soon, probably type it up tonight. Cya!

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