New Year, New Zealand

(Title was shamelessly stolen from my friend Kjersti, as I am horrible at coming up with titles and this one was too perfect.)

“Yesterday” was roughly 46 hours. I woke up at 3:30 for my first flight. After some tears and spontaneous bathroom prayer, my parents and I said good-bye at security.

My first flight was uneventful, and when I got to San Francisco my cousins Mary and Alan were waiting for me to help me pass my 10-hour layover. We walked around, explored the aviation museum, and snacked on fruit as we chatted. They sent me off with a bag chock full of fruit, nuts, cheese and other goodies (all of which survived New Zealand customs except the strawberries!).

By this point I was starting the fade, having had three hours’ sleep the night before. Above the museum was a quiet and nearly empty research library, and the librarians were kind enough to let me push two chairs together and nap. One even gave me a blanket.

The top floor of the library/aviation museum at the San Francisco airport

The top floor of the library/aviation museum at the San Francisco airport

Before my flight I chatted with Jared, Mom, Dad, Robert and Angela all within a span of about two hours! Guess I was trying to squeeze in as many calls as I could before my American phone no longer worked.

As with my first flight, my seat on the plane to Auckland was by the window and directly overlooking the wing. That’s my favorite place to be, as it makes for some visual interest when taking pictures. Unfortunately this time my sunrise pictures were all blurry or contained the reflection of the woman’s head sitting in front of me. I sat next to two Kiwi women about my age who’d spent a few weeks in the States on holiday. They were fun to chat with and gave me some pointers on places to visit in Auckland, their home city. Despite being a 13-hour flight, it actually went relatively quickly. I watched a long movie (The Butler, highly recommend it), ate, read, slept, ate again, and suddenly we were there! I’m so grateful Mom bought me one of those neck pillows for flying. I wound up sleeping 4 or 5 solid hours, longer than I ever have on a plane. Air New Zealand has long been my favorite airline: its flight attendants are friendlier than most, its wine is free, and its safety videos never disappoint.

I first touched New Zealand soil at 5:45 a.m. on New Year’s Day. My presumption is we crossed the International Dateline when everyone on the plane was asleep, so I don’t know exactly when we hit 2014.

I collected my bags and lugged them to the domestic part of the airport. It was an outdoor walk but pretty early in the day so it didn’t feel like summer yet. That came when I was waiting on the tarmac to board my final flight, about 8 a.m.: the sun was shining, the wind blowing, and summer was in the air! That was the moment I started to get excited about what was to come.

My final flight was only an hour and its 50 seats were half filled. Again I was sitting right by the wing, only this time I was under it!

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Sorry, I'll need a New Zealander to tell me which mountain this is!

Sorry, I’ll need a New Zealander to tell me which mountain this is!

Waiting for me when I got to Palmy was my favourite Kiwi, Suzie! We loaded my bags into Scarlet the Starlet (who accompanied us on many adventures the last time I was in New Zealand), and I took in the summery air on the drive home.

Suzie had made sure my room was furnished when I arrived, which was great to not have to worry about. Room pictures to come soon; it is a mess right now. For now, this picture of the view from my room will have to suffice. I love looking out the window at the neighbor’s hydrangeas, which I can see more clearly from my bed than this picture shows.

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After getting acquainted with the house, Suzie and I went into town to shop. I got my phone set up on a monthly payment basis. This was much more quick and painless than I expected, because, as most of you know, I am not very tech-saavy.

Speaking of phones, I’ve now got the What’s App app, which allows me to text for free with anyone who has the same app, regardless of country. It was free for me; hopefully it is in the States. Please let me know if you want to keep in touch this way! I am new to texting on a Qwerty keyboard but I am slowly improving.

One of the stores we meandered through was an electronics store. I wanted to look at the prices of my newly bought Apple products, in hopes to reaffirm my decision to buy them in the U.S. (For the record, they were cheaper in the States). As we were leaving I stumbled upon this beauty. Perhaps they knew I was coming.

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I Skyped with Mom and Dad; then Suzie and I had dinner and went on a walk, in part to orient myself. I’m very familiar with the main streets that take you from Massey (where I studied two years back) into town, but this time I’m in more of a residential area. Fortunately we’re just a quick walk to a path that runs along the Manawatu River, which – apart from being beautiful – helps me get my bearings. It was also a good excuse to play with my new phone’s camera:

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Note the two men for scale.

Note the two men for scale.

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The much-appreciated Suzie!

The much-appreciated Suzie!

9 p.m. sunset

9 p.m. sunset

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Attempting a panoramic shot. Go figure.

Attempting a panoramic shot. Go figure.

We got back just before it started raining. I was starting to fade again, so after hot chocolate with Suzie, it was time for a much-needed night of sleep in a real bed!

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About Andrea Nicole

NZ enthusiast in the PNW. Internationally published writer, educator, grammar nerd, genealogist, and all-around storyteller. Recovering homebody. @Whitworth and @WGU alumna. #edchat
This entry was posted in Getting There and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to New Year, New Zealand

  1. Denise Kendall says:

    I and so jealous that you have been able to return!! I have to know how long you are staying and I am of course going to follow your post here!! So you HAVE to keep them up todate! you just have to!!

  2. Sherry says:

    Hi Andrea,
    So glad you are adjusting to your “new home”. NZ looks amazing as always. Tell Suzie “HI” for me. Remember it’s summer….wear sunscreen 🙂 Whatsapp coming soon!
    Hugs,
    Mom

  3. Marv Idso says:

    Glad your travel went so well. I look forward to seeing your pictures and reading your stories.

    Marv Idso

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