I arrived in Wellington on Sunday afternoon, having survived the super-long flight. It wasn’t so bad. I think being 6 months pregnant has me so used to being uncomfortable that this was no worse than a long day at work. Pip, who works for Fulbright in New Zealand, picked me up from the airport. I really hope she’s an indicator of the people here. She greeted me with two very enthusiastic hugs, drove the scenic route to my apartment, and took me grocery shopping. She was also the first of many people to apologize about the weather here. To me the weather feels like a combination of San Francisco temperatures and Chicago wind. I tried to explain what Chicago is like this time of year, but it was too depressing, so I just enjoyed seeing the sun for the first time in a month.
We rented a place through Airbnb and the location is amazing. I can walk from our apartment to pretty much any place I need to go. Eliza’s soon-to-be school is right around the corner, and Geoff will be happy to know that we are mere blocks away from a KFC. Here’s the view from our place:
I spent the next day taking care of grown-up things. I set up a bank account, purchased a Snapper card for public transit, got a New Zealand phone number, and scheduled a C-section for April 6. I wasted no time in buying a tub of the signature New Zealand ice cream flavor, Hokey Pokey. It’s delicious.
On paper, it might look like I am a savvy city lady who has her stuff together, but this is not so. I did most of this on foot which helped me realize that Chicago, flat and easy to navigate, has left me with two major weaknesses. I get winded going uphill, and I get lost way too easily. I’m also more confused than I thought I’d be about this “other side of the road” business. I have no idea where to look when I’m crossing the street so I just wing it. I think the “other side” rules also apply to walking and escalators which explains why I keep almost bumping into people as well as cars. On the plus side, it gives me a reason to share this song written by my brother when he formed the trucker-themed band, Mudflap.
I’m lucky that the people here are very understanding, kind, and helpful. I’m so excited about the next few months and I can’t wait for Geoff and Eliza to get here.