It has now been just over two months that we have been here in Auckland. For the most part, the transition has been easier than anticipated. It definitely helps living in a place with so much warmth and natural beauty to explore, and having met people going through a similar transition.
I feel so fortunate to have been getting lots of relief work teaching at the nearby primary school where I was originally asked to teach dance. Term 1 in the school year is typically slow for relief teaching, so I am so thankful to be getting as much work as I am. The principal at the school has been very kind to me, and has gone out of her way to help me get my foot in the door as a teacher here in NZ, giving me opportunities to observe in other classrooms and hooking me up with resources to further my understanding of the curriculum. I have had the experience of teaching a wide range of levels, and the learning curve has been steep. I’ve been mistakenly calling school bags “back packs,” and the children also give me puzzled looks when I tell them to go put on their swimsuit. They call them “togs” here. I love the little Kiwi children and their adorable accents. They say their soft “e” sounds like “i”s, and their r’s are very subtle. The line from the song Octopus’ Garden that goes “resting our head on the sea bed” sounds like “resting our hid on the sea bid”… I love it. I have to say that I am also a fan of the use of school uniforms- it keeps me from being misidentified as a student. I do hope that a teaching position comes my way in the near future, but for now am very grateful for the opportunities that are coming my way for me to learn and gain experience within New Zealand schools.
Although we do hope to move into our own flat once I get a teaching position somewhere, I have to say that I have enjoyed our little neighborhood here in Henderson. I have loved going for runs in the warm Auckland mornings, down streets lined with palm trees.
There is a stadium with a track nearby where I often run as well. Right on our street, there are also an abundance of flower shops and fruit and vegetable stands.
I enjoy going weekly with Brendon to pick out fresh produce from these nearby shops. It’s almost like having the privilege of shopping at a farmer’s market any day of the week.
Speaking of produce, I am amazed at how flavorful and fresh the fruits and “veges” taste. The dairy has taken some getting used to, and is hard to describe, except to say that there seems to be some sort of “New Zealand” flavor to it. It’s a richer, creamier taste, and I almost wonder if this is what more natural, less processed dairy products taste like… Or perhaps it’s just the special essence of the New Zealand cows.
Brendon has done most of the driving since we arrived here in NZ, and though I have made some shorter trips in the driver’s seat to get comfortable with driving here, I haven’t really needed to go anywhere too far away on my own. I recently took on the streets of Auckland solo style, on my first “roadtrip” with a mission to deliver several applications to schools scattered around the Auckland area. Being a city that is quite spread out, it required driving for a couple of hours altogether to make it to all of my destinations. There were no crashes or near collisions, and the windshield wipers only came on a few times unintentionally, so I’d say it was a success. I think I’m finally getting used to this driving on the left thing.