It’s here: New Zealand winter. I had to scrape ice off my windshield the other morning. My first instinct was to reach for the ice scraper, but seeing as these are rare commodities in New Zealand, a credit card had to suffice. The lady who parked her car next to me came out with a bottle full of hot water this morning, and poured it over her car windows to melt off the ice. I suppose that works too?… Quite inventive, these Kiwis are.
While living here on campus at Laidlaw College, our power bill is included in rent costs, so we’ve been enjoying the use of our oil heater and the luxury of a warm room these days. Most other public buildings, i.e. churches, classrooms, and libraries, are really quite frigid, and it usually feels warmer outside. We are getting used to keeping our jackets on indoors, over top of a jumper (sweater) or two, and definitely keeping the warm beverages brewing.
The weather here in Auckland changes more rapidly than anything we have ever experienced. One minute it will be sunny, the next it will be pouring rain. 10 minutes later, it will be calm and sunny again. This pattern will continue all day. The unpredictability of the weather some days makes it tricky to go out for runs lately, unless you don’t mind getting drenched. With darkness hitting around 5:30pm these days also, Mel has taken up Zumba, which is currently all the rage here in New Zealand. Signs on practically every street corner advertise the nearest Zumba classes, which are held at pretty much every fitness centre, school gym, and community hall. From the young to the old, everyone is getting into Zumba, and if you live in New Zealand and haven’t tried it yet, boy are you behind the times.
As I understand, the Zumba scene is growing in Edmonton too. HSM Dance will in fact be offering Zumba classes this fall. For those of you who may not be familiar with what Zumba is, it’s a high energy fitness class combining Latin and international music in dance routines featuring aerobic and fitness interval training done to a combination of fast and slow rhythms. It was developed by Colombian fitness trainer Beto Perez a decade ago, but is hitting the world hard now, just like Tae Bo did 12 years ago.
Don’t get us wrong, though, New Zealand winter pales in comparison to Canadian winters. What’s a little rain when you’ve experienced minus 45 degree temperatures, and snow drifts so high you can’t move your car? We’re Canadians, after all, and in our opinion, a lot more weather-resistant than our Kiwi counterparts. In Auckland, you can still walk around outside in a t-shirt during the daytime, and sometimes even in the evening. Average daytime temperatures during the winter months range from 15 degrees down to 9 degrees, with the temperature possibly dropping down near zero occasionally overnight. Sunny days are still even conducive to a picnic or a nap on the beach. It’s quite some winter we’re experiencing here…
This is all to say that the New Zealand winter really isn’t so bad, as long as you’ve got a good jumper on, a warm beverage at hand, and the courage to brave whatever the weather throws at you that day!