Living in the 1010

Week 1
Driving in Auckland // February 17, 2014

There is a Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Burger King less than 10 minutes away from my apartment.

I don’t know why it surprised me so much, but it did.

It’s just like Canada.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t felt so homesick.

(It might also be because I would take Auckland’s 23 degree weather over Canada’s snow.)

Wendy's

Boarding the plane from Pearson to LAX I was absolutely terrified. For the entire three hours I sat at Pearson all I could do was want to cry (which, I’ll be honest, I did a little). I had chosen to go to Auckland, I had chosen to visit Melbourne after, I had chosen to fly to Manila once all that was done, and there I sat, moping, because I was finally doing exactly what I wanted to do and it scared me.

Now, five days later, I can’t help but feel a little silly for my fear-stricken-internal-panic-attack.

While my doting aunt and my grandmother try to check up on me (even more so than my parents), I was surprised to take to the city so easily. The type of easily where I walk on my own and do my own thing and feel perfectly content about it.

While I do live in Auckland’s downtown core, it is so unlike Toronto’s. Sure they have the same street names as Toronto (Queen, Wellesley, Victoria, etc.), but the air smells clean (no stench of sewage anywhere!), there are less pigeons, and there’s just something about the entire stretch of Queen St. that is entirely different from Toronto’s energy.

Another huge difference is Auckland is built on hills that it just so happens to be legs day every day. Combine that with carrying groceries from the supermarket and I might not even need a gym membership at this point.

(I’m also still trying to get used to the whole driving on the left side of the street thing.)

So while I haven’t done much of the whole tourist thing I’ve been exposed to a lot of new things in just a short period of time:

  • They eat chicken sushi – chicken wrapped in rice and seaweed. There is fish, but a lot of the people I’ve talked to so far prefer the chicken over fish…and by that I mean, they don’t want to eat the fish…
  • If you’re Kiwi you call a cooler a “chilly bin,” if you’re an Aussie it’s an “eski”
  • Cough medicine is way, way, way too expensive over here ($13?!?! – and mind you, that’s the cheapest no name brand one)
  • “Suss it out” = work it out
  • They like to put carrots in their subs/sandwiches
  • They don’t refrigerate their eggs in the grocery store (this tripped me out a lot, but apparently it’s because their eggs aren’t exposed to the pathogens mine are in North America)
  • People don’t get as dressed up to go clubbing compared to Toronto – most outfits consist of summer dresses and sandals or converse (I say this as I walked to and from my apartment in four inch heels)
  • There is a hole in the ozone layer above New Zealand. Sunscreen is your best friend here, lots and lots and lots of it (one girl mentioned that it’s a burning time of 12 minutes here…)
View from my living room. Yes, that is the Pacific Ocean.
View from my living room. Yes, that is the Pacific Ocean.

It’s different.

I can see the Pacific Ocean from my apartment. Also, I’m the one with the accent here (it’s funny, but I really don’t realize people here have accents, I just got used to it so fast) (also, they enjoy how I say things in my Canadian way – like how I pronounce to-may-to), but it feels almost just like home.

Sometimes I joke I just might stay.

(But really, I’m going through dog-cuddling withdrawals – I MISS YOU BUDDY – so I’ll just be enjoying my travels until August.)

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