After months of planning and one of the longest days I have ever had, I am finally settled in Auckland, New Zealand! My journey started Tuesday at 4:30am -- thanks to Hailey's willingness to wake up and drive me to LAX -- and ended early Thursday morning around 3am. Technically that would have been Wednesday back in the USA, but two days of travel sounds more extreme than one doesn't it?
The plane rides were uneventful, although I managed to sit in front of a baby on my HNL -> AKL leg... an already long flight made longer by a tropical storm over Fiji. Upon arrival flight attendants armed with aerosols detoxified us. I'm not quite sure what was in those insecticides, and I'm not quite sure if I want to know. They say that it is "recommended by the World Health Organization" and "is perfectly safe" but ill leave it up to you to form an opinion on that. After making it through customs and biosecurity (which is not nearly as cool as it sounds), a driver bussed seven other American students and I to the university.
Thankfully we had awonderful RA named Arza who was hanging out at 2am just waiting for a group of foreigners to show up. We got our keys, papers, and all important WiFi instructions before heading off to bed. Speaking of which, I had forgotten to bring sheets or towels. I ended up using a sleeping bag liner and bag of clothes for my linens. I've slept in worse.
It soon became clear I wasn't in Kansas anymore when I couldn't find a Trader Joes the next morning. I walked to the nearby Countdown (groceries) and picked up food and a cellphone plan. I spent the rest of my day wandering around taking care of miscellaneous things like setting up bank accounts, picking up ID's, and signing up for public transportation cards. One thing that google maps didn't exactly prepare me for was how hilly this place really is -- I will definitely be in shape for my backpacking trips by the time April rolls around! I concluded my first day in Auckland with some authentic Pad Thai from a hole in the wall up the street.
I plan on exploring more of the city and checking out the local beach over the weekend. I don't want to get into too much trouble between now and the start of school, the serious adventuring will come soon enough.