Tuesday – Thursday Adventures
Today it was a bit of a workday for me, as I had a RU class scheduled and needed to catch up on some grading – so I got up fairly early and spent the morning grading assignments and later teaching and online class – which went pretty well – until a power and internet outage disconnected me – the good news is I was pretty much done with the lecture portion of the class and I was able to send the remaining notes to the students via email.
After class was settled, I headed to the Wellington City Library to get my library card – there is something about having access to a wealth of knowledge that a library card provides, so that was a priority for me. Thanks to my friend Gillian sending me a card in the mail, I was able to use that envelope as a proof of residency, and got a library card rather easily.
I spent some time exploring the library and walking around the parts of the CBD (Central Business District) that I had not yet explored, then tried a new way home, through Wellington’s Central Park. Wellington, to be a major, capital city is truly full of some of the most amazing greenspaces I have seen. I am excited to explore the walking trails in this park more, as it is literally right around the corner from my current home.
I started my Wednesday by heading to the bank to try and get my account opened, armed with documentation from my landlord and my passport and my visa documentation. There are 3 branches of the bank, so I headed to the one on Cuba street, because it was minimally closer to me than the other 2 branches, and learned that I needed an appointment – which no one mentioned at my previous visit – but they were able to squeeze me in later in the afternoon – so I secured a 3:00 appointment, which was certainly better than having to wait any longer – seriously – I needed to be able to pay my awesome landlords rent!
Random Sites around Wellington:
With a suddenly much clearer morning, I decided to head on up to the university – I had an 11:00 meeting with my advisor just to check in and have a chat – so I took the trek up to Kelburn where the campus is located and took a brief tour around the campus to get my bearings – I arrived early for my meeting – mistakenly thinking there would be somewhere in the education department to just hang out – lesson learned, there really wasn’t. Nevertheless, Louise and I had a coffee and conversation about my project – (Have I mentioned my obsession with the lovely NZ flat white?) We discussed some of the project and the direction that I am moving in and I have a bit of a footing to get started on once I get through the University Orientation on Friday and can get in the ethics application platform.
Once I finished my meeting with Louise I realized that I had a fair amount of time to kill before I had to be at the bank at 3:00, and it was a bright, clear sunny day, so I started the trek up to Mount Victoria – the highest point in Wellington – which promised panoramic views of the city. It was quite the trek up to the Mountain – but totally worth the views – the pictures truly don’t do it justice. I have decided I have gotten my bearings pretty good – as I was able to identify most of the neighborhoods of Wellington from the peak. While I know it can be super annoying to some (you know who you are!) my insanely good sense of direction is serving me well in this city.
There was a really cool monument to Antarctic expeditions at the peak area, and it was arranged so it pointed directly to Antarctica – which in a line from the triangle shaped monument is the next land mass through the ocean.
There were also informative signs about wind chill (the wind here is no joke my friends!), stargazing and Maori stories.
I completely lost track of time, and had to get an Uber to make it down the mountain in time for my bank appointment. (Whoops!)
Opening the account was relatively painless, and in 20 minutes I had an account in NZ and was ready to go home later and navigate the world of wire transfers (which is no joke – btw).
I left the bank and headed to what is quickly becoming my favorite spot in Wellington – the waterfront (where they do in fact have decent enough Wi-Fi to Skype from!) to enjoy the weather and catch up with a few folks from home before heading back to the house for dinner.
All in all – I walked over 12 miles today – no wonder my feet were sore – I also have had my first run-in with the New Zealand sun – note to self – wind, sun and hiking should equal a reapplication (or 2) or sunscreen!
After walking all over creation on Wednesday, I allowed my self to sleep in a bit Thursday morning, and awake to a lovely coffee and muffin from my landlords (I’m telling y’all – I am not sure how I lucked out with these people – but they are the GREATEST!).
I spent some time writing a few letters and post cards to folks back home, then headed to the Post office to mail the cards. On my way I stopped for lunch at the Capital Market – which is quite the hub for international cuisine, and for an adventurous eater like me, a ton of fun. I decided to try Armenian food and had what was called Chebureki – which was really like meatloaf with an interesting blend of spices stuffed in this yummy crispy bread. I might have to investigate other Armenian dishes just to try at some point.
After lunch, on the way to the post office, I realized I was a bit thirsty, and stopped into a dairy (or convenience station) to grab a drink – intending to try a L&P soda (Lemon & Paeroa) – but I got side railed by Coca-Cola Ginger – so L&P will have to happen later – Ginger Coke is lovely – and needs to become a thing in the US. It might actually be worthy of a twitter campaign!
After successfully sending my post, I then decided to head to the TePapa museum to rest my sun weary forhead, chest and arms. TePapa is great, and I love the fact that the museum admission, except for special exhibits is free, so I really have the opportunity to take my time and work my way through it. Today I focused on the first floor – which houses a very informative and relevant exhibit on earthquakes – including a earthquake house where you can feel an earthquake. Going through the exhibit was fascinating – New Zealand really is the epitome of seismic activity because of how the island literally sits on tectonic plates – it was very clear why so many geologist make it a goal to visit and study NZ’s geology – I was fascinated. The next exhibit was the animals that are found in New Zealand – which included the Colossal Squid – he was truly huge – larger than a large human – and pretty creepy in a cool science teacher kind of way!
Next up was an exhibit on the NZ bush, and it was an outdoor oasis – what a wonderfully done exhibit – full of plants and features that made it really feel like I was back hiking through Otari -Wilton’s Bush again.
I spent some time on the Waterfront after this before heading home and getting ready for my university orientation on Friday. Next post – University Orientation – I am so close to catching up my friends! Look for a post or 2 in the next 24 hours!