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unreal like woah

So, once there was this time that I was in New Zealand…

Or at least, that's what I keep trying to tell myself.  It is simply unbelievable to me that I'm here.  It's too big a thing to be doing.  And too lonely a thing, too!  Where are all of you people?  Why are you not here with me?  It's quite sad, actually…my stomach is getting a work out – lunging with excitement at one moment when I see something that tells me “YOU ARE NOT IN THE US,” and then diving with fear and whelmed-ness the next, when I understand that “I AM NOT IN THE US.”  Holy crap.  I'm too sad to pick up a phone, even, because hearing familiar voices would probably put me on the next plane back to the states.  So instead I will write about the adventure!  That's what I wanted, and that's definitely what I'm getting.

Beeker saw me off at the airport yesterday, standing by the security checkpoint, making faces at me until I couldn't see him anymore, and until the people in line with me started asking me if he was my boyfriend.  Hehehehe.  Hooray for good friends to keep your mind off the things that scare you.  Strapping myself into the seat and feeling the plane start to move brought on one last rush of sheer panic and anxiety, but after that I think my mind just shifted into hardcore denial.  The flight was remarkably better than expected.  My ticket said 18 hours, but the pilot said 12.5, and he delivered.  I had an aisle seat, which I don't usually prefer, but I think it helped me feel less claustrophobic.  Managed to sleep off and on with the help of Syreena's herbs, and finally took Benadryl, which put me out for a solid four hours.  No problems landing or going through customs, and I had only to wait a few minutes before catching the bus to the hostel.  Even standing outside, looking at the different types of trees, and riding on the bus, seeing the foreign landscape (very lush), I felt very subdued and had to keep reminding myself that I was someplace different.  Riding on the opposite side of the road, however, kept giving my heart a kick start.  So weird! 

Lugged my ridiculous bag up into the hostel, and tried not to wake up the three other girls who I'm sharing a room with.  Showered (cried just a little bit), wandered about the building, picked up a ton of tourist brochures and maps and planned out the day.  I completely forgot that it was Sunday (skipping a day will do that to you, I guess), so the places that I needed to go to look for job info and other orientation materials were closed.  I walked all the way to the harbor, just walking and thinking and looking and breathing deeply of this southern hemisphere air.  It's about 65 degrees, I'd guess.  They use the metric system, so it's hard to tell exactly.  It's humid, though, so it feels warmer, and if I stand still in the sun it feels absolutely divine.  Early spring day in Auckland. 

Trying to walk through a city where people drive on the left side of the road is proving extremely dangerous.  Every time I come to an intersection, I pause and study the various lines on the road.  They don't mean much to me yet, and my head refuses to turn to look to the right to watch for oncoming traffic.  It swings stubbornly to the left, every time, and twice now I've almost stepped off the curb in front of a car.  There are many small signs that I'm someplace different.  The accent is stuck in my head already (most noticeable quirk of pronunciation: “e,” as in “message” or “special” becomes “ee” like “speed”), but if I didn't look around too closely, I could be in any major city in the US.  Auckland feels kind of like a slower, quieter, and more uniform Boston.  The main thing is the driving!  My eyes keep sending confused alerts to my brain because all these cars look like they're being driven by nobody!  Or worse, driven by people who are carelessly looking at their laps or turning around to look in the back seat instead of at the road in front of them.

I spoke to a few people about jobs on the various cruise/ferry boat companies that operate out of the harbor, but I don't really want to stay in Auckland.  Hopefully the tourist info I picked up will give me ideas about places to seriously pursue jobs.  The other exciting thing about the piers: America's Cup Yachts.  Oh, wow.  They call Auckland the “City of the Sails.”  The waterfront is beautiful – the city, not so much, but the water is a really pale, cloudy turquoise color, and there are boats everywhere.

In all, everything is good – I just wish that I had friends here who I could share all this with.  I miss you all :)

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