Flashback: February 15th, 2011
More than 24 hours later than we left our homes back in the US, we finally landed around 8am in Auckland. The got through baggage claim and customs seamlessly (when I claimed the chocolates I had, the man said, “ooh! very nice!”)
We got a cab to take us to our apartments. We knew the address, but otherwise we knew nothing about where they were, and neither did our cab driver, apparently. But after one long and expensive ride later, we found the apartment building.
The two ladies who work the front desk are so nice and helpful! It was wonderful to have them welcome us into our new homes (though they did break the terrible news that we did not have internet yet…..) We got up to our apartment on the 7th floor. Our living room:
The dryers here are pretty expensive and not that effective, so our roommate set up a clothesline for drying. It’s actually very homey! Our kitchen:
We looked around and settled in a bit, but we tried not to get too comfortable since we had about a gazillion things to do.
Our first mission was our bank accounts. It was an easy choice of which bank to go with: The National Bank is the only NZ bank with an ATM on campus. Plus, the most helpful woman in the universe helped us set up accounts. Due to the sheer volume of study abroad students that come to Auckalnd, they have a very nice system there and knew exactly what to do to help us. But our banker when above and beyond just being helpful, she even helped us figure out which phone to get AND set it up!
It’s comically basic lol. We needed a local phone number to set up the account, so she told us to run across the street and get a 2degrees phone from the convenience store. You literally get a phone off the shelf for $50 and it comes with a sim card and everything, and then you just load on money as you need it at the convenient store. It’s 2cents per text, but its free to people with 2degrees, and mostly everyone has it since it’s so cheap!
So after we got our phones and bank accounts, we headed down to the Warehouse, a Wal Mart type place that is apparently the cheapest place to get all your crap. We spent a long time figuring out the best value for bedding and toiletries. Then we hauled the load back home and settled in for real. This is my humble room:
We relaxed for the rest of the night after the longest day ever. Our first impression of New Zealand was that everyone’s number one pleasure in life is to help other people. Everyone from the receptionists at the apartments to the banker acted as though their greatest goal was to help us.
I love it here.