Well, I made it! I left LA Tuesday night and arrived in Auckland on Thursday morning. Quite an odd concept to just skip over a day of your life! The plane ride was long, however quite bearable. I had some nice Kiwis to chat with in my row and was even able to get some shut-eye, albeit not a full night's rest.
I am staying about 20 minutes East of Auckland in a nice window-filled house that sits on a cliff just next to the ocean. The view is stunning and I keep getting distracted from writing this update because of it! There's lots of vegetation and some distant islands to look at, as well as the faint sound of lapping waves mixed with plenty of bird songs to be heard.
My host picked me up from the airport (as public transport here is neither convenient nor cheap) and already I have plans of attending a yoga class this evening! I have a bike to borrow while I'm staying here, and may take it on the ferry into the city tomorrow for some errands and exploring. This weekend I will be out of touch, as I will be attending/assisting with a 3 day trek (here it's called a tramp) with my host and some high school students!
I have already encountered differences in slang and phrasing that have required clarification, and I'm sure there's heaps more to come! (Yes, "heaps" is used quite a bit!) Today I learned that "year thirteens" are the equivalent of American high school seniors. Not only that, but they attend "college" (not the University kind... that's later). I've also heard weather described as "fine," meaning of excellent quality--not the sarcastic sounding "fine" that you hear in the US. Also, I love the prevalence of the word "keen" as in, my host asked me today if I would be keen on going to a rock climbing gym tomorrow! :)
I experienced the rapidly changing weather of Auckland in my first couple hours here: warm, windy, rainy, sunny, and cool. Definitely a city where layering is an excellent habit! Overall, I'd say I've had quite a warm welcome to a beautiful country!