Kia ora from Northcote, Auckland, New Zealand! After spending half a day on an airplane, doing a bit of time-traveling via the International Date Line (IDL), and making a brief stop in Nadi, Fiji, we made it to the ‘City of Sails’! The beautiful summer weather of Auckland was a welcome change from the bitter cold of the northeastern United States and we tried to make the most of every minute.
Over the past week, we reconnected (and connected for the first time) with long lost “rellies” – what a pleasure it is to get off a plane in a strange city and be met by familiar faces! The Kiwi-relatives were welcoming, more than accommodating, and even gave us a new perspective on WOLOing. Our first few days in town were spent with 2 Brazilians, 3 Kiwis, 1 honorary Kiwi (American born and raised, but living in NZ for the last 15 years), and 1 Japanese guy and no, we were not staying in a hostel! This is how the rellies live on the north shore of Auckland, opening their house to homestay students of all ages and nationalities and, of course, family from abroad. If that’s not WOLOtude, than we don’t know what is!
The rellies treated us to the staples; fish n’chips (pronunciation: ‘fusch and chups’), Hokey Pokey ice cream, and plunger coffee! We experienced the Auckland Lantern Festival, which included a firework show off the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere (Sky Tower), “jellies” at Muriwai Beach, and a backyard hippie-themed “barbie” (short for BBQ)! We were also schooled in some of the local jargon, with our favorite phrases being:
“That was ages ago!”;
With our jet lag under control and plenty of stories to tell already (take it from us, a house full of foreigners and a couple of under-12 Kiwis could not be more entertaining), we are ready to set off on an adventure that will take us away from our ‘home-away-from-home’, but first we must find our ‘mobile home’. Next stop: Campervan hunting.
– Go. Change your state of mind.