Burn Baby Burn
Around 10 a.m., Jay and I walk a minute or two to the offices of International Exchange Programs, which run the Work New Zealand Program that we are taking part in. We want to take in an orientation session to help us figure out the finer details of living (and hopefully soon, working) in NZ.
As we near the building, a man wearing a T-shirt and shorts walks by but he has nothing on his feet. I've seen this a few times around here; I guess the Kiwis really are a laid back lot!
An orientation session is just starting when we arrive. The friendly and immediately likeable Craig Jack who is also not wearing any shoes is leading the session for Jay and I, plus two more travellers like us. To begin, Craig shares with us some interesting nuggets of Kiwi history, like:
Sir Edmund Hillary, who graces the NZ $5 bill, was the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest (along with Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay).
The Maori people came to New Zealand in seven large canoes (or wakas).
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who discovered New Zealand in 1642 (and for whom Abel Tasman National Park is named), never actually set foot in New Zealand.
Craig also gives us the low down on some Kiwi terms he says we need to know. Kiwis, he tells us, dont wear flip flops to the beach, they wear "jandals. Before you get into the water, you dont throw on your swimsuit and swim trunks, you throw on your togs. When everything's going good, awesome and the like, no worries/no problem, its sweet as. Kiwis (like Newfoundlanders) also love their fish n chips - but here, they eat fush n chups.
Craig also explains how important it is that we Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap (which means slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap on some sunnies (sunglasses). This is sound advice, since New Zealand has the second highest rate of skin cancer in the world, probably due to the fact that theres a hole in the ozone layer directly above the country. Im a prime example of why its imperative to follow the three Ss and one W. While I thought I slopped on the sunscreen pretty thick, the skin around my forehead and between my neck and shoulders is burnt to a crisp. I feel, and kinda look, like a really scaly lizard.
I vow not to make this mistake again!
One of Craig's co-workers takes over the second half of the session, and gets down to business, talking about the details of living and working in NZ. When the session is over, Jay and I, along with the other two travellers participating in the orientation, round out the day together with a Kiwi tradition I'm starting to LOVE: unwinding with your mates and a bevy. Then Jay and I grab some supper and head back to our hostel. Want to know one more thing I love about NZ? Their pizza box's complete lack of modesty!
Till next time!
Mmm...the box doesn't lie folks.
About me...Linda Browne
I recently quit my job as staff writer at Downhome, boxed up all of my belongings, sold the car and moved out of my apartment - all to hang out in New Zealand for a while. Will it all be worth it? Keep reading to find out!