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Archive for January, 2013


So, you probably have noticed that my posts have been less frequent. This is what happens when things begin feeling like normal. I feel very at home here. I only had a small bit of culture shock, but it didn’t last long as I met a great group of friends here. I’ve chosen a church to attend and am getting involved there as well.

School starts next week and I have been feeling as if I’m on a figurative rollercoaster. For those of you that have ridden large roller coasters you know the deal: You wait in line forever, then strap yourself into a car, upon which the coaster begins to slowly crank you up to the tippiest topmost peak. You are nearly leaned vertical in your seat. You can see the sky above you, and know that just over that railway that does not continue to go up, is a drop that you will soon be catapulted down at ridiculously fast speeds into uncertain loopdee loos and turning bends. This knowledge makes you feel extremely anxious, as the human body is designed to want to escape death of which is sometimes accompanied with the feeling of falling. But, over the top you go, and you scream at the top of your lungs, and you’re so frightened that your heart leaps into your throat. Your hands grip the seat until your knuckles go white and before you know it you’re at the end of the ride with tears streaming from your eyes because you forgot to blink. But all you can think about while you are shaking too much to stand up is, “Let’s do that again!!”

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So, how is what I’m going through now like a roller coaster? Well, currently right now, I’ve already waited in line for nearly 2 years to get to New Zealand, and now I’m strapped in and advancing to the top of the ride. I’m nervous and anxious about what it will be like. In about one week I’ll be thrown over the edge and will be screaming inside as I make my best efforts as a first year teacher. Hopefully, I’ll be able to lift my hands above my head to enjoy the ride and after all is said and done when the year is finished, I’ll be able to say with figurative wobbly knees, and with my heart pounding in my throat, “Let’s do it again!”

I’m confident that God will help me.

Click here to see some new pictures of kite flying with some people from the church I attend.

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It’s been quite a while since my last post. I’ve had a wonderful holiday. On Christmas Eve I went kite flying on the rolling hills. I spent Christmas with the family of some staff here. Then, the day after Christmas I bought a comfy chair for my room. The day after Christmas is called ‘Boxing Day’ and is like ‘Black Friday’ in the US. I saved $700 on my chair. That evening I went to a demolition car derby with some friends. Then on the 30th went to Wellington on a day trip. Then for New Years I went camping near New Plymouth on the west coast. Then I went up to Tauranga near the north coast for a birthday part for a family member of some friends. I’ve posted some pictures of these events on my flickr page. Click the title of this blog and then the more pictures link on the right. Or click here. To see an interactive map of the places I’ve been thus far in New Zealand, click here.

Or, just look at this picture:

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 10.49.17 PM

It’s been an amazing two weeks… Today I started planning for the school year. I hope to get 4 hours in each day until school starts to make sure I’m ready. I have a car now as well. And guess what? It’s a manual transmission! I never thought I’d ever do it, but I bought a manual, and I’m getting pretty good at it. 🙂

Now, on to the trivia!

1. Notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

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2. Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2.

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3. Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to “rounding” of amounts either up or down. The Reserve Bank believes most retailers are adopting the Swedish Rounding System. Under this system prices, ending in 1 to 4 cents will be rounded down and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents will be rounded up. For example, a purchase of $15.14 would be rounded down to $15.10, and a purchase of $15.16 would be rounded up to $15.20. It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents.

4. There is a national 12.5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) that’s applicable to everything. However, the price you see on an item has the tax already included, so when it says $19.99 you give them a $20 dollar note and don’t even have to get the penny back to weigh you down.

5. Tipping is not expected in New Zealand, but is not unwelcome. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.

6. The monetary unit is the New Zealand dollar which is equal to 100 New Zealand cents. Currently the New Zealand dollar has a lower value than the US dollar. Currently, one New Zealand dollar is 0.84 US dollars. The exchange rate fluctuates.

7. New Zealand is a plastic nation – almost all personal financial transactions are made with a card – credit or otherwise. Most shops offer EFTPOS and cash is seen less and less. It is possible that New Zealand was the first nation to offer this system of payment. The majority of taxis now allow you to pay without cash through this system.

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