Last weekend we had a lot of fun exploring the area.
Friday, the 6th, was Waitangi Day which commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the British settlers and the Maori people. There are definitely different interpretations of whether the treaty is being honored properly. It has been very interesting to hear several perspectives. Everyone seems to agree that the mis-translation of the original treaty is the cause of the disagreement, but they also seem to agree that the mis-translation was just that and not intended to deceive. It was suggested to us to go to the festival at Porirua because it is a more multicultural event, so we did, and it was. We had a really good time.
On Saturday we visited Te Papa Museum in downtown Wellington. We went to a temporary exhibit on Tyrannosauruses. Turns out T-Rex was just one type of tyrannosaurus. We spent three hours at the museum and barely saw half of one of the four floors, so we will be heading back tonight to continue our visit.
Sunday we drove a couple hours to Cape Palliser to see more seals. We saw a whole colony this time (see the video of the babies on the Photos & Videos page). It was so exciting! We also visited the light house which is the southern most point on the North Island of New Zealand.
It has been a busy week. On Monday we attended a Powhiri (a special Maori welcome) at Victoria University. We certainly have been made to feel welcome where ever we have gone.
We got Zelda enrolled at Island Bay School on Tuesday, just in time to take part in their Powhiri. We were so excited that we already knew one of the waiata (songs) from the day before. I've been singing it all week. She is already making new friends. Her school is very progressive, so I'm looking forward to spending some time there to learn what I can from them.
Felix and Carlo are enrolled at South Wellington Intermediate School (known as SWIS around these parts). They have to wear uniforms, which is a first for us, but they like not having to think about what to wear in the mornings. They are very excited to have recess again. Even the middle schools have playgrounds here!
Both schools offer a lot more time for kids to socialize and have unstructured play. They get 45-60 minutes for lunch. They have to sit and eat for the first 10 minutes. After that they are allowed to go play and have a choice of several different areas to choose from.
Bruno and Andrea arrived safely on Wednesday afternoon, which makes our family finally complete here! I've been making lots of connections, and I began classes and school visits (see Idea Toolkit page for more info) on Thursday.
All and all, I think we are off to a flash* start. Now it is Friday and time to continue exploring!
What a week! It is amazing how much a brain can absorb given the opportunity and right conditions. I feel like I've been wide awake and learning all week long. Our orientation included the following: (Click the links to learn more about the fascinating people who led these presentations and about the Marae.)
You can see that this orientation has given me the tools and connections I will need to complete my project. I am excited to jump into scheduling school visits this week!
It has been quite a week getting settled in here. All and all things have gone quite smoothly. I spent the first two nights with my new friend, Den, in here amazing apartment in big city and right on Oriental Bay. It gave me the the opportunity to walk around the city and get to know the lay of the land. I feel a lot more oriented, though I'm still not sure where I will find my advisor for our meeting tomorrow. That will be my next project.
On Friday I moved into our cute little apartment out in Island Bay. I already love this little village. Everything we need is within walking distance (groceries, playground, school, beach, and seals!....see video for more details) and there is a bus that goes straight in the city. The apartment is perfect for us. It has lots of windows on three sides, so we practically have a panorama of the area.
The only thing that will make it better here, is the arrival of my family. Only a couple more days until Paddy and the three younger kids arrive! It will be fun to explore this place together.
After all these months of planning, I have finally arrived in New Zealand. While the flight was long, every thing went very smoothly. In Los Angeles I met up with two other Fulbrighter that are coming to New Zealand and we all had lucky necklaces on.
I even read 230 pages of a real book. I also met a nice Aussie musician/artist from Perth named Mick. He was on his way back from working on a farm in Mexico, so we chatted a lot about traveling and how to give back to the communities you visit.
Last evening we just met up with some other Fulbrighters and at dinner at a Turkish restaurant. Today I got out and got a phone and activated our bank account. Don't worry, I won't be giving this many details once I get busy. Tomorrow I get our house, and all next week I'll be busy with getting set up at the university and having our Fulbright orientation.
THE VIEWS AND INFORMATION PRESENTED ON THIS SITE ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT REPRESENT THE FULBRIGHT PROGRAM OR THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE.
This blog is dedicated to all of my friends, family, and community members who helped support us both financially and emotionally on this trip. We are extremely grateful for you all.