Day 1 in Auckland 

Despite the palpable excitement from the group that morning, stepping off a 15 hour flight was anything but glamorous. weary eyed and slightly groggy we shuffled through customs towards the exit where our jolly guide Terry awaited us. For 7 am, Terry said our group looked pretty “bright eyed and bushy tailed,” ironic considering most of us had not seen a mirror in almost a full day. Yet New Zealand and its people greeted us with open arms. It was close to 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside but plans of kayaking, zip lining, or sightseeing were already weaving their way through the group. But first was Auckland. Overlooking the harbor, we took in the entire city from the peak of Bastion Park, a memorial for the former New Zealand Prime Minister, Australian Michael Joseph Savage. Nevertheless it wasn’t until we made our way into downtown Auckland that we came face-to-face with the true Kiwi culture. People packed the streets along with signs in languages from Chinese to New Zealand slang. And this New Zealand English sharply contrasts anything from America. With their thick accents and unique sayings, the people stared at us with wild eyes when we spoke even though we struggled to decipher half of their sentences. Splitting up in small groups we explored the city in search of food, feeling comfortable in the urban setting. But the bungee attractions at every corner were anything but the norm for us. The people here breathe adventure and spontaneity which they balance with an aura of nonchalance. Picking up on the laid back atmosphere of New Zealand, we retreated to our hotel for a much needed shower and nap. Jet lag can be quite a burden on the tourist spirit, but we’re not letting the 16 hour difference hold us back. It was a great day to be a Kiwi!

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