Welcome to my first week in Auckland!
It has taken me a while to get this all down because Ive been busy living it and I haven’t the words and rhythm to put it all together. So my apologies if you are religiously keeping up on my blog and I let you down.
So lets get down to it; a brief overview of what I’ve been up to since I ventured to the North Island.
On my first day, which at this point seemed like ages ago, I was not so excited to be here. I moved into my placement at the Unistay Hostel and Student accommodation in Ponsonby and it was nothing like I had expected. When I first arrived I was hammered with rules and shown my room in a small lower floor area, with piercing white walls, and petite dimensions. I expected an apartment style housing accommodation, bigger room sizing, and way less rules.
Within 10 minutes I learned that there is no guest allowed in the house that don’t live there past ten, no overnight guests unless pre-reserved and pay $30 per night, no cooking past 10pm, no being in the lobby past 11pm, no being in other people’s rooms past 10pm, and no alcohol on premisses (even if it is unopened), Now none of these rules are dramatically unfair or even not doable, but the delivery of the rules was intense and completely overwhelming.
On top of that, I was told that the room I was in was temporary and that a different would open up and I would move into it at some point within the next few weeks. I felt like I was a burden, and although I had booked it and pre-paid months in advance, I still didn’t feel like I was at home or like it ever would be home to me.
All at once I felt the culture shock. I sat in my room that night and dreaded the next 10 weeks to come. Luckily though, it turned around and it started with that night.
It was dark outside when I finally had the courage to get our of my room and I had no food, no car, and no idea where anything was. uckily, I met two kiwi girls Krystal and Courtney who live in my Unistay and were kind enough to drive me to New World Market to get some groceries to hold me over. They helped me understand the bus route, get a bus card, where to get certain items, and more. They made me feel like things would be okay, and thats just what I needed.
The next day, I found out that I would be staying in the room I was placed in, so I began unpacking and turning my little white box into something more live-able.
When I woke up, I decided I can do this new country, new environment situation. I changed my attitude and now those I live with think of me as the extremely outgoing, ‘up for anything American’. I changed my mentality from missing my home friends, to reaching out to new ones. I moved my location from hibernating in my room to socializing in the kitchen and shared spaces. Within a week, I knew more people than others living in the house. I said hi to everyone and yes to every offer for a new adventure.
And let me tell you something, I am so glad that I did. I am only just beginning and am already off on a new adventure with new people exploring this amazing country.
So, my biggest advice to anyone moving to a new country for a short time or long one, do not be afraid to mingle and meet new friends. Make an effort to put yourself out there, and it will turn out for you. Tell yourself you can do it, and trust it. I didn’t think the culture shock would affect me. I assumed I am only gone for three months, I’m outgoing, and rarely homesick. Whether you think it will affect you or not, take a deep breath, and put yourself out there. Make connections, you never know where these relationships will take you and how they may cross paths with you again in the future.
Stay tuned to see how my internship is going. I’ll give you a hint: its “sweet as”.