Arriving in New Zealand
The Day you leave behind, will be the day you begin to grow.Phil
Since I left friends, family and home in the German summer 2017 to start traveling and begin the adventure in New Zealand, I started moving myself into uncomfortable situations. Yeah you might think: New Zealand, westernized country, beautiful country, but isn’t it a bit to soft to grow, to actually make a change to your personality? A bit to comfortable?
Well, the idea was to start with a soft, easy going country that won’t be to much of a change to where I’m from and still get the opportunity to improve my language skills. Now I am fluent in English and good in french. More than I ever learned at 8 or 9 years from school English. Even though it was good to know the basics to be able to have conversation about the color of food and how much a bus ticket might cost, thanks to my school (and video games).
Leaving my job was an uncomfortable step, everyone liked me and I had great colleagues. I was representing the youth of the company and had an okay payslip at the end of the month. But after 3 years of apprenticeship and another half year of working there, I didn’t really see a purpose. Chemical industry for what? To bring questionable pharmaceutical products to people, that won’t cure the disease? To actually work 4 hours in a 8 hour day? To wake up and come home to ask yourself, was that day worth waking up? The only thing that kept me going was the gym in the evening where I was able to switch of and focus on myself and hanging out with friends and my brothers. Don’t get me wrong, I was actually happy that I learned a great skill and had a very informative apprenticeship, but in the end, that was not worth 3 years. So one day at work, I just booked my flight. It seeped through the youth representative meeting, where I told everyone of my plan, towards my boss. He announced in front of the crew that I was leaving, by that point, I didn’t even handed my notice in and my colleagues felt treated slyly by me. At least I had the chance to tell one of my colleagues at the breakfast that I was about to leave, which made him very sad, but in the end he understood me. Leaving a place you have been to for long and slowly built bonds is always very hard, and it takes a big step out of your comfort zone to tell everyone.
Once I quit my job, I had a surgery on my foot, since I had big problems walking up stairs. I thought that this should be done before, since I wanted to get out and hike with less pain. When I recovered, I boarded the plane a few days after my birthday in July and flew off. Emirates. I was stunned by the size of the inside of the plane. It felt like a cinema.
So yeah, there I am after 27 hours flying from A to B to C. Surrounded by English speaking people in New Zealand without any clue what is going on and so far I know, with the greatest Jetlag, that is possible to archive from someone from mid Europe. I remember the sun was rising over the east coast, far away from Auckland Airport. Auckland Airport and in general New Zealand Airports are tiny in comparison to Hong Kong Airport and Abu Dhabi Airport, where I stopped before. Since I had no idea where to go and what to do, I approached some dudes and asked how I can get into town. Luckily those guys had a plan, that I could follow. Bus to train station. Get a hopcard (Wavecard) from a shop and take the train to town. The only problem, purchasing the card was the bad pronunciation of my English, but with some efforts of my hands, the shop owner understood what I wanted.
The 30 minute train ride into the center of the town was a great experience, and my first impression of New Zealand. Even if it was just a random train ride into town, it was already beautiful. Along the water, through some small towns on some small hobbit hills and closer, and closer to the skyline of Auckland that became bigger and bigger, just like my excitement.
I kept up a conversation, fuck yeah, with a Kiwi and his girlfriend, that was from the Netherlands. When I arrived in town I thanked them both and took their advice to look around for an opportunity to get a NZ Sim-card and open a bank account. Walking around without a clue in Auckland, surrounded by small skyscrapers, different traffic lights, different vibes, different cars, different smells, different shops, different climate I made my way crossing a couple streets, with cars driving on the left side. holy shit, though I was warned before, it was still confusing and felt wrong. After a nice walk of 1 km along the harbor, as far as a nice walk is possible with 20 kg (at least how it felt after a couple hours, rising exponentially witch time spent) on your back, I arrived at a big building with the letters ANZ on the top.
A bank in New Zealand. In my opinion, is the ANZ a good bank unless you have overdrafts in your account. During all this I kept staring on my phone, because I thought it’s smarter to look for a bank on your phone instead of asking strangers for advice, stupid experience. Or maybe I was just a bit shy. So I ended up at their main building, closed and no help sign where I could open a bank account. I went into the 3 floor, where a receptionist looked at me strange and told me that this was the office and I can’t open a bank account there.
(Maybe you would have done better – I am not the best with phones) So in the end I had to confront someone and ask them for advice. “Easy as” (a description of something that is easy – I learned that on day one) , bank found after 10 minutes walking closer into town center, after I asked a stranger for advice. Kiwis are great people, don’t be scared to ask anyone for advice, really anyone. Except in South Auckland, because you will get stapped with a knife and all your belongings will be stolen. Just kidding.The city center of Auckland is architectural impressive with tall glass buildings, golden windows and giving you the feeling of not being in a country with only 5 million inhabitants.
So yeah nice! Appointment for bank account done! Tomorrow 10 a.m., or was it p.m.? Shit what is what, haha… “A.M – Am Morgen”, just to help my German friends a bit. On my way looking for accommodation I opened a Simcard with Spark, some people say 2dergrees is better, but all I needed is a phone number, to put myself in the stressful situation of receiving phone calls, haha. “Sweet as” (another saying I learned on day one, I have to admit I hated it at least for a week or two), arriving on K-Road (Karangahape road) after 4, 5 hours walking with my backpack on my back and some short breaks in between, I still had no idea where I could spend my night and store my stuff. No one told me that I have to look for BACKPACKERS instead of HOSTELS. So yeah. Having another break after the long and slowly rising Queensstreet, I saw some chill looking dudes walking in a house. So why not following them? I did so, which brought me to my first and still favorite Backpackers “HAKA-LODGE” where I spend my first month in New Zealand.
But more to that, my Jetlag sleep, Couchsuring and how I bought my first Van “EMMA” in another time. My back hurts and my mind is getting exhausted, here at 28 degrees at the beautiful dock library in Melbourne with some chill tunes in my ears, and a Chinese and a black guy battling in table-tennis since 2 hours and shooting randomly at me, while I’m typing. If you ever have been to the second floor here, you understand what I’m speaking of. Cheers and have a nice day.
My idea for today is bring yourself in situations that are new to you, like speaking to a stranger and actually being interested in what he/she has to say, because sometimes it actually is interesting.