As the plane landed in Auckland, the flight attendants came around with some sort of disinfectant spray.  Kiwis take their bio security seriously.  On the flight now from Auckland to Wellington, observing has been fun.  The accents are great.  I'm wanting someone to talk to me just so I can hear them speak.  I think this is the first time I have actually listened to the airplane safety information.  Richard Simmons is on the safety video.  "To undo your belt, just lift the flap.  No sweat!!"  Good pun there.  Alright, these folks maybe have a sense of humor? "If you want to smoke on the plane, sorry but you're plumb out of luck."  Awesome.

As I walk off the plane, I see a lovely face that looks just like home.  It's Jo, my wonderful hostess for the week.  We chat for a bit and then get into the car to head to her home in Tawa.  We are driving on the wrong side of the roadddd!!  Heart palpitations slowly fade away as I realize - hey, this is okay.  They are supposed to be doing this.  I arrive to a pot of chili on the stove, and oh how happy it makes me.  Tahiti took it out of me, and the jet lag is nippin at my heels.  

I've been staying with here in Tawa for five days now, and it has truly been a great experience.  Jo has two great boys.  They have been to America 19 times they have informed me.  Their kiwi accents are amazing!  Along with these great boys are two dogs, Toby (yellow lab) and Beethoven (big ol rescue baby), both of which are so sweet.  Having dogs around can make any bit of homesickness go away.  In the front of the house, two ponies and four sheep!  How about that for a welcome to New Zealand?  Right next to the house is an amazing hiking trail covered with huge ferns and trees I have never seen.  The sharp bramble bushes with yellow flowers cover everything on the hillsides.  Up close, not so pretty, but far away, absolutely gorgeous.  The woods sound different here.  The different species of birds have distinct calls, none of which I have heard before.  One of the birds, a Morepork, literally sounds like it's saying - "More Pork!"  So literal.  
New Zealand has some interesting phrases.  For example:

Bloke - Usually a stranger - "Who's that bloke eh?"
Boy-Racer - A young guy with a fast car
Bugger All - Basically means you know nothing about a subject
Buggered - Exhausted
Chemist - Pharmacy or drug store
Chilly Bin - Cooler (My favorite!)
Chippies - Potato chips
Crash Hot - Excellent
Crook - Sick 
Dodgy - bad
Eh - To make anything you can imagine a question
Flash - Looks really expensive
Footpath - Sidewalk
Go Bush - Get away from it all
Good On Ya - Well done
Heaps - A lot
Jack Up - Organize
Jandals - Flip flops
Jersey - Sweater
Judder Bar - Speed bump
Knackered - tired
Lollies - Any and all candy
'Mare - Bad experience
Piker - One who gives up easily
Pissing Down - Raining 
Pong - Reallllly bad smell
Prang - Car wreck
Rark Up - To tell someone off
Rellies - Relatives
Rubbish - Trash (That's an easy one!)
Skiting - Bragging
Skint - No money
Spit the Dummy - Get angry
Stirrer - Trouble maker
Stuffed - Tired
Sunnies - Sunglasses
Suss - To understand
Sweet As - Cool
Ta - Thank you
Tea - Dinner (Confusing!)
Throw a Sickie - Take a day off work
Tramping - Hiking
Togs - Swimsuit
Whinge - Complain
Wop-Wops - Out in the boondocks
Yonks - A long time

I'll keep investigating and see what other new words I can find!  

I move into my house on Sunday.  I have no idea what to expect, so keep your fingers crossed for me!  As for today, I am registering for classes.  I have to go to school?!  That part of this whole thing is just now starting to sink in.  With classes like Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, I think I'll be allllright.

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