This post is simply a list of observations of my first few days in New Zealand, in no particular order. It's drawn from my memory, because I don't really take notes.
1. The house and car that we have been provided are quite nice. The house has 3 bedrooms plus a front sunroom (with 2 lovely tomato plants with perfect, ripe tomatoes). Plenty of room for visitors. The car is a Subaru Legacy.
2. Everyone (probably) knows that New Zealand is a British Commonwealth country and so they drive on the left side of the road. I actually got up the courage to drive, yesterday and it's really not too bad...as long as you keep alert. The main mistake I keep making is turning on the windshield wipers when I mean to use the turn signal.
3. People are SO nice here! I noted that before arriving, but that has continued. There isn't the defensiveness or the "not my job" attitude that I often encounter in the US. People seem happy that I'm here...whether that be people at the bank, the post office, the phone store, the grocery, or my place of employment (well, ESPECIALLY my place of employment). In fact, people are SO nice, I find myself being more relaxed, nicer, and less defensive. It makes me realise that the concept of "being the change" you want in the world or treating others like you want to be treated REALLY WORKS!
4. Despite my hip/low back pain (from lifting heavy stuff), my body has generally felt better and less exhausted. I think it has something to do with #3.
5. The electrical plugs are different (of course), and it is, apparently, orders of magnitude cheaper to buy the voltage transformers at Target in the US than here in New Zealand.
6. Electrical outlets have little switches so you can switch an appliance off or on at the appliance or at the outlet OR BOTH. Nifty!
7. The town is a lot like Livingston, except more spread out, cloudier, and hillier. Oh, and more shops open downtown.
8. There are sheep grazing just on the other side of the driveway.
9. The "Anglican" church here is a hybrid for people from all sorts of denominations. The "contemporary" service is not liturgical at all. The priest didn't wear and Alb or even a clerical collar or a tie. And he played the guitar. There were no Scripture readings, just singing (with the praise band) a sermon and the Eucharist. The Eucharist was celebrated sacrementally, as the Real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine which is, at least, one important aspect of the Anglican liturgy that was intact.
There's more, but I'm falling asleep so I'll have to continue tomorrow. There's more, especially about the health system!