Friday already. Tomorrow we will have been here one week, though it seems longer. It’s been a bit overwhelming getting the house all set up and the kids enrolled in school, but we are feeling much more settled now. You just don’t realize how many little things make up your everyday life until you have to assemble them all at once in a foreign country. It’s kind of mind-blowing, really. Cooking utensils, dishtowels, bedding, an iron, a blow dryer (of course all of the plugs are different here), a vacuum, cleaning products, school supplies - on and on. Eight carts full of stuff later, we’re in pretty good shape. I do still need a clock next to the bed and possibly a laundry basket…
One interesting issue that we didn’t anticipate is that many homes here don’t have a central heating cooling system because the climate is so mild. But for two months or so, it does get somewhat chilly now and then and so they have portable heaters in each room for those days. You see about 100 different varieties of these when you shop here. They make life much better, I can attest to that!
Grocery shopping (we’ve already been three times, I believe) is pretty similar to the US, besides the shelves of unrefrigerated eggs and the open coolers of whole fish in the aisles. Amounts are in kilograms and grams instead of pounds and ounces, but they have fairly similar items. Contact lens solution is around $12US/bottle, for some reason. The kids’ school doesn’t have a cafeteria, so they must take their lunch each day, which has led us to explore all of their options. Yesterday we bought some Cornish pasties and other meat pies for them to try. On Tuesdays they can order Subway and on Fridays they can order sushi.
And speaking of school (some of you already saw some uniform pictures on facebook) they are enrolled and started on Wednesday, which was poor Laurel’s birthday. She not only had to start on her birthday in the middle of what should be her summer break, but she also had to take two hours worth of tests to determine which grade she should be in as her July birthday would have her in Year 5 here, but in Ohio, the cutoff is later and so she started earlier there. They were quite skeptical about moving her up, and I was very proud of the Solon schools when she finished up some pretty intense math and literacy testing and they decided that she should be in Year 6. She’s by far the youngest, but doing just fine and already making lots of friends and playing ball tag at recess.
Trey is in the same school, Year 8, and today has his first Japanese class. I guess that will not help much with Spanish once he returns to Ohio, but it’ll be different anyway! I was shocked to see him so happy after the first day because he was NOT at all thrilled about this whole changing schools issue. He’s fitting in quite well it seems. One thing I’ll always remember is walking by his classroom after he’d been there for a couple hours on the first day. I could see him going in the door and all of the kids in the classroom next to him got up and ran to the window to see him. The new American boy was quite the attraction.
None of this is very exciting, is it, but it’s the little stuff that makes up a life. It’s been fascinating to me to see the various differences and similarities. People have been so very friendly and welcoming and helpful. It truly seems like a lovely place and we are so happy to be here! I did drive for the first time two nights ago and didn’t hit anything or run anyone off the road (that I know of) so hopefully a car is in my near future and then I can really start exploring and showing you guys around Auckland.
Not a whole lot of shooting this week up until today, but here are a few photos from around the house, shopping, Maori language week, etc. There are tons of flowering trees in the yard and Laurel loves making things out of them.
xoxo to everyone!!