My first time in Rangiora, Christchurch
Yoko S. - Neuseeland
Stipendium gestiftet durch:
iSt Internationale Sprach- und Studienreisen
Kia Ora!! :) This is Maori for "Hello"! It's been six weeks now since I am here, in New Zealand. Unbelievable!! I feel like I've only stayed one week in this country - time passes soo quickly! That's why I'd like to give you an update of my first month in Rangiora, the village I live in.
Right at the first week-end when I arrived at my hostfamily's house I was able to get an insight into one typical Kiwi activity: having a BBQ with friends! Therefor we drove to a house in the neighbourhood where we were welcomed by a couple of adults and childs by shaking hands or with a hug. Most of the family's friends were real open-minded, asking me questions about my hometown, about my first impressions of New Zealand and so on. Because of their friendly attitude I immediately felt more comfortable. For the BBQ they had different kinds of meat - because I'm a vegetarian I had salad (which was very yummy), bread and some lollies like chips and nuts. The family whose house we were staying at has a pool in their garden. Their little children went swimming though it was 9pm!! :D Well, the water wasn't that cold, so why not? It's really enjoyable that the temperature in summer stays good until about half past 9 / 10 pm here - you are able to sit outside for hours and you still feel warm enough! Love it!
The next day my hostsister Karis took me to the beach with some of her friends. Karis is 16 years old and goes to the same school as me, she's just one year above. We were sitting in a friends car and the girl who drove wasn't older than 17 years! That made me wonder... till I was told that in New Zealand you can start driving lessons at the age of 16. Half a year later you can get a so-called 'restricted licence' which means you are quasi allowed to drive alone, but only from 5am - 10pm. A 'full licence' enables you to drive completely alone whenever you want to. Wow, that's different to Germany! In my home country there's no 'restricted licence' - you're only allowed to drive alone at the age of 18! And the other thing which was a bit hard for me to get used to was the fact that you're driving on the other side of the road in New Zealand - on the left. It happened to me that I almost took a seat on the right side in front of the car. :b In addition to that most New Zealand cars aren't able to drive faster than 160 km/h!! On the motorway I've never seen a traffic sign showing you're allowed to drive more than 120 km/h. o: When I told my hostparents that in Germany the cars can sometimes drive up to 260 km/h and that there are motorways with 6 lanes where people drive 200km/h, they couldn't believe it and where staring at me with big eyes! I really didn't know that this is not the same in this country.
Anyway, sitting in the car then, window open, summer songs on, we were driving to Waikuku Beach which is just about 15 minutes away from our house. It's beautiful!!
Later we moved on to Lake Pegasus. This lake is gorgeous! The landscape and some islands built up in the water make you feel like you're on holiday:
At a store near the lake Karis' friend bought some tortilla chips and I was asking myself why the shop was open on a Sunday!! :o Another difference to Europe: All the supermarkets and other shops selling food or little souvenirs for the tourists are opened 7 days of the week! The big shopping malls in town are also opened every day - that's why many Kiwis like to go shopping on Sundays. This is also because many people in New Zealand have to work 6 days a week. That must be hard. :/
New World - a typical supermarket which is just on the next road from my house.
The next Kiwi habit that was very different for me at the beginning was having dinner! Not as in Germany, the New Zealanders just eat a snack for lunch, e.g.toast with vegetables, some lolly or fruit. In the evening then they eat something warm - this is the biggest meal of the day. So for example they eat fish and chips, rice, meat or pasta, with a side dish like salad. What was also funny for me is the fact that they call out 'Tea is ready!' instead of 'Dinner is ready!'. The first time my hostmum said that I was a bit confused because I only know the expression 'tea time' from England and this means having a tea and maybe some biscuits in the afternoon. Funny experience! :b
In general I have the impression that there are some differences concerning food in New Zealand and Germany. Well, this was predictable - in every country there are some specialities you try for the first time. That's actually pretty cool because you get the possibility to get to know food and drinks you've never heard of before! I'll give you some examples (of course not every food also has its origin in New Zealand), kind of like:
The Best of: Food and Drinks in New Zealand
...I've discovered so far:
1) Toast with spaghetti and tomato sauce, added with herbs like basil and pepper & salt
2) Garlic bread
In pizzerias garlic bread is a very popular starter on the menu. It's reaaaally yummie!
This is a typical Kiwi cake, you can eat it with berries on top, e.g. currants or raspberries -
has a sweet taste, but it's very delicious!
4) Dry fruit
The enterprise 'Annies' is famous all over the world for their dry fruit in plenty of variations!
I also saw some class mates taking fruit bars with them to school.
5) bowle of fruit (and crackers)
I love New Zealand fruit!! It tastes sooo fresh! The apples are missing on that picture - they taste very good, too.
The Best of: New Zealand Lolly'
...I've discovered so far:
1) Coooooookies!! Yummy :)
The 'Cookie Time' biscuits are absolutely the best!
They've got them in plenty of different sorts.
Well, as I told you, not each of those lollies comes from NZL (those are from France) -
so I was very surprised to find them here! They're a kind of little sweet cake with a creamy filling,
existing in varied flavours (on the photo: raspberry).
3) ice creeeaaaaam!
In Rangiora, there's a great ice cream shop selling one single bowle in that huge size. :D
Flavours on the photo: - orange & chocolate - cookies & cream
Way of life
I'd now like to tell you something about the Kiwi way of life, about their houses, everyday life and stuff like that. (:
On my way from the airport in Christchurch to the village of Rangiora and when I arrived at my hostfamily's house I felt like I've been carried back to my last summer vacation with my family in Spain right at the coast. This was because of the style the houses are all built in. They've got this coastal charme creating the thought in your mind that you're close to the sea. That's really beautiful! Most of the houses - I bet at least 90 % - have only got one floor, but a quite big surface (e.g. in comparison to Germany). Many houses are white and for example my hostfamily's house is covered with wood on the outside and you can find many little details, such as shells or cute cups hanging from a little rope on the roof. I have the impression that New Zealanders attach great importance to their gardens: Mostly they're really big and very very beautiful! You find a variety of flowers, fruit trees, palmet trees and it is usual to have a veggie garden - I like that. :D My hostmum for example, she has a veggie garden with a lot of space on a field for zucchini, cucumber, herbs as welll as a greenhouse for tomatoes. Even a friend of mine in my form class has already got her own veggie garden where she puts a lot of effort in to grow different vegetables. Think that's pretty cool!
This is a part of my hostfamily's garden: the lawn would be in the foreground, just on the left side there's a little summer house for sleepovers and in the background on the left is the 'main' house (which you can't see on this picture).
I like the Kiwi attitude - they seem quite relaxed, not as stressed as most of the Europeans, and friendly to everyone, even to strangers: When you're on the road or doesn't matter where - on the hills, at the coast - you can always just stop people and ask them if they could take a picture of you, explain you the way if you're lost or anything!! And they'd never react in a angry or nerved way, they're always kind to help you. Sometimes they're very interested and ask you politely where you come from and why you've decided to stay in New Zealand. It's always fun to have conversations with Kiwis, I can advise that to everyone - just speak! (; And the fact that they care so much about their gardens and plants make them even more sympathetic in my eyes!
Some Kiwis seem like loving the water so much that the ocean is not enough - they've got a pool at their house, too! (: That's really enjoyable because as I told you, you can jump in there till it's getting
dark and because of the long summer period in Down Under a pool is quite profitable and a lot of fun! Here's a picture of the pool at the house of friends of my familie's friends in Kaikoura:
Obviously this is not an example for an average NZL pool - this one has a very unique view! You can have a look at the mountains, the valley and the ocean while having a swim - amazing!!
Some Kiwis prefer living on a farm. This is the case at some hostfamilies' places where international students of our group are staying. For example Sophia, my German friend, stays with a hostfamily who lives in North Loburn on a farm with a lot of sheep. Other Kiwis also have cattle or prefer having chicken or dogs.
Back to Rangiora:
The village has approximately 12.000 habitants and is situated about 25 minutes away from Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island. The area in and around Christchurch, including Rangiora, suffered from the earthquakes in 2011-2012 and so they're still in process of rebuilding the city centres. You are able to see some of the damage while walking through Rangiora's streets - some buildings are partly destroyed and closed because they won't be rebuilt something else will replace them in the next few years. However it isn't that hard as you may imagine now: Please don't create a picture in your head of a ruined city after a war!! :D At the moment Rangiora is a quite lovely village again with several supermarkets, bakeries, clothing and shoe shops, ice cafés, a post office, a public pool and parcs … :))
You may be interested in the events we had during the last 5 weeks. (:
For example there was Waitangi Day:
Every year on the 6th of February the so-called 'New Zealand Day' is celebrated in order to think back to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (NZL) in 1840. You get a day off at school and you can go to festivals which are arranged all over the country.
My hostmum also took me to a little festival in Kaiapoi. It was on a big field - Kiwi families were sitting down on the grass having a picnic, chatting and there were some sale stalls where you could buy New Zealand jewellery, mostly in Maori style, clothes and food.
For example you could get 'Hangi' - this is a traditional Maori food: They take vegetables - like potatoes - and meat, put those into baskets, dig a hole in the ground and heat stones in the hole with a large fire. On top of the hot stones they place the baskets and cover everything with earth for several hours. After that time they lift the Hangi up to surface - and there it is! My hostmum says it is very delicious (, I just didn't try it because of the meat d:).
At the festival there was also live music and you could see people walking around in traditional British costumes which was funny to look at:
On the other hand there's a special event which is celebrated more intensively over here than in my home country: Valentine's Day!
In the afternoon on Valentine's Day my hostfamily drove with me to one of the Malls in Christchurch! Yaaaay!! :D The mall is called 'Northlands' and it's huge! Sadly we didn't have sooo much time because they had something else planned for the night, so we had a quick look into all the shops - it was much fun though! Shopping's always great :)
Afterwards we went to a restaurant in Christchurch for dinner, its name was 'Chilli Kiwi' which I liked much :b We had some Chinese food, fried noodles or rice, and enjoyed the evening together.
As an international student I've booked an 'Outdoor Education' program before I came here. That means that I'll participate in excursions all around the South Island every second week together with other international students from Rangiora High School! That's actually pretty cool because you already know that you'll definitely see something from New Zealand and you needn't plan what to do every weekend. We're a group of about 20 students at about my age coming from Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway and Germany.
Our first excursion we had all together was a sailing and kayaking trip at Pegasus Lake! First activity: Kayaking! Shoes out, lifejackets on and - let's go!!
Sophia and me
It was a quite sunny Friday, but unfortunately there was a lot of wind, so it wasn't that warm. Especially not... when I fell into the water!! :b In fact, everything went real good at the beginning: We learned how to kayak alone forwards and backwards, we kayaked in pairs and stuff and Sophia, Lucia, Francesca and I even managed to swap kayaks while being in the water in the middle of the lake! That was fun (:
However we had a little stroke of bad luck then: We had this little challenge: We were separated into 2 groups of 10 members, but we only had 2 double kayaks (which means there usually fit 2 persons in 1 kayak) per group. The game's aim was to get the whole team to the other side of the lake first. Well, you can probably guess what most people's plan was to win the game: Getting 5 students into each kayak, so that we only need to cross the lake once. Damn it! I got onto our team's kayak first, just in front of it and when the others got onto it behind me, the kayak was shaking so much that I fell into the lake with all my clothes on! :/ The water was actually quite warm, but when I got outside the wind was freaking cold. Finally I was happy sitting on the grass again and being covered with 2 blankets and lots of warm jackets. :D
During sailing we fortunately stayed dry. :) That was quite cool, too and at this time the weather had already become a bit better:
Lucia, Sophia and me
At the end I'd like to show you just some random, maybe weird or funny, pictures I've collected at my trips or at home: :b
I wonder how tall the owner of this huge flip-flop must be :D
… as a German girl I found it funny to find those in the supermarket!
...why not? :D
...cutest stamps I've ever seen!
See ya next time, Yoko