It’s been 4 days in New Zealand and there have already been 2 earthquakes. The first was while I was sleeping (didn’t notice it), the second was this afternoon while most of us were in the office. The file cabinet shook around a bit and we were swayed back and forth. It’s come to the point where the NZ office always guesses the magnitude; one coworker was right on the mark today with 4.6.
Otherwise, everything has been going well this first work week. I’m getting accustomed to the metric system and a whole new set of building codes. It’s a bit rough having all of your engineering education based on pounds & inches and following U.S. codes and all of a sudden that gets tweaked. In addition to that, New Zealanders have a whole other set of vocabulary when writing reports (i.e. you don’t ‘shore’ a building, you ‘prop’ a building). Not to mention scrambling around how you write the date. I was already thanked by a Kiwi for writing my birthday as 24/6 on my red zone badge application form. And despite drip coffee not existing here, I seem to be getting along fine with my flat white coffees (mix between a latte & cappuccino we think?) each morning.
The first day of work I got a tour of the red zone area of the CBD (central business district). It was very surreal—no one’s been allowed inside unless badged for the past year; therefore, it’s a bit of a ghost town. Most buildings are being torn down; however, it’s a slow process (no explosives). Several sections of the road were torn up due to soil liquefaction—soil can heave or sink due to loss of strength, a typical resultant of an earthquake. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing the red zone get smaller and smaller while I’m here.
Other than work, we went out for a welcome dinner at the beginning of the week. We went to a local pub where you were served raw meet on a hot stone. Think Fire & Ice, but a lot more personal! This weekend several of us are heading to my first Rugby game to support the Christchurch Crusaders. I’ve also started running again to combat the “Marriage 15” (it’s more like an extra 2 pounds, but Marriage 15 just sounds better) I guess the one positive about being away from my husband for a few months is finding it easier to work out after work!
To conclude I’ll leave you a photo of my favorite OZ/NZ snack – TIM TAMS! Unfortunately, they started selling these in the US the past couple years so it’s really not the same, but still tasty nonetheless. I attempted to buy a bottle of wine to complement these heavenly cookies, but the grocery store only accepted passports (my crab-icon Maryland license just didn’t cut it), and I guess luckily I still correctly look under 25 (typical NZ I.D. checking rule, note the NZ drinking age is 18).