It's probably bad blogging form to do two FAQs back-t0-back, but I'm new at this, so bear with me. I get a lot of the same questions over and over when I tell people we are moving to New Zealand, so here is my "Getting to Know New Zealand" FAQ.
Q: Where is New Zealand?
A: What were you doing in 9th grade geography class? Passing notes to boys? Hmm? Yep, that's what I thought. You should be ashamed.
New Zealand is in the South Pacific, off the southeastern coast of Australia. It is made up of two islands, descriptively named "North Island" and "South Island."
Q: Where are you going to be living?
A: Dunedin. Southeastern corner of the South Island. Read about it from our trusty friends at Wikipedia, or see the Dunedin City home page.
Q: What is the weather like in New Zealand?
A: The weather seems to vary a lot by location, and even the same city can vary a lot over the course of the day. One of the things that struck us during our trip was how we could be completely bundled up and doused with rain in one part of the country, then we'd drive a few hours and find ourselves sweating in almost desert-like conditions. Layering is important.
Chris bought me one of those ironic hipster T-shirts that says "Sunny Dunedin," as our new hometown is known for being rather damp and overcast (think Scotland). On the plus side, Chris assures me the winters don't get much colder than Atlanta's. Goodbye, Hotlanta summers ...
Q: Is New Zealand part of Australia?
A: Your miserable, pathetic geography teacher. Her whole career really was a waste.
Q: How long does it take to get to New Zealand?
A: Flights from Los Angeles or San Francisco direct to the largest city, Auckland, are about 12-13 hours. The flight from Auckland to Dunedin is about another 2 hrs, I think.
Q: Oh my goodness, how do you stand that long flight?
A: It wasn't the best way to spend a day, I'll be honest. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and I rode over by myself, in coach, on a completely full flight. It works like this: watch a movie, eat dinner, drink a couple of glasses of red wine, eat a snack, sleep as long as you can, get up, brush your teeth, wash your face, snooze some more, eat breakfast, watch another movie, and poof! You're there.
Q: Do they speak English in New Zealand?
A: Sigh. This blog is going to need a Part II. Stay tuned, my eager readers!