So to beat the heat, my wife and I flew to New Zealand.
Actually, that's not true. We were flying to New Zealand anyway. The fact that it is winter here and 100 degrees at home did soothe the pain of 13 hours of plane. In fact, I may never leave; one, it's pretty nice here so far, and two, I don't want to do that much plane followed by that much standing in line (queues) just to have my shoes inspected for a long, long time.
However, a better use of my jet-lagged typing would be to explain why we're here in the first place. We submitted a team application to the Rural School and Community Trust Global Teacher Fellowship. I actually stumbled across the opportunity here on CoP while preparing for a grants workshop. On a whim, I submitted an application and -literally the same day I threw away all the application copies because I assumed we weren't selected - we received an email that can be summed up in two bullet points:
- We were going to New Zealand!
- Someone was going to learn how to drive on the wrong side of the road.
Never in my life have I focused so much while driving than I did today. We arrived at 6am this morning into Auckland, at the north end of the North Island. After the literal shoe inspection, we found our rental car, loaded up, struggled to figure out how to start said car, got that sorted, and pulled out on the road. Then swerved.
Because the largest metropolitan area in the country is the best place to learn how to drive again.
For the record, we really didn't see much of Auckland. After 60 minutes of poor directions from our Garmin knock-off, and the tension radiating from the passenger seat as we navigated our way through morning rush hour, I gave up seeing anything and got the heck out of dodge and out in the countryside. And that suits our purpose here just fine.
Our mission while here for the next two weeks is to connect with as much New Zealand agriculture as possible, with the goal to bring as much of it back to our students as we can. And we've already gotten off to a good start today, with a little tour of an oddly famous place that happens to be in the middle of a 1250 hectare Romney sheep farm.
Oh, and the other thing we already have to take back? History lessons. I am convinced after 3.5 hours of driving here today that after Britain's tyranny of oppression, taxation without representation, and the ilk, the backside of the Declaration of Independence has written on it 'driving on the wrong side of the road.' I wouldn't doubt it if round-abouts are mentioned too. Happy Independence Day, all.
ON THE ROAD: we'll keep posting pics, allegories, incriminating bits of evidence, and the like as we head south. Through the North Island. Then onto the north bit of the South Island. Right. I mean Left. Of the Road. Wait, which lane should I be in?*
*My entire day, summed up.