I promise to start talking about New Zealand in a minute, but for right now I have something really important to announce. Sometime, in the future (not necessarily soon), I will be having a wedding in New Zealand. I do not when it will be, or who the invitations will go out to, or who will be a part of the wedding party or what the budget is, nothing about the flowers, the cake, the colors…or who the groom will be is for that matter (although I’m thinking a kiwi…and I am not talking about the fruit), but I do know the location, and I ask that you save a date for sometime in the future,  so block out the calendar from now  until…further notice! (And start saving some money because plane tickets will be….uh a tad pricey.) Good news though, not only will this be a fabulous wedding- your presence, not presents, are all that is requested. (but,  *wink*- I do have my eye on a lime green food processor *wink wink*).

I promised my mom I would not come home from Ghana pregnant or married; a promise that honestly was not all that hard to keep. All I had to do was avoid my professor and boom- still single and as unpregnant as possible!  I think, it may be a bit trickier in New Zealand (not the pregnant part, just the marriage thing). As you know, I’m already thinking about weddings, and a guy at orientation said he authorized to preform ceremonies, and will do so for no charge he just wants an invite to the wedding reception. These are all signs of what is meant to be- am I right?

The first thing that gets you, about the kiwis, is the accent- and even more, all the kiwis make fun of how hard they are to understand. Never do they act like we are the idiots who speak funny and don’t listen very well.  I don’t know why, but everything a kiwi says seems so friendly and warm, and they all seem to have a touch of humor. All us foreigners (I almost said Obrunis, but then remembered where I was) are finding ourselves laughing when there is nothing to laugh at and smiling at every hello.  I’m pretty sure someone could scream a big “F*** you” and the smile wouldn’t move off my face because it was obviously meant in the friendliest, warmest, funniest way possible.   I have been warned me that it might take a couple weeks for me to be able to completely understand the accent, but I am hoping that my uh…understanding, won’t change anything I currently feel towards any and all kiwis (particularly male). Sometimes  I am more comfortable with them then I am with the Obruini…oh, shoot, foreigner, standing next to me.  I am  honestly in a dangerous “wedding bells” kind of situation.

It’s incredibly easy to talk to store clerks  like they are a long time friend- and the jokes just flow out.  A couple days ago, oh wait, that was just yesterday, I went to get a new phone situated, and I had a good laugh with the store clerks. First, I walked in and a (male 😀 ) kiwi greeted me, I responded with “Hi, I want a phone.” Apparently, that was funny because everyone in the phone store started laughing.  Usually when I am that blunt about pointing out the obvious, I am met with an awkward stare as in “Uh yeah. Duh.”  See what I mean? These kiwis are so laid back and so friendly that they are even comfortable enough to laugh at me.

When he had helped me pick out the phone he then said “Ok, do you have any fly byes with us?”

I responded “Um…what?”

“Fly buys”

The girl standing next to me (a foreigner like me who had been in the country exactly one day longer) cleared it up by whispering to me, “five dollars.” And I nodded reached into my pocket handed him five dollars and waited for a response.

Silent questioning stare (not unlike the ones I get in San Jose when I am so blunt about the obvious).

“I’m sorry what did you say?”

“Fly buys”

I, being a little awkward responded with; “Ahhh….. is that some kind of robbery?” the four people I was talking to all burst out laughing.

As it turns out, “Fly Buys” are  discount reward…things…(I really am not sure still), and I having just got off a plane took that in a whole other direction. But, the fact is that kiwis are easy to laugh with- and it’s a good feeling when you are as…awkward as I can be (don’t worry- I like my awkwardness.  I like to think it makes me a little funnier and gives me better stories–and if it doesn’t , please don’t ruin it for me because then instead of being funny awkward, I’m just awkward, and that’s something I don’t want to  be).

On a broader note, New Zealand is fabulous. As you know, I am in love with the people (*wedding bells sound in the distance*), I am in love with the campus, the land, the smiles, and the culture. I can’t wait to learn something about Rugby and go to a game or two. The city is small, and 1 in every 4 people go to college (there are 3 colleges in Palmerston North- a true college town). The bus is easy to figure out and the food is….typical dorm food, but it’s food that I don’t have to scrounge the city for and I don’t have to eat it out of plastic bags.  My room is smaller than it was in Ghana and my roommates (or as we would call them hall mates because we share a hall instead of a room) have not moved in yet but I can’t wait for the day they do.

Overall,  I’ve got a good feeling about this place…kinda like the feeling you get when you listen to “I gotta feeling” by Black Eyed-Peas. I feel like the world is mine for the taking, and anything is possible- and that is not a feeling I always have when I walk down the street in San Jose.

But anyway- the is your official notice: Save The Date for sometime in the future. If you read my blog, please let me know you’ve opened up a New Zealand destination wedding account so I can get you on the guest list!  Get ready for a ridiculously long flight, then some  good laughs and big smiles from the kiwis (and me) and the greatest wedding event that will ever take place.

See you all soon! (and based on the current “wedding bell situations” it could be sooner than anticipated- so don’t let the fact that I seem to be perpetually single throw you off!) By the way- I am not kidding about no presents (unless your name is Alyssa Mcdonald in which case I am expecting a present in the form of a bachelorette party).

I will have pictures soon. I forgot to bring my camera out today but don’t worry, I’m working on not being so forgetful! I have just been so…distracted…and these bells keep ringing…