Chloe turned to me yesterday and said, “It’s not that hard to get to the other side of the world, Mom. It only takes about a day, and then here we are.” Already she is beginning to realize that our world is smaller than she had initially thought.
After a very long day of traveling that involved crossing the equator (a first for me,) we finally got off our small prop plane in Gisborne on Monday night. I was the first to deplane, and I promptly turned around to watch the kids and Jesse get off after me. Each of us had a jaw-drop expression on our faces. This tiny airport was surrounded by the mountains and ocean and was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen. (This blog image is one that Jesse took a few steps from our new home.)
We were greeted by two of Jesse’s colleagues, a fellow American doctor and his son, as well as a New Zealand woman who works at the hospital and her husband. Together they took us to our new apartment, a two-story town home overlooking the harbor. We were immediately reminded that we had landed in the middle of winter, as the sun set at 5PM and the temperatures dropped significantly.
Since Monday evening we have spent our first week trying to find our way around this beautiful town (I will post some pictures in the images section of the site just as soon as I learn how to do that,) and trying to get the kids ready for school.
On Tuesday we visited Lucas’s new school, Gisborne Intermediate. We were immediately struck by how much broader the curriculum is than back home. The kids have outdoor science labs, and cooking labs, wood working labs, electrical design, dance and music and art and lots and lots of sports. Plus the regular classes, of course. The intention is to educate the “whole” student, something we found exciting for our fairly traditionally educated son. Lucas was so excited to see all of these things, and to my enormous relief, is looking forward to his first day on July 23rd. Lucas will attend Gisborne Intermediate for the second half of 7th grade, and will then move on to the local high school to start the first half of 8th grade after summer break in February.
Meanwhile Chloe and Julien will attend Awapuni school together for the first part of the year, from July to December. Chloe will be doing the second half of 6th grade, while Julien will start the second half of Kindergarten. Chloe will then move on to Gisborne Intermediate, and I will once again have 3 kids in 3 schools – *awesome.* 🙂
As we toured Awapuni school on Thursday, we learned that Julien will learn quite a lot of Māori (the language spoken by the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand and one of New Zealand’s official languages). And we also learned that all the kids will be in schools with children from different socio-economic backgrounds, about 80% of whom have never have left New Zealand – something we’re very excited about for them. (Their life has been a bit insulated in Washington D.C.)
Jesse started orientation yesterday at the hospital, and I have found myself a new co-working space from where to work. (In order to keep somewhat regular East Coast hours, I will be starting my work day at 7AM and needed a quite place to do that!)
We’ve learned how to drive on the left side of the road, and it’s possible that Jesse drove into some oncoming traffic on one of his first tries … but we seem to be getting the hang of it.
And so here we are. It’s Saturday morning and we are slowly finding our way around town, learning the grocery stores, the convenience stores, using FB Marketplace to buy new bikes, and adjusting to a life with no Amazon deliveries.
So far, so good.
Really good, actually.
We’re off to the local Farmer’s Market and to drop Lucas at the tennis club to meet his new coach and get ready for his first tournament (we hope,) in Hawke’s Bay on July 22nd.