First day of orientation.

Today was the first day of International Student Orientation. Woke up in time to catch the bus at 8:30 this morning and it was a nice 45 minute commute to the Uni by bus (it's fairly expensive so I have to get a student discounted bus pass soon). A girl from South Africa got on the bus shortly after me and we became quick friends; her name is Ashley. We were welcomed by the Vice Chancellor and then Maori students from a local grammar school did a haka variation...the coolest thing I have seen here in New Zealand so far, and it will be hard to top! There were so many students; a mixture of International and Post-Grads. We moved into a building for "tea," which was just a variation of orange juice and some pastries. Lisa and I mingled with the students and met a Chinese girl and a guy from Greece.

We then were instructed to proceed into a huge lecture hall..much larger than the halls at GVSU. There was a brief introduction and then the lady leading the orientation took a tally of the number of countries represented. At first the majority seemed to be from Germany but then she asked the Americans to raise their hands and we gave the Germans a run for their money! In 3rd place was Malaysia and then little groups from other countries such as: UK, Ireland, Russia, China, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, etc.

Around noon Lisa, Ashley, and I went to find some lunch and then decided to explore Queen Street, which is the main street downtown for shopping and eating. We found a bar around 2:30 and celebrated my birthday with a birthday beer. It was pretty good. A locally brewed New Zealand summer ale. The whole Auckland area is actually pretty hilly so walking up and down streets downtown tired us out quick! We caught the 4:15 bus out of Auckland to Birkdale and Lisa went to her homestay. For dinner my hosts made chili and some vegetables...they said they're having trouble figuring out how to serve for four people rather than just the usual two. They got up to make tea and brought over a chocolate cake for my birthday with 20 candles on it! I was pleasantly surprised and had a wonderful 20th birthday despite not being with family and friends.

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