Figuring out life in a new country can (seriously!) be a full time job. It feels like all the lucky leprechauns have been sprinkling gold dust down on me, because my figuring-out has been wildly fast tracked due to the fact that, for the past seven months, it actually HAS been my full time job.
When I first moved to Auckland, a friend from D.C. challenged me to throw down a few anchors, places/people/things that would help me to grow balance and help me find my feet. The criteria for anchoring was simple: I would simply begin to drop mental pins when I felt like myself -- my real, normal, Hanna-est self. Armed with the luxury of time (this was my full time job!!) in one hand and the determination to crack the quirks of this new city in the other, I searched out and returned to my anchors like a convert to church.
Somewhere along the way, my questions (where do I buy almond milk? do ANY cafés have wifi? why does everything close at 4pm?*) started getting answered, and in the process I have uncovered some serious gems. Unsurprisingly, many of them involve espresso, good design, beautiful things (books! GF cupcakes! bright pedicures!) and laughing people. And now, after seven months on the job, I have a good map of my Auckland essentials. No, it's not comprehensive (only seven months, remember!) and thus it will grow (a new café is built literally every week here), but I'd love to tell you the part I know.
It's a weird, beautiful, magic land, and thanks to these good spots, it's becoming my land too.