For those of you in the dreary months of winter consider this a little taste of sunshine coming your way before you know it. Every day on my lunch break I go running along the beach. I bring running clothes to work and eat my lunch at my desk so I don't lose any running time. I can't describe to you what it's like to step out of the office run along miles of coast with zero cares in the world (well mostly zero cares in the world). I still look out at the ocean and wonder how I ended up living here and just how lucky I am.
I am learning to do things the kiwi way rather than being ethnocentric with my American ways. (Though Jason would not entirely agree with this statement and even I'll admit I've got a ways to go) I guess it's a natural tendency to look at things and say in America it's bigger, better, cheaper, faster, etc...
For example, last weekend we went to Waiwera thermal resort/ water park (see link for pics). As an American when I think water park I think BIG. I'm talking wave pool, lazy river, big slides, the works. We pull up to Waiwera and I'm thinking-are you kidding me? I judged way too quickly because what I didn't know actually made the water park super cool. Waiwera's water for pools and slides is furnished from the underground thermal pools that have been there for thousands of years. The water of each slide or pool varied, anywhere from 32 degrees Celsius up to 50 degrees Celsius. That is HOT! Something else I didn't know is that water parks have private saunas and spas here. We booked our own personal spa and sauna. Now that's something I've never done. I loved it and the best part about it is that it's open year round since the water is so hot. Sounds like fun when I'm cold in July. Yet another lesson learned-don't judge New Zealand things on American standards-it's like comparing apples to oranges.
I'm even learning to appreciate and understand the socialist view so evident in government and politics. All acute medical care is covered by the government and non-emergency services too. Children have free dental care until agae 18 (they have dentists at schools here). Maternity care is 100% covered too. I'm not making an announcement here-just saying-it's a good thing. Do I love the tax rate or the ridiculous hospital waits? Nope-but lets leave my conservative view out of this post.