Posted by: annie | April 29, 2010

Free like a butterfly, free like a bee

Hello again! I have been busily focused on finding myself a car for the last month or so and I finally found her. Yay!!!! I’m so happy 🙂

So exciting……… I’m free! to do what I want any old time.………. Remember that song by the soup dragons?  That’s what I’ve been singing to myself.

It’s a 2003 Honda Civic hatchback and isn’t the color pretty? I don’t think I ever saw this car in the states. Mine was imported from Japan as many cars here are and some of the writing in the car is Japanese. I bought it from a dealership so it went through all kinds of safety inspections (required by the govt for imports) and has a warrant of fitness which all cars here need and you also need to get it registered.  I guess the consumer protection regulations are pretty strict here. Tracey has a friend that used to work for a dealership and he was nice enough to help me out. Car insurance is not required in New Zealand and when you do get it it seems to be  less expensive than in the states.  They have something called the Accident Compensation Corporation which if I understand correctly covers everyone in New Zealand including tourists if they are injured in an accident here. It will reimburse for medical care and a portion of work missed. It’s a no fault policy so people can’t sue for personal injury.

I’ve had my car for almost a week and I’m still walking to the wrong side of the car sometimes. That’s when I pretend I had a reason and set my purse down in the passenger seat. I am driving on the right side of the road at all times.  Yay me!! That has gone much better than I thought it would.

Things do get confusing though. There are roundabouts everywhere and it took me a little time to figure that whole thing out. It sounds easier than it is people!  I get in a little trouble because they went ahead and changed the sides of everything. Obviously the steering wheel is on the other side so that means the gear shifter is on the other side of me, and the turn signal lever and the window washing one are switched. I am constantly turning the windshield wipers on when I want to turn.

Oh, one more thing and we’ll see if I can explain this so it’s understandable. If you are wanting to turn left and there is a car wanting to turn right onto the same street instead of the person turning right having the right of way, here in New Zealand the person turning left has the right of way.  Soooo……… that’s  insane right?????

Apparently, I am the nicest driver in New Zealand. I have been honked at more than once for allowing people to cross the street. I’m guessing pedestrians do not have the right of way here. People drive fast and they have little patience. I did not enjoy walking because I often felt like people weren’t about to slow down when they saw me crossing the street. I was expected to get the hell out of the way. New Zealanders are much nicer out of their cars than in them.

Last weekend I drove my new car to a Maori healing workshop about 30 min from my place so I got to have a mini road trip.  The Maori healing I learnt (this is a word here) is primarily bodywork and they really go for it.   It’s actually very holistic, intuitive, and spiritual. The workshop was pretty amazing as was the teacher, Atarangi. I enjoyed the learning and I don’t really like to do massage. My joints are still cracking but I’ve been so relaxed this week that I think the pain was worth it. I was lucky enough (although I did not think so at the time) to have one of the Maori healers work on me at the end of the workshop when we were to practice all we’d learnt on each other.  I’ll just say it was intense.

Here’s a link to the maori healers website if anyone is curious:

I had a funny misunderstanding at a restaurant a little while ago. I haven’t seen lemonade or iced tea on any menus around here and finally there was lemonade and I was so excited to order it. The waitress brought me something carbonated so I tentatively took a sip and wasn’t quite sure what it was, but it wasn’t lemonade. So, I did my best obnoxious American and asked “what is this?”  The waitress was a bit flustered and answered “lemonade”.   I tried to explain that lemonade is not carbonated and this drink also didn’t taste like lemons. The waitress and I were both confused so she brought over the bartender who brought me another one of these carbonated drinks and then we had a similar confused conversation as I described what lemonade is and they said they didn’t have anything resembling lemonade.  Turns out, I was drinking Sprite which apparently is referred to as lemonade here because that’s what they put on the can.  Hello, Coke! You know damn well that sprite is not lemonade.

I’ve got a lot on at the moment with school so I don’t think I’ll be able to explore much yet. I’ll get some more photos up when I do.

Happy Birthday Regenia!!!! Love you 🙂



  1. your car is so cute! i wish we could buy those here in the states. does she have a name yet? regenia told me about your maori class, but it sounds like it is all working out for the best.

  2. Annmarie, what a great car!!! OMG it’s very very nice-good for you!
    I want to hear all about the Maori class when we talk, it sounds awesome and I would have died to have one of them work on me. I bet it was an amazing class.
    Lemonaide hug?? Where’s the lemons? Where’s the lemons?
    Guess your’ll have to make your own.
    Talk to you tomorrow-Love

  3. Love the car…we to are car shoping as well. Love the hatchback. Have a great time driving on the wrong side. What is the speed limit there? People are not very nice drivers in the states…so we all have that going for us.

  4. Super cute car. I love your posts-they are so entertaining. I wish the US would get on board with some of the NZ ways of thinking-like a no fault policy for MVA. The Maori class sounds great. Is it an on-going training for you? Hope school is going well and I miss you. Oh, and your furry niece is growing and I must say, just as adorable as ever. Lots of love~

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