Saturday, May 26, 2007

I Don't Know, Why Does Love Do This to Me?

I first landed in New Zealand on February 14, on my way to Australia. It only seems appropriate that it was Valentine's Day, because from even my first glimpses from the airplane window of the rolling hills and crashing waves, it was love at first sight. And as cheesy as it sounds, I fell deeper and deeper in love with the country the longer I lived there. Now I am back in the States and nothing here has really changed. Except for a few new strip malls and condo developments here and there, it's almost like time was frozen. Which makes me (depressingly) feel like I never left.

But I drive around listening to Che Fu and Bic Runga and knowing that even if Ann Arbor is still the same (kind of a comfort, really), I'm not the same. I've seen incredible things. From Doubtful Sound to Doubtless Bay. Havelock and Havelock North. Palmerston and Palmerston North. Lakes Rotoiti, Rotoroa, Rotorua, and Roto-ua. Braving Cape Kidnappers and Cannibal Bay. Hanging out with Four Sisters (kauri trees) and Three Sisters (limestone pillars) and two sisters (friends of mine). The mussel capital, oyster capital, gumboot capital, sheep shearing capital, art deco capital, trout fishing capital and kiwifruit capitals (not to mention the geopolitical capital) of New Zealand. Digging my toes into white sand, black sand, brown sand, and golden sand. Just to name a few.

What will I remember from the past year? Zorbing. Yellow-eyed penguins. Xtra broadband (and the lack thereof). Ward Terrace and Waiata. Volcanoes. Up north. Tim Tams, Txt, and Te Papa. Sauvignon blanc, Satay Kingdom, and the Skytower. Roundabouts and Rugby. Queries. Pohutukawa, Pakeha, Pukekos, and Pineapple Lumps. One-lane bridges and Outrageous Fortune. New World, Nikau Palms, and No. 1 The Terrace. "Maori Health, this is Geetha." Long Bay, Lattes, and Lolly Cake. Kumara and Koru. Jandals and Jafas. "I'm going to the pub, I may be some time." The Haka and Hot drinks (coffee, tea, or milo?). Give way rules. "Fine freakin' footy." Eden Park. District Health Boards and the Dominion Post. Courtenay Place and Cuba Street. Blanket Man and Blue Milk. And of course, above all else, Aroha.

1 comment:

Roni said...

Ah, you make it sound so exotic and rollicking. Is it a bad thing that I read your list and think to myself, "maybe the weather will be nice enough this weekend for a trip to Long Bay." My mind also screams "Screw Xtra!" and I imagine a router being thrown off the white cliffs, over the glistening sand beaches and into the aqua surf.

If you start to feel the lure of sheep shit and gumboots, stop by a Mexican restaurant and let me know how the chili verde is. I'll then be thinking of Ann Arbor, MI.