I’m 7,430 miles from home. I Googled it and was happy to see a nice round number.
But where is home anyways? Seattle? Colorado? Who can say these days? But this place I’m at now, this foreign land, is starting to feel familiar. I’ve had a month to taste and see what this country that Americans mistakenly refer to as “down under” has to offer, and it tastes like strawberry rhubarb pie (good).
Things are really not so different here.
They cut their grass like we do, though they do cut it very short as if it’s a perfectly manicured nuketown. Speaking of which, New Zealand seemed to me like a utopia before coming here; and after a month it still seems like one… At least as far as grass maintenance, friendly people, and postcard landscapes go.
The experiences and details, all the small nuances that make a place a place, are too many in number to write of here. Neither you nor I have the time to sit around and hear about the best trees to climb in Hagley Park, or how deadly crossing roads with cars coming from the opposite direction can be. Nobody wants to read a “long as” blog post – why are you even here? Thank you for reading this.
Let me cut to the chase and recount some of the things filling my brain space that probably should have been used for schoolwork instead.
- We’re all a little different, but really all the same at the core. Humans everywhere speak a universal language – one that allows a smile to mean the same thing in a land an ocean away from whence you came. Hello (or “kia ora”) starts you a conversation, we’re inspired by the same human story, and everybody I know still enjoys a good pie.
- I am potentially interesting to people. I never thought folks much cared about another American and what the state he comes from is like, but as it turns out, they’re as interested in us as we are in them. I enjoy asking Kiwis about their accents, and they in turn ask me about mine, to which I reply, “What accent?” I never thought I had an accent, but then again, nobody ever perceives himself as having an accent. We are normal to us.
- Embrace where you come from. Conveniently I left the USA as dookie hits the fan; inconveniently, my accent is unmistakably American. This is not a bad thing, because although I’m not the biggest patriot, I recognize my fortune to be where I’m from. In fact, I have a unique opportunity to satisfy the curiosity of folks from other parts of the world and try my best to put a good face to the idea of an American. I hope I’m doing a good job.
- Time is not to be wasted. It’s mind-boggling how fast it goes, and in the time you take to un-boggle your mind, another week will have slipped by. Truly, one must be a “yes” man and indulge in every opportunity. Sleep and money are to be thrown by the wayside.
- Find your tribe. Though perhaps unnecessary, how much more fulfilling is life when you have the right mates around you to energize you and drag you up that mountain (through teasing and the occasional encouraging word) when you want to stop? This is far easier said than done, so when you meet one of these mates, I advise you befriend them quickly, and buy them a coffee every once in a while to ensure they stick around.
Now, in the interest of brevity and covering many words in little space, allow me to engage the old “picture for 1,000 words” exchange agreement. Here is my favorite way to slack off: a list of favorites!
Favorite Thing I Done Seen:
Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park has been, by and large, the most beautiful thing mine eyes have gazed upon here. The peaks are glaciated and rugged, the valleys golden and expansive, the tracks are steep as…
Favorite Thing I Done Ate:
Favorite Thing I Done Discovered in Christchurch:
Favorite Slang I Done Picked Up:
Tough call with “sweet as” and “goon slapping” in the mix, and but “chilly bins,” AKA coolers, takes the cake.
Favorite Car I Done Drove:
Favorite Bird I Done Photographed:
Worst Bird I Done Photographed/Biggest Annoyances:
THE DAMN PIGEONS. Colonizing on the ledge outside of my window, and starting my day bright and early with gently infuriating coos.
And the door latch in my room ripping two of my shirts.
Yeah, it’s really not so bad here. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you as more comes along!
If you’re interested, take a look at two short videos I composed here:
Thank you with all sincerity for your visit to this humble blog in need of revamping. One thing to remember before you go, for anybody straddling a fence with a life of real-living on one side and the safe route on the other, here is an idea given to us by the character Saito from Inception: “Do you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret…?”
If you’ve ever leapt over a puddle or from one parking block to another in a car lot, I think you’re quite capable of making the leap.