For those who don’t know, I’ve been living in New Zealand for the past two years. Last week, I left.
It’s no more than one stage of my life finishing, and another beginning. But the memories created while at the bottom (or top?) of the world have been among the best in my life.
Obviously there are some things I won’t miss. The excessive drinking culture. The reckless drivers. The ridiculously expensive books.
But no country is perfect, and I have nothing but fondness for the small country at the end of the world. Five things I will miss the most: Continue reading
In New Zealand, any hike that doesn’t require staying overnight is called a walk. Even if you’re hiking for 8 hours over alpine scrub, it’s a walk. But an overnight hike – now that’s a tramp. (Bloody Kiwis.)
Now, I’ve done heaps of day hikes, but overnight? That’s a whole other set of complications, and what with having no one to go with and no experience, I’ve never gotten around to it. Where to sleep? What to eat? What to dress? And the horror of not being able to take a shower at night. But my friend is a very experienced tramper, and when I heard she was going tramping in the Tararua Mountain ranges over the holidays, I more or less played Poor City Canadian Girl Who Wants a True Kiwi Experience. Being incredibly generous, she was happy to initiate me into the joys of tramping. Continue reading
I went away on holiday this week, and had a fabulous time. Did some tramping, did some shopping, ate mussels, and even got some review reading in. That’s all good. But what made my holiday great were the people I met; specifically, at the B&Bs where I stayed. Continue reading
The first week of school holidays was entirely devoted to sleeping and reading, in that order. But the second week I got my hair cut, went to the National Army Museum, looked at my calendar, and realized I hadn’t ventured beyond 30 km of town and holidays were almost over. So I packed a bag and drove across the North Island to Napier. Continue reading
One of the most enduring wood-chopping images in my mind comes from one of my favourite movies, an MGM musical from the 1950s called Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In the beginning, our hero (the wonderful Howard Keel) is singing a description of his ideal wife. See, he and his six brothers are living like pioneer frat boys in their remote mountain cabin, so his wife needs to be a supremely capable woman. Then as he’s roaming the town ogling various passing women, he sees Millie, our blonde-haired blue-eyed heroine, in a gingham blue dress in a tavern back lot wielding an axe like nobody’s business. And, eyes gleaming, he finishes his song:
Pretty and trim, but not too slim.
Heavenly eyes, and just the right size.
Pretty and sweet – (Millie shoves away a frisky tavern patron)
And sassy as can be!
Bless her beautiful hide, for she’s the gal for me!