Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How I Ended Up Here

I tried so hard to stay in New Zealand....I truly did!

I had buckled down for a tedious visa process, including xrays & extensive medical checks to sweat over like the one for New Zealand.  When I paid my fee with my application, I got a receipt via email.  But it wasn't a receipt, it was my full-blown Working Holiday Visa.  It came in less than an hour!

I put off sailing here for ages.  I was supposed to be here in time for my birthday in (April) & every two weeks I was "leaving for Australia".  I had so many going away parties; they were compelling enough to make me stay.  Ironic.

Right up until the 24 hour deadline I was on the phone with the airline trying to change my flight.  I had even arranged a place to stay for the next 2 weeks to whenever.

I packed all the wrong things.  I checked off every box on the declaration card.

Do you have animal materials? - yes
Do you have any food items? - yes
Do you have dirty contaminated camping/hiking gear? - yes
Have you been on a farm in the last 30 days - YES

I'm a big fan of the Australian show Border Security.  It showcases the folly of drug smugglers, visa loopholers & people from Asia bringing heaps of food into the country.  My chance at stardom!

The States would have sniffed everything inside & out, asked questions about my intentions for my dirty laundry, & even after xraying my tighty whities (in my bag & on my body) still would've given me cause for concern.  & that's just to ENTER.

They gave me a "what the f**k is this?", scolded me for the sorry state of my passport, practically slapped me upside the head & kicked me out of security & into the country.  Leaving me to fend for myself in big bad Australia where everything bites & will kill you.


Maybe where I went wrong was immediately deleting the text from Caro that was waiting for me on the ground that went on about b.ombs, t.errorism, plots & c.artels - all in less than 150 characters!  She has a warm way of saying "If you get deported, you can stay at my place!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Heading to the Land Down Under!

'...made a journey to a place where there was nowhere left to go.'

The past few days have been wracked with indecision.  I made several calls yesterday, & called Air New Zealand twice as a last-ditch effort to stay in the country.  Things have been falling into place.  There is an incessant reminder that this is how the cards were meant to lie.  The hitchhiker in me knows all about fate, reminding msyelf with the same optimism that all even the worst plans are meant to happen.

I am flying through the air.  I didn't have a big going away..well actually I had too many.  Everybody thought I was long since gone & I just kept showing up.

The friends I made throughout the country, particularly Auckland, have been insurpassable.  Whenever I left it was never one-way.  There was always a cuppa to be had behind an open door somewhere.  I arrived intending to get some sort of grounding.  The familiarity I developed with Auckland is hilarious.  I had never intended to come to New Zealand at all!  This all started with roller derby - just remember that.

Directly between 2 fantastic women who both call me their Canadian sister.  I made a date to meet Tamara here 16 months ago from my mom's living room in Winnipeg.  This is the realization of a prophecy!

Sixth biggest country in the world, & the country I know the most about that I have never been to.  I used to teach my family about marsupials when I was a kid.  I started on a race here from Florida 22 months ago.  (I am in the lead.)  I have been on the brink of going for the past 5 months, but the anticipation & knowledge of my rediculously high standards is daunting.

Foreign/familiar words & customs literally falling away behind me.  Trading place names like Waitakere, Te Awamutu, & Papakura with Mooloolaba, Geelong & Wollongong.  Jandals for thongs; Marmite for Vegemite; chillybins for eskies; kiwis for kookoburas; fush for......urm, skippy?  I see no language barrier bro.   I mean, mate.

The Cat Empire, Blue King Brown, The Living End, John Butler Trio, Hilltop Hoods, Nick Cave, Grinderman, Xavier Rudd, The Herd, Bodyjar, Powderfinger, Oka, Bliss n Eso, Funkoars...  Melbourne is my mecca for music.

I am FUCKING STOKED for Australia!!!

Oh! It's very flat....& big.....
Alot like home!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Footrot Flats

Last night I was comfortable staying home to watch the kids while the olds had an evening out.  Cuppa tea in my housecoat, watching the AllBlacks beat the Aussies again.  Ha!

Living on the farm has been a settling experience.  Every day had a surprise.  The concept of routine was sometimes broken with a cattle drive, motorbike lessons up muddy tracks, bottle feeding a calf, or helping a heffer deliver.  Or sometimes playing dinosaurs, Olympics, fishing, paleantology, basketball or tag, or stopping the boys from hitting each other.  Playing with the kids is awesome but exhausting!

The ocean was always at the horizon, the sun spilling over the foothills bouncing up to Mt Karioi.
And you know what?  The frantic indecision dissolved.  Every day just felt good.  Stars aligning.  Idiosyncratic.

I am already back in Auckland.  My flight is in 33 hours time, but I'm still in denial.  Feels like toppling over the edge of an iceburg.  More than half my trip has taken place in New Zealand.  I feel synchronized with this landscape, the sounds & names of the birds, the trees, the rivers, the currency & even the seasons.  It has become a very easy place to call home.

Pukekos, manuka, Tongariro erupting (how cool is that?!), Pokarekare Ana, powhiri, burlesque on K Rd, waitemata, Taumatawhatatangihanga-something, fantails, jandals, Mt Egmont/Taranaki, Mt Aspiring, keas, waikato, tuatua fishing, Takapuna, AllBlacks, Footrot Flats, Tui (beer & bird), whitebait, fijoasWhite Island, supreme pies, headless Mexicans, Arapawa goats, Willy Wonky Donkeys, Kaiser, goat island, tuatara, drinks @ Bungalow 8, Swashbucklers, whitecliffs, gurnard, Fast Company, Eden Park, Remarkables, Kaiser, chillybin, Mana Island, takahe, kebabs in Plimmerton, waka, tarakihi, waikeremoana, Routeburn, kepler, kumara, hot pools, snapper, haka, pub quizzes, bike polo, Tane Mahuta, motorbikes, cattle drives, taniwhas, pohutukawa - Aotearoa.

The only real Kiwi thing left to do is to go to Australia!
We know where your heart really lies.