New Zealand has been good to us. It’s been a five-year vacation from the grime and absurd pace of New York City.
I had to stop saying “That’s so pretty!” after the first few months because it was a constant refrain.
Tramping in the beautiful South Island.
Wide skies and endless landscapes.
Clouds that cling–even to your feet as you walk to work in the morning.
Aotearoa is said to be Māori for Land of the Long White Cloud.
Tramping and horseback rides on the beach.
Rainbows so commonplace we barely paused unless it was a triple rainbow.
Cricket in the park.
Finding evidence of a Māori pa on a volcanic cone in Auckland.
Tree climbing and wine tasting on Waiheke Island.
Local traditions for the holiday season like the Pavlova.
Or Summertime Santa and his Surfing Elves.
Admiring local wildlife at Kelly Tarlton’s.
Hanging at the beach on a chilly (yeah, not really) winter’s day.
The occasional harmless yet alarming weta finding their way indoors.
The uniquely English-born love for quince paste.
I got this one in my CSA box and was confused and delighted.
Soaking in hot pools in Rotorua.
Realizing that Hawai’i and New Zealand are culturally like cousins.
Exploring the antipodean version of Lake Tahoe, Lake Taupo–the second largest freshwater lake in Oceania.
Delighting in the Asian influence on downtown Auckland at the annual Lantern Festival.
The friendly locals.
To everyone in Aotearoa who made us feel welcome. Thank you!
We lived in a place where the rare sound of a siren makes everyone stop and take notice and worry.
It was a privilege.
And if you’re thinking of vacationing here, the flights are long but they’re worth it!
I’ll return to New Zealand. I didn’t memorize the national anthem in both languages to never sing it again.