- the weather. I know I was just bitching about it, but sometimes you actually can see the sun and it’s really nice. The sky is gorgeous. There’s an autumn crispness in the air. It’s lovely. Note: this is increasingly rare.
- the scenery: Michael, Julie and I went on a walk up to the top of Mt. Victoria one nice day and you could see all of Wellington. It was gorgeous. Also, there was a fun swing in this pretty forest, that I couldn’t resist. For all the Lord of the Rings fans, this is where they filmed the escape from the Nazgul in the inner Shire. Also, my mom and I saw some beautiful forests and tree ferns on our trip. One of the resorts we stayed at had the most beautiful waterfall I’ve ever seen. Breathtaking. Another place we went had a beach completely covered in pink shells; you couldn’t even see the sand. Also, Julie, Dara and my road trip up the Kapiti coast was fabulous. The paddocks with the sheep were adorable, the beaches spectacular and the sunset divine.
- my mom: She looks a lot healthier and happier. We walked quite a bit and she’s getting a lot stronger. I even dragged her up the Wellington hills. She looks especially good with a tuatara in her hands.
- the autumn leaves in the botanical garden: turns out New Zealand does have fall. Um, sorry, autumn.
- my play-doh stegosaurus: I went to a quiz night with my officemates and one of the contests in between rounds was for the best play doh stegosaurus. I made a masterful blue stegosaurus, the right balance of cute, cartoon and scientific accuracy. Alas I did not win. I maintain I was robbed.
- my soccer skills: I have apologized literally every time I kicked the ball anywhere near anyone. It makes passing awkward.
- my rock climbing attempts: My awkwardness and clumsiness can’t possibly look better when viewed from the bottom. Nothing more glamorous than hanging sweaty and red from a harness while staring at a wall.
- rain, rain, rain, rain with a dash of Antarctic wind: The good news is we often can’t see this because every time we attempt to warm up our flat it immediately fogs up the windows.
- wild pig eradication: New Zealand has a thing about protecting its native fauna by killing the invasive fauna. This is most obvious in the popularity of hunting possum (an activity at both resorts my mom and I stayed at!) and possum fur accessories (stay warm while helping New Zealand!). NZ also has a problem with feral pigs that were released by Captain Cook himself. When my mom and I were horseback riding, our guide’s dog found and injured a piglet. Our guide put the piglet out of its misery (and later brought the meat home so it didn’t go to waste). This horrified my mother. She relayed this story to Sue, the senior technical officer in charge of tuatara at Vic, who owns a sheep farm. My mom was expecting Sue to be horrified; Sue was pleased that there was one fewer pig and that it was not going to waste. Guess I’m not the only American getting a cultural lesson.
- Oh, c’mon. You’re really reading this? The entire post is in bullet point form.
- New Zealand is a gorgeous place full of trees, ferns and beaches. And the sun occasionally shines.
- Unfortunately New Zealand has been burdened with an uncoordinated American out to make herself more sporty.