E noho ra New Zealand

Brief summary of what I’ve been up to since T-day: I discovered a very cool ashtanga yoga studio in central Auckland, so have spent a couple of mornings there, enjoying practising in a group and being adjusted by a teacher. My tattoo is tingling quite pleasantly, although I have to avoid yoga postures where I lie on my back for a week or so. Will and I went to an outdoor sculpture symposium and saw lumps of wood turned into intricately carved, smooth pieces like the one below by chainsaws and angle-grinders – amazing.

I also had a great insight into the fiery passion of the pacific islander culture yesterday, when Will and I went to pick Juliet up from a school Shakespeare competition – different local schools were battling it out to perform the best acts from various Shakespeare plays. One of the schools had predominantly Samoan and Tongan students, and their passion for music, dance and performance was electrifying. Effortless harmony-singing, energetic clapping and dancing, combined with a beautiful, respectful attitude towards peers and teachers alike. I saw my first hongi – a traditional greeting where two people touch foreheads. A perfect demonstration of humble mutual respect.

Anyway, it’s my last day in NZ today… 😦

Things I will miss, in no particular order:

  1. Cheery, laid-back optimism, summed up by the much-used phrase, ‘She’ll be right,”.
  2. Office workers wearing jeans and trainers.
  3. All showers and washing machines apparently being the same make – no keeping up with the Joneses here.
  4. The prioritising of having a decent boat over a decent car.
  5. The respectful celebration of Maori culture.
  6. Maori-lore – every landscape formation has a wonderful story about how it came to be there.
  7. Flat white coffees with ferns imprinted into the foam.
  8. The melodious sounds of the tui and the bellbird.
  9. Boysenberry muffins.
  10. Ferns-galore on the forest floor.
  11. The fact that you don’t need to walk far in an urban area before you’re in a mini-wilderness (Auckland city council spend 40% of their budget on upkeep of parks and green spaces apparently).
  12. Fields and fields of empty greenness on South Island.
  13. The ability to easily be the only person on a beach.
  14. The proud local sourcing of fruit and veg in supermarkets (although, in the first one I went to, pretty much all fruit was from NZ except, yep, you guessed it, the kiwi fruit, which was from USA!).

Things I won’t miss:

  1. Sandflies. Ermmm… that’s all I can think of.

I feel very lucky to have had this time in such a beautiful, friendly country and shall cherish my memories. However, I am feeling somewhat weary from my whirlwind tour and in need of some chill-out time when I first get to Oz, therefore might leave the blog for a few days – I’ll see how I feel… But keep checking in, as I hope to bring you more tales of Oz and Thailand in the near future… 🙂

Ta ta for now… xx

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