We have been in New Zealand for only a week, yet it feels far longer than that. Time seems to behave differently when you are displaced so dramatically in space; it bends and stretches, distorts, and elongates. Life in the states already feels like a distant memory, yet I know that as soon as I step back off a plane into some could-be-anywhere terminal back in the U.S., it will feel as if I never left.
What is there to say? Do you want to hear about our flight into San Francisco and our dramatic ascent up and away from the runway and having it explained nonchalantly by the pilot that there was “traffic” in the area? How about our business premier flight abroad Air New Zealand (paid for with airline points, not real money)? Sorry, not much to say about that because I was asleep for most of it on my seat that turned into a bed. Do you want to hear about how there are “four seasons in a day” here? Yes, it’s true. On any given day since arriving we have experienced some combination of brilliant warm sunshine, cold biting winds, rain of varying degrees from a light mist to a torrential downpour, and the occasional bit of hail.
I wish I could give you more than words. Words don’t justify it. I can’t make them as vivid as the slanted winter sun tinted landscapes of forested hills and pastureland we drove through after landing in Auckland. Words aren’t as dramatic as the snow clad visages of Mount Tongariro, Ngauruhue, and Ruapehu looming over Lake Taupo. My words can’t fully convey the kindness we have felt from so many people since arriving here, from the grocery store clerk who helped us set-up our new phone plan, to the friends we have know for 20 years, to the people we are staying with in Wellington, who were total strangers to us just a few short days ago whom we now can call friends.
There is much I will remember about our first week here, but one thing that struck me was a feeling I had driving through the countryside on one of the two-lane roads that pass for interstate highways here. It was a feeling of familiarity and comfort. It was the feeling of being home.