"Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image."

Thursday, July 19

As a foreigner...

Things I have learned as a foreigner in my own country.
**These are strictly my personal--and yes, limited, experiences as I work to repatriate myself...

  • When asked if you can borrow their phone, 100% of strangers will say yes.
  • When you hold the door for someone, 100% of people will make eye contact and thank you. 
  • There is no substitute for family and a strong sense of community---and both of those things are everywhere if you just open your eyes. 
  • When greeted with a smile, 100% of people will return the gesture. 
  • 50% of strangers don't know where Bangkok is. 
  • The security lines at airports are ridiculously long and seemingly inefficient. 
  • There are a frightening number of obese children.
  • Despite being the fattest nation in the world, summer in the North brings out the activity in people--and it's contagious. 
  • People put more value in a dog-shit-free lawn then in a plastic-free Earth.
  • The staff at the LIRR are generally unhelpful. 
  • There is an under-usage of fans and an over-usage of air conditioning. 
  • Many people have a garden, compost, recycle, and/or use re-usable bags. 
  • There are a frightening number of parents who don't know the first thing about discipline.
  • There seem to be jobs. 
  • Water fountains are amazing. Tap water is amazing. People take both for granted regularly. 
  • 80% of strangers don't know what language is spoken in Thailand. 
  • Everything is big--people, houses, boats, cars, roads.
  • Just because you might look the same, doesn't mean you're immune to feeling like a foreigner. 
  • There are WAY too many TV channels. 

*This list is not yet exhausted as the road to adjusting back is far from over...

Monday, July 16

New Zealand, you've done it again!

Step 1: Drop a self-proclaimed "country girl" (shut up, Keri) into one of the biggest cities in the world.
Step 2: Watch as she flourishes in the newness of it all...and then, four years later, watch her squirm in the absence of nature, fresh air and space.
Step 3: Stand back as she takes a much anticipated trip to revisit New Zealand.
Step 4: Read as she dramatically squeals (and writes) in delight!

I sit with a childish grin plastered to my face. Snow-capped mountains to the right, green plains to the left--and, an overwhelming "ahhh" feeling of returning to a place I love. I haven't even stepped out of the plane and my heart is racing--almost as if it knows it has finally been reconnected with a few lost pieces that were left behind six years before.

Days later, as I drive along SH1 from Christchurch to Picton, my heart pounds with excitement. Although the pre-dawn darkness prevents me from seeing the beauty around me, something inside of me feels in. As the deep blue, morning sky slowly lightens, its as if layers of scenery are being slowly revealed as I drive--each turn seemingly more beautiful than the last. Even this must-have-music-blasting-while-driving girl reaches for the dial--this kind of nature demands silence and I have no problem obliging.

The green, sheep-covered hills suddenly roll into the rocks of the Kaikora coast. With the mountains on my left shoulder and the waves crashing on my right, I again laugh to myself. "Seriously?!?! Is this place real?!" As I drive, the rocks along the coast come to life with the movement of the seal colonies. I pull to the side just to take it all in for a while. I still haven't stopped grinning. Part of me feared returning here---afraid, perhaps, to discover that my memory had exaggerated the scenery. I didn't want the return trip to remove NZ from it's pedestal! But, there was no such exaggeration. This place really is THAT amazing! No picture or writing could do it justice. It must be seen and felt---and, it's freakin' good to be back!!!