Sunday, April 18, 2010

NZ: The Loose Ends

I've been thinking about New Zealand a lot this week. Not just the country as a whole or the way saying it tugs at my heart but the specific memories from my most recent residence there.

Finding a coffee shop to frequent in Bellingham reminds me of Caffe Massimo in Takapuna and the strength of their cappucino, which always came served with a familial wink from the owner.

Boarding a bus and seeing Bellingham from a whole other viewpoint reminds me of the rides across the Harbour Bridge into downtown and how I spent my last few trips trying to engrave that beloved skyline into my memory. It reminds me of giggling with high school girls as we headed to the shops or the beach and how beautiful those young ladies were (are). It urges me to seek out eye contact with the bus driver as I step off and make sure to send a "cheers" his way...but it's not the same here as there. And it would be dull if it was.

Changes have been stewing ever since I landed in Bellingham (much more permanently than I expected). I feel so grateful that, in the settling, newness and adventure still have created days of inner smiles as I squirm uncomfortably and/or excitedly. I still have reasons to take big gulps of air, to wonder about the unknown, and to be reminded that so much of what I picture isn't at all what comes to be. And that's for the better.

I'm seeking community once again and yet am in the unusual place of already have some automatic "ins". Family, for example. A few lasting friendships from those days when Bellingham really was a brand new place as well, when I was a (naturally) blonde nine-year-old with a lingering Kiwi lightness to the ends of my sentences. I'm grateful for what has lasted through so many years and for what is to come.

Before getting further into Bellingham life on this blog, though, I need to wrap up the loose ends from New Zealand. It will come more in pictures than words because there are just too many stories over the course of the three weeks my mum and sister and I spent traveling the north and south islands. Reunions with old friends are among the dearest moments. But swooping narrowly between peaks to land in Queenstown, cutting through water of the darkest teal as fjords framed the way for our voyage to the Tasman Sea, and slipping into the rhythm of left-side driving while leaning to the right and the left with each curve of road that took us around the Coromandel and through dense fern growth and alongside near-deserted white sand beaches, these experiences were priceless in their own right.

Road to Milford Sound I

Road to Milford Sound II

Milford Sound - NZ
Milford Sound

New Zealand Flax

Our friends' llama

Ella and her chicken

Inside Christchurch Cathedral


At She Chocolat at Governor's Bay

On the Mount in Tauranga

Bush walk to Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula


Northern beach along the Coromandel

Looking west across the Coromandel