September 20, 2011

It's the Small Things

It’s the small things.


Finally changing Word's default paper-size setting to A4 instead of Letter on my laptop.

Changing Word’s default spell check language to “English (New Zealand)” instead of “English (US)”.

Putting my US dollars and coins in a little bowl at the back of my dresser to await the next trip home. 

Swapping my Alaska drivers’ license out of my wallet to make room for my New Zealand one.

Buying a calendar with NZ holidays on it but having to look up the date of Thanksgiving on-line.

Thinking in Celsius and talking about 'litres per kilometre' not 'miles per gallon'. 

Spelling things with an “re” instead of “er” and with an “ou” instead of just “o”.

Going to “post” something instead of to “mail” it.

Waking up listening to Radio New Zealand instead of NPR.

Making ginger crunch instead of chocolate chip cookies.

Drinking tea... and still drinking coffee too. 

Lighting the fire and turning on the heat pump rather than adjusting the thermostat for central heating. 

Cooking more Indian and Thai at home instead of Mexican.

Cooking with real pumpkin instead of baking with canned pumpkin.

Using a bicycle everyday but putting the cross-country skis away. 

James wearing blue overalls to work instead of Carharts. 

Leaving my Xtra Tuffs in my mom's garage back home. 

Constantly searching for the international plug adapters so I can plug in my laptop, camera battery, Kitchen Aide and more.

Making jam from orchard fruits not wild berries.

Saying my birthday is the 20th of the 9th, not "September 20th" and celebrating that day in Spring, not Fall!

September 10, 2011

Out East

Last week, James, Nick, Kelly and I all headed up to the North Island. After some urban adventures, including the World Wearable Arts show, we headed a bit off the beaten path to the East Cape, an area that none of us had ever been to before.  It's in the middle of the length of the North Island, on a piece of land that juts East out into the Pacific Ocean.  It's famous for beautiful carved Whare Nui on Maori marae. (Taking photos of these can be considered disrespectful, but there are plenty of on-line images and I'd highly recommend checking out these gorgeous, meaningful meeting houses). The East Cape is known as a centre of Maori pride, tradition and activism.  It's also known for it's surf, beaches and remote lifestyle. It's where two well-known movies were filmed, Whale Rider and Boy.

It was, indeed, a place with a remote, laid back feel where the beauty and strength of Maori culture thrives and rural communities seem tightly knit.  Everyone we met along the way was friendly, every corner we turned was stunning.

We picked up a tourism brochure that seemed a bit different than all the others. With minimal marketing, it had just the kind of information you might want - what to see in each little town, where to find ice cream, which beach is known for surfing and which for snorkeling. And it started off with a poem.  Here's a bit of the poem and I'll let my photos say the rest!

"Set your mind and compass East, traveller.
Point your brow into the morning sun,
take your watch off,
recycle your cell phone
let go.
Out East."