Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Zealand Aroha

I love it when events and ideas align. I love it when something new, something interesting, emerges and keeps showing up, until it's like a theme, a pageant. Recently we have been enjoying a New Zealand immersion. And all of our little brushes with that far away place made a gift from Campbellgirl, of "The Sound of One Hand Knitting," even more meaningful and dear. She celebrated her 1 year blogiversary with a very generous and handmade giveaway(s), and I was one of the lucky winners! It really is particularly fun to be a winner when there are other winners too, so I can say Yippee! and not feel bad about the nonwinners. Just saying.

Aroha is Maori for Aloha and we are very thankful for the aroha Campbellgirl sent our family. She made this wooly, knit brooch, which reminds me of being warm and snug and even of a lovely snowflake... after all it is winter in New Zealand! Check out the cozy pen! I've never seen a wooly pen, have you? It's so cute. Pens disappear here, among the artists and story writers and now there will be no question of which pen is mine. Maria likes to acquire pretty things (an inherited trait?) and I crack-up when she starts making a move for something of mine that she wants. She even casts her eyes demurely and says reasonably, "We can share."

My brother and sister-in law were in New Zealand and ever since then I have been enchanted with all of the happy stories they shared. They were totally taken with the country. Then came The Trilogy, and William filled our heads with all sorts of interesting and engaging movie trivia, much of which centered around the film locations and enterprising work of the Kiwis. William has an insatiable appetite for the process and production efforts of movie making. He is a great resource for back stories and how it was made knowledge, so we were getting all kinds of insights, and visions of The Lord of the Rings and New Zealand. Then our friends, Tamsyn, Carol and Gene went to New Zealand, where they have family. They returned with more stories and enticements, beautiful photographs, and kiwi shoes for baby Maria. Tamsyn posed for a picture in the forest that had been Rivendell. Cool. My friend Anne has family in New Zealand, so they've been too. We've been watching nature and travel shows about New Zealand, and there is some consensus that we should go there. (A detail that Geoff may not be aware of, because he works until midnight and most weekends, but we'll be sure to let him know if there are any pertinent developments.)

Campbellgirl sent us kiwi fabric and kiwi fabric. Did I just repeat myself? Yes and no. It's the fuzzy, cute fruit that they call kiwi and the fuzzy, cute bird that goes by the same name. And now we have a kiwi pin cushion and needle book too. And a recipe for anzac biscuits, which I am learning have an interesting history and New Zealand association.

And to sustain us while our biscuits are baking, she sent one last bit of local color, which is pretty hilarious. As Kiwi as... Slippers? Hilarious. We call them flip-flops, in Hawaii they are slippahs. And whatever they call them in New Zealand, now we know they are as local and prized as chocolate covered marshmallow fish!

Yup, we like New Zealand. Well, not that we've been there, but technically we do. That was a little nod to our favorite New Zealand band, "Flight of the Conchords."

Campbellgirl, thank you. We love being winners in your anniversary celebration and we love New Zealand. Thank you for bringing New Zealand closer to home for us.


Anna Banana said...

Make sure you go in their summah so you can wear your slippahs. Aren't the fruit kiwis happy looking, like suns!

campbellgirl said...

Oh Natalie, thank-YOU! It gives pleasure to give pleasure and I'm happy you like what I sent.

We call those 'slippahs' jandals, tho some people know them as thongs- this can cause some hilarious confusion!!!

xxx D

Laura Jane said...

Oh Natalie what a lovely parcel!

That Kiwi fruit fabric is just divine.

We Aussies share a history with the ANZAC biscuits (we are the A)and we call those jandal/slippah/summah things thongs too. NOT to be confused with wearable dental floss.

My husband and I with our kids then aged 13 and 10 lived in NZ for 3 months in 1999. We lived on an island in the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland called Waiheke Island.

It must have been meant to be. Hubby needed to work for a sabbatical with a colleague in Auckland. We were looking for somewhere to stay, and the family of our son's best friend were from NZ and told us about the island. Their brother lived there too. And the colleague had a weekender (known in NZ as a batch) there.

I bought a Lonely Planet guide to NZ and rang the island's tourist information office. From Perth. I introduced myself and stated I was coming to the island for 10 weeks in July and wanted to rent a 3 bedroom all furnished walk in walk out house for that period. The woman on the phone thought for a second and replied that she had such a house, and she was going to be out of the country for that period and we could have HER house on those terms. Thirty seconds work. If you ask the universe very clearly for what you want sometimes it will provide!

The house was very comfortable. We bought a little car for the time we were there as we were well off the beaten track for the buses, and our children attended schools on the island and my husband took the 30 minute ferry to work every morning and came home the same way. I had most days to myself, and joined a local quilting group, and picked up belly dancing again and had a very creatively satisfying time. At the end of our time we picked up a campervan and toured the bottom of the North Island via Rotorua and Wellington, and car ferried across the Cook Strait. We then drove down the west side of the South Island to Queenstown via two glaciers to the snowfields. Then across the bottom to Christchurch and flew home from there.

I can thoroughly recommend it as a fabulous family holiday destination, it is beautifully set up for tourism, and the scenery is spectacular. MAKE PLANS!!!

Long story.... but a really wonderful period in our lives.

lusks said...

Go, Go, Go, you won't regret it. We went last year for 6 weeks and going this year for 12 weeks. So much to see and do, it is like turning back time. Of course I am biased as my daughter lives there and I am dying to see her.

I was going to say jandals but I see campbellgirl got in first. I wore a pair of jandals yesterday that I got in Christchurch for NZ$3. A bargain for me.

Dani said...

It's so nice to get a package of goodies in the mail. Just puts a smile on your face.