Monday, January 11, 2010

The Maori Word for Deja Vu

The first day in New Zealand, the first day in the Land of Auck. "Auck auck auck," I say to people on the street. They don't respond well. Must be my American accent. (The auck in question is supposed by some to be a form of hawk and not auk, deserving of honor though the latter may be.) We did essentially what a different we did in Auckland four years ago. I'm not complaining, and I will shun the child who pouts and says "No, I don't want to do those lovely things again!" In order: the Viaduct, Devonport, the cannon at Mt. Victoria, One Tree Hill (still not the TV show), and the berry farm. Indeed, it is all nice, all good, all positive adjectives all around. The sky is blue. The clouds are, as promised, long and white. And I have a certain color to my skin that I would not have had had I stayed in California, with its wrong, flipped-around seasons and its functional ozone.

Maybe because New Zealand looks like a slightly Bizarro version of California and maybe because it lacks poisonous animals, I feel comfortable here, in this stray semicolon of a country. I wasn't even bothered by the odd looks my way of speaking elicited from the cast of happy townspeople I encountered during this afternoon's solo trip to the pharmacy. Yes, something about New Zealand works for me.

The part of me that enjoys challenges gets a kick out of the way every trip here forces me to reinterpret my concept of family. In that sense, this trip may prove to be the most critical of all. And there will be time for that. But for today, I will just enjoy the blue sky, the white clouds and my face looking just ruddy enough that I could actually belong here.

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