Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kiwi as...




There is a moment, in the unimaginably vast monster that is migration, when you suddenly stop and wonder if your new home is going to be anything at all like you imagine it to be... in our case, I had never seen the US, and yet, had decided to get rid of everything we possibly could, and start over, with a suitcase, a knitted blanket and a great teacup... and, naturally, my two very necessary companions...

I wonder if my sister had these moments, having made her move the sensible way and at least visited New Zealand before committing her future to the place. We spent Christmas and New Year falling in love with her, no longer new to her at least, home. I have always proudly told people that South Africa is the most beautiful place on earth but was proven quite definitely wrong by the magnificently vast small town of New Zealand in the last couple of weeks, and as my sister persistently reminded me - I "didn't even get to see the pretty part"

We started off in Auckland, falling semi accidentally into the jungle that lies hidden behind the adorable suburban china cupboard jumble of homes that is Birkenhead, having asked my sister to take a walk with me, I presumed I would be wandering the streets looking at the houses, marveling at how different they are to what I am used to in the US, and SA... when she suddenly veered off to the right, taking a footpath between houses into the set of Tarzan. Imagine lifting your perfectly lovely rose patterned china teacup and falling headfirst into a mossy, sweating wonderland of ferns and forty foot tall trees with spongy trunks, each boasting their own colonies of fungi shelving and loud obnoxious greenery, like its not enough to simply be a plant, these trees adorn themselves with further plants, entire nations of other plants holding their own celebrations up and down trunks and branches, amidst the constant confetti of gentle, warm rain. Walking the perfectly maintained, beautifully installed, almost polite, wooden footpaths through this chittering theme park was completely overwhelming. Everything stretches beyond sight, into a sky almost completely obscured by the natural canopy, the ground is far below, decorated with streams of trickling water, always running crystal clear over mud, in vibrant oranges or browns so rich and thick and enticing that it becomes hard to resist throwing yourself over the edge and into the swamp of it, rolling in its warmth and becoming completely absorbed in the fecund sticky mess that is, well, sort of Tanya's back yard.

I was hoping to write about the whole trip, but there is just so incredibly much to share, and I haven't yet finished wandering through my memories of day one, so this will be a slow and meandering description of an extraordinarily full two weeks that I am very sad to have waved goodbye to yesterday....

(Picture by Jason Meintjes, of course.)

1 comment:

intermittentblogger said...

I only just saw this post - loving reading about the trip from your perspective!

I wasnt sure about NZ when we moved. All I was sure about was moving (and fast) :)

My only regret is how far away we are from you guys (and the rest of the family)