The trees are nothing like anything I have seen before. So gangly and geometric and tall.
Is it ridiculous to want to live in a place after only having been there for 48 hours?
I met two Afghani women my age while browsing the NZ poetry section in a bookshop in Auckland who told me about a river in their hometown in Afghanistan. The neighbors built their homes so that a stream would flow through to take the place of running water. I felt the need to apologize for being American––both relocated to NZ because of the war.
It’s a bit of culture shock to come here from Fiji and Tuvalu. So many vegetables. I don’t have to feel shy about wearing shorts in public. There are swingsets. People talk more quickly and in a cadence and accent that is completely new. Dairy = a convenience store. Togs = a bathing suit. There is so much to learn.
I keep thinking I’m in San Francisco. Something about the light is the same.
I have been adopted by a vegan climate activist couple who take me to the most delicious food and coffee places and introduce me to their bike-riding friends. I’m sleeping on a pull-out couch in their place where there are four bicycles mounted on the wall: one silver, one black, one orange, one green. It’s wonderful and strange to be in a city that feels so instantly like home, only different.
I have a lot of catching up to do on Maori and colonial history.
After a brief kerfuffle with customs, my bicycle arrived from the states in a box this morning. I spent the day putting it together, checking that all was good at a local bike shop, and going for a test ride. Left turns are easy and right turns across traffic are astronomically difficult. Tomorrow morning I leave for a seven day ride south along the western coast of the north island, roughly along this path:
“No. I’m moving forwards.”