The nice thing about having an itinerant childhood is that being in an unfamiliar place feels familiar. I actually spent a lot of time in Virginia as a kid, but went to four different elementary schools. middle school in Puerto Rico and back to Virginia for high school. Switching elementary schools is like moving to a new town.
I’m grateful for that experience, because it makes me able to conceive trips like this. I know that no matter where you are in the world, you do the same basic things, just in different surroundings. And where there are people, there are most likely coffee or tea shops (or something equivalent), and going to sit in one of those makes me feel right at home.
New Zealand itself is great because they speak my language. Traveling alone in a country where I am, for linguistic purposes, deaf and mute, would be much tougher. I have already met people that I would now call friends.
For instance, Gavin. He has an interesting and complex family and ancestry. I may not get this exactly right, but from what I can remember: His mother is part Portugese and Maori and his father is English/German. He has three sisters and one brother. It wasn’t until he was older that he found out he was actually the product of an affair, and his father was really his step-father. His biological father was a man who had been adopted, but believes he is of Maori descent. Gavin says its clear that he had a different father, as his skin is much darker than his siblings. I think he said he met his biological father once, but he died years ago. He knows he has half-siblings out there, but doesn’t have much interest in knowing that part of his family.
I think I will be going to meet up with him and some of his friends tomorrow, maybe grab some tea and dinner. In any case, I could definitely use a little social interaction.
This morning I woke to chilly air and the sounds of celebrating. Bobbie was pacing around yelling “We won! We won! Whoopie!” In my sleepy, not-wanting-to-get-out-of-warm-bed state I imagined they had won the lottery and would let me stay a night _without_ working. Haha, self-centerdness at its best. Turns out they have spent three years in court helping friends get the right to open a cafe in Piha. There are a few people in town who oppose the idea and have been fighting them every step of the way. After my first surf session this morning I came back to the house to find Bobbie with red lipstick all over her face in the manner of war paint, a shirt that said in large block letters “Shut Up You Stupid Bitch” and a pin saying “Piha YES! Cafe”. She said she was interviewed earlier and will be on the news. There was a serious buzz of excitement as people came and went congratulating Bobbie and Julia. Bobbie told me the first day that the women in New Zealand are “feisty” – I believe she must be a classic example.