New Year, New Zealand

I always dream of travel to exotic places, as New Zealand has been on my list for years. So, when the perfect opportunity presented itself, how could I say no? SIX weeks in New Zealand, all expenses paid, and all I had to do was teach a course called the “Biogeography of New Zealand.” Sign me up!

So I asked for the Biogeography of New Zealand to be in my teaching load for Spring, and (easily?) convinced the powers that be that I should and could teach abroad. In the midst of a hectic fall semester in Atlanta, I planned my departure, found a house sitter, prepped the garden for winter, packed for the trip, got bronchitis,…all the usual winter break things.

And suddenly, I’m taking Uber to the airport, driving away from my lovely house in my fun neighborhood and my family and friends and having a my own personal crisis of leaving everything I know to travel to the other side of the world. Also, I’d forgotten how stressful it can be to fly with a carry-on viol. It’s like playing roulette with the big kid gamblers (I would imagine–I’ve never even wanted to do that). In the end, my little treble viol found overhead space on every leg of the trip with no issues, unless you count rudeness at the United Airlines check-in desk in Atlanta. Thanks United, for making me cry in the airport on New Years Day! Happy New Years to you!

And “two days” later* I’m HERE–Wellington, New Zealand, home for the next 6 weeks! It’s pretty and wet, like a Vancouver winter but with Vancouver summer temps. Welly, you have confusing weather. I hear that the sun will come out day after tomorrow, or sometime yesterday. I arrived about 3 hours before I could check in to my hotel for the night, so I left my bags with the concierge and headed out to see what’s what and get some brunch. And this is what happened…

As I walked, I noticed my hiking boot was being weird. I looked down and saw a black crack around the sole…

dying boots.jpg

which eventually turned into the sole falling off completely.

dead boots.jpg

These boots are (were) 10 years old and have seen some heavy hiking, but they’ve also spent a good amount of time languishing in the closet, too, because I usually hike in sandals, so why were they disintegrating on my feet? Bad boots. Or bad boot owner? Yes, that’s me. Because NZ has very strict rules about bringing in clean hiking gear, before leaving I stropped those boots within an inch of their lives (and maybe misjudged a smidge?) to get the Appalachian red clay off them. Lucky for me, they sell shoes here.

Just checked, and it’s still raining.

*It’s only one day of my real life, but the international date line really is confusing, it turns out. See you again, yesterday!

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