It has been nearly a year since I left New Zealand. It was an incredible opportunity to experience life in another country, to share my culture and experience, and to learn about Kiwi life. When I went to New Zealand, I honestly knew very little about the country. I knew Lord of the Rings and Whale Rider were filmed in New Zealand. I knew there were two islands. They are a Commonwealth country like Canada is. But beyond that everything else was a surprise and a chance for discovery.
I learned quickly that the country is shaped by volcanoes. And with that means a lot of hills. It is called The Land of the Long White Cloud. The sun can be very bright and the UV very high even on cloudy days. But there is also very strong winds and heavy rain. It is a real mix of Maori and Pacific Islanders, and people of heritage from all parts of the world. The people are laid back and friendly. And a lot of people have traveled overseas. The landscape is stunning – similar to British Columbia but different. Who knew that there are fern trees? The tramping is wonderful with well maintained trails. Doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing was a highlight of my trip. The food is fresh and is an experimental combination of flavours and techniques from around the world. Spinach and feta scones – delish! Fresh fish from the boat – heavenly. And kumara chips, Feijoas, avocadoes, lemons on trees outside . . . .
When it came to time to decide to stay longer or to head home to Canada, I had a really tough time deciding what to do. I feel a real connection to New Zealand, and was loving my life there. But I was also missing Canada, and the comforts of home. Would I go back to New Zealand if I was presented with the opportunity? You bet I would – I just know that I need opportunities to visit friends and family back home. Kia ora!