Sunday, November 8, 2009

Living in Auckland

Nov. 6

So I’m sitting here with Amanda and Glen. We just finished dinner and are sitting around the TV. There’s a program on one of the three channels about a French couple building a house made of straw. Glen’s reading a Real Estate Guide and Amanda’s working on her computer. It’s incredibly comfortable. I cooked tonight; pizza, of course. It’s the first time we haven’t had meat in a meal. I’m glad I decided to not be a vegetarian. In this situation, having a random family just take me in as one of their own, I’d rather be relatively easy, food wise. I even ate tuna. I’ve never had tuna. And lamb. And chicken. And ham.
I got here. I cried a lot on the plane. Partly because I get nervous and sad whenever anything changes, and partly because I was pretty sure I had stomach cancer. The night before leaving, I had pizza and beer. A fantastic combination, but before taking off and landing several times over 24 hours… disastrous. I was sitting next to a NZ news reporter. We didn’t really talk much until the morning, (our flight was 11:30 at night, and after dinner, everyone more or less tried to go to sleep and/or watch their own tv’s). Some of us just cried and worried about stomach cancer and loneliness.
I was held up in immigration for a little while, which did a number on my stomach cancer. My work visa wasn’t on record and I had to sit to the side for a bit while an official made some calls. Everyone was really nice about it, though. I kept thinking of the tsa freaking out because I didn’t tie a strap in the right place, and I figured in the states, I’d be locked up in some cell at this point. But here I just sat on a bench while they apologized for the delay. The guy next to me apparently was here illegally. “Did you know your visa expired?” “I didn’t know my visa could expire.” “Ok. Just contact this person, fill out these forms sometime in the next month. Have a good day!”
But I got out. I called Amanda, who, sitting here now, I can’t believe I just met a few days ago. She and her two 3-year old twins, Kurtis and Kasey came and got me. Amanda is so much like my boss who introduced me to her. It made me feel so much at home. She pointed out lots of things on the way back from the airport, things I would never remember, but details I felt touched she wanted to tell me. “That’s the road that leads to my friend’s house.” “Over there is where I lived fifteen years ago.”
I had some time with Glen because Amanda was working until 7 tonight. He spent ten years living out of a backpack, crashing on people’s couches. They both traveled a lot, not really knowing what they wanted out of life, not really knowing where they wanted to be, what they wanted to do. They told me that if I ran out of money, I could come back here and they’d hook me up with something. I can come back here whenever I need to regroup, whenever I need to figure things out. I can come here for Christmas. They have just opened up their home to me and let me in. They’ve let me become a part of their family. Their kids think I am all that and a bag of crisps.
Auckland itself is a beautiful city. So much water, volcanoes, sailboats.
I got lost coming back to the house from the train station the other day.After half an hour of aimless walking (my initial thought was, something will start to look familiar. I never learn). Anyway, I stopped in at a little coffee place that was empty and asked at the counter. The guy was intrigued by my accent, and seemed really personally touched that I wanted to come here and not Australia. And when he didn’t know where I was going, he looked it up on a computer, then he went and lugged a printer out of the backroom so I could have my own copy.
Everyone here is sooooo nice.

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