Thursday, March 24, 2011

To Everything There Is A Season

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late
~The Byrds

The leaves are starting to change color, the hot summer days have now "chilled" to an average of 20 degrees Celsius and rain showers are becoming more of a regular occurrence. As we say goodbye to summer in New Zealand, it is time to welcome many new changes in my life. On Thursday, I packed my bags and moved to Mount Maunganui. I said goodbye to my roommates, Mike and Laura, who have become my second family. I also said farewell to the apartment on Lorne Street which has been my home-base since I arrived in New Zealand in January. Even though I have been sick, my last week is Hamilton was filled with lovely girl's days, crazy nights out downtown and lots of great walks around the lake. When I moved to New Zealand and would tell people that I was moving to Hamilton, the #1 response was, "Why Hamilton?" It gets a bad rap (and according to my new roommate it's the chlamydia capital of the world), but it is actually a quaint little city. It's filled with so many great little cafes, hidden nature walks within the city limits and is home of the most beautiful public gardens I have ever seen. It was bittersweet to leave, but it is time to pack my bags, head where the work is and start a new chapter of my Kiwi adventure.

Laura, Lindsay and I packed up the car and road-tripped to the Mount. It was a beautiful day, so we went straight to the beach. When we arrived, we saw a crowd of people so we headed over to take a closer look. The Travel Channel was filming a show about New Zealand and they had built a beautiful Maori sand sculpture and were performing a haka, which is a traditional Maori dance. We jumped in as extras and played the role of "excited crowd members"…I even gave my character a Southern accent for a little extra flare. After the filming, we hiked to the top of the Mount and took in the amazing views of the beach and city. To reward ourselves for the hard work, we hit up the gelato stand and then walked around the CBD and did some shopping. It was a lovely day with the ladies and a special visitor all the way from Wisconsin, Flat Stanley. My cousin Tanner, who is in second grade in St. Croix Falls, sent me his Flat Stanley. We toted "Stan" around with us everywhere and we were pretty excited when he ended up on camera for the Travel Channel.

Within the next week or so, I will start packing kiwi fruit at Seeka Oakside. Typically the season starts in mid-March, but due to a disease that is killing the vines the fruit is not maturing at the normal rate. Thousands of people come from all over the world and work for 3-6 months during kiwi fruit season. For most of them, they can make more money in those months than they can in an entire year in their own country. Since the work is in Te Puke, I have moved in with my friend Richard who also works for Seeka. There is also a cute German couple, Marcus and Jessica, living with us. The two are working for Seeka, but are actually picking fruit.  We enjoyed our first night in the house and all sat around the dinner table and discussed differences in American, Kiwi and German culture. We also swapped NZ travel stories. Marcus, Jessica and their friend were snorkeling and their van (they were living out of) was recently broken into and they lost everything. Their clothes, packs, computers, ipods and all of their money were all stolen. They had to borrow $200 from a local cafe in order to buy Petrol and drive down to Richard's house. They are currently filling out forms for the insurance company and applying for new visas. Makes me realize how smooth my travels have been!

It is quite funny living in a house full of accents. I can't understand half of what my roommates say, but perhaps this will be a good way for me to brush up on my German. I think having international roommates will challenge me and broaden my horizons. On a sad note, my friend Lindsay had a family emergency and is cutting her trip short. Lindsay has been an amazing travel buddy and roommate. We have traveled all around New Zealand and Australia together and I will cherish my times with her. I am sad to see her leave early & not have her there to work in the packhouse with me, but I am so glad that I had the chance to become such good friends with her. Best of luck in your travels Miss Lucia Sue!

The only constant in life is change, so I must be flexible and open to what life brings me. As the Byrds said, "To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose."

The Mount

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