‘So do we get a final blog as you return home to your roots and your
nest and be prodigally welcomed with the fattened cabbage or
aubergine…to wreck havoc upon your parents’ peaceful lives and
annoy your baby sister….
NZ awaits ………’
Upon receipt of the threatening email above, I feel obliged to respond:
Yes NZ awaits. As I have been awaiting. The last week was painfully slow as I sat in my little room, dreading the impending winter, listening to useless advice from Doctor Phil (he says I should be thinking of marriage as I would a car..), my freedom so close, yet so far away as the rain beat out the seconds, and milli-seconds against my window. But then the sun came back, and the tourists came back, and so I had work to busy my hands and my mind and now its less than …one week! one week!
The other day I went to Galway for one last shopping trip before my departure. Galway was busy as ever, with its crowded pedestrian street and buskers of varying abilities (to put it politely). I bought some CDs, I bought some books. I bought a couple of singlets for the summer. I dont know exactly why, as I’m currently trying to minimise my potential baggage (which already includes two musical instruments, two cameras, a two kilo supply of Green&Blacks Organic chocolate, and in keeping with the trend….two gifts…for two people …..they being the two who are nicest to me on my return). Perhaps I am a shopoholic.
I had a little moment between clothes racks while searching for the elusive size 10-12. If you too get annoyed by teenagers shopping for clothes that are so like, just like, so like so coo-ulll, or whining brats who just.wont.stop (I was never a brat, nor a teenager, obviously), then take a break. Find a rack of clothes and bury your head well in the back of it, a t-shirt either side of your ears to dull the droning and have yourself a little moment. I think you’ll find it really is quite cosy in there.
And so now I begin the last working week of my 2006 year, after which I will be free, free, free (until next year). Bring on the summer, bring on the BBQs, bring on the family showering me with gifts and waiting on me hand and foot – it ‘ll be like having my own little troop of maids.
I expect most of my first week back will be spent sleeping and feasting. Feasting on all the delights I’ve been deprived of for 20 months. Things I’ve been drooling at the thought of. So if by week two I am stuck in the sofa, you’ll all still be my friends wont you?
High on my list of drool-worthy delights is sushi. Finding sushi in Ireland is like finding a leprechaun – very difficult, unless it wants to be found. And you’d think there’d be sushi -Ive seen at least two Japanese people here. Coincidentally, both sushi and leprechauns are green on the outside and orange and white on the inside. Actually Ireland would do well to adopt sushi as their national food, it being the same colours as their flag and all. Much better than black pudding which is the colour of orange and green mixed together – not to mention the colour of dirt, or…….other brown stuff, or potatoes which are just white, and sometimes a little bit green.
I also look forward to going into a fish and chip shop and ordering fish and chips that do not cost more than it would cost to actually go and buy my own reel and deep fryer. AND having the choice of such poetic fishes as hoki and terikihi, instead of dull sounding ocean dwellers like cod, or haddock, or pollock. What the hell kind of a fish is a pollock?! (I have a new food rule: I will not eat anything that rhymes with ‘bollock’. Which I will add to: I will not eat any so-called ‘pudding’ that substitutes blood for sugar).
And then after sushi and fush’n'chups, for dessert there’s real Cadbury’s made from real milk from real manly NZ cows, not the wimpy stuff they get from their girly cows over here. And then I’ll have icecream, and toffeepops, and mallowpuffs and pixie caramels and pineapple lumps and…whoops Ive just eaten half my pen.
Oh yeah, and there’s the pleasure of seeing my whanau and friends – see, its not all about food.
Much as I long to be back by the beach and munching on a Peanut Slab, I have a sneaking suspicion that once Ive been back in NZ for a while, after the novelty of having any item of Kiwiana at my fingertips wears off (Buzzy Bees are just plain annoying after a while), and my troop of maids go on strike arguing unreasonable irreconcilable differences (‘If you wont carry me to the fridge then can’t you at least carry the fridge to me?’) that I will actually miss certain aspects of the Emerald Isle.
Will I miss black pudding? No. Will I miss white pudding? No. Will I mis Ben&Jerrys Cookie Dough icecream for pudding? Or for breakfast or lunch? YES.
I’ll miss the wild coastline. I’ll miss sitting at the top of a cliff watching the world roll upon the sea, while planes leave giant vapoury white crosses in the sky. I’ll miss the two monkeys in the back field. I’ll miss the music. I’ll miss the place that has been my new home for the last twenty months.
And what of my old home? It’ll be strange going back I’m sure. Alot happens in two years. People are born, have children, get engaged, leave school, get fat (not you though), move house, change their hair – of course not necessarily in that order. I imagine a brave new world where my old one used to be. A world with fly-overs and artificial reefs and people who talk funny. And there will be bubble cars and robot police and whole meals in pill form.
And so on the sixteenth day of the eleventh month at fifty minutes past the twelveth hour (thats Old English Irish time) I will leave the ground, and spend the next thirty-six hours in a hellish nightmare somewhere between waking and sleep. Actually the first half will be exciting. Im sure the first movie will be entertaining, the first unidentifiable spicy meal will be interesting even if inedible. But I expect the second half of the trip will be spent dreaming up ways to put myself out of my misery with only plastic fork and a vacuum toilet at my disposal.
So I’ll arrive at Auckland airport Saturday morning and as per my instructions, the Middle Sister will have booked out the arrivals room and filled it from floor to ceiling with cake. So if you want a piece, I’ll see you there – though I cant guarantee I’ll be in the mood to share…