You don’t hear Kiwis say “Bye” very often; even at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, it’s the standard “Seeya!” I like the impermanence and, in this case, I can say it confidently:
“SEEYA NEW ZEALAND!”
I leave tonight for the looong journey home, but, I already have my ticket coming back in December (via Alaska, St. Louis, Europe, and India). There is a list of things that I’ll eagerly be coming back to (those little powdered marshmallows that come with mochas, Thai chili tuna, relaxed pace of life that seems to defy stress…) and many firsts as well (working in a foreign country, taking up new hobbies, maybe playing in snow on a June birthday…). I’ve learned through some really interesting conversations with locals lately that there is no such thing as a “perfect place,” and New Zealand carries its own gripes and burdens. However, unlike these particular locals, I’ve seen other places to compare it to and think New Zealand is still pretty damn good.
“I feel like we are such hicks compared to the US.” 22-year-old
“Somethin’s gone wrong with the priorities in New Zealand in the last 20 years; now people want bigger houses and boats and the lot. Is it like that in the States?” 61-year-old
“We visit our family in Phoenix often…..yeah, I think New Zealand’s pretty great. I’d never live anywhere else.” ~27-year-old
“I think Kiwis have an inferiority complex. The big world seems very intimidating.” 22- and 61-year olds
“I’d move to Los Angeles, if Australia and New Zealand were swallowed by a huge tidal wave, if there was a bubonic plague in Europe and if Africa disappeared from some Martian attack.” Russell Crowe (born in Wellington, New Zealand)