Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Is it possible that no matter where you go on planet earth, something always seems familiar? Despite this time-tested reality, my perception of how I would feel upon arriving down under was way off kilter. I “thought” I would feel upside down or at least truly on the edge of the earth, I “thought” I would feel far, really far away, I “thought” my hair may stand on end (and it is—but that’s a different story). Back to reality, there goes gravity—as it turns out, NZ feels quite normal. Hip, causal, complex, diverse. I wonder what I was thinking—I wasn’t going to the circus, I was going to an amazing country.

Off from the long flight into Auckland at 6 AM NZ time I was greeted by the universal symbol and smell of a good morning—an open café and the scent of good, hot coffee. A “flat white” will be my standard order—hot strong coffee with hot, hot cream. I’m going to love New Zealand, in fact, how could it get any better than this. I must admit, 14 hours on the plane has made for an attitude adjustment. Sitting in LAX after already an entire day of travel, I began to question my judgment—why did I have to pick such a far away place? I should have chosen South Carolina—some people think it’s equivalent to another country and it certainly is closer. How could I not have chosen Ireland—those are my people, it’s only one ocean away and I’m sure its airport is less complicated than the tram at DFW. Good ole, DFW, the gateway to almost anything north, south, east or west from RDU. So there I was, at the international terminal in Los Angles feeling tired, questioning my choices, and right before my eyes my legs were swelling to moderate size fence posts. I reversed my position in my chair by lying on the floor with my legs elevated on my chair seat—I thought this was both brilliant and therapeutic—but by the looks I got, this was anything but “LA”. Couldn’t they see—I was in Cally-FORN-ya and stumps from the sequoia forest had replaced my lower limbs…seriously, if there was an immediate need for toothpicks throughout the airport, I could have become a freestanding kiosk. Bring me demand because I have supply.

Peggy from the Fulbright office picked me up. She is a great lady. We went out to her beautiful home high up in the mountain over Wellington. Peggy and her husband Bill recently declared citizenship in NZ. They don't miss US politics and in fact there are a lot of opinions about our politics and policies in NZ.

I was able to stay up most of the day and final gave into the need to sleep at 7 PM. Fulbright program kicks off tomorrow and so do my Philadelphia Eagles.

Fly Eagles, fly!


Anonymous Daniel said...

So glad to see you made it and I can't wait to hear, "The rest of the story!"

10:26 AM  

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