Flashback to October 12, 2012. I made the final touches to my room and packing up the previous 14 months of my life in McMurdo. I managed to pack my life into 2 suitcases and one carry-on bag. Oh, yeah, I forget that I also sent 8 boxes of stuff home. It’s amazing how much stuff I had down at McMurdo. What was even scarier was realizing how much STUFF I have in my house. But more on that later.
Upon leaving the ice, Rick and I traveled to New Zealand for five days. The weather was a bit cool but warming up slowly. It was spring in New Zealand. We frolicked through the botanical gardens, we hiked Mt. Sinclair (as well as an unknown mountain that we thought was Mt. Sinclair. We harassed sheep. We ate ostrich and kangaroo. I discovered how tasty a flat white is.
*A flat white is a coffee beverage originating from Australia and New Zealand.It is prepared by pouring microfoam (steamed milk from the bottom of a pitcher) over a single or double shot of espresso. It is similar to the latte and the café au lait. Like other espresso-based beverages, it can be interpreted various ways.
I also got to go shopping, or as I prefer to put it, I helped out the New Zealand economy. Granted, I also helped out the Hawaiian economy, but that’s a later story also.
New Zealand is a beautiful, wonderful, amazing country. When we got off the plane we were greeted by a light rain. It was glorious. The metallic smell of rain coming off of the payment, along with the scent of the grass along the pathway to the Antarctic Centre was divine. We skipped, we ran, Suzy squealed in delight. It was tremendous. Also, sleeping in a king sized bed for the first time in eight months… ah. If you want to feel like you’re totally pampering yourself, sleep in a single bed for 8 months and then go get in a king size bed. It’s amazing.
Being in New Zealand also meant that I was going to get to ride in a car and go faster than 25 mph for the first time in 14 months. Okay, so I got in a cab on R&R but it’s not the same. The first car ride was thrilling, yet terrifying, at the same time. Rick was definitely in tune with me (or at least very observant of my death clutch on the suicide bar) so he stayed at a nice SLOW pace while we took the twisting and winding roads on the south island.