Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Happens to Old Wannabes?

Maybe they turn into New Hasbeens?

Monday, February 9, 2009

On the Same Note...

"Adventures are a logical and reliable result - and have been since at least the time of Odysseus - of the fatal act of leaving one's home, or trying to return to it again. All adventure happens in that damned and magical space, wherever it may be found or chanced upon, which least resembles one's home. As soon as you have crossed your doorstep or the county line, into that place where the structures, laws, and conventions of your upbringing no longer apply, where the support and approval (but also the disapproval and repression) of your family and neighbors are not to be had: then you have entered into adventure, a place of sorrow, marvels and regret."

-Michael Chabon'Gentlemen of the Road'

That's my favorite "adventure" quote and one I've been saving for a long while to put on the blog.  I kept waiting for the perfect moment because it was such the perfect sentiment to me.  I agree with everything Steve said in his beautiful post previous to this one.  I look forward to seeing you, friends and family, very, very soon.  

At Adventure's End

Insert pithy quote:

“A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short.”

---Bertrand Russell; English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970

So our adventure in New Zealand is at its end. We've all but actually flown back home, having tied up our affairs here in Wellington. We're essentially just waiting for the last few loose ends to get strapped down and we'll be setting foot on a plane with enough baggage accompanying us to let us persist back in Marin until the Big Crate arrives.

The quote above works for me, because this experience has been potentially the second (or third) best thing I've ever done (next to having Zoe and Haley and marrying my wife Joanne.) I've never felt more American or been more aware of what I'm made of than I am right now. How can you really see it without putting it first into contrast with your surroundings? Thanks to having the guts to step outside of our comfort zone, we've learned where we end and our environment begins. And that environment is peopled with loving family members, dear friends, and a culture that we took for granted for many decades.

It's also time to call it and head back home. Duty (familial and otherwise) calls us back to our brown and familiar land. I have nothing but gratitude for the country and company that took me in and let me see this side of the world---not as a tourist or traveler coming through for a look at arms' length---as a native sees it. We drew our livelihood from the same springs as the natives, lived shoulder to shoulder in the drafty old houses with the natives, and enjoyed the natural beauty of this green and sodden land as the natives do. And that is the biggest gift of all.

“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves - in finding themselves.”

---Andre Gide; French writer, humanist and moralist, 1947 nobel prize for literature, 1869-1951

There's no coincidence that our trip corresponded with the year of my 40th birthday. I'd never felt so uncertain and ill at ease with the comfortable suburban lifestyle that I'd fought so hard to put in place.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

---Nelson Mandela; 1994 South African Statesman, 1993 Nobel Prize for Peace, 1918-

So that's probably enough of the extremely fitting but incredibly pretentious quotes. I was actually just hunting around on the web looking for observations people have made about leaving home, going off and doing something to the chagrin of their community and then returning home again. There are tons. We're not the first people to try this. We're not the first people to learn something significant in the process. It makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy to know that we made it through and that most of our community still accept us.

There are a ton of things we're going to miss about Wellington life---A list so long as to be innumerable. But as we bring to a close the "Four Kiwi Wannabes" and start up the "Four Kiwi Hasbeens" it's worth drawing up a big list in no particular order to help us remember and to call out what we appreciated the most.
  • Kebabs - in the manner they're prepared here
  • Roti - where has this stuff been all my life?
  • EFTPOS - accepted everywhere, including places without electricity and running water?
  • km's instead of miles - everything here in Wellington is close and convenient
  • Public Transport - Wellington has shown me the way. I'm a believer. I love it.
  • Slow down - the pace of life here is slower, more relaxed, less riddled with compulsive urgency and impatience---yet things get done
  • People - friendly, helpful, open, interested, agreeable, trustworthy
  • Safe - the kids can play outside the restaurant on Cuba Mall unsupervised and we trust they'll be safe. Women walk home from bars at night unaccompanied.
  • Green - god it's lush here... you can't swing a dead cat without hitting some of the lushest and greenest wilderness
  • Lamb - delicious here. Ask for ewe. Better than aged beef steaks here. Seriously.
  • Cadbury Milk Chocolate - deserves its own level on the Food Pyramid... preferably close to the bottom
  • more to come...
We'll add to that as more occurs to us and keep posting what we come up with. I just wanted to get started.

We'll also probably start listing what we DON'T appreciate too, as part of due diligence and fair warning.

Thanks for reading. It's been great blogging during this past year. Hopefully it's something we'll continue to d0 in the much less adventurous but surely just as satisfying years to come.