Hopefully, no one had to get up as early as I did the day this picture was taken, unless of course it was to see something equally as beautiful or to say, do something important like go to work or tend to a screaming baby. Which is going to be my life in just a few months. In the meantime, it's getting up early just because I can. Or mostly because I knew I would feel like a lazy lump if I didn't get up to go on this sunrise excursion my husband was so keen on. He is the one after all that works all week.
How these pictures were taken moments from my doorstep is still surreal to me. Seven months in and it still hasn't lost its luster. I mean if that doesn't make you want to learn how to stand up paddle board I don't know what would. It's definitely on my things to try while I'm in New Zealand list. I've mingled on the Milford Track, gotten my improv on, and befriended refugees so why not, right?
Speaking of refugees, I'm reminded of how sweet my Burmese family is that I've been working with. And how smelly the kid's throw up was when he tossed his cookies in my car on the way to his new home. Picture it. Sicily 1922. Or Mangere 2012. It was a sunny Saturday morning and quite a moving sight to pull up and see all the different refugee families waiting to be taken to their new abodes and ultimately, begin their new life in New Zealand.
I took the Dad and two of the three boys in my car. Everyone seemed good from what I could tell, but then a few minutes into the the drive I get a whiff of something rank only to realize that one of the little boys had thrown up. I ask what's wrong but apparently they don't know any more English then they did five minutes ago when I asked another question and was met with blank smiles. I did the only thing I knew to do which was to say, "It's ok", smile and nod, and hand him Thurston's dirty towel that he sleeps on in the car. I'm clearly going to be a great mother.
Funny enough, I had stopped on my way to pick them up to toss my own cookies in a not so local McDonald's bathroom. Despite having a sign posted somewhere that said Pacific Islanders Only, they let me in. These are not a small people, but I digress.... overall I've been very fortunate to have a mostly easy pregnancy but this was one of those mornings that was not the case. So I find it amusing that less then an hour after I get sick, I am in a confined space with someone else's vomit. Such is life sometimes.
Despite this minor bump in the road, the family is adjusting incredibly well and it's been a real pleasure to spend time with them. They have a nice little house and I'm pretty sure they have more friends then I do, seriously whenever I go to their place someone new is hanging out. There is a whole Burmese network here and friends that they knew back in the day that live here now. It's so fantastic for them. As volunteers, we have done everything from enrolling the kids in school and getting the parents set up with English classes, to hooking them up with appliances and teaching them about safety in the home. Now that a lot of the practical stuff is done we can start doing fun stuff with them. Who's ready to bungee off the Sky Tower or come to an antenatal yoga class with me??
It's still winter which means quite a bit of cold and rain, but thankfully we managed to get the fire turned on. I know it's been crazy hot back in the States so I was trying to tell some of the girls in my running group about the the high temps. Our group by the way, is called Mums on the Run, pretty cute eh? Anyway, I say it's been super hot at home, like 100 degrees! Of course everything is in Celsius here so they don't understand how hot that is, so I back track and say, "You'll never believe how hot it's been back home - like 35 degrees!" Oohs and aahs follow, yes everyone agrees that is crazy hot. Living in two worlds constantly, which really is the life of an expat. You take in your new culture but of course you still carry with you the one you came from, temperature measurements and all.
On the travel front, we head to Melbourne next week and then it's back to the good 'ole US of A for basically the entire month of August. I CAN NOT WAIT to see my friends and family, I only wish I could make it to every American city to see all of them. We have been laying pretty low the past couple of months. I guess I've been doing my own version of nesting, which entails doing very little to prepare for my baby and basically just not leaving my own nest after dark (about 5:30 these days). It involves watching entire seasons of Downton Abby and Dexter, shopping online, and baking a lot of far from complex carbohydrates.
Oh and screening emails with subjects like, "Review a product on your blog." I was recently contacted by someone whose goal is to "let people know about our new brand while providing you with the opportunity to write interesting content for your site." Now I know you must be wondering what type of product would A Different Kind of Southern attract? Well as you might have guessed, it would be a product of the female toy variety. That's right, my blog somehow attracts people hocking the Ladygasm. Seeing as this is a family friendly blog, I declined the offer. I guess I'll have to come up with interesting content on my own.
On that note, how's about the fact that I recently missed this momentous day back home:
I don't know if it was harder to not be living in America on the 4th of July or Chick-fil-A's annual Cow Appreciation Day. Don't think for a second that Adam and I didn't do this last year in Atlanta and get ourselves some free Chick-fil-A. And even though we missed it this year, you can be sure to find me at a location near you in August.