I've never truly been able to answer the question: Where would you rather live - beach or forest? Because in New Zealand, you can have both. Last Sunday after church, Steve and I stepped out our front door to explore our new home and to paraphrase Bilbo Baggins; there was no telling where we might be swept off to.
They say life's not about the destination, it's the journey that matters but in our case both were equally breath-taking. After living in the USA for 18 years, I'd almost forgotten how quickly the New Zealand bush envelopes you in a hushed green embrace, full of unique trees and birds. Tuis hid in the branches above and sang while fantails scolded us as they flew in circles to catch the gnats we stirred up.
A short 20 minutes from our door, the trail opened up to a view of the Tasman Sea that gave us a glimpse of how wildly beautiful the west coast of New Zealand can be. There's nothing but water and weather between here and Australia.
This is a time of transition for us; life in a new country for Steve and a return home to a foreign land for me. I've set up shop in another hemisphere now and have chosen to change my name from Southern Kiwi Photography to LupinBay. The move will take a little while, both online and - gasp - in real life.
Our cat and dog are still in the US, waiting for their time to get on a plane and (in their case) wondering what on earhth is going on this time, before they finally join us. Hopefully the reunion at this end will be worth the vet trips, needle sticks and crates. Our container of household goods is stuck at the port, waiting to clear customs and make its way down to our town. In the meantime, I'll be finding my way around a place that is "almost, but not quite entirely unlike [home]."
My business has a new home and all the bells and whistles are being hung up and tuned. What remains is to set up the 'forwarding address' so those of you who followed Southern Kiwi aren't left hanging. After all, there are still two more Alaska posts to come, right?
It's not an easy thing to be stuck between two worlds. But it's one heck of an adventure and I'm up for it. As soon as my gumboots arrive off the boat.