01.09.2010 12 °C
NZ is a young country; the land was formed over a period of 82 million years and the first settlers, the Maoris arrived only 800 years ago (although evidence indicates Polynesians arrived 2,000 years ago but while their colonies did not last, their rats did). The second wave of pioneers started to arrive after Capt Cook landed in 1770…. and waves have continued ever since. Urbanization is also relatively new here as NZ is a country with an agricultural economic base. So long story short, when a new motorway gets built it is big news and a major endeavor!!
The tradition here is to allow the public to walk on the motorway before cars are allowed so 15,000 of us strolled upon one new section last Sunday, 29/08/2010. It was such fun! I have never walked on a motorway before and was eagerly awaiting the event! My friend Maureen said to arrive early and get parking, which was very smart. We parked and strolled over to the onramp and gazed up at all the construction, then amidst steady streams of people, coming and going, walked up the onramp. It was so interesting to look down to see the well known Newmarket shopping district and see the ocean views beyond that. Cars were zooming by on the other side and you could feel their vibration, it was so weird. Imagine a stretch of highway in your neck of the woods and what it would be like to simply stop, get out, and happily walk around on a beautiful sunny morning with other cars rushing about on the other side! The actual blue crane that moved the sections of cement was enormous! All kinds of families and individuals were ambling about, snapping pictures, & chatting. So many good stories: Many remembered the last time they walked a new section or even the iconic Harbor Bridge in 1959. When we had enough, we nipped over to another street and walked over the motorway on a pedestrian bridge to get a good view of it all from a distance – rain started to pour down so we had to run and keep our cameras dry.
Moving to another country is like entering a land of ambiguity and total limbo. Where will we live? Where will I work? What will we eat? What will I wear? The latter is especially important because clothes here are more whimsical, creative, feminine, and fun than I’m used to! I’m just starting to “get” clothes here but do “get” they are VERY pricey. The clothes horse function of my brain has been switched off so I rotate between a few boring black outfits and am so grateful no one person (except Howard!) sees me on a daily basis. Thankfully, some of these other major pieces are now starting to fall into place and the ambiguity is diffusing.
In October we are going to move to another rental house super close to the beach. It is a 2-3 minute walk to a small beach and park adjacent to a larger beach & town called Brown’s Bay, which is about 30 minutes north of Auckland (sans traffic). Brown’s Bay is a self contained beach town with all the shops you can ask for, public library and busses to Auckland. I feel a real sense of community there. The house has a huge deck with bits of fantastic ocean views, lots of rooms for offices and guests (ahem), big kitchen, massive upstairs lounge with amazing ocean views, a tidy yard for Kenzie, + 2 car garage. We are so excited! But now I have a whole new thing to be anxious about; packing, moving, unpacking, arranging, & of course buying a frig, washer, furniture, too many decisions. Ergh. We will be fine.
My new office is only minutes away, due west, right across the motorway so my commute will be really manageable. Traffic here can be a nightmare. New office?? Yes, as soon as my work permit is processed by immigration I can start. Details as soon as that happens……. Hope and pray the work permit comes through in TIME as the offer of employment is only open until the 24th of September. Fingers crossed!!
PS: Katherine Mansfield’s later stories are much more nuanced, sophisticated, and even darker than her first…. Simply wonderful!