Oh my goodness... what a hiatus. I can't believe its been nearly three months since I last posted. How did that happen?
It's been a whirlwind. We left our contract in Roma back in mid August and after doing some necessary professional development, went on holiday to New Zealand. It's ridiculous that I haven't previously gone trans-Tasman. I mean, I've lived with enough Kiwis throughout my share house living days, had plenty of opportunities, but for some reason never got here. Maybe I felt that by sharing a house, dividing food bills and paying rent with half of NZ's youth and seeing such films as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Whalerider, and Eagle versus Shark, and even Xena, Warrior Princess, I had a fair idea of what NZ was all about. I mean our Kiwi cousins pretty much live right next door (often literally).
But my friends, you have to go there. It's positively stunning. In many ways it feels familiar, the landscapes are very much like Tasmania, there's lush green paddocks galore, undulating hills, lakes and mountains as far as the eye can see. But oh, the mountains here are something else. I imagine I am somewhere like Austria or Switzerland. Snow capped, majestic and gracing every vista, they make you want to pull over the campervan at almost every bend to take a photograph.
Rob and I spent two weeks circumnavigating the South Island. We hired a campervan and spent our days touring from Christchurch to Te Anau, via Oamaru and Dunedin. We saw the regal Moeraki Boulders, eaten the best fish we've ever had at Fleur's Place (trumpeter stuffed with smoked mussels and topped with anchovy sauce: delicious), saw beautifully restored Renaissance art in the lovely Dunedin Public Gallery, went bushwalking (or tramping as those crazy Kiwi's call it) through moss and fern filled rainforests and glaciers, snowboarding in Queenstown, sampled homemade chocolate cookies during the intermission at the retro cinema in Wanaka and soaked our weary selves in the naturally hot Hanmer Springs. It was delightful. I can't emphasise how much of an amazing holiday it was.
Then we were lucky enough to enjoy another month at home catching up with friends and family, making plans for summer and strengthening our island bonds. We are winding up our constant travelling at the end of the year, so I really appreciated the time at home. So now, we have just landed in our final town for the time being. We will be winding our year up in Central Australia, and working at the Alice Springs Hospital Emergency Department for the next six weeks.
We've been here a week so far, so too early to assess, but already this town is dispelling some preconceived ideas I'd had. And secretly, I love when that happens.
Maybe next post, I'll do a little bit of a photographic essay of this town. It's definitely got more cred than you'd think. You'll all have to wait for the NZ pictures though, they are currently residing happily on my iMac in Tasmania. I'll have to save those little nuggets for the summertime.