Target Practice

Me shootingShortly before I left Texas I had one last swan-song, something that would be quite difficult for me to do in New Zealand. Shoot a gun, many guns in fact. I drove up to the local shooting range in my rental car, opened the shop door and stepped into a foreign world. At first glance, it looked just like a “mom & pop” bait shop: the sort of place you would visit if you were about to go for a little stint of fishing off the New Zealand coast. Except, instead of bait & tackle, there was ammunition, instead of fishing rods, there were semi-automatic rifles. Disembodied animal heads nailed to the walls made up the traditional Texas décor. The door closed behind me and I turned to find (to my great bemusement) a target made up of Osama Bin Laden with a semi-automatic rifle in his hands. I certainly was in Texas.

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Exercise in Frustration

priusbackWell, you all know by now that I fell in love quite some time ago: to hybrid car technology, of course. In particular, I fell in love with a specific model: the Toyota Prius. I loved how small it was, I loved the way it could run (briefly) without any petrol at all and I loved the possibilities it promised for the future.

I diligently saved up a whole year to buy mine, so when I unexpectedly found myself in Texas I saw no reason why I shouldn’t continue my plan and just buy one there, so I did. This worked brilliantly and I have been more than overjoyed with the outcome. In every way, this car has exceeded my expectations. Still, all good things must come to an end, so about a month before I was due to leave the country I started trying to sell my car.

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I like pie

Pie on my DeskI know I haven’t written much lately, but that is all about to change. I have been collecting a lot of material for you to read, should the mood strike you and it’s just a matter of me sitting still long enough to get it all done.

Firstly, I think I should expound a little on this notion of “pie”. Now, pie, as I was most aghast to discover, is not a universal concept. In America, there is no pie, at least not in the sense that members of the commonwealth think of “pie”.

In America, if you order a pie at a restaurant, you’re likely to get a fruit pie, such as apple pie, or blueberry pie, perhaps pumpkin pie if it’s thanksgiving, or maybe even pecan pie (pronounced “pee-kahn”) if you’re fortunate enough to be in the South.

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10 years later

This post is a special post for me because today (5th December 2007) marks the 10 year anniversary of when we first touched down on New Zealand soil. I don’t remember many birthdays (I barely remember my own) but that day, the 5th of December 1997 is indelibly etched into my memory. We touched down in Auckland International Airport after a 13 hour stopover in Hong Kong and an even longer flight half way around the world. We were dead tired and I had jet lag for something like a week.

Pinero Place Panorama
But still, we had made it. For us New Zealand represented an adventure and the promise of good things to come. We arrived with nothing but the clothes on our backs and started rebuilding our lives from that point. For me, it was a wonderful growing experience. Fresh out of high school I was ready for the University environment and I flourished. Susan took a little longer to settle but came into her own of course, Scot assimilated better than any of us, almost instantaneously he taking on his own unique kiwi accent.
Mt. Ruapehu
So now, ten years on from that day that seems so very long ago, it is my opportunity to look back and reflect on the past decade of life here in New Zealand. I think I can truly say that I have become a New Zealander now. I have never felt such a sense of nationalism and pride for my country as I have felt for New Zealand over these last 10 years. New Zealand has held firm to leftist principles, it has openly denounced the overt acts of aggression by the US, it has instituted social and economic reforms many years before many other countries dared to even conceive of them. We have a long way to go, but I have every faith in the character of the New Zealand people.
Hicks Bay in New Zealand
It also just so happens that today, by some fluke, I received confirmation that I now have New Zealand security clearance. I won’t say what level or anything, but it’s a pretty big deal to me, I can assure you.