February 5

Today I was chilling out for a bit before my shift at work and I put on a playlist that I hadn’t listened to since Wellington. It really hit home how much has changed since I first arrived in this country. In some ways I feel like an entirely different person than the one who touched down in New Zealand five months ago. Although I am still struggling to embrace the slower Kiwi lifestyle, I feel like I have made it my home here.

Zhoel and I moved into our bach (pronounced like bachelor pad, but it is more like a camp in Mainer lingo) today. The property is an orchard with numerous fruit trees and a garden. The weather in Northland makes it possible to grow such a variety of plants. One thing that is quite different than at home is that the rent is paid weekly. We pay $200 a week for our tiny little house. However, that is quite reasonable for this area and for our specific location. It is a short walk through the estuary and on the other side there is a beautiful beach. It is convenient for fishing in the evenings.

We are quite happy with the new place. I have already gone around and collected the fallen fruit from the ground. They are completely fine and I have consumed a great number of passionfruit. I had never seen one before! (For anyone who doesn’t know, the inside is somewhat hollow with a yellowish pulp and seeds.)

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For our first night in the bach, we made Tom Yum soup to celebrate having our own kitchen! It was delicious!

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It is amazing to me that I actually have my own space, after months of living in hostels and then living with Zhoel’s folks. I wandered the property because things were too quiet when I was alone in the house. I guess I will have to adjust back to being comfortable in solitude.

One of our instructions on moving into the property is that we need to attempt to shoot the rabbits that are tearing up the grounds. We have a gun and we have to shoot out the window at them. (It brings back childhood memories of shooting the squirrels off the bird feeder with a BB gun–I swear I’m not a budding serial killer.) The one major problem (besides the fact that I can’t kill anything, not even the fish that I catch), is that apparently they produce quite human-like screams when they are shot. We have been told to aim for their eyes as this kills them instantly. Who knew I would become such an outdoors-woman during my time here!

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