Friday, September 24, 2010

Veggie-Mooning: A Little Slice of Americana

So there we were: me, my new husband, a few cases of wine and beer, and a pick up truck. We were free to go and do as we chose, no obligations, no reservations, spontaneously deciding each evening where we would lay our heads.

Well, that’s about half true. There was, in fact, quite a bit of spontaneity in our travels. And we did, in fact, not make many plans on where we would sleep. We did, however have a lot of people to visit in a very short time who were inconveniently spread over 7 states. So we had a tight schedule to stick to as we wandered through the most perfect time of year in the northeast.

There really is nothing better than New England in the late summer. If you haven’t had the pleasure, let me fill you in on this little piece of heaven.

The beauty of New Zealand, our new home, is astounding. The vast rolling hills, expanses of wild coastlines, and the greatness of the fiordlands are overwhelming. When you drive through NZ you can practically feel the landscapes shouting at you. “Look at me! I am beautiful”.

But the humble beauty of New England does not shout.

It is hidden in crumbling rock walls and tree-covered hills. It is hidden in weathered barns and covered bridges. It is the beauty of a well-made chair crafted the 1800’s and the man who sits in it, his familial connection to this place stretching back even longer. For me this simple, subtle beauty is comforting.

But it is also bittersweet; a reminder that for everything gained, something is lost.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Veggie-mooning: Our Stay-cation

Well hello there hive. Exactly one month into married life and I just stepped foot on terra firma after a 49-hour journey home to beautiful Aotearoa (more on that later). Perhaps I owe you an apology for my prolonged absence. But you didn’t really expect me back too soon did you? We had a lot of newly-wedded bliss to absorb. And absorb it we did, in nearly every state north of Virginnie. I’m not quite ready to share wedding recaps yet, but I did miss you. So, I hope in the mean time you wont mind if I share a bit about what we’ve been calling our stay-cation-moon.

Mr. Veggie and I had given very little thought to how we might spend the weeks following our wedding. Planning for the wedding itself was so all-consuming for me that I really couldn’t think beyond eight.twenty-one.ten. And Mr. Veggie? Well I think the thought of being married was so alien to him, that he really couldn’t even ponder planning something that would happen once we were on “the other side”. So we didn’t plan.

Lavish vacations to exotic locales aren’t exactly our style and PhD research, a new house, and spring veggie planting were calling us back to NZ. With our return flight scheduled for Sept. 17th, about 4 weeks after the wedding, the only option we had even remotely considered was going to Nicaragua for two weeks while we were still in the western hemisphere.

Do any of you have a place that just grabs your heart, and even though you have no particular cultural-familial tie there, it just speaks to you? Nicaragua is my heart place.

It pains me that since we moved to New Zealand, over 2 ½ years ago, I haven’t been able to make it there. We have both done quite a bit of work there over the past 9 years, and it is where our non-profit (and us) will be located eventually. A post-wedding trip there would be more of a volunteer/ visiting friends/ networking trip than honey moon.

But alas, once we were both in the States, and realized how precious our time was with our friends and family, a Nicaragua trip just seemed excessive. “Hi family, hi friends, yeah we know we haven’t see you in a year or two, and we know we’re only here for a few weeks, but you wouldn’t mind if we ducked out to Central America for a week or two, would you?”.

Of course they wouldn’t mind. Because that’s how awesome they all are. And it is precisely that awesomeness, the sheer overwhelming awesomeness of our friends and family, that led us to decide that the best way to spend our free time was with them. And thus our stay-cation was born.

A borrowed pick up truck, some camping gear, and the left over cases of wine from our wedding and we were off.

You might think that 4 weeks is a lot of time to spend bummin’ around the northeast at the end of summer. Let me tell you something, my friend. It is not. Fastest four weeks ever.