I’ve been back in Auckland for two weeks, and each day rolls onto the next in a warm, languid haze. Every morning I wake up to the tuis that sing outside my window, and then walk down the same suburban streets as I did as a girl. The roads are smooth and spotless. On Wednesdays, bright recycling bins line up on vibrant green lawns, eager to be emptied. All kinds of people walk their dogs and jog in Nikes in the evenings. The air is still and soft, and sometimes salty, depending on how close you are to a beach. Everything is clean. Everything is so orderly.
The realization of just how isolated New Zealand is set in as soon as my plane hit the tarmac. The trip home took two full days, and as we slid to a stop, I knew that a trip out would take just as long. Flying back had been a proper journey; like going back in time to a prehistoric land. We truly are three little islands, bobbing at the bottom of the vast Pacific. All the intricacies of our culture and our way of life is self-contained and sustained. We have funny slang and funny accents, circulating in a little world that is just ours.