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Aside from the emotions, every once in awhile a simple material craving pops up. I would kill for a good Flat White. Or some Superwines (the best tea biscuits I have ever had). I'll settle for Hershey's, but it's got nothing on a Cadbury's Dairy Milk. I miss the weight of dollar and two-dollar coins, and bank notes in more than one color. I miss the accents, the regularly sunny smiles, "She'll be right" and "Good on ya."
The phrases we use when people ask us what our time in New Zealand was like are insufficient. "It was amazing" and "It was incredible" only go a fraction of the way towards the meaning of our trip. How to you describe something that spanned eight months and every emotion in the book? The struggles, the joys, the surprises, the loneliness and homesickness, the freedom, the moments of paradise, the friendships, the disappointments and the things that absolutely blew our minds.
And here we are, a year down the road, more happy and confident in our relationship than we've ever been, settled at home in Portland, in the house of our dreams, with a big garden and chickens, plans for the future, no desire to move or travel anytime soon, and me about to embark on my second round of higher education. Right now we wouldn't trade this for anything, but we are both so infinitely glad that we took the opportunity to live abroad and travel and face the challenges of that experience. Across New Zealand are plants we planted, things we built and animals we helped raise. And the gumboots we bought last September in a little town on the Bay of Plenty now live by our back door here in Oregon. New Zealand is here with us, and we are still there.