1. Going to a restaurant where the soup of the day is not pumpkin-inspired. Why even bother to have a soup of the day when every day at every restaurant in New Zealand is PUMPKIN SOUP DAY? The Southerner asked me why I bother to keep inquiring about the soup of the day, but a small part of me still holds out the hope that one day someone will answer me with the words “Chicken Tortilla,” and I will get down on the ground and kiss that man or woman’s bare feet. Speaking of bare feet…
2. Going to a restaurant where all of the patrons wear shoes. From what I’ve witnessed, it’s entirely acceptable not to wear shoes here. I’m tired of watching people pick their toes while I eat my lunch. Put a sock on it already.
3. Mexican food and plantains. I could wax poetically for days trying to compare what passes for Mexican here and the fish taco I ate in a little roadside stand for $1 in LA the day before we boarded our flight to Wellington. I give the Kiwis major props for effort but I can’t wait to go to that 24 taco place in Atlanta and show them the meaning of gluttony.
4. Central heating. Beware if you ever plan on living in Wellington. The direction of your house in relation to the sun is VERY important. Our next-door neighbor informed me a couple of days ago that from mid-May until August the sun will no longer grace our houses with its presence. It will simply taunt me from across the street for the rest of my days here.
5. That magic switch I used to be able to press in the bathroom in fancy-pants America (apparently, it’s not called that magic switch; it’s actually called “a fan”) that would assist in muffling the sound of my morning trip to the shitter. The Southerner is not even polite enough to pretend not to hear. Instead he makes loud farting noises from the living room and laughs at me.
6. Having a cell-phone. While living cell-phone free for the past four months has been somewhat liberating, I can’t wait to get lost in Florida and GPS myself. To be a blinking dot on the map of life once again.
Don’t get me wrong, there are going to be hundreds of things that I will miss about living in New Zealand when we leave in July and I will gladly write about them all once I’ve had a chance to miss them. But right now, I would gladly go back to 1999 and sell someone my virginity for a plate of fried plantains. Smothered in sour cream with a little cheese drizzled on top. It would be so worth it.