Almost all Americans ask me, “Why did you leave?” And almost all Kiwis ask me, “Why did you choose New Zealand?” It’s as if they see an apple pie in a field of pavlovas and say, what’s that doing here?
My family wonders too. My parents and brother flew to Wellington to celebrate my birthday, and to dip their toes in the idea of New Zealand. Their visit was a blur of eating, sleeping and drinking. I introduced Mike (the brother) to Riesling.
“Try this wine, you’ll like it.” He took a sip. His face lit up with glee. He gulped. I poured him another glass. He poured himself another glass. I said, “Mike! Riesling is not meant to be sucked up like a child’s milkshake! Twirl the glass, savour!”
He drank more. His eyes sagged. His head gained weight. He vomited at the dinner table, on the dinner table. I thought this was endearing, the wait staff (at Logan Brown) cursed the day they served him beef and gravy.
For my parents, this was the Cool Whip on the apple pie. But one night, while eating and drinking, I realized our roles in life changed. When I was young I would say, “I don’t want to eat that. It’s green.” My parents would say, “Eat it. Vegetables make you strong.”
Now my parents say, “I don’t want to eat that. It’s foreign.” And I say, “Eat it. It will keep your bowel movements regular.”
Ah, the joys of life. It was a sobering moment. I miss them. I hope they’ll come back!
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