Home Sweet Home – Wanaka, New Zealand

Kenneth Sus and I walked up Mount Iron to capture the fantastic views around Wanaka. We arrived back to find a note from Nina informing us she decided to go skydiving today for the first time. These are the kinds of surprises you get when you travel. Kenneth and Sus followed suit the next day and all three of them were positively glowing from the adrenaline rush.

We made a trip to Puzzling World where I was determined to find my way through The Great Maze. I had to prove that even the lostCarmella could get through especially after losing my sense of direction in the forest the other day. So we agreed the four of us would race.
I found the red tower first which doesn’t count because` there is an order to things. I sear`ched around bumping into a few dead ends and running into the others repeatedly. Then I was on a role. Yellow, Green, then the Blue Tower. I reached the Red again and found out that I was ahead of the others so I raced around trying to find my way out to the finish. I was elated when I completely the maze in 35 minutes opposed to the hour they predict it should take.

We ate some ice cream then played with the puzzles and teasers on the table before entering into the illusion rooms. One room in particular is all bent up and slanted giving some queasy tummies but I just couldn`t keep my balance. What else is new? We walked home admiring the deep red colors in the changing autumn leaves taking a few moments to listen to the birds and chase the sheep.

In language studies, I learned some Danish, Gaelic, German, Israeli, Maori and Japanese…Itch, Knee, Sun, She, Go! During our week here, we cooked many scrumptious meals together. We quickly become the envy of the other backpackers as we dined on mango pancakes and Western style scrambled eggs. For supper, we ate grilled salmon salads and deep dish lasagna.

There was a guitar to practice my would-be chords and we lounged in bean bag chairs near the cozy fireplace. I was thrilled to find that Alan-the-Bad-Cat was exactly my Bug but 20 pounds heavier. She (yes, I know Alan is a boys name) purred me to sleep in my bed curled up into the curve of my torso. I was so glad that my Danish roomates didn`t mind that I adopted the cat for a few days. Susanna had to put her out one morning because she was running around playing with all the plastic bags waking everyone up.

Ode to the plastic bags! I think every backpacker has a love/hate relationship with them. Love them for organization but hate waking up to the krinkle krinkle of an roommate packing and repacking at 6am.

I bought the fire poi in Australia but had not lit them yet. Finally, after having some very successful poi workshops with Mickey, Reiner, Jaap, Suzanna, Rosie and Manu, I thought now would be a good time. Natalie encouraged me as she had done it many times before and she appeared to be on the same level as I.

All I can say is that the sizzling whoosh of blazing balls of fire flying around my body was thrilling! What a rush! It`s hard to imagine what it looks like when your inside the rings of fire but even just watching others can give you a high. Ok Ok. Don`t worry Mom and Dad. I know you told me not to play with fire but finally something I am not clumsy at!

Juggling, handstands, and dressing up are great fun but every circus needs that element of danger. I was hard to leave the crazy danes. Our flags even share the same colors. They reminded me how to be silly again which was something I had long forgotten. I was lost in the seriousness and fear of failure adults seem to slip into.

To celebrate our last night together, we went to our favorite mexican restaurant then to the movie “8 Mile”. Afterwards, the theatre staff let us pile up all the cushions and do flips and handstands. At one point, there was 5 people standing on their heads in front of the empty movie screen. Fun times.

We went back to the hostel where we ate bananas flambe over pancakes and chocolate ice cream. Then we had our last fire twirling session down at the lakefront under the light of the moon and stars.

I hadn`t really been homesick for 9 months of travelling and it was in these few days that I felt sad for the first time. I wasn`t sure of the feeling but perhaps it was all this playing that reminded me of my little nephews. I decided it was ok to be sad sometimes and I would revel in it.

I put out all my toys that I have collected, including my friend Beamish the Purple Alien. I got him to keep me company when everyone is speaking in different languages and I don`t understand. Reminds me that I am not the only “alien” around. On the wall next to my bed, I taped up all the drawings and cards sent from my friends and family. I even put up a sign “Carmellas House” and guess what! I found out that home is all around me and everyone is like family. It`s not what you see but how you see it.

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