This picture describes how I felt during my last two weeks in New Zealand during the summer of '89: surrounded in beauty and alone.
The last family I stayed with lived in Auckland, on the North Island. Another school teacher Mum, a proud-bigotful Dad and two jerk-ass sons. As you can tell, I didn't like them much.
The whole family fought all the time. Very loud, and I wasn't used to that. We kept our anger "under-wraps" at our house growing up, and I wasn't used to all the yelling, name calling and attitudes.
The Dad, I don't even remember his name, spent two weeks with me. I had to go to his Lions Club meeting because that was the Exchange group that I was with. Anyway, I didn't mind going and talking to those old guys. I like old guys and they are friendly and like cute young things. But this Dad, he introduces me by my middle name. Now, in "real life" I go by my first and middle names. So he was half right. But think about it, if your name is Madison Lee and everyone calls you Madison Lee all of the time, and then some jerk-off who has spent two weeks with you constantly calls you Lee. Well, it just makes you feel like a nobody. It did me, anyway.
The good part of the loneliness I felt there, was that it helped me get ready to go home. I loved Waipukurau, and didn't want to leave. In fact, a car salesman even offered me a job, and I seriously, w/ my 17 year-old brain, was thinking about it! I loved it there, loved it, loved it. But after getting to Auckland, and the family-from-Hell, I found myself longing for home. I even cried when I got off the airplane and saw Mom & Dad for the first time in 6 weeks. I guess that's not such a bad thing, for a teenager to miss HOME!!
The FFH did take me to do some fun things though. They had a trailer near Mr. Ruapehu and went skiing often, so I got to do that. I haven't skiied in 15 years, but I enjoyed skiing then. I laughed when I saw this skiing photo of me, w/ total 80's plastic neon colored sunglasses!
The other thing we did, which I was so happy about, was go to the Bay of Islands. The islands in the Bay make up the tip of the North Island. There are dolphins there, but unfortunately I didn't see any.
We went to an island called Urupakupaku. I believe that is where the author Zane Grey had a lodge from which he fished. I was told on the tour I went on, that he loved it there. I could see why, it was so amazingly beautiful.
This one reminds me of the Skipperon Gilligan's Island. Mary Ann, where aaarrreee you????!!!!
I think this photo should be on the cover of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man & The Sea.....
For more Auckland/Bay of Island photos go to my flickr page.