We each agreed not to drown as help would be about a 10 minute sprint away and it would be frightfully unfair on the other one to have to face such physical exertion and emotional distress on such a lovely evening. We splashed about at a moderate pace and depth for a good few minutes, before returning to finish the champagne and start on the picnic – final swim for the year complete.
Ruapuke beach, near Raglan, was utterly deserted in the final hours of 2012, save a couple of good local lasses, eating, moderately drinking and comparing notes on where 2012 had taken us. New Zealand may not be ‘100 % pure’ as we claim, but if you’re going to come all the way from Shanghai for the festive season, like my companion did, than a deserted beach surrounded by rolling hills is a pretty good tonic to life in urban China.
I can report we concluded 2012 was not a bad year. In no particular order, here are a few things that 2012 left me thinking about:
January – National Days: Go Big or Go Home
The Australians know how to celebrate their national ‘Yay us for existing!’ day, without a shred of guilt or post-colonial awkwardness. It makes for a good party. NZ is still trying to get to this stage. I know, points for trying…
February – Boy Bands Are Inconvenient
When One Direction stayed at the hotel next to my office, it was downright inconvenient. We kept finding little lost fans all over the place – in the lobby, trapped in the stairway, blocking my way to the coffee machine- and some didn’t even believe me when I said ‘This is an office! We are not hiding the band from you!’ When Justin Bieber also rolled into town soon after, I just knew it would be a long week…
March – $5 Scissors and Undiscovered Talent
In a moment of whimsy I went to the dairy and got some scissors, and let a dear (non hairdresser) friend do her best/worst on my long hair. My sneaking suspicion that hairdressers have been long ripping me off was proved right, as her cut was better than I’d had in a while (even if our definitions of ‘just a trim’ differed) and her ability to make polite conversation about my life was just as good as the professionals’.
April – When Pushed Out A Window, Bed Mattresses Bounce but Bed Bases Do Not
Self-explanatory really…The less said the better…
May – Homelessness: More Fun Than You’d Think
When I went through a short period of being between homes, I remembered how much fun it can be to live with friends, even if ‘live with’ translates to ‘sleep on their couch’.
June- It’s Always The Right Time To Sing
The staff at Waikato Hospital’s Oncology Department were surprised, and no doubt chuffed, when my grandmother thanked them for their care and support by way of a song. An inspirational reminder of the charm and importance of music.
July – The ‘Dog and Lemon’ Obsession stage
I learned that car hunting was a bit like jeans shopping, never quite as fun as normal shopping as there are so many boxes that need to be ticked, you quickly stop caring about fun things like colour or style.
August – Auckland: Better Than You’d Expect
Ok maybe that title isn’t as catchy as ‘The Big Little City’, but Auckland has a lot more going for it than I thought. When people ask how I’m enjoying it, I’ve taken to saying ‘Oh I quite like that it’s big and anonymous…’ It makes me sound like I’m carrying out shady dealings in the ‘burbs of Auckland.
September – Colombia’s Next Top Model
I befriended a couple of Colombians who said that with my height and natural pasty/gingyness, I’d be a hit if I wanted to model in Colombia. Becoming Colombia’s Next Top Model has now become my back- up if a normal office job doesn’t work out.
October -BYO Cutlery Parties: The Next Big thing after Cake Pops and Macaroons
I hosted my first dinner party in my mini house and forgot that for every guest, you need to provide adequate seating, wine drinking vessels and modes of transporting food from plates to mouths. Luckily everyone was very gracious to my face and I have not yet been expunged from polite society
November- Fun With The Whanau
Two family reunions in a matter of weeks lead to many new discoveries in my wider family tree. I’ve yet to track down another redhead girl though…clearly the gingy gene is recessive and also very very shy and needs to be encouraged out more with promises of SPF 50+ sunblock and shady spots under trees.
December- The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker
I’m settling into my new community to the point that the butcher (and most of his staff) know me by name. I presume this is just great customer service as I don’t think I’m an excessive consumer of meat products. In other news, my Ecoya candles have run out (yay, haven’t burned the house down yet).
No thoughts on bakers though…perhaps that’ll come in 2013.