The jetlag coming back wasn’t nearly as bad as going to the US. Primarily because (I believe) it’s easier to adjust to the time when going West. I had no trouble at all waking up in time for work, but noticed around 3pm or so that I was inches away from a coma.
As far as travelling goes, we learned a couple things on this trip:
1) It’s worth the cost to fly Premium Economy on Air New Zealand. The seats are roomier, tilt back further and have a foot rest. The food is also better and there is a self-serve snack area filled with water, fruit and snack bars. We both arrived in the US well-rested, hydrated and without swollen feet/ankles. If you fly Prem. Econ., make sure you do so on the 747, and request the seats on the top deck.
2) If you are flying Air NZ and have a long layover in LA, go up to the Koru Lounge and pay $55 to hang out for the day. The price covers alcohol, beer, wine and food continuously replenished throughout the day. There are also several desks for laptops, as well as three computers with internet access to use. The showers are great too!
Most of all, though, this trip confirmed that our decision to move to Wellington was the right one. Not only were we homesick for Wellington shortly into our visit, but I was literally giddy when we got back home. I believe I may just be in love with Wellington! It is weird to state that I’m in love with a city, but is the only way to describe how I feel about living here. I’m not alone in this feeling…ironically, while I was pondering how to portray my feelings in this blog post, our friend Heather posted similar sentiments on her blog.
I do want to point out that I never doubted our decision to move here. I’ve made three huge decisions in the course of my life, and each one was entered into with confidence after much thinking. The first one I made fairly early in my life – age 20 – although I certainly believed I was much more mature at the time. I had an unintentional chance to confirm that decision several years later, and the result did not surprise me. This trip was quite similar – I did not intentionally go to the US to confirm my decision to leave, but again, I was not surprised at the confirmation.
Seeing friends and family, of course, was the highlight (and purpose) of our trip. So much has happened in the nine months since our move – engagements, weddings, separations, births, pregnancies and promotions. So much can happen in the space of so little time! And because of that, I’m glad we visited sooner than we had originally planned. We are determined to make more of an effort at keeping in touch with everyone on a more frequent basis. We’re counting on you guys to do the same! It was really good to see everyone and catch up on all the goss (gossip). However, for those of you who have decided not to move to New Zealand (despite our excellent recruiting), we’d like you to do a couple things for us:
1) Recycle. Way too many of you gave me a blank or worried look when I asked if you recycled. Honestly, I was really disappointed. Is it really so difficult? Landfills, people! Global warming? Environment? Help us out, won’t you? To get you started, rent Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.
2) Stop shopping at Wal-Mart. Yeah, I get it, they have cheap stuff. So does Target, BJs and Costco! It might take a little looking around, and maybe even spending 50 cents or more at the checkout. It’s worth it – trust me. Wal-Mart is a very very bad company. They treat their female employees horribly, deny healthcare plans to many employees and wreck the environment with their gigantic stores. Most (if not all) of you have good jobs with healthcare benefits. Is saving a few cents on makeup worth denying that benefit to people who work for Wal-mart?
3) If you have a baby, try cloth diapers One of the friends I hung out with in Maryland already does this. She noted she had to do laundry anyway! Did you know that one diaper takes 80 years to decompose in a landfill? One diaper!
4) Donate to environmental causes. Sure, there are a lot of charities out there for anything imaginable. And many of you may already have your ‘pet’ causes. If not, though, consider the environment. Because without the sustaining the world, well, the rest just doesn’t matter. When it becomes inhabitable, it will be inhabitable for everyone.
Sorry for being so preachy, but the world is falling apart, people! For those of you planning to have children, do you really want to bring them into a world we destroyed? Scientists are projecting that the rainforests will be gone in 40 years, as well as much of the ice at the North Pole. It’s scary and it’s real.
As for the food we so greatly anticipated eating, we found that out of the very long list of food items and restaurants we had craved, only a few were as yummy as we remembered. The main one for me, of course, being a Nathan’s hot dog. Hot dogs just aren’t the same here. Darren was happy to have cheap Mexican food, and food masquerading as Mexican food (Taco Hell).
But the ice cream just wasn’t as good as the NZ ice cream, and I didn’t enjoy donuts, the brown-rice sushi at Whole Foods or the crab cakes I used to love so much. The mini replica of our wedding cake (pictured) was awesome, though!! Unfortunately, we can't easily have that shipped here, much like the other food we really like which is primarily found on the frozen food aisle (Morningstar corn dogs, 600 lb gorilla choc chip cookies etc).
It’s good to be back to the place we now consider “home” – we missed the beauty, the walking, and the relaxed atmosphere while we were away. Now if we could just get all our friends and family to move here… =)