Saturday, July 13, 2002

Thoughts of a Kiwi in Minneapolis - on Home

Noah is a constant joy for us, and growing up so fast.

Now insisting on walking just about everywhere, he's been upset in his sleeping patterns by being over-tired and cranky. We had 3 memorable nights when he slept well. Our apartment is suddenly feeling a little small, although a move to the suburbs is occasionally discussed, the barrier of having to own a second car and commute is off-putting.

Our visas expire in March 2003 (that seemed forever away!), so credit on a car is probably impossible anyway. Renewals have been shortened to another 2 year stint and then 'on yer bike'.

Our house is thoroughly child-proofed, debunking another fine theory that only people who haven't had children can possibly hold - that he would learn what to touch and what not to touch!

We did have some fun buying the wood for the fence we built - we took a measuring tape to Home Depot and discovered by a 4x2 isn't really 4 inches by 2. Its far more likely to be 3 by 1.5, or 3.5 by 1.S (there is no standard) as the 'branded' measurement is BEFORE the timber is dressed. Now maybe I should have known that from life in NZ, but it must make for some challenges on the building site.

We now have 370 channels available on our television, and of course watch about 5, but hey, when in Rome ...

I'm looking forward to the Tour de France, when America realizes it has the world's best road cyclist for 28 days. If you get the chance to watch, I urge you to cheer on kiwi rider Chris Jenner in the Credit Agricole team, riding his second Tour. Chris rode in the NZ tour a few years ago that I managed a team within - my claim to fame is having cleaned his bike. I'll never wash again.

We've managed to get out on our mountain bikes this summer quite a bit - it is only just entering the 100 degree high-humidity period which can be a bit challenging. Lesley got a new dual suspension racer which has improved the experience immensely. Noah comes along and gets shared around while the others do a lap of the trails. We have purchased him a seat that rests on the cross-bar, our last attempt to make him mobile after rejection of a trailer and sitting behind the action.

Noah gets 2 swims per day which he loves (good practice for life back in places where the sea is less than 3000 miles away), and the kiwi apples are now in the supermarkets which he is very keen on as well. I swear NZ exports its best apples, I don't recall anything this good back home, let alone a type called 'Southern Rose'.

Lesley introduced our friends and their children to the sins of Pavlova at Noah's birthday party. It was a sensation. The Australians present claimed it as their own national dish of course. The guests also went wild over the magnificent beef that she'd prepared - it was actually lamb, but given that a good proportion of those present had never eaten lamb in their lives they were forgiven.

As Lesley and I recently blobbed in front of the movie Fargo (set here in MN) we recalled the first time we had seen it, in the early 1990s at the Wellington Film Festival. The magnificent opening scene where Jerry Lundegard, Executive VP of Car Sales, tows a stolen brown Sierra across the whited-out landscape of Minnesota seemed so otherworldly at the time.

The characters in Fargo seemed so eccentric and tragic, yet were so convincingly portrayed that we did not know what to make of such a place - fact (as the Coen brothers cheekily make it out to be in the preamble) or fiction? As it turns out the very parking lot where Steve Buscemi receives the unfortunate dental work courtesy of Jerry's father-in-law is just across from my office, which was brand new at the time of filming. It's turned out real alright.

Whilst watching, Lesley remarked how perhaps our transition from place to place in the world was somehow dictated by such movie-watching moments, and wondered aloud if we had already watched our next life but were not aware of it yet?

Here's hoping. The Shire looked pretty heavenly to me.


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