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Observations on New Zealand (I).

By Douglas Sassman.


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Iím an American. Iím an American living in New Zealand. I have lived here for 612 days. Iíve eaten kiwi fruit, seen kiwis, I have consumed enough lamb chops to stretch Ė chop to chop Ė from here to America, Iíve drunken a sufficient amount of local beer to fill the Pacific Basin, I have explored the far corners of this country, Iíve canoed the Wanganui, climbed Mount Maunganui, tramped across the Fox Glacier, almost drowned in the Tasman Sea, and dibbled my toes at Cathedral Cove.

Iíve added a citizen, worked in the labor force, and complained about the taxes. I now say things like 'Cheers,' 'G'Day,' 'Good on you,' 'Bugger,' 'Bloody Hell,' 'Pissed,' and 'Good as Gold.' I have been infiltrated, compromised, de-capitalized, and slightly Ė please donít tell my congressman Ė un-Americanized. BUT in my core, deep in the valves of my heart, I will always be an American, which is to say; I maintain the rights to complain about the lack of ice in my beverages and start sentences with the words, 'If this were America...'

I may never be at one with the pulse that runs beneath the green fields, or down country lanes, I may not be made of part beach, paddock, sea, and mirth, but I reckon Iím as close to the Kiwi consciousness as Iíll ever be. My tourist garb has long since been lost in the corner of my bedroom, and I finally feel competent to go public with some personal observations about New Zealand. Mostly I just plain love this place, but when you peel back the layers of cottony sheep and velvety grass I found a puddle of sour milk in this land of milk and honey.




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