Peter’s Coming Over for Dinner

Meanwhile, Melissa and her future mother-in-law Karen need to discuss September’s wedding guest list.

Ethan changed plans and didn’t come home last weekend, but it’s okay since his mates were also scheduled to arrive and it ended up quieter around here.

These are the days of my adoption within a New Zealand family. Originally scheduled to depart Auckland last Friday for Kuala Kumpur, then on to Shanghai, I’ve instead extended my life here. There is as of yet no school restart date announced, and although online teaching has begun, this can be from anywhere.

I have no return ticket.

A word to the wise: if there is a virus outbreak and your boss(es) initial reaction is to get staff back home as quickly as possible, don’t jump on that bandwagon. That one was heading straight into the epidemic. Instead, discuss quietly with colleagues scattered globally…there is indeed strength in numbers.

Currently, at least 10 of us remain outside China. Nearly 1/3 of our school’s teaching staff.

And such is how I’ve ended up typing this from my guest suite patio on a perfect warm-cool summer evening on the North Island of New Zealand. Magnolia trees lining the gravel driveway. A flower garden bedside an organic vegetable garden, fence enveloped with fresh green grapes. Two black & white cows and one older black cow eating grass and waiting for more sweet peaches. Lillie the kitten shoots across the grass, somehow dragging my giant running shoe with her (tangled up in shoelaces??)

Dinner together the first night last Thursday has become a nightly ritual. The $25 NZD cost advertised as an add-on for the Air BNB reservation was never charged. Instead, I help preserve peaches, clean the table and do dishes.

I bring home the occasional treats and now have Kent, former deer farmer (euphemism for sending deer to slaughter) loving the moist blueberry muffins stuffed with apples from Nourished vegan cafe, in Tauranga city centre.

Diane eats a hefty amount of meat herself but also enjoys curry lentil soup, as did Kent, and her gluten free vegan chocolate raspberry muffin. A bit of vegan outreach to the family, one could say.

We watch shows featuring Australian singles searching for spouses. “America’s Got Talent.” A host of other music programs. The New Zealand news–more in depth stories than ABC, by the way. Way more than 30 seconds about civilians injured and killed by their own Syrian government.

Diane & Kent continue teaching me the lexicon of a Kiwi:

Trundle/trundler=shopping cart at grocery store

Capsicum=red peppers (I think)

“Pesto”=actually “pasta” but I swear Diane is talking about pesto every time

“Scully”=kitchen pantry

“Bloody hell”

“Have a go”=try it

“Heaps”–as in Melissa not wanting to commend someone who has otherwise acted untoward just excuse lately he did heaps of work around the house.

“Bugger off”—a level or two below the “f” word. Maybe like “go away.”

“Beeed”= bed

“Geeest”=guest—–as in Diane telling me, by next week I won’t be a “geeest” anymore, but part of the family.

Family friends dropping by for snacks.

Late evening tea and dessert after dinner.

Love the tea rituals.

Well, got to go now because Peter has indeed just come over for dinner!

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