I arrived and entered the country without incident, though the immigration lines were long and they appeared to be inquiring everyone. I watched as the girl in front of me had to prove "onward travel" and the adjacent woman was asked about work status. Everyone seemed to be taking forever. I geared up for the interrogation myself. I stepped to the line with my "fully refundable" plane ticket receipt in hand and copy of immunizations. I wondered if I should have printed out bank statements, just in case. I hadn't even checked on the entrance requirements that extensively.
I stepped to the counter and presented my passport. The customs guy said, "You're just visiting, right?" I said, "I worked here last year but just traveling and then I'm going to watch my students graduate in May." He started flipping through my passport. I said, "If you're looking for my old work visa, it's at the back." "No," he says, "I was just looking for an empty page." Within two minutes, I was through immigration with nary a question nor showing any proof of onward travel. That USA passport is so easy to travel on... Another blessing of birth.
The show playing is "Glorious Auckland" right now... meaning it's about 70 and sunny (no wind) with fluffy white clouds in the sky. Yesterday I took the airport bus to town and walked into the university where they all asked, "Are you coming back? You're coming back!" That was nice. I'm not coming back. But it does feel really nice here- I know why people are blown away by NZ now. It looks amazing. Green. Clean air. Amazing crystal aqua water surrounding the city. And it acutally seems quiet, peaceful and non-trafficy compared to Asia. Funny.
I'm staying with Wanda, my old co-worker optometrist in the most amazing bed with a down duvet. This morning, I rode to work with her and walked through the dewy green grass of the Domain Park to the library. Next, I plan to go to my little coffee shop Kokako. I have a fairly long list of things to tie up, but I'm happy to be working on that.
I know this sounds cheesy, but I feel so lucky to be living this life. I'm really happy.