Well, I'm sad to say that this is our last day in this wonderful country. We leave tomorrow (NZ Friday, US Thursday) and will arrive back in Columbus on US Friday at around 10:00 pm. (Note: we had no August 10th because we crossed the International Date Line; going back to the US, we actually arrive in LA 7 hours before we left Auckland!!) Some closing thoughts...
This is a country not of old churches and sophisticated museums; it is a country of people and nature.
It is small; the size of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati combined.
New Zealand won 9 medals in the 2008 Olympics; it's 3rd highest ever in any Olympics; we watched "Super Saturday" live, as the Kiwis won 5 medals in one day-- the biggest take in NZ history.
There is a thriving native population-- the Maori. I don't know how they've done it, but the Moari people are living and thriving in New Zealand, quite remarkable considering the fate of other nation's indigenous peoples.
Kiwis are some of the happiest, most relaxed, most hospitable people... ever.
There are a lot of sheep and cows.
Kiwis have a very subtle, smart sense of humor.
My new favorite animal is the Kiwi... so cute!!
All in all, I love this country... it's beautiful in every way. I'll be happy to see friends and family after 3 weeks of not communicating, but I'm very, very sad to leave here.