12. The Last Criss; The Final Cross

28 Feb

“Well, it’s Tuesday again.”

Rachel and I got ready for a full day in Raglan. We headed to the beach because we’d heard that the waves were going to be #GnarlyBrah. Unlike last time, the waves did NOT disappoint, and we saw some world-class surfing.



Merely watching the surfers wore us out. We hadn’t done much actual chilling this month and Rachel and I were in the mood.  We went to the movie theater (! THIS IS THRILLING) to fill up our water bottles, throw out our trash, and saw the movie What Men Want.  It was a relaxing, perfect day. No more frenzy.

Our last week was super chill but we did get caught in a bovine traffic jam..the cows just wouldn’t mooooove (hehe). 



We saw, of course, a waterfall.


Still just as gorgeous.



Looks safe; was safe


We had the best showers for $20 each.  It had all the hallmarks of a great shower: hot water (!!!!), amazing pressure (!!!!), no shower shoes (!!!). It did switch off automatically every two minutes, and the “bench” area was soaking wet, but we looked past those small details. After my wonderful shower, I slept for a full 12 hours.


Slept like a baby.


In the morning, we headed to the Gannet (bird) Colony. When we got there, I had to leave almost immediately because the birds smelled putrid. I waited for Rachelle on some rocks farther below to save my nose. I contemplated how we still didn’t understand tides even after we’d gone to so many beaches.



Smelly but with a view



My escape from Gannet Colony.  In the form of a picture for Collin.



Light at the end of the … cave. Far less catchy.


After our stop at the Gannet Colony, we kept heading north because…. there was one last item on our wish list….WE WERE GOING TO SEE A KIWI.

We stopped at a grocery to pick out some yummy bach items and we looked (hard) for a red light to seek out those adorable Kiwis. Not the people. Or the fruit. But the bird, which we did have to clarify when asking around. Rachelle and I needed this light. 

We had great interactions with Kiwis– the people, not the bird.  And someone told us that we needed to go to a store called Hunting and Fishing to get what we were looking for.   The universe gave us a sign.  There was a truck filling up with petrol with the words ‘Hunt and Fish’.  Rachelle nominated me to go talk to the guy (we couldn’t ignore the universe). This man had lots to say, but he was very quiet. What I gathered was that his store got shut down by the police because his partner was selling guns out of the back. … I backed away slowly and mouthed to Rachelle, “Let’s go.”

We laughed our way to another store where we ultimately bought a huge $50 flashlight that would, indeed, light up a whole forest. And with the red cellophane we already had, we were raring to go.  Full circle, to the north, Trounson Kauri Park.  (Rachel, why could we still not figure out how the coordinates change when we put something into google maps?)

This drive was nostalgic. It was our last criss– our final cross (and of course, we were listening to Nelly, this time the B-tracks. Shout out to Lovers to Friends and Dawn to Dust).  We stopped at a cheese store and went back to Kensington Tavern, the bar where we got burgers for the first time. No one remembered us at the bar… Not even the old dude who had zoned in on us and chatted Rachel up last time.  No offense taken. Ok, maybe just a little.  This time, we chatted with a Mauri women (minus the crazy eyes.  That’s where their power lies).  Rachel and I went to the familiar campground, although this late in the summer, less people were around.


Did not even Bailey remember us??


Rachel and I had been learning about Kiwis for our entire trip. Beel had an information tag attached to him.  Here are some things we know: There are three types, they are different in North Island then on the South Island., and those cuties mate for life. Rachel and I felt so confident and determined. We were going to see a Kiwi. We had that light, that sacred, lovely, BRIGHT light.

Once it was truly dark (not dusk; we learned our lesson the first time), we headed out into the forest with our $50 flashlight covered in red cellophane. We washed our feet and entered the Kauri forest– keeping a special eye out for our possum stalker. 

Rachelle and I were whispering, and while she was in mid-sentence, A KIWI JUMPED OUT IN FRONT OF US. I REPEAT: A KIWI JUMPED OUT IN FRONT OF US.





We had downloaded Kiwi calls to play through Rachel’s phone  but THIS KIWI SURPRISED US! THIS WAS A BIG DEAL. THIS WAS A HUGE DEAL.  There was no indication he was going to jump out in the path in front of us.  We had been planning on trying for at least four full hours, but this happened within the first 10 minutes

MY HEART WAS RACING.  We stared at the Kiwi. He looked like we thought he would BUT CLOSER.   A bird. A flightless bird.  It literally brought us to tears.  I started crying as soon as I saw him. He was fuzzy. Disheveled. And it will go down as one of the top 10 moments in my life (Feb 26).  — WE WERE SHOOK. This bright ass amazing light. 1300 lummincessent light was worth ever penny!  Rachel and I were GIDDY! 

Silently freaking out, in the woods, walking back to the car, Rachelle reminded me that we’d just seen a Kiwi: “Samantha” she said, “I just needed to use your full name. I couldn’t use a nickname; it was really important. WE SAW A KIWI.”

The universe delivered AND WE WERE SO GRATEFUL (before AND after).And guess what? We saw ANOTHER ONE, too. WOW!!  SO many people had verbally doubted us– outright told us we would never see a Kiwi. 

“Do you wanna talk about American determination? This is how we won the second World War.”

Preach, Rachelle. Preach.


The next morning, we triumphantly drove back to Auckland. My notebook lasted the entire trip, I signed up for French class which started 18 hours after I landed, we gleefully sacrificed the water bottles (it’s amazing we didn’t get sick from them), and decided to split Beel and Nelly up, divided custody.  We headed to the airport completely FULFILLED.

At the airport lounge, I ate a salad while I waited to fly home.




dreaming of that kiwi hop,



New girl band: IN-SYNC

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