Since lists seem to be the rage these days, thought I’d throw together some of my own. (And since I'm still struggling with photo placement, see captions/explanations at related points below.)
LIST #1: Nine Things I Took for Granted (and don’t have in NZ)
1. A dryer. They are pretty rare here. Alex said, “Oh I didn’t realize we didn’t have one. I thought we were just trying to be good.” The woman at the high school uniform shop noted cheerfully, “We don’t have dryers, we have sun.” (Not today, we don’t.)
2. At least two toilets in the house. There is one outside in the shed, but it’s not really conducive to use in its current state.
3. My food processor. The one in the house is a multi-purpose processor, blender, coffee grinder and does neither of the first two things well. (But coffee is probably more important than pesto, so that's OK.)
4. Knowing how your pots behave on your stove. I made some dry-fried green beans by mistake.
5. Gallon jugs of milk. My boys go through milk by the gallon, not the litre. (See photos of boys - above in front of coal-fired paddle boat on Whanganui River -- our house is at the top of the hill behind them. Also photo with Dad who also drinks lots of milk - hiking around Mount Ruapehu.)
6. Screens on the windows. There are practically no mosquitoes, but swarms of flies.
7. A cover on the barbecue grill. Only the deluxe versions have them here. We’ve taken to using a roasting pan cover to help hold heat in, but I haven’t yet tried to cook a largeish piece of meat yet; fat hamburgers have given us enough trouble. (Grilled pizza worked ok -- per photo above of one in process topped with foraged figs, proscuitto, creamy feta, and honey-caramelized shallots.)
8. Really good artisanal cheese. (Well, I didn’t quite take this for granted, but I do miss it.) There’s decent cheddar, feta, and blue but no funky and oozy, dry and crumbly, or otherwise deliciously different small-batch cheeses.
9. The Sunday New York Times. I know I can read it online, but it’s just not the same as curling up with the real thing.
List #2: Five Things About NZ That Make Me Smile
1. Sharp cheddar is “Tasty cheddar.” I agree.
2. Tuis – the black and white birds with the most amazing vocalization range from warbles to grunts to cackles.
3. The Dr. Seussian cabbage palm trees everywhere. (See trees at nearby Wiritoa Lake above.)
4. The Norfolk pines that look like those cellular stations masquerading as evergreens on Vermont hilltops back home.
5. The retired sheep farmer who said that Kiwi sheep have two short legs and two long (because they’re always grazing on such steep pasture). (See photo of some of many Kiwi sheep on way to new pasture above.)
List #3: Five Things About NZ That Remind Me of England
1. Everyone is always having tea. (See Mark above.)
2. Milk chocolate digestive biscuits.
3. Crumpets in every grocery store, making the boys very happy. (“Mom, are they made that way on purpose to let all the butter drip in?")
4. Everything is “brilliant” and “heaps” of fun. Trash is rubbish and trunks are boots. (See photo above.)
5. There is a fish and chips shop on every corner – and an Indian restaurant. Sometimes they are combined.