This is the first post of many from a new installment to the blog. In ‘Miss?… or THIS!’ I will be examining things that I have noticed to be missing in New Zealand and that I very well may miss and then looking to see what similar things I’ve found while in the country that I find to be similar to the things that are missing.
I know the title may sound a bit cheesy… but I thought it would be fun.
So, our first missing item in New Zealand is not really completely gone, but are very sparse and are so hugely replaced by something else that I thought I had to include them here. They are dandelions. In the midwest, dandelions are vehemently present in many lawns. I personally think, and always have, that they are a beautiful addition to springtime and summer. This is to the chagrin of my grade-school teachers years ago, when I would collect them and blow their seeds all about the school property, perpetually continuing the saga of dandelion ancestry into the future.
Well, I have seen a few lonely dandelions hiding here and there, but they are completely superseded by… daisies! Oh the joy… For little daisies are far more whimsical that dandelions. I made a comment about them to my house mate the other day and found that they are similarly overlooked as an uneventful weed, being mowed over as quickly as possible when trying to make a good impression. But I still love them, and am thankful to see them everyday. It would be a hard choice to pick only one of the two, but I think I’d have to go with the more whimsical daisy.
Another item that is missing from New Zealand are Robins. Robins are the friendly birds of summer, with their characteristic song heard first in the early morning hours. I miss their red bellies and their cheeky disposition.
While the bird that most closely reminds me of Robins are not actually native to New Zealand, I hadn’t really thought about the Robin being missing until I noticed the behavior of these creatures. They are simple black birds, native to Europe. They are not like any black bird I’ve seen in the US though. They are fatter and are just as cheeky as any Robin. They hop about, looking for worms. The males are black orange beaks and with a yellowish orange color around their eyes, while the females are a dark dingy brown with a faint speckling on their breast. I was watching one the other day from my bedroom window. She was sitting on the fence looking about when all of a sudden, she flew up and out, right into the window! It gave me quite the startle. She was fine, flying back to her perch on the fence, but I wonder what she had been thinking when she did that, because she clearly should have seen me in the room. I’ll never know… Anyway, I don’t think I’ll ever stop missing Robins, despite their possible New Zealand counterpart.
Another bird that is not native to New Zealand that is living in my backyard is the Welcome Swallow. There is a family of them that like to sit out on the laundry line, waiting to be fed by their parents. They are so adorable, with their wobbly countenance.
Most of the birds I’ve seen are not native to New Zealand. I hope to see some natives soon.
To wrap up this post, I would just like to say, please check out the new pictures I’ve posted. Just click the ‘more photos’ on the right hand side of this blog, (after you click the title if reading this in an email). Some things that I’ve done since I’ve been here are:
1. Drive a stick shift car, on the left side of the road, only being honked at once and stalling about 20 times. (I’m learning! there is progress…)
2. Went grocery shopping. Things are more expensive here, but not too bad. Thinking in dollars per kilogram is interesting…
3. Found an ‘op shop’ (second hand store in NZ) that was actually called ‘goodwill’ and bought a delightful navy skirt for $5 ($4.11 US)
4. Purchased a sewing machine for $120 ($100 US) on Trademe, which is a NZ version of Ebay.
5. Planted two tomato (pronounced tom-ah-to here) plants and some parsley plants.
6. Got a library card and checked out three books.
7. Set up a mobile phone with a great summer deal they are doing right now.
8. Dried my laundry on the line.