It is a sweet miracle that I have just today found the detailed notes of our South Island journey. They were buried in books a thousand miles from my home, and I came upon them.
I am thinking of Providence. Wherever we went along that Road, we were shown a good grace by people who knew we were coming. Being a part of Capernwray had included us in a network of people, who then opened their homes and their tables. If there was no room in a hostel, we would hear of a former Capernwray student who wanted us to stay with the family.
It was cold, freezing cold, and it snowed upon our heads. I did not have a winter coat with me and had noted this need in the diary. The next day a lady who did not know me said she had a navy pea coat she did not need. It fit me perfectly and was as warm as toast! Providence.
There are other 1973 memories of:
-Lots of potatoes, peas, with meat, bread, butter and honey (and sometimes Trifle and custard!), cooked at a variety of youth hostels and homes
-The fog at Rotorua, so thick that we ran over a poor cow, standing hapless in the road with its friends
-The farming family of 20 with whom we stayed a few days. Food prep there was massive! On a Sunday, the Americans cooked them a Thanksgiving dinner, just because they were curious about it (we made duck rather than turkey - I can't believe it!).
-Seeing an American car at a stop somewhere, and being invited to the owner-lady's house. Riding in that pink and luxurious car made us hopelessly homesick and nostalgic.
So. Travel. It's been central to me ever since that one year, at the bottom of the World. Perhaps this was where a more Bohemian lifestyle began to creep in. Making me the perfect wife for a military man who every 2 to 4 years was compelled to up sticks and move the family elsewhere!
With the journey nearing its end, it was time to begin preparing for the way back to my home. The USA was once again calling (I was surprisingly interested in seeing an American flag again). There was so much I wanted to go back to, and so much I did not want to leave. A conundrum! But a Visa was winding down to its finale, and I would be compelled to go. Would love to go.
But I realized all at once that with my new and dear friends, the lecturers we had come to love, the uniqueness and almost strangeness of that far away (but brilliant) spot, I was really and truly no longer alone, at the bottom of the World.
But, Providence was calling me home.
See you along the way!
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/myoldpostcards/5670910165/">myoldpostcards</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brraveheart/2205780832/">Brave Heart</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>