Every Day's a Sunday

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Thursday, November 11, 2004

It's just occurred to me that for some time now I have had absolutely no idea what day it is. Or 'date' come to think of it. The only time I've been reminded of 'the day' is when I've discovered a particular shop that is closed due to it being Sunday, or a menu board announcing today's 'Monday Night Special'. But most of the time I really haven't had a clue what day it is. Not that it matters really, as I suppose I don't actually 'need' to know.

I did however happen to look at my watch the other day and noticed that the little round date circle was showing the number nine. It didn't really mean much at first and then I realised it was the month of November. I had been lying outside in the hammock, snoozing for a couple of hours in the warm sun and it was nearly half way through November. Normally I'd be wearing a coat or sweatshirt, but it was blisteringly hot and I was lying in just a pair of shorts draped in and over this very comfortable hammock, dozing off to the peaceful chirps of the birds. And we're not that far out of Winter here. It's nearly Christmas! My whole concept of time has gone completely out of the window.

I've been thinking a lot lately too about different things since I have left England. In particularly, the little differences that I have come to discover. I mean, forget the 'big' differences - they are so dominantly secure in their own league here that words aren't adequate enough to explain. It's the intangible things I've been thinking a lot about - the real 'valuable' stuff.

I think I mentioned a few weeks back about how it takes a lot of getting used to when you are approached randomly and shown kindness, generosity and friendliness, all unconditionally, because it is simply the 'norm'. I also remember thinking how weird it was for people to behave that way and almost feeling quite uncomfortable as I was waiting to hear about the 'catch'. When I think back now to when I thought, felt and wrote about that, it really hits me how sad it was to have felt like that. 'Weird' to behave in that way? 'Weird' to be outwardly friendly and kind to people? Yeah right. I'm the weird one to be surprised by it. Their 'norm' and my 'norm' are quite, quite different.

At present I'm staying in a small village where you would typically take a gentle stroll around, get what supplies you need and catch up with the locals. You leave the keys in the car. Not a case of can or can't, you just do cos' you always have done and, well you just do. The lodge I am staying in is never locked. There aren't even locks on the doors of the dorm rooms so you couldn't lock them even if you wanted to. But you're still very comfortable with it and you still feel safe.

I'm staying here with locals, surfers and travellers and I know some of them better than others. But regardless of that, every single one of them at some point will come over and sit beside me asking how my day is going or how it has been. And I'm not just talking about this place. I'm re-iterating what I was saying and have said before about other places. This is just what it is like here.

The other thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the general attitude of people. I personally reckon it would be quite a task to find someone negative here. They simply don't tolerate it - it just gets batted away like a fly that has just started to make a nuisance of itself. The people I have met are so positive it fires up your own positivity, which in turn radiates on to other people. It's completely infectious. I'm quite a positive person by nature anyway and have been able to maintain that for most of the time over the years, despite attempts to be brought down. But here it's a completely different story. I'm sitting in the heart of a place where I'm surrounded by encouraging 'like minds', so all that infectious positivity and kindness is bubbling away nicely and has shifted me right into second gear. I know this sounds funny, but people actually smile when they walk down the street here, not hang their head in a whirlwind of misery, stress and unhappiness. So coming from that to this is a real eye-opener. It's completely awe-inspiring and really quite uplifting.

This sort of conversation crops up quite regularly as many people I have met have also been blown away by the way of life here. I think it was quiet Canadian Craig who said the other day 'I guess when you live in paradise, you have a lot to smile about'.

But what really concerns me is that if I hadn't have originally took the plunge and 'gone for it', I wouldn't have discovered this. I wouldn't have gone through that confusing transition of adapting to this way of life. I wouldn't have even known any different or any better. It's quite worrying really, almost to the point of being scary. I'm approaching my thirties rapidly and very nearly missed this discovery. I've only been here two months and already I can't help thinking what's to come.
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