Monday, February 18, 2008

A Real New Zealand Family and True Hospitality

After going through all my post thus far, I have concluded two things. 1.) I’ve been here a while. Almost 3 months. 2.) I’ve written almost nothing on New Zealand and its people, especially the ones I've met. My posts have been fairly, well, I’m afraid to use the term “self absorbed” but maybe yeah, in a way they are. I’ve been through a roller coast ride of trials and tribulations since I’ve been here. But, after everything I’ve been through the fact remains, I’m still here, and it's the people I have met that have kept me here. Tomorrow I’m off to the South Island with Steph. Her quick visit happened to coincide with a time that I‘ve been wanting to start traveling again. She wanted to go check out the South Island, and I have a car and am willing to pretty much go anywhere. But after figuring my stuff out, and preparing for another epic voyage, I am once again finding myself about to say goodbye to friends and a family that I’ve grown a bit attached to.

I don’t think I could ever say thank you enough to the McLaren Family. After Flatting with Hamish, Kunaal and Amit for a brief moment in time, I found myself needing to stick around longer that I had originally planned. After they had rented my room out to someone else, I once again became homeless. That, among many other forces that seemed to not be going my way, made it an interesting predicament, and a memorial section of this roller coaster ride. Hamish’s Family, the McLaren Family, offered me a room in their home until I figured stuff my out. Their hospitality and generosity went beyond my imagination of how to welcome someone into your home. They welcomed me instantly and quickly made me apart of their family. I became surrounded by a home, and family and tons of love. Grant (aka Mac), Katherine (mum), and Georgia (lil’ sis) were my new house mates.
For the next few weeks, I found myself enjoying the company of these people day after day, evening after evening. We were making dinner pretty much every night. We drank NZ wine and beers. We Discussed the current politics of the US, NZ and the rest of the world. We watched and I learned of NZ sports like Rugby. I became fascinated by their stories of world travel, including some incredible experiences in Africa and South America in the 1970’s. I met their friends and other family members. I learned about their family history, and how they’re part Pakeha (or European) and part Maori (Native New Zealander’s or Aotearoa as the country is called). I tried new foods and learned about NZ culture. I even found a few nights to make them some real American food: Fajitas and Breakfast Burritos (just to name a few). It was an amazing experience and they’re people I will not soon forget. I’m not sure how I could ever thank them enough for how much they’ve done for me. Staying with the McLaren’s for the amount of time I have, has been more of a travel experience than I could have ever imagined having. Probably even more than by jumping on a plane with a round-the-world ticket and skimming dozens of countries week after week. My stay with the Mclaren’s, a real New Zealand family, will never be forgotten. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
Here are some family photos
http://picasaweb.google.com/ryan.mceliece/McLarenFamily

1 comment:

michelle said...

Self-absorbed. Definitely the word that comes to mind when I read your blog...?! Yay for family photos!!!! (Why didn't you make them wave their cell phones and pick people up:)