Some folks might have noticed Friends School of Minnesota’s school secretary Annamary was absent for several weeks. She was communing with kiwis and enjoying New Zealand summer while the rest of us were shivering. Here are some of Annamary’s musings about her trip.

Annamary’s trip to New Zealand…the Nelson Friends Meetinghouse (upper right)

At 1pm on the 4th of January, I left the Auckland Friends Centre and crossed Mt. Eden Road to catch the airport bus and return to the US – and at 1pm on the 4th of January, I walked into Perry’s Bar & Grill for lunch, at the San Francisco airport.  When I got to MSP at 8:30pm on January 4th, I had gone through a 106 degree temperature change. 

Now I have a mighty fine life here on the tundra, but I did feel like 3 weeks were carved out for a bit of paradise, living in the heart of Nelson, New Zealand, in the Friends Meetinghouse — using my feet or public transportation – and away from email and phone – an easy hike to the ocean – surrounded by friendly & Friendly people – and so – much  – color!!  I took about 600 pictures, mostly of people’s backyards.  I had my birthday on the Summer Solstice, instead of the previous 63 Winter Solstice celebrations – and I must admit – I loved 78 degrees and sunshine in December/January.

Someone just asked if it was hard to come back.  Well, it’s easier when you have great people to come back to and a job that is marvelous.  Of course, I’ll ramble on and on about New Zealand, if you ask – it was a long way to go (especially if someone gets sick on the plane and you wander off to Honolulu mid-flight) – but it was worth it – and if my personal batteries aren’t fully charged now – well, they never will be.

Kia Ora!  Annamary

Update: February 2014

Here’s a story about the smallness of Saint Paul – Quaker meetings – and, of course, ANOTHER story about my wonderful trip to New Zealand.

Last Sunday, I needed to stay in Saint Paul in order to attend something at 10:30, so instead of heading off to Minneapolis Friends Meeting, I traveled down to the Saint Paul meetinghouse for the 8:30 meeting on Grand Avenue. After meeting, I walked up to a man who had – during announcements – said his name as Robert Axtmann.  “Might you be the same Robert Axtmann from Saint Paul, who signed the Nelson Friends Meetinghouse guestbook, a couple entries before my name, in New Zealand?”  Why yes he was.