As the days in Arrowtown go by, I’m slowly but surely starting to establish myself as a real person — as opposed to a total nomad. This has little to do with a new mindset or actual employment — really, it boils down to the acquisition of the kind of possessions, routines, and interactions that indicate ties to a place.
For example, I’ve recently become the proud owner of a full-sized bath towel, six clothes hangers, and a bottle of my favorite shampoo, which only comes in the kind of volume I’d normally associate with the liquor aisle at Costco. The bartender and owner at the bar down the street with free wifi and a fireplace (aka my home away from home on my sporadic days off) have, as of about an hour ago, officially introduced themselves and sanctioned my frequent leeching of their amenities despite my tendency to purchase exactly one coffee over the course of several hours. And, oh, I’ve moved out of the caravan (aka the Gypsy Palace aka Janis) and am currently living in a real, permanent structure with walls and windows and (sometimes) running water.
But I have to say that the best part of being semi-temporarily-sorta-kinda established (but no less hesitant to commit, evidently), is that it actually gives me time to go running.
Running isn’t just my only line of defense against the violent food-pyramid damage I do every day at the bakery — it’s also the best way to get rid of the stress of the day, forget about rude comments from customers or crabby coworkers, and just to remember why I’m in New Zealand in general.
The view of the sunset from Tobin’s Track, which starts about a 5-minute’s run from my place, is, to put it mildly, absolutely stunning. You can see as far as Queenstown’s sprawling lake, out over a craggy mountain range that is aptly called the Remarkables, and down over all the rooftops of Arrowtown. The first time I came up here last week, I had a bit of a “climactic scene in a cheesy chick flick”-style revelatory moment concerning my time in NZ thus far. I partially blame the fact that at the time, my iPod was playing, I kid you not, Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” and “Into the Great Wide Open” back-to-back. I also blame this sunset:
If I were a normal person with standard thresholds for shame, I’d probably be a little embarrassed to admit that I literally started skipping back downhill with excitement as the post-sunset darkness fell and I realized I’d better get home. I’d probably go a little rosy in the face saying that I then tripped and fell downhill because my skipping was, shall we say, a little overzealous, and my momentum grossly underestimated. Or that, because I’d already done a soaring, flat-out bellyflop over a knee-high fence in the dark a few weeks ago, I ended up with enormous concentric circles of bruises on my left knee. Alas, if I never admitted to trips, spills, and otherwise embarrassing tumbles, I’d have very little to talk about. Also, I submit the following in my defense:
And so, it appears, Arrowtown continues to be a pretty great little place to put down roots for the time being. But as soon as my 750 ml of shampoo runs out, you can bet I’ll still be off in search of the next viewpoint.