Considering I know this is not a normal tradition and being so far from home, I had low expectations for this years celebrations. My favorite and most appreciated half birthday gift was that that my host family went away for the weekend, leaving me alone at home for 2.5 days - a glorious and quite occasion. I am not saying I don't love the sound of pattering feet and the crying of hungry mouths, but....
To take the stakes up a little higher, a girlfriend and I made appointments for a manicure and pedicure - such luxuries here, where a bottle of nail polish is twenty-five dollars, that we have not granted ourselves these once standard enjoyments since arriving. Then, we dolled ourselves up and went out to the Viaduct (a bar/restaurant district on the wharf next to the CBD) and treated ourselves to a degustation at Kermadec, an award winning seafood restaurant. It is easily in the top five greatest meals I have ever had.
Saturday I was able to spend almost the entire day in my trackies and still included a work-out, walk around the park, mussels for dinner, and movie. Today was similar, expect that I got dressed and went out for a movie and mussels with a friend at our favorite Belgium Beer Cafe.
To make it all perfect I received cards or emails from multiple family members at home and a hand made card my "Kiwi Granna" - Andrew's mum! These small tokens make the Pacific Ocean seem not quite so big.
The last couple of weeks, well actually this entire experience has been the most challenging endeavor of my life - and the most rewarding, personally developing, perspective changing, and clarifying. I have a greater appreciation for everyone and everything in my life. What is even more exciting, if that is possible, is that my view of the world has broadened in unimaginable ways. I have been spending almost all of my free time either doing or planing adventures and any remaining time is spent in reverie of what next year could hold. I surprise myself every week with completely new ambitions I didn't know I had and ways of accomplishing them I never thought were possible.