In Auckland, frankly exhausted from the week of fun in Queenstown (it was so nice to flop into my homestay bed), and coming down with the sniffles, I was ready for a quiet couple days. After all, you have to take care of yourself–especially when traveling solo. There’s no use seeing the fun sights if you can’t enjoy them because you’re tired/starving/sickly.

So I started my first day in Auckland by settling into this fun cafe named Remedy Coffee. There were baked goods and bookshelves, so I was set.

And I didn’t intend to get sucked into a biography of Russia’s greatest vodka baron. But it happened.

And then my friend Meredith, who’s staying with friends in Auckland, met me at the cafe, and we spent another hour there reliving our time in Sydney/Queenstown before we took the afternoon to walk around the city.

Silly goose!

Favorite find of the day? A pop-up container library by the wharf.
And I had seen on Flypside that the New Zealand International Film Festival was going on, and Meredith’s friends were kind enough to buy me a ticket! So I saw a movie narrated in Russian about the German occupation of France during WWII. So I feel enlightened, having dwelt on who those in power deem to bestow “humanity” on–and what happens to those who don’t make the cut.

And then (of course) I got lost going home.

My homestay is in a suburb far from the city center. So when your movie gets out after dark and your phone is dying and you can’t find the correct bus stop, things can get frustrating. And then when you get on the wrong bus and get off at a stop that’s who-knows-where and it’s dark and your phone is really close to dead and you’re really hungry to boot, you might just cry a little bit. But then you call your host family and they come and pick you up and then you feel a little sheepish but a lot thankful to just be back at home where you can eat your leftover Indian food and help with party decorations for the baby’s birthday.

That’s another perk about some homestays you probs won’t find at a hostel: cute babies!

It’s my host family’s baby’s first birthday tomorrow, so Ann (my host mom) has been on a party mission. When I got home, the kitchen had been transformed into party central. I even got to help with the crafting and decorating! Somewhere in the decorations is a single, wonky flower. This is my DIY legacy. Pinterest, eat your heart out.

So today there was rest, stress, arts and crafts, and foreign films. Since I spent the day staying local, I think I’ll head off on a field trip tomorrow!


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