Ralph Waldo Emerson

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Growing up’s weird.

A few more fun pics at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8151765@N03/sets/72157604058006937/

So my parents have spent the last few years filling up their passports with cool destinations. The latest country on their hit list: New Zealand. Convenient, eh? As one friend put it: “How far do you have to go?”

No, but really, I’ve been looking forward to the old visit from moms and pops. After all, they did give birth to me and I’ve grown quite fond of them ever since.

So with the idea in my head that these two lovely people had come all the way across the Pacific just to spend time with their favorite kid (that’s right, Wells and Cameron, we’ll battle this out when I get home), I shouldered my pack and headed to Queenstown.

I was imagining a prodigal daughter type reception: I’d step off the plane, toss my hair and pull the shades from my face just as my two most devoted fans ran to me, flinging their arms around my neck as I cracked a world-weary grin.

Instead dad informed me about half hour before my flight that I’d have to keep myself entertained for the afternoon; they’d be busy skydiving.

Now hang on a minute: I’m supposed to be to cool one. I go on the adventures. But apparently they didn’t get the memo and rather than assuage my delicate ego, flung themselves from a plane at 12,000ft.
Oh how I love them.

My ego having been firmly set back into its proper place, mom, dad and I said goodbye to the friends they’d made on their Flying Kiwi bus (yup, my marketing video worked for at least two people) and headed off to travel luxury style aka completely blowing the $5/week food budget by breakfast. Again, loving the parents.
The funny part of meeting up with them after all this time apart is figuring out how the whole parent-child thing works at this age. The weirdness begins when you get to college—you go off and get settled into the college routine. Then you bounce home for your first winter break and expect to keep the same hours as you did back at school. But for some reason your parents don’t really appreciate hearing you stumble in at 3am every night. Sure they know that you think you’re all cool and independent now, but in my personal situation, they were also very aware of the fact that my monetary situation was almost wholly contingent on their happiness with me. Thusly, the apron strings were somewhat loosened throughout college, but still securely in place.

But now, for the first time ever, I’m completely independent and on my own. So though there’s certainly no way I could afford traveling to my parents standards, it still feels uncomfortably juvenile to have my mom hand me $20 so I can get us munchies at the gas station. At the same time, there are moments when I feel like the responsible adult in the triad as I play diplomat to the inevitable travel spats: “Now mom, why do you feel we should stop here for the night?” “Ok, dad, why do you feel it’s more advantageous to keep going?”

But hey, we’re figuring it out. And having loads of good times in the process. Spent a few days in the South Island; bumming around Lake Wanaka, driving kamikaze style up the West Coast and doing a 2-day kayaking trip in the Abel Tasman. I then left mom and dad in the south while I headed back up to Wellington to help with the Fringe’s grand finale (and what a help I was amidst all that free wine). We’ve since met up again and are cruising around the North Island…to varying degrees of success. Between the three of us, we manage to remember to stay on the left hand side of the road, but the damn windshield wiper’s where the turn-signal should be and so every time we indicate you’d think we’d hit a freak storm.

Next stop on our journey: Rotorua. Though it suffers from sulphur-stank, it’s loaded with hot springs, deep tissue massages and tasty Maori-style dinners. I’m thinking the psychoanalysis of parent-child relationships will seem incredibly unimportant in the midst of my daddy-funded facial.


Markus Stitz said...

Great writing Kari. have much fun up north, happy to say hello down here again.

Carol said...

We didn't really fling ourselves out of the plane. We paid money at the desk, then spent a pleasant hour or so watching other people land gracefully in the adjacent pasture. We then suited up and as sheep in a pasture will, herded over to a waiting plane tied to someone who knew what to do. As we reached altitude the door opened where upon I had second thoughts (Dad did too but he won't admit it) as the guy I was securely tied to decided he was going out the door there was nothing to do but go with him. I still have metal shavings under my fingernails from the door frame.

Brian said...

Mr. Miller always makes me laugh. Looks like a great time! I can't believe the whole Miller clan has been skydiving now.

Wells said...

Sorry Brian, but I have to correct you: Cameron and I prefer to have a drink and clutch our armrests while the pilot lands the plane. Neither of us has ever been so foolish as to jump out mid-flight.

Kari said...

ah, all the cool Millers anyway....