I am grateful for the opportunity to live on this beautiful and astonishing planet Earth. In the morning, I wake up with a sense of gratitude. -Earl Nightingale
On my way back to Singapore from Philippines last week, I was leafing through the Mabuhay magazine (April 2012 issue) and come across an article entitled:- “Best of the Best” from which New Zealand topped it all for World’s Friendliest Countries. Undoubtedly, I could not deny it.
Three weeks ago, I was visiting New Zealand for the first time. I remember at the plane, everybody is sleeping and it was very quiet. Except me, I was creating unnecessary noise. I keep coughing non-stop. I am unwell and my head is terribly aching. I was still ill but I could not postpone my trip knowing the tedious process I have to go through in applying for leave and getting all together the requirements to get a visa. While enduring the 10 hours non-stop flight, I could not make myself comfortable in anyway. I think the temperature inside the aircraft worsen my condition. I was a little surprise when the NZ woman sitting at my right side offered me a bundle of strepsils to make me feel better. While, another woman sitting at my left gave me a eucalyptus oil to put into my neck to cool down and minimize my coughing. She even advised me to buy a neck scarf, since she said I am traveling regularly I would be able to always use it. These strangers surrounding me made me feel better for that little-act-of-kindness they have shown towards me. I have encountered the same, when I left Auckland for Singapore.
I wish to share this post to my local NZ hosts:- Pamela and Greg. Pamela patiently waited for me at the airport on my arrival. She was the only person I could talk to that time about my horrible experience at the immigration. I was like a little child crying inside her car that lasted for I don’t know how long because I was really, really frightened. I was at that time, very scared.
Thru them, I was able to experience the life living at the suburbs of NZ. It was beautiful. With the mountain scenery, with pond at the side and flock of sheeps, a herd of horses at the further horizon and tall trees lined up that served as fence. Their lovely house seemed to me like a museum. Pamela and Greg are not only Social Work analysts they are artists in their own ways. I had the chance to see their little town and went to a local museum. Pamela was very kind to order a Thai food and we had it together for dinner. They really made me feel at home. She even gave me medicine. I think my illness has gotten worse because of the immigration thing. Since Pamela is working the next day, Greg sends me to the train station going to the city. I am really grateful for these locals… my horrible experience at NZ has been slowly faded.
I am not a poet and I lack words to describe how wonderful the experience was. I hope the photos I was captured would justify a bit.
I am grateful as well for the extra hospitality of my sister and brother from my college-based organization (UP Mussaenda Honor Sorority and Zeta Beta Rho Honor Fraternity). This is where I met my genuinely inspiring brother and sister. A true Iskolar ng Bayan, they were recipients of NZ government’s scholarship program. They were so kind to keep on checking me at my hostel and if I need any help. Through them I was able to understand more about New Zealand and some of their rules and regulations in the country. Sis Mau and Brod Edmund and Eden, thank you so much! You have shown me the best of Auckland! Thank you for being a tour guide/s, a driver, a restaurant chef, a very good adviser… Thank you is such an understatement but I could not think of better words to express my overflowing gratitude towards you.
Sha, my classmate in my Community Development class in Diliman. Although we have not met, I appreciate the effort you have taken and the suggestions you have given. We will meet next time!
The receptionists at my hostel and my hostel-mates who offered to use their phones and gave me extra free vouchers for the internet. My short-lived travel buddies back to Singapore:- Jay and Yohan.
My gratitude goes as well to the Immigration Officers of Auckland. THANK YOU for teaching me lessons worth learning. I hope you would be kind to me in my next visit to NZ, please. =)
Now this post looks like an Acknowledgement page in a book. That was not the intention though. I’d like to close through this line excerpted from my maftravelgraphy journal:-