What do you do when all your new friends are travelling abroad and you are on your own a few days before your birthday feeling lonely and a bit lost? You celebrate your birthday with Maoris!
It was just after the end of my cycling trip that I was sitting at home in Auckland and contemplating what to do with my life. I had a few days left until my birthday and it seemed that it was going to be the first birthday that I don’t have who to celebrate it with. I was not too sad or worried. I did not mind having a completely different experience this year. The only thing I knew was that I did not want to stay in the big city… So I called my Maori friend, who I met a few weeks beforehand and asked whether I could come up and visit him again. I mentioned that it was going to be my birthday around that time but did not ask for anything special and did not have any specific plans in mind.
In the afternoon a day before my birthday I went up north to visit Tone (my Maori friend). To my biggest surprise, as soon as I got there he took me out for a birthday dinner! It was not just a casual dinner. It was a pretty fancy restaurant with some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten. And this surprise was from a guy that I met just a couple weeks ago! I thought that some of my friends who I knew for years would not have done that for me. I felt really happy:).
The fancy dinner was not the only surprise. My birthday morning Tone organized a camping trip with a group of his friends and a few other travelers. The funny thing was that when I was coming up to visit him he ensured me that this time there is no need for me to bring a tent as he had a room for me to stay in. So I didn’t; I only had a sleeping bag with me. Tone did not have one either….
When it got late we put a massive tarp down on the grass in the middle of the field and laid on it with our sleeping bags. The night was not too cold, so I did not mind. At around 2 am, however, it started raining! We thought of going and hiding in the car, but the whole situations already seemed quite funny and we decided to make it even more ridiculous by just pulling one side of the tarp over us and continuing to sleep.
The same thing happened the second night, too! This time, however, it was even more funny. I woke up in the middle of the night (while still laying in the middle of the field) and felt something wet sliding down my hair… For a second I freaked out and did not know what to think, but my reflex was to quickly grab that thing and throw it as far away as possible. I grabbed it and it appeared to be a snail, sliding down my hair! I instantly started laughing to myself. What a random birthday! What a full of contrasts birthday! From having a delicious meal at the fancy restaurant to sleeping on a tarp in the middle of the fields with snails sliding down my hair.
This is one of the funniest stories from my year abroad that I have been telling my friends and family. It perfectly reflects my adventurous, funny and random experiences in New Zealand.