After a very long journey, I am home at last. I left New Zealand on the evening of Tuesday April 21 and when I arrived in Los Angeles twelve hours later, it was technically the same day. In fact, it was still Tuesday when I flew out of Los Angeles at 10:40 pm. Although recovering from a double dose of jet lag I want to jot down a few memories of my trip before they begin to fade.
I stayed at the Spencer on Byron Hotel; from my room I had a stunning view of Rangitoto Island. Rangitoto is a relatively young volcano, now extinct, and beautiful to gaze at across the bay. One of the most compelling aspects of the trip was the fact that in New Zealand the month of April is equivalent to September in Pennsylvania, with the crickets chirping nostalgically, and the leaves beginning to change. While I could always intellectually grasp the difference of the seasons in the southern hemisphere, to experience autumn during the Easter octave must be one of the most unusual experiences of my life.
On the other hand, the Eucharistic Convention has to be one of the most well-organized events I have ever participated in. I was treated like royalty, and for this I must thank John and Beth Porteous, whose kindness and generosity made it possible for me to travel to the other side of the world. I must also thank Nicholas and Gabrielle Reid, who opened their home and family to me, in those hours when I was not busy at the convention. I have always found spending time with the people of a country to be more enlightening and inspiring than trying to see a great deal of sites all at once. Gabrielle was my guardian angel, who got me wherever I needed to go, picking me up at the airport in the wee hours, and giving me a great deal of support and encouragement as I prepared for my talks. Nicholas is a poet and historian, the author of several books, who also writes the program notes for Opera New Zealand. I thoroughly enjoyed the lively discussions about politics, opera, and history that I had with the Reids. They took me to Kelly Tarlton's to see the penguins, the sharks and the stingrays, then to the Auckland museum where there was a fascinating exhibit on the Maori culture. Auckland is truly the "City of Sails" and someday I would like to return in the summer, since there is so much to explore there. Share