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It turns out arranging travel from Denver to Christchurch, New Zealand to McMurdo station in Antarctica for work on the WAIS Divide Project to procure a deep core ice sample and back over two months and then incorporating a month of annual leave in Christchurch before flying back to Denver for a primadonis scientist is a bitch.

How about, I will go to New Zealand on annual leave that I haven’t yet accrued (the process of accruing leave is still such an abstraction to me, and it’s a part of federal employment I will never get used to).  I will stay in New Zealand and I will get Leo lessons to be a sheep herding dog.  It’s in his genes.  He’s half border collie and half blue heeler, the poor little guy can hardly help himself from tearing around in circles and nipping ankles.   The image of Leo racing across a rugged landscape surrounded by mountains (think Middle Earth, near Rohan) rounding up sheep makes me feel ridiculously happy and I find myself living vicariously through my little dog racing across the New Zealand landscape in my mind.  It feels like a nice life.

Is it possible that it’s only 10:47 AM?  *Has sinking feeling it is entirely possible*

Some pictures of New Zealand to excite, places to pine for, and to one day venture…

Auckland, NZ

Christchurch, NZ

Wellington, NZ

Wild

And, in case you need to get your bearings…

And apparently the people are lovely.  Brett, Jermaine, and Murray come immediately to mind…

From the time I was in grade school, I have had an obsession with places foreign and far away, particularly the lands of the far north.  I remember learning the history of Russia, everything seemed austere and bold, cold and powerful, brutal, bitter, yet breathtakingly beautiful and alive.  Russia strikes me as a world apart.

The trans-Siberian railway.  St. Petersburg.  Moscow, the liveliest nightlife on the planet earth.  Frozen land, and endless wonder.  Vodka, astoundingly wonderful vodka.  Pelemeni, golubsti, latkes, beef stroganoff, borsch.  Thick accents and cryptic alphabet.  My brother, Mike, before he died also had an obsession with Russia by way of the language.  He had begun to teach himself the Russian alphabet.  He had a fascination for linguistics.  On my childhood porched is etched still Russian letters by my brother’s hand.

I want to go there one day, perhaps with a lover, perhaps alone.  I feel power surging through me at the notion of going alone, adrenaline brought on by the thrill of adventure and risk, companions I crave would come to call more often.  I want to go and take the train across that great land, and hike in Siberia.  I want to walk on the streets of the major cities and make allies.  I want todrink good vodka and eat good Russian food, and I want to go out at night and let my head swim and swallow up everything new and wonderful.

Turns out drinking can be quite nice if you do it with a touch of sophistication.  There is quite something to be said for a good knowledge of wine.  Denver is a good place to acquire this, I have come to learn.  I mean to approach this new hobby with some zeal.  Half-priced bottle of wine nights and wine tastings abound all over the city, and I just might be a fledgling Sommelier.  Right.  If I could only learn how to pronounce half the wines I drink, I’d be on my way.

Red wine, drunk in a habitual manner makes me think of Ernest Hemingway and American ex-patriots in Europe.  What a fantastic life.  So many grand ideas I have for adventures.  So many things I would do if I only had the means.  Instead I find myself 25 years old (young?) abd very aware of what feels romantic and vivacious and true (travel and passion and wine and beauty and feelings and emotion and nobility), but forced to toil away at the 9 to 5 and struggle for the occasional nice piece of cheese in the endless rat race that is our inheritence as members of the middle class in a Capitalist society.  How frustrating. 

Sometimes the ridiculous thought crosses my mind that if I could perhaps find a man of extended monetary means I could be free to live as I please, instead of always being the primary bread winner.  It attracts, but at the same time feels a counterfeit.  That woman is not me.  There was actually an article I read once about young women who travel to Moscow with the sole purpose of finding a millionaire husband (there are more millionaires per capita in Moscow than in any other place on the globe).  I am the woman who marries for love and little else.  I fall in love deeply and madly and his face, his touch ignites something in me that would be a great tragedy to sacrifice.  What good is a life with money, without a life of passion? 

So, I carry on.  Paddling against the current and becoming evermore faithful to forces beyond the stars, beyond vision, beyond quandry, but that lie purely in one’s higher senses.  I feel and I believe that I am a powerful and special being and that my journey has only just begun.

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