Everyone warned us that having been away from NZ for two and a half years that we would freeze back in NZ. It hasn't happened so far but I for one had forgotten about how icky high humidity can be. The temperature in Auckland was lovely but the remnants of Cyclone Evan meant the humidity was uncomfortably high. Thankfully the friends we stayed with in Auckland have a pool and on our first slow morning there we nearly wore it out trying to stay cool.
We finally felt refreshed enough to go for a saunter around the corner to our friends' local shops. In the five minutes it took to walk there I saw more interesting architecture than I have in our entire time living in Mandurah. We browsed in Moa, Vanilla Ink, a lovely bookshop and a cool giftshop. I found wares I wanted to buy. My partner bumped into someone he knows and stopped for a chat. We had a scrumptious lunch and perfect long blacks at the Monterey Coffee Lounge, feeling quite at home in that establishment's cute op-shoppy fitout. I did a double take when I paid the bill; compared to Western Australian prices it was incredibly cheap. While we sat there watching the constant parade of pre-Christmas shoppers, my daughter - who a few months earlier told me that I don't dress like the other mums at her Mandurah school - commented that the other women in this neighourhood dress just like me. Yes, I know they do, I said. The way I dress (and the fact that I don't have tats and avoid getting tanned) doesn't look odd everywhere in the world.
On day two of our holiday I remembered what a lovely feeling it is to NOT feel like a fish out of water.