It's a good day to be living in the country of NEW ZEALAND.

Author's Note: 3 months passed between the start and finish of this thought. The middle was filled with high highs and low lows and laughs and tears and everything that life brings. But today, 3 months later, it's still a good day to be living in the country of New Zealand...

Yes, there are circumstantial reasons, i.e. the sky's out (and it's blue!) and so are the thighs (and they're tan!).

Yes, I wore the magic unicorn empowerment pants in the hot room this morning.

Yes, RAD cafe is (finally) open again after a much-deserved (but loooooooong) Christmas break.

Yes, yes, yes. But I've noticed something lately -- I'm noticing a lot lately, because when you're new, things just seem more obvious -- and it's this: the broken, sad, hard, strange, new, uncomfortable parts of life make for good conversation starters (NOTE: conversations are often had with oneself when one is new in one's city) if you're interested in commiserating. It's probably true for a lot of reasons, and it is also probably more true for some than others. 

And so it's easy to make the hard he focus, and can be tough to remember that the good always holds hands with the hard. That pain, when digested, becomes beauty. That walking through is always better than walking around, and that muscle is built through tear and repair. I think it's more than positivity (although God knows a little old fashioned Pollyanna spirit goes a long way on a dark day), it's hope. It's acknowledging that the boundary between what is and what's coming is a lot grayer than we'd like to admit, and that every day, reality is micro-shifting into something else.

This is the reason that the well-meant small talk questions just go nowhere. I mean, "So, how is New Zealand?!" I want to answer, "how long do you have?" Because it's not simple. It's beautiful, it's filled with world-class baristas, and it's where my adventure of marriage (with the best guy ever!) is beginning. On the other hand, it doesn't have an Apple store (let that sink in for a moment) and it takes sarcasm to a whole new level. Mostly, it's new, and new is unknown, and unknown is hard.

Hope is a discipline: to believe and keep on believing that we're always moving -- and that even when the forward motion feels minute and the falls seem massive, we are always becoming new. 

And so, yes. Today is a great day to be living in the country of New Zealand...