Kī tōnu taku waka topaki i te tuna

Grandpa and Friend2

This morning,  Janie and I wrestled a tri-fold foam board festooned with all things New Zealand— including charts, timeline dates, photos, economic facts, phrases in one of the three official languages and a big, green map—in and out of the car, along with a box containing a traditional Māori design, if the Māori culture had ever favored burlap-covered foam board.  The six-page New Zealand Gazette: the Awesomest Kiwi News Evah!* and the thirty-slide PowerPoint project was e-mailed to her teacher Sunday afternoon.

Two glue sticks, twelve sheets of red and blue construction paper, three cartridges of printer ink,** an entire roll of double-sided tape, a photo album of my parents’ precious vacation photos that I carried safely through a snowstorm and back again to scan,*** a brown marker swiped from Sunny’s vast collection, and an adorable stuffed kiwi bird.

Yes, it’s Academic Fair Week.

Jane’s grade did states last year—remember Delaware’s State Macroinvertebrate?  I do.

This year, they’re doing countries, and we all now know more about New Zealand than any non-native on our side of the planet really needs to.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s an amazing place.^  But we’re experiencing the giddy joy of finally checking off everything on the Academic Fair Project List.

All Jane has left is a short class presentation Tuesday and all the rest of us have to do is show up on Academic Fair Night Thursday.^^

The kids will be celebrating a job well done with a skiing day this Friday.

The parents are resting up for next year—My husband and I are especially looking forward to both kids having projects due on the same day.

Until then, E āta inu ana au . . .


*Hey, it’s not our project, it’s Janie’s project.  Which is why the map is . . . not quite how a couple of forty-year-olds would have done it and why my husband and I have bite marks halfway through our tongues.

**New Zealand is a gorgeous country, but does it have to be so green?

***Beat that, Bilbo.

^Jane and I are about ready to pack our bags.  Did you know that New Zealand was the first country to install sign language as an official national language?   And the first (self-governing) country to give women the vote?  And the first country to legislate an 8-hour workday?  Or that the temperature in Central Otago got down to -25.6°C (or about -14°F) in 1903—and there hasn’t been a recorded temperature that low in the country since?   Dude, that last one  alone is almost worth the hassle of expatriating . . .

^^With my laptop, so everyone can see Jane’s PowerPoint show, which includes images of my then-68-year old father (the gentleman being menaced by the Kiwi at the top of this post) bungy jumping off the Kawarau Bridge in 2000.  I’m serious: