I was worried about spending Christmas alone in this distant country, worried of wallowing in the bitter nostalgia of my mothers memories. I was worried that I would cry myself to sleep in a soggy cold tent with nothing to eat but instant noodles saturated with MSG.
The stars must have aligned because this Christmas was one of the best of my silly little life.
I met Lucky Luke, 10-Speed and Julian in town and we hopped on the idea of spending the holidays together for a seven day canoe trip down the Whanganui River. It was perfect timing, as I just got my first shin splint and needed a week's rest to recover. Armed with 10 barrels of food and booze, we paddled towards the sea singing Christmas carols and being merry.
Beautiful... Indescribably beautiful.
There was so much good that happened on this trip, I really don't know where to begin. I can start with the cheesy egg, bacon and butter breakfast... I packed out 24 eggs, oh yes I did. Then there was the torrential downpour we somehow avoided at the Blue Duck Cafe. How about the Christmas tinsel and tacky Santa hats? That one's for you mom. We only flipped twice in the rapids and what a blessing to have a healthy stomach after swallowing 4 gallons of polluted water. No giardia for the holidays! Oh, and my Swiss-German language lessons... I can now curse, talk about big noses and the full moon. And yes, there was a full moon on Christmas, too. Julian caught us an eel on our final night, and we smoked it for one last meal together.
If I've learned anything, it's that worrying doesn't do a damn thing.