Monday

Read the one below this first

So we've been camping outside (illegally most of the time) and sometimes sleeping in Auntie Ruby. My body is so pain, as Mama Kim would say. But it's worth it. You would not believe the spectrum of blue in the water here. We've swum in chasms formed by glacial waterfalls, we've swum with the dolphins without paying a penny, my pals just finished their 15,000ft skydive, I almost stepped on a sea lion that looked like a boulder...it's been a great trip. I have lovely friends here who have me laughing stitches open every day.

But I can't stop thinking about Patrick and how much funner everything would be with him here. I miss him, and although I've never been much of a Valentine's Day celebrant, this one (our first and hopefully not last) is tough because we're apart and I want to do so much for him. Valentine's Day reminds us that Love is about red hearts and roses -- about reminding our lovers how much we still desire them. But Love is grander than that, more gruesome as well. It's about staying true for the long haul, it's tears, it's pain, it's the small things, it's hard work, it's waiting, it's growing together and apart and together again, it's sacrifice, it's valuing someone else's happiness above your own. How can a card or flowers compare with that? Chocolates, maybe...

Tonight I pitch my tent with the girls. I look up to the breathtaking South Island starry night sky. And I fall asleep chuckling softly, thinking of the time I left fresh laundry on the bed, went to the bathroom for a tissue, and walked in on Patrick folding my underwear.

Pitching a Tent on Valentine's

Sorry I haven't been around in a while. Let me fill you in on what you've been missing. First, I need to apologize because I've been homeless for about 2 or 3 weeks now and I have no concept of time. Second, I'm waiting for a few friends to do their skydive so I might cut out in a bit to take pictures for them. (I know my place as the only Asian in this circle of friends.) Third, I like making lists.

A few weeks ago, Mariana, Gemma and I took a short plane ride to Christchurch to meet up with the Scottish (Scott and Rhona have been together for 8.5 years) and Jordan (Bob Marley from North Carolina). We were not organized. The girls brought no toiletries, our stove was confiscated at the airport, and we only had one fork and knife between us. Plus we had to buy or rent a car, but we couldn't really afford to do either.

So we bought a car anyway.

Her name is Auntie Ruby. Can't really tell you why we named her that, but just trust that it's a good story.

She's a Toyota Corolla station wagon (thing is, in NZ station wagons are considered cool, as opposed to America where even suburban moms find them repressive and ugly). She's manual, which means every time I try to drive her I figuratively shit bricks and literally become constipated from all the anxiety.

We found her at a backpacker car lot. These are cars that backpackers abuse for a short time and sell to desperate backpackers who -- for financial reasons -- have no choice but to be willingly raped. Willingly raped. Not an oxymoron.

Anyway, I saw her, spoke with the past owners, kicked the tires a little bit, turned on the car, turned it off, stroked my chin as I looked under the hood, pretended to say something knowledgable about the engine to Mariana, offered them $500NZ below their asking price, and shook hands on $300 below.

Didn't even take the girl out for a test drive. Pretty dumb.

But that's why they call it dumb luck because she runs like a motherfuckin' beeeeeaaaute. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith over Risk Canyon and trust that you will land on solid ground. The reward for faith is feeling like you tapped the spiritual realm. The reward for preparation is great as well, but the downside is you have only yourself to blame if soup hits the fan.

Oh shit I gotta go snap-snap, brb.