I am often asked by guests why I have selected the 4 countries I did when decorating All Nations Bed & Breakfast. I will address each room in a seperate post and begin with the country I visited at the mere age of 16.
Rotary International sponsors an exchange student program for which I had the privilege to partake. I am so thankful for the local Rotary Club of Lakewood, Colorado visiting our high school and advising the students of the opportunity. I applied and went through the rigorous interview process (may I add I am also thankful for the wonderful support of my parents). In my application I had to list my first 3 choices for placement. As a student of Spanish, at that point I was in my 4th year of study, Spain was my top choice, followed by Italy. New Zealand only made the list because I had recently watched an episode of "LIfestyles of the Rich and Famous" and they highlighted Fiji. New Zealand looked close to Fiji on the map.
23 years later I look back and realize that due to selections made on our behalf our lives are eternally altered.
I spent an unforgettable 11 months in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. The Rotary Program has 4 families host a student throughout the year. I think this is ideal. I had the opportunity to live with a wonderful Danish family, on a dairy farm, on a blueberry/persimmon farm and with a delighftul family in Whakatane.
At Edgecumbe College I learned to speak Kiwi, trust me it is not the same as American. I still blush when I think about a classmate asking me for a "rubber" (eraser) in the middle of class.
Sleeping in a Marae, enjoying a good Hangi which is great when accompanied by a good Haka are experiences that can only be had in God's Own Country. Yes, they are surrounded by sheep, yes I did survive a minor earthquake, yes I can still smell the paper mills of Kawerau and yes I crave a puffy pavlova with kiwi fruit at this very moment.
Often times when I am in the New Zealand room I take a moment to indulge in the decor. Allowing my toes to feel the soft sheepskin, admiring the pillows with Maori motif (the fabric sent from my host mum Margaret and sewn by my own mom Willetta) and as I look above the sofa at the New Zealand flag I day dream about what life may be like there in 2010.
If you are not able to make it all the way out to the South Pacific, but would like a little taste of the land way down under, reserve the New Zealand room, for a day or a week.