Parts 1 & 2
Don’t like the Coldplay reference? Tough. Ten years ago when I ventured to New Zealand for a 7 week “study” abroad program through AFS, I had my first iPod with me, loaded up with relatively few albums (compared to what I might be packing these days, though I pretty much exclusively stream… Anyway). I was listening to a lot of Keane, The Killers, the Garden State soundtrack, and Coldplay. 25 Coldplay tracks to be exact. A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y, which had just come out (and “Don’t Panic”, from the Garden State ST). I was young and had a romantic view on life, I was simply gushing with sentimentality, and treasured each little song from that album. If I remember correctly, the album was not received too well by critics, and in hindsight, it’s a fairly bloated album (you can read about my history with Coldplay here), but it was the soundtrack to that trip. Despite it being sort of superficial, I took every song and every lyric completely to heart.
On August 19, 2005, I boarded a plane home from Auckland. I’d been reunited with all my friends from the Outdoor Pursuits Centre; we’d all just been doing homestays for 3 weeks and were incredibly excited to tell each other what we’d done. These weeks weren’t as action-packed, and were sort of lonely, but I stayed with a pretty well-off family, so my opportunities were plenty. I got to see a lot of New Zealand’s North Island, as well as do service hours at a primary school. I was an adult and a kid at the same time; the best kind of person to be! Let’s go. Firstly, the family I stayed with – The Oakleys – had a fairly huge plot of land with a really nice house. Heated floors, private outdoor pool, a hot tub, a trampoline (which I jumped on for a solid hour one afternoon, by myself, while listening to Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” on repeat), a tennis court and a cow. I don’t know what the cow was for. They lived in the city of Hamilton, which is a really pleasantly small big city. Like a micro version of Minneapolis. It had culture, a city centre, shopping, but also was sprawled out and offered plenty of green spaces. Every house in our neighborhood was situated on farm-like land. Read more ›