It’s funny how the last few days the topic of New Zealand has crept into my life. First, on Tuesday when I was getting my legs waxed, Kate mentioned that her sister had applied to do a teacher exchange with New Zealand.

Then at an orientation session at work the last presenter overheard me talking to someone by the shuttle stop. I mentioned that I was starting my holidays the next day. They both wanted to know the destination, so I replied New Zealand with a stopover in San Francisco. The last presenter was also taking four weeks to visit her daughter in the North Island.

Because most interesting things happen in threes, New Zealand appeared again in a conversation I overheard on the shuttle. Three guys were talking about living in Montreal while going to university. The topic then changed to his Mom being upset that his sister was moving to New Zealand. The mother felt that the daughter was leaving her life forever, but the daughter felt she was starting on a new adventure. Both brother and mother thought they may only see her twice again in their lifetimes. So my thought was: why wouldn’t you go visit her? You’d love the place!

So that was the pre-trip stuff to get me into vacation mode. We’ve packed much lighter this trip compared to the last. We had so many things we didn’t wear, so I figure don’t bring as much. You can always shop when we get there.

And as it turns out we will have to shop for some gum and face cream in San Fran and a cooler bag in New Zealand.

The trip from Ottawa to San Francisco took us through Vancouver. And I have to say that I’m impressed so far. Our luggage was checked through from Ottawa. There were no lines at security, no pat downs (for us anyways), no hassles all round.  As you go through one layer of screening, she scanned our boarding passes and then asked if the photo on  her screen was of our bag. Wow, cool was my response. Does that mean it’s made it this far?

Vancouver airport has information greeters, likely in preparation for the Olympics, who were very helpful in ordering your paperwork and letting you know what to expect. The airport has free wireless too, which is a bonus on a layover.

Rob has gotten his shoes shined. Every shoe shine place we passed would see his shoes and yell “shoe shine” so he finally caved in. They were looking pretty rough.