Through recent reading, I’ve discovered a whole new country, New Zealand! Not that I didn’t know about it before, but it really wasn’t something on my radar. I was thinking back the other night to my high school years many, many years ago and I realize that I never had a geography class. World history was about as close as I came to learning about countries in the other parts of the world and to be honest, other than the countries that participated in the World Wars, I didn’t learn much.
So, here’s New Zealand, starring in not one, but two recent books that I’ve read, the first being The Lost Years by Jennifer Scoullar.
My first lesson, was geographic. New Zealand is located southeast of Australia, which is southeast of the Philippines, which is east of Vietnam. I know where Australia is, that’s where The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin lived. The Philippines (one “l”, two “p”s) because of its strategic loacation in World War II and Vietnam, well, because it was Vietnam and everyone of my generation knows about that.
The second thing I learned about was Rugby. We don’t play rugby in the Midwest, or I should probably say, we don’t play a lot of Rugby. I’m sure there are some places that do, but personally, I know nothing about Rugby. In this story, and it is a romance, the leading man is a Forward on the “All Black” New Zealand team. James referred to this only as “All Black” and I had no idea what they were referring to. So, of course, I went to the source of all knowledge, Google. “All Black” refers to the National Rugby Union Team; rugby being the national sport of New Zealand. I’ve read about Rugby and it seems to be a cross between our American Football and soccer. I won’t even begin to explain it.
And, of course, there’s the language or slang in New Zealand. I’m only twenty-five percent through this story and I’ve already highlighted these words: scrum, gobsmacked, waiata, kapa, stoush, rimu, moa and Siobhan. Siobhan is a name which I’ve seen before and I had guessed at is pronunciation: See-o-ban. I couldn’t figure out why someone would name a woman that until I looked up the pronunciation of it and found it to be the beautiful name “Shi-vahn”. Who would have guessed.
As far as the story goes, Jenna is a teacher reeling from a bad divorce, takes a temporary job as a nanny for the star “All Black” New Zealand Rugby player. We can guess the rest. Well, I’ll be gobsmacked.