You can count on the US Marines for just about anything here in NZ. I have them on my emergency contact list at the boys' school and have their phone number in my speed dial. They host parties at their house and organize an elaborate ball once a year for embassy staff and interested locals. However, I really think they went above and beyond when they hosted a haunted Halloween Walk for the embassy children.
Our "cruise director", Gina Wyatt (otherwise known in our circles as the ultimate den mother) organized a Glow Worm/ Halloween Walk for the kids and asked the Marines to join in to scare the kids. It was wonderful. We started out at 9:30 pm and headed into the woods, down dark passageways and creepy bridges. And, when we least expected it, out would jump a goblin with a severed head or a grotesque spider (or maybe it was a bat, I was too scared to look).
I brought along some local boys, my son being ever so social....he was having two classmates sleep over and they are very intrigued about the US Marines. This gave them a good opportunity to see them up close. "Will they have guns?", "Will they accidentally shoot us?" were some of the questions from the back seat of the car on the way there. It is eye opening to hear what these children from the other side of the world think of America. Most of the information they get is spot on but sometimes....you have to wonder where they come up with some stuff. Morgan was asked once if you could buy guns at convenience shops in the US. And, the predominant myth that ALL Americans are rich.
I was also amazed to hear the boys discussing politics on the drive to the hike. Keep in mind that these are 11 year old kids. They discussed George Bush and Hillary Clinton (no mention of Bill) and their hope yet disappointment for Obama. When the conversation drifted to travel they realized that they all have another strong connection.....all are British citizens and have valid British passports. I was amazed. Ewan gets his British citizenship through his father who was born in Glasgow. He can keep his dual citizenship indefinitely. Manrajh, Ewan's British born Indian friend gets his by birth and Tomas Stewart (another very Scottish name) immigrated to London years ago only to return to NZ but kept the citizenship and the passport. It truly is a small world and though the British Empire is not as large as it once was, the sun still never sets on it's citizens.