WOW – what a whirlwind last 10 or so days. We are now in our fourth location in NZ – Auckland, Nelson, Dargaville and finally One Tree Point. This is our last stop before heading back to Auckland tomorrow for that one way flight and the start of our awesome world adventure.
Last Sunday evening was full of laughs and good times, then tears and goodbyes. The boys casually said their “goodbyes” and “see ya laters” like it was not a big deal, yet I was a mess. Yes, these days there are so many more ways to stay in touch and video calling, but it’s not quite the same. In some ways I wished I could be that casual but I had to get used to it, this was what the next two weeks were all about.
Monday was a surreal day, the house was so, so empty and we were about to spend our last night together in the house. The car was all packed up ready for an very early morning start the next day. In the afternoon I took Lincoln to catch up with two of his good friends, Cameron and Jesse, and have a couple of wines with their mums. A couple of hours turned into nearly four and you realise you need to do these sorts of things as much as you can. Often life gets in the way; days, weeks, months go by and you say “we must catch up soon” but don’t. Again, the boys casually said goodbye and we were off home for our last dinner in the house.
Tuesday was ANZAC Day, we woke around 5am to get out of the house and to a dawn service at Waikumete Cemetery. It wasn’t as cold as we thought, which was good as the boys only seem to have shorts left in their packing cells. Logan managed to find his great, great grandfather’s grave; he had enlisted at the age of 41 and spent a few years in active service. We placed some poppies and took some photos to show his grandmother later that day. After some very loud cannons, the main service, an always erie ‘last post’, a very emotional national anthem and more cannons, we left the service and headed straight to the airport to fly to Nelson. It was such a clear, beautiful morning and the flight highlighted how gorgeous this country is.
We were in Nelson to visit Logan’s grandparents, his maternal grandmother (Grandma Dawn and Da) and paternal grandmother (Nan) and we were also lucky to be able to stay with some friends (Mark and Kate) and catch up with them and their two gorgeous kids. Nelson turned on beautiful weather (as always) and we had some great times and meals. The first day we took Nan out for lunch and learnt some more family history, her father also fought in the war. The afternoon saw us catch up with Grandma Dawn and Da and then we spent the evening with Mark and his kids, Josh and Millie.
Day 2 in Nelson saw us do a bit of shopping for a very special member of the family and lunch with Grandma Dawn and Da at a lovely spot amongst the vines and garden at The Grape Escape Cafe. Logan and Dawn raved about the spicy tomato juices, the meals were very generous and really tasty and the beer and wines went down pretty nicely as well. We said our goodbyes and went to see Nan again as well. Kate was back from her trip away, so we had a chance to catch up with her as well this evening.Thursday was a long day of travel, we said “see ya later” to Nelson and flew back to Auckland. After a quick trip back to our house to do one last check, we headed north to my home town of Dargaville to stay with my parents for a few nights. By the time we arrived, the sun had just gone down and we were well ready for dinner and an earlier night.
Friday morning I suggested we climb a peak near Dargaville, the locally famous, Tokatoka. Often referred to simply as “toke” and possibly more known for the pub/tavern (especially in it’s hay day), and something I hadn’t done for a number of years. Logan was wondering why I would suggest such a thing as he had visions of helping/carrying a 4 year old up this mountain. Lincoln did some research and found that Tokatoka was a rare phenomenon, the plug of an ancient volcano. This certainly sparked Braxton’s interest as he is mad about volcanoes and was now pretty keen to climb one. He did a stella job and climbed the whole way by himself as Lincoln charged ahead and lead the way. While the day was a little cloudy, we still had amazing 360 degree views at the summit in between chasing the bugs away.
Friday was also settlement day – wahoo!! Bank account is looking pretty healthy.
Saturday night we had a family dinner with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece and Auntie and for lunch on Sunday I was able to catch up with a very good friend, Shannon, for a few hours. To quote Shannon, “you can’t beat those rare lifelong friendships that last from your entire school years to adulting and parenting.” It truly is a special thing. Monday saw yet another lunch, this time with just the girls; me, Mum, Tracy (my sister-in-law) & Donna (my niece).
In between all the eating and drinking, we also managed some Geocaching, (something we heard about from friends, Mark and Kate) which is ‘the world’s largest treasure hunt’ and is going to be very interesting to continue doing this on our travels.
We left good ol’ Dargs on Tuesday and headed over to the East Coast to One Tree Point where Logan’s parents are. Stunning spot, right on the beach; the boys have fished, we’ve gathered shellfish, geocached and indulged in more great food, coffee and wine.So now it’s Friday 5th May 2017, 54 days since we purchased our flights. Our bags are packed and we are ready to explore the world!!