Time for another semi-random Weekend Update!
Since 2004, I’ve been scheming about one particular thing.
The plan? “Some way, some how, get back to New Zealand.”
On October 31st, 2012, we touched down at Auckland International Airport, and for the past nearly-three weeks we’ve been in a wonderland of sorts, starting in the city, then disappeared into the rolling green hills….
Waitakere Ranges Regional Park
Week one: My friend Nessa and her terrific flat-mates Jade, Julie, and Peter hosted us for the first stretch of days in Auckland. Nessa’s dog, Rogan, took an instant liking to Ted, and I daresay Ted took a pretty quick liking to Rogan, to Kiwis, and to New Zealand in general.
Beach walk in Piha, on Auckland’s west coast
Nessa, Rogan, Jade, me and Ted at Kitekite Falls (pronounced “kitty-kitty!”) on the Hillary Trail
Invited to join Peter’s 30th birthday celebration, complete with a giant banana cake.
We stayed here at Nessa, Peter, Jade, and Julie’s house (pictured in the film) – and got the chance to admire the fine banana craft built by Peter and his friends. Absolutely a kick!
Week Two & Three: The Daily Travel Journal went on complete hiatus.
twoOregonians went off the radar.
And life was never better.
Thanks to my dear friend CJ’s recommendation that we connect with her aunt and uncle in the Waikaretu Valley, we ended up at Nikau Cave and Cafe for a week and a half, volunteering for room and board and learning the family lore and farming way of life of the Woodward Clan.
The Sheep-Shearing-World-History-Making story of Philip and Anne’s daughter, Emily…
Caves and coffees and concerts. The makings of “Caving and Craft Brew” Number Two.
Ted and I with Philip, Pauline, Anne, Margaux, Kay, Jess, and David…a rag-tag bunch, we Oregonians, Brits, German, Dutch, and Kiwis! The Woodwards and their ever-revolving door welcome in fascinating people from around the world, and we thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the entire bunch.
Picnics and weed-pulling.
Bamboo harvest and bonfires.
Guy Fawkes fireworks and on-site coffee roasting*.
Sunset over the Tasman Sea.
Absolutely no better way to experience the finest of rural New Zealand living…
*And absolutely no better way to convince Ted that New Zealand is truly this close to Heaven on earth!
Pauline, Margaux, and me…at the end of another happy day.
Ted and I have five weeks left in New Zealand; five weeks left in our trip around the world.
We’re motoring around the island in our little red “Cherry-ot” thanks to CarRentals.co.uk, and gathering the final (I don’t like that word – it sounds too definite) – gathering the yet-undiscovered blessings and experiences of this season.
And so, with tales from Asia in the blog pipeline and adventures in New Zealand unfolding daily, I’m here this weekend with the notice that “no news is good news” when we’re silent on the web. (Though news is good news, too. See our finally-posted updates in the Daily Travel Journal!)
The stories keep stacking up…and I’m learning to let them.
This chapter will soon be over.
Best to savor every real-life moment.
Writing today* from the Garrison Public House in Auckland, New Zealand where Ted and my cousin Sam and I are rooting for our Oregon Ducks university football team. My local friend Nessa helped us find a spot to watch the broadcast. They’ve got wifi, beer, and pizza, and I’m working like mad to catch up on trip planning, post writing, picture sorting, and team-rooting.
*Finishing writing tonight from a sweet little room in Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula. This afternoon’s trip planning, post writing, and picture sorting went well. The team-rooting was a bit rubbish. Still nursing wounded pride and dashed hopes as our team falls from number one in the nation… On the bright side: my cousin and Ted and I have a future of hot-pool soaking on the beach, hiking in the bush, hunting down a Zorbing adventure, and returning to Nikau Cave and Cafe for at least another coffee or two. Even an Oregon Ducks loss can’t spoil this paradise.