NZ: home is where the heart is

Initially, three weeks in the motherland had seemed like a lifetime. Being there was a whole other story. Three weeks at home meant approximately one week at each of our homes, with a sneaky trip to Wellington thrown in the mix. Andy’s brother Tom was to be married in Brisbane on October 12, so if we were flying that far back for a wedding it only made sense to continue on home. It had the added benefit of allowing a re-pack for Canada, as well of course, a chance to see all our dear friends and family.

We flew into Queenstown – always a treat, particularly at this time of year with the snowy peaks against a backdrop of blue sky. To our delight, both of Andy’s parents were there to meet our sleep deprived, disheveled selves. We couldn’t wait to see Louis (the Dysarts’ black lab) – a reciprocal feeling, as he definitely equates us with lots of playtime and long walks. 

No trip to Arrowtown is complete without brunch at the Chop Shop or fudge from The Remarkables Sweet Shop, but we added variation to our stay by also trying out Aosta (an Italian gem on the main drag) and Cargo (a local microbrewery). We indulged in lots of home made coffee and spas, as well as trying to rediscover fitness with a few trips to the gym. I will never get sick of this part of the country!

Andy and I parted ways for a few days as he had a boys’ trip to Bannockburn and I ducked home to the mighty Hawke’s Bay. This name rang true at the Magpies rugby game later that night as we thumped Taranaki and remained unbeaten to date. Brunches with friends, catch ups with Pop and walks up and around Te Mata peak occupied my next few days until Andy arrived. To be honest, the rest of the week continued in a similar manner with added visits to old favourites Maina, Mamacita and Starlake as well as introducing Andy to Namaskar, my new favourite (and now his!) Indian restaurant. 

A road trip to Wellington enabled us to catch up with all our old colleagues, flat-mates, my cousin Stevie, and our wider circle of friends. We surprised Ed (our old flattie) for his birthday, which almost proved impossible to uphold when in the weeks preceding he announced he was going to do a ‘murder mystery’ and therefore required specific numbers of attendance!

Across the weekend, I almost ate my weight in food, both old and new haunts (think Husk, Little Penang, Highwater and the Ramen Shop to name just a few) but sadly this excess energy didn’t help in my endeavour to solve the murder mystery – although I sure had a great time trying! 

We journeyed up through the North island to Mount Maunganui, past Ruapehu (which, sadly and ironically, probably had more snow than down south) and through the new 110km/hour toll road. The weather barely cooperated, although we did manage to climb the mount, take a few beach walks and make it to Ohope (Andy’s first time) where my family had a glorious day reminiscing about the holidays we’d all once had, before we’d sold the bach.

Andy and I cooked up a storm in the kitchen, making all the things we’d missed so much while we’d been away – and probably won’t get to cook again for some time. We also enjoyed a lovely birthday dinner out at Rice Rice Baby, joined by one of my oldest friends Kelsey, who lives in Tauranga now. 

All too soon we were back in the Bay, packing up our things and preparing to fly out once again. First though, a day at the races. Yet another first for Andy – you can imagine my Dad’s disbelief at that! The day got off on the right foot when Andy opened his betting book and out dropped a $50 betting voucher spot prize. The day continued in good fashion (both on and off the track) and we all had a fun time.

Three weeks after our arrival in New Zealand we were back in the international departure lounge. Goodbyes are hard, especially when drawn out over three weeks. Also when they’re permanent, as it was to Dad and Dee’s cat Jefferson (more commonly known as Jeff). It was so good to see so many people though, and fortunately the family fun continues for a bit longer across the ditch. See you soon Brizzy! 

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