Well, it’s done. What we think will be the hardest part of the trip has happened – the girls have gone off to their respective schools for their first day. And as of about 20 minutes ago, I no longer want to throw up, so that’s a step in the right direction.
It’s been a busy few days – hosting Fr. John for the night, buying uniforms, officially visiting Tate’s school and meeting her lovely principal, preparing our first real meal at home, settling in further, our first Saturday night out on the town, a Sunday morning ferry ride over to Devonport for brunch, hosting some new friends for some nibbles Sunday afternoon, and the first day of school.
The girls aren’t big fans of their uniforms (yet – I’m *sure* they’ll grow to love them!), so I wasn’t able to get a good shot of them this morning. But here’s a fun one of them trying on their respective hats. Tate’s is her winter hat and Gracie is required to wear one for PE, because the sun is so hot here. At the last minute, she flipped it around all gangsta-like, but you get the idea, I’m sure.
Tate’s warming up to her beret and here’s one of Gracie helping her put it on this morning before school She opted not to wear it after all, much to my dismay, but we’ve still got time, so I’m hopeful. You can see Gracie’s striped blazer, which she has declared THE.UGLIEST.THING.EVER. She’s not totally wrong, but when everyone’s in them, it’s not that bad.
Mark took Tate to her sweet Marist School, where her principal was waiting for her in her classroom, along with most of her new classmates. I guess when she walked in, they swarmed her with great, big, friendly “Hellos!” which I’m sure put her at ease. I think they’ll go out of their way to make her feel welcome and at home and comfortable.
I dropped Gracie at St. Mary’s, which was a little different. She was expecting to meet a ‘buddy’ right off the bat, but she wasn’t there, which was a little disappointing. I left her with her Dean (basically the principal of Year 7), who totally gets that she’s nervous and doesn’t know what to expect. He’s young, very nice, and seemed pretty cool, so I know I left her in good hands, but I also know she was really scared. This is the hardest thing we’ve asked them to do, and they’re handling it as well as can be expected, which is to say that emotions change from minute to minute… But they’re troopers and I know ultimately it will be great – but until they find their footing, I think things will be a bit dicey.
Before school happened, though, we’ve been having some fun and settling in further. I finally made a real meal here, which I’m only mentioning, because at home I use my InstantPot for it, but here had to just make it normal in a regular oven. In a pan-type I’ve never used (but thanks to Google, I see now that it’s a Coquelle), in an oven with settings I also had to Google since there are just pictures, no words like “bake” or “broil.” But it turned out just as delicious as it does at home – and I think it looked pretty good going in, too.
Here’s where I got the recipe – it’s one of our favorites and you don’t even need a pressure cooker to make it!
We were out on the town Saturday night, hitting up Auckland’s best BBQ joint. Not like American BBQ, so Gracie was quite distraught, but the food was excellent anyway. Sunday morning we decided to venture out of our little corner of Auckland to go to brunch over in Devonport, which is right across the Hauraki Gulf from downtown. So we bussed down to the ferry, ferried over and then ate our faces off at a cafe called Corelli’s. But before we did that, this was our sunrise Sunday morning – maybe the prettiest one yet.
At Corelli’s, I tried a Turmeric Latte. Had ginger, turmeric, maybe some nutmeg. Didn’t love it, but glad I tried it. The yellow freaked the girls out. And me too, a little bit, if I’m telling the truth. Everyone else went more traditional, although Mark did order a bowl of coffee. Because you can never have too much.
The food was AMAZING – I got an omelet (foreground), and the girls got Vanilla Hotcakes, which are in the background. I don’t think you can really see it here, but those things were at least an inch thick. Airy and crispy. Holy cow they were delicious. And right next to them, you can see a big pile of bacon. Yum. Like seriously, yum.
Then we explored Mount Victoria (or Takarunga in Maori), which is the highest volcano nearby. The views were awesome – here they are, from the other side of the water.
Tate and I popped off the bus home to swing by the grosch Sunday afternoon. We got caught in a surprise rain storm, so by the time we carted the grocery bags up the big hill for 3/4 of a mile, we looked like wet cats. Then had some new friends pop over. They are Lucy’s parents (Lucy, who my friend met at a dinner party and then we met her parents in Atlanta at the same time we met Karen, who we saw on the street last week), and it was fun to see some familiar faces. They know SO MUCH and have already been so helpful – it’s nice to have them nearby and I hope we see more of them. AND Clive brought me a really nice bottle of wine. Yay!
And then school this morning. So we’ve been busy and are slowly but surely feeling more comfortable and making this our home, at least for the next six months.