Kia Ora, y’all. That just means hello in Maori, but I love to say it. It’s pronounced key-yora, all one smooth word.
It’s Monday afternoon here, which means that we have FOUR more weekends in Auckland. That’s it. I’m dying. I can’t believe something I’ve dreamt of doing for 13 years is almost over. It’s been the greatest experience ever and I’m SO. THANKFUL. we were able to do it.
I think I’ve mentioned that we don’t have a TV here. And the girls didn’t really bring any toys. So they’ve had to get pretty creative with their free time and playing. As soon as they earn their allowance, they go buy these little (stupid) Beanie Boos or other small stuffed animals. It’s been annoying me, because I think it’s a dumb way to spend their money and honestly – do they need more stuffed animals?! BUT. They have created whole worlds and games and activities around these animals, so maybe I’m a jerk for judging my little girls too harshly. Now that the weather is nice, this is what’s happening in our yard:
I don’t know if you can really tell what’s going on there. They’ve taken their stuffed animals and created these little habitats for them out of things they’ve found in the yard – fern fronds, sticks, fallen palm branches, etc. I took that picture from the 2nd floor terrace for some perspective, but here are some close-ups of their creations.
This past weekend, our friend (Fr.) John came to vist us, because he’s in Auckland for a retreat this week. It was fun to have him here with us again, and he taught The Professor how to make mussels. Here are some pictures of the priest schooling The Professor.
And then The Professor even washed the pot! I don’t know if you can really see the mussels? They’re the green-lipped mussels found here in NZ and are actually pretty yummy. And they’re kind of cool to look at. It was great to have John here with us. We celebrated Mass at home Sunday morning, just the five of us with the girls doing the readings, and it was lovely.
Last weekend, we took advantage of some beautiful weather and went to a local park, Western Springs Park. I think it’s famous for its black swans (who, by the way, are pretty aggressive). But I was obsessed with the Pukekos in the park. A Pukeko is a native New Zealand bird with a great name and a beautiful coloring. And freaky feet.
I’m afraid of birds, so the fact that I was able to take these pictures is pretty impressive. And that’s a pretty pathetic humble-brag, isn’t it?! Also, a shout out to the girls who walked in front of me, ensuring I had a bird-free path…
Before we went to the park, we went to a local farmers market. See how dirty the potatoes were? That’s because they came straight from the ground, where it’s dirty! Even the ones in the grocery store have dirt on them. I cannot imagine anyone at home tolerating dirt on their vegetables in the stores, which I feel like is a sad thing for us. Both were delicious, by the way.
Other than that, just life has been happening. I’m doing some more work for our landlord and enjoying it. I’ve moved on from editing and proofing to working on some creative stuff. Had a video conference with a client in Fiji last week. It all still seems pretty surreal to me. But definitely fun.
I am dreading coming home, to be honest. At home, there is so much anger rolling off just about everyone. When I think about it, I can feel my blood pressure rise. I didn’t really notice that the constant undercurrent of anger from both sides of the political aisle gave me a feeling of fight-or-flight all the time, always expecting another attack from either side (both sides), because I’m not far enough either way on the political spectrum to please all the people in my life… So I really dread it, being faced with all that anger, and watching civility deteriorate right before our eyes. That said, I’m not sure how easy it would be to live here permanently. A friend recently asked if it was as amazing here as it seems – and the answer is HELLS YES. But would it stay this way if it were permanent and not an extended vacation? I don’t know. I think, though, that I’d like to find out. There is a lot here that I really love and want to be surrounded by – more than simply NOT being surrounded by American politics. Anyways. Maybe I’m just being especially reflective since our time is running out, and it has been one of the very best things our family has ever done.
Things are getting busy as the school year is winding down, so there should be some fun stuff coming up. Will keep you posted.