Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving. Onto Christmas now!
After I posted on Thanksgiving, the Fergutodd Four trekked off to a local beach and had a pizza picnic for dinner, watching the sunset. Not even close to how we would’ve celebrated at home, but a pretty great way to celebrate all of our blessings during our adventure on this side of the world.
Friday evening, we went to some friends’ to celebrate Thanksgiving. They’d lived in the States for years and invited another family who’d also spent quite a long time in the States. The kids all somehow connect through schools, and I’ve had several coffees and wines with these mums. It was such a fun night and really special to be included (which I learned when we moved to Columbia can make all the difference in the world). It’s late spring here, so the weather is fantastic. The kids were in and out of the pool, the huge sliding glass doors were open to the back yard, the conversation was fun, the wine was poured liberally, the dinner was delicious, the table was gorgeous. A really wonderful memory to take with us. Here’s a shot of the kids toasting with their sparkling grape juice. So cute.
Saturday morning we got a farm box delivery full of fresh, local goodies. I love when the farmer comes to you!
And then we went with a friend to the Grey Lynn Festival – just a festival at a local park. It’s been YEARS since we’ve been to a festival as a family – mostly because Columbia doesn’t have a bunch of them and it’s usually so hot. And, it’s worth mentioning, that frequently the girls used to be a pain and make them not quite so fun. So I was skeptical of how everyone would do on Saturday. But the girls were great – helps that we let them run around on their own so they could explore the booths in the area. And there was some really cool stuff – we got a couple things and the friend we were with bought us something with NZ scenes on it, so it will be fun to look at when we’re home and remember her and the fun day together. And obviously, no festival would be complete without a strangely-dressed band.
In one of the areas, they had essentially gypsies selling their very cool stuff. So these people live in their converted buses/trucks/vehicles and just go from festival to festival. Some of these vehicles were seriously tricked out. I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but the outsides are these curious works of art. The one on the left is a bus and the one on the right has been decorated to look like a building. It was cool.
Saturday night, we went to dinner with Mark’s department chair here – a fancy little French bistro, called Paris Butter. We did the Chef’s tasting menu, so every course was a surprise. It was insanely delicious, and the food was so beautiful. I seriously should’ve taken pictures of all the courses and dropped it on Insta, but I really don’t think I’m nearly enough of a hipster to do that. It’s been on our list of places to try, though, so it was fun to finally do it.
Sunday, we hosted Clive and Helen (the parents of Lucy, the girl we met right before we came over) for brunch. Had a great visit with them – we really enjoy their perspective and thoughts on everything from vacations to parenting. We drank some nice wine, walked around the Viaduct a bit. And then said good-bye. GAH! It’s starting again! They were so lovely to us, and it was so reassuring to have them nearby in case we had any questions or needed anything. And it’s strange to think that we don’t know when we will see them again. I am certain that we will, just don’t know when.
So OF COURSE it’s got me thinking about the rest of the good-byes looming in front of us. Such a strange prospect, since we are going so far away. We really don’t know when we’ll see our new friends again, and live chatting/texting will take some planning with the crazy time difference. But we will take these people who have had such a profound and lasting impact on our family with us always. How do you find the words to thank people for being such an important part of a life-changing experience? If you’ve got an idea, please let me know…
Monday, Mark and I headed back down to Mission Bay, a neighborhood down the coast. Had lunch at a Belgian cafe, so he could have his beloved green-lipped mussels (they’re on special Mondays!) and some of his favorite wheat beer. Upstairs on the deck, sitting across from my Professor, overlooking the Bay with Rangitoto in the background, the Pohutukawas in bloom. Seriously a great way to spend a couple of hours.
And then we went to the Parnell Rose Gardens. Where we literally stopped and smelled the roses.
Kinda like we’ve been doing since we arrived on the shores of this beautiful little fishing village all the way at the end of the earth 135 days ago. And will continue to do for the remaining 42 days we’re here.