A speeding train

Where to start? We leave in less than two weeks (12 days to be exact) and GAH! I can’t even believe it. We’ve still got a LOT to do, but I know this train is speeding at us and there’s no way to stop it.

Mom and Dad arrived in Auckland on 19 December, but here was the sunset the night before they arrived… I will miss that view for sure.

 We met my parents and their travel friends at their cruise ship and then ferried on over to Devonport where we all enjoyed brunch at Corelli’s Cafe, one of our favorites. Here we are, reunited after six long months!

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Devonport gives a good view of Auckland, which is what we were after, since neither Mom and Dad nor their friends had a lot of time there. Their friends flew out later that day, but we were able to show Mom and Dad a little slice of our Auckland life. Which basically means the girls’ schools and our favorite cafes along the way – and Dear Jervois, Mary’s top the list every time. We didn’t do very much other than eat and drink, to be honest. Our friends Simon and Ngaire hosted us for a delicious dinner their first night in town, and we had the McDowells over for pizza our last night in town. With lots coffee, beer and wine in between. It was great to share with Mom and Dad a little bit of the life that we loved so much here.

It was strange (SO strange) to crawl into bed for the last time – I kept thinking of our first night in the house when the Professor and I wondered just how crazy we were to try and pull this off. Seemed like just yesterday. Time really does fly. And then this is what we woke to – an amazing last sunrise. And y’all know that they weren’t all like this, right? I’ve only showed you the really stunning ones. Some were just meh…

Some last-minute frantic packing up and one last trip to Buoy for a breakfast and coffee looking at one of our favorite views. And one of my Mom and Tate on their way to the cafe.

I was so sad to leave Auckland, knowing it was my last time as a ‘resident,’ but look what was waiting for us in Queenstown – it hardly seems fair to complain.

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That was the view from our house – we’ll take it! We had a great couple days. Did a lake cruise, a jet boat ride, spent a lot of time at the local pubs and playing games at the house. The weather for the first 3 days was beautiful, but then it was kind of rainy and dreary on Christmas and Boxing Day. But we still managed to have a lot of fun and a great Christmas. Hannah was with us, which was lovely and the girls ADORE her, so it was great to have her around.

Our first evening took us down to the shores of Lake Wakatipu and a pub called Pog Mahone’s there. We had more than one drink there over the course of several days, not gonna lie. We also spent a fair amount of time at the Pig and the Whistle pub, but I didn’t get pictures of that. But imagine everyone sitting around drinking beer and wine and eating chips and you’ll get it.

The Remarkables from the cruise on the first day and us on the jet boat:

After the jet boat, we all walked around and did some shopping. And took pictures by the big Kiwi (and no, Tate’s not *actually* taller than I am – close, but not quite yet).

Below are some scenes from the house. Which, yes, had an indoor pool. And a hot tub. On Christmas when it was rainy, Hannah treated the girls to a ‘spa day,’ complete with face masks.  It was hilarious and just one more way she makes the girls feel so loved.

It was a little weird not being home for Christmas, but I really loved the simplicity… remains to be seen if it will translate to next year, but maybe. Our pile of presents was significantly smaller, which was great – especially because we have to fit everything in our already-bulging suitcases. Here’s our pile of presents and The Professor with his favorite gift, the book “How to DAD, volume 2.” Sweet as, bro. And two of our dinner wines, one of which was a gift from Lucy’s parents Clive and Helen – I’m also going to miss Clive’s wines when we leave!

But all good things must come to an end and we had to put Hannah on a plane back to Auckland on Tuesday. Don’t know when we’ll see her again, which made all of us girls cry when we said good bye. She’s been a big sister/big cousin/young aunt to the girls and watching them say good bye was gut wrenching. And then I cried like a baby at the airport – thankfully not caught on film. There was a glass of water that she’d left on her bedside table and I went to clear it this morning and the girls about came out of their skin, shouting, “NO! That’s the last thing of Hannah’s that we have! DON’T TOUCH IT!” So they’re a little weird about it right now. Also? There was a bug in the glass of water, so I just took it anyway.

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And then yesterday morning we dropped Mom and Dad at the airport as we began our climb up the South Island. I was sad to say good bye to them, but was b e y o n d thrilled they made the trip. To share this country that we love so much with them was incredibly special and we loved every minute. Also, my dad, who is not *always* the most flexible person in the room was a total champ. Rolled with the flow and was truly the Rubber Band Man. We’ll spend a night with them when we finally make our way back to SC, so we’ll see them again soon. Not with the same backdrop, but their little pond is OK, too, I guess.

Tonight we’re staying at an Airbnb on 50 acres with cows, sheep, deer, ducks, dogs, and a cat. Here’s just a little bit of what we saw today.

Umm, that mountain? That’s Mount Cook or Aoraki in Maori, the highest mountain in the country. That’s NOT here at the Airbnb. But the deer mugging for the camera is.

More adventures tomorrow and will keep you posted.


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