We fly home to New Zealand on Friday morning, after nearly two month’s in good ‘ole Blighty with the folks. We can’t wait to get back to Dan (aka Daddy) and our home. Staying on longer as helped me come full circle in the all too expected roller coaster of emotions one feels on return to the UK.
It’s meant so much to spend extra time with my folks, particularly since the recent passing of my beloved Grandmother. I’ve spent hours talking over happy memories and looking through old photographs. Many times we’ve felt Grandma’s presence with us and she’s sent us little ‘signs’ that have seemed more than mere coincidence.
Tonight, Aunty Claire is with us and Charlotte is still pottering away in her bedroom, far too excited too sleep! We will have to wake the girls from their sleep on Friday morning to get to Heathrow in plenty of time to check-in, but hopefully they’ll have a decent nap on the journey to San Francisco. We are going to spend a couple of night’s there (and Charlotte is insistant on us cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge again!).
I’ve missed writing my daily posts and have so many beautiful photographs, but time with my family has naturally been so much more important than geeking out on a computer!
My dear parents have really pulled out all the stops to fill our days with excitement and wonder. Both the girls loved journeying up to London and The Natural History Museum was an incredible highlight, even if we did only manage a mere tenth of what it had to offer (naturally the dinosaur exhibit and the great Blue Whale where high on our list!). We even managed to stop for a while and enjoy a bottle of vino from one of London’s antiquated wine cellars ‘underground’ (thankfully outdoor dining by a park made it all the easier with our little cherubs!).
Catching up with dear University friends and school friends has meant the world to me. Living on the other side of the world is hard at times and it’s not always easy to find friends that one can resonate with at ease.
On a smaller scale we’ve so enjoyed soaking up the British countryside and wildlife. Frequent visitations to Grandma and Grandad’s garden by robins, squirrels, collared-doves and wood-pigoens have been enchanting. Walks alongside the Basingstoke Canal wondering in the history of the narrow-boats and visiting King John’s Castle bring a warm feeling that will hold firm with time. The mix of natural beauty and human history in the British landscape never fails to stir my senses. I stood in awe at the ruin’s of King John’s Castle (in Odiham), which he used as a hunting lodge, and rode his horse from in 1215 to sign The Magna Carta in Runnymede.
It’s been a delight to read British newspapers and watch quality television every evening (something I’ve generally given up on in New Zealand!). I’m not sure I’d be such a prolific blogger if I lived in the UK!
I owe my parents a huge debt of gratitude for being such wonderful hosts to myself and the girls. It’s been a real holiday to come down from the bedtime rituals to fresh washing, clean dishes and no household duties. On the contrary, there has been the wonderful offering of Italian, Spanish and French wines and cheeses!
I doubt I will get another opportunity to write until my return to New Zealand on Tuesday morning (local NZ time) next week. I have so many projects to do when I get back, including making up scrapbooks of our incredible trip for the girls. It will be quite an adjustment for us, but we’ll soon be back to our regular routines.
I am particularly looking forward to taking in the fresh (but hopefully not too fresh!) air on the southerly coast of Wellington.
I shall miss my family dearly, the history, the countryside dotted with public houses and maze of walking tracks, but I shan’t miss the sheer volume of people, traffic, real and media-hightened fear of internal and externally orientated strife.
Our lives, at this stage, are simple and easy in Wellington, New Zealand.
In less than twenty years our dear daughters will probably be wanting to make their own ‘OE’s’ to Europe and we may well journey back ourselves to live, if not before. But, for the meantime, New Zealand is our home and as the girls grow we will make the most of the awesome outdoor playground which we’ve come to know and love.
We are so very fortunate to experience the best of both worlds. Charlotte and Sophie have no idea how lucky they are and it is our hope that they will grow to appreciate and respect the world which they love.
Which reminds me! They both have matching tracksuits for our return flight, with the appropriate words emblazoned on them, ‘Love Our World, Tenderly’.