I have been doing a book & family tour of NZ and time has slowed to a leisurely, wholesome pace – I seem to be having lots of adventures and yet there is still plenty of time to relax and get things done… I am sure there are more hours in the day here.
A lot has changed since I left ‘the land of the long white cloud’ 10 years ago, and I have a whole new appreciation for my friends, my ever expanding family and how beautiful the countryside is.
I flew into Auckland and found that my Dad in his retirement has found a passion for baking; scones, cakes and yummy deserts filled my belly each day. I jumped on the back of my brother’s motorbike for a blat out to see a collection of wooden sculptures, enjoyed cocktails, cheese and catch ups with my older sister and took my 9 year old brother out for an afternoon of hot chocolates and rummaging through a toy shop for treasures.
I took the scenic bus trip down to Papamoa/Tauranga to stay with my little sister and young niece Talia who have just moved to a place 20 meters from the beach. We enjoyed lazing in hot pools, hunting for pipis and I spent many an hour teaching Talia gymnastics on the living room floor.
I arrived after dark to where Mum lives on the outskirts of Palmerston North, but awoke to the panoramic view from my bed of tree lined hills sprinkled with windmills and the bluest sky you could ever imagine.
Mum joined me for the book part of the ‘tour’ to radio stations, book shops, coffee shops and newspapers for interviews. It has been a fun thing to share and I am constantly reminded of my Irish husbands saying that “I didn’t lick it off the stones”. The older I get the more I appreciate that I am a product of the attitudes and culture of my family.
I have loved catching up with my Mum like old friends, gorgeous conversations challenging the limits of business, personal growth and for what is possible… topics ebb and flow between cups of tea, blogging, phone calls, cooking big pots of soup and all the other stuff that comes and goes each day. I have been twice to the movies with my Nana, with time to delight in her knowledge and understanding of the world and our common taste in film.
Yesterday Mum, Nana and I took a picnic mat and big pile of fish and chips down to the cemetery to spend some time with my little brother who died 6 months ago. It was a simple and lovely way to remember him, and we reminisced about all manner of family things past including the grandfather I never met who shares my brothers grave.
Tomorrow I leave for Wellington and the last week of my trip home. Wellington was where at 17 I discovered my love for live music, culture and my ability to create events. I will catch up with my funky aunties and my young cousins and I am very much looking forward to a reunion tomorrow with my dear friends and ex flatmates from a big warehouse apartment we shared for many fun filled years of music and madness before I left for sunny Oz.
If I look back I was ecstatic to leave home 15 years ago. I yearned for independence, understanding and adventure and found wonderful likeminded people at every step of the journey. Now at 31 I have a new appreciation for the roots and familiarity that is family (in whatever shape or form!) and have felt a sad sense of loss as I have left each part of my family along the way.
I am used to saying goodbye and visiting for short times, but I am not used to the feeling that I want to stay longer. This is a lovely new bit to my existence that luckily with my mobile lifestyle I can accommodate a little more often.
How old were you when you began to appreciate your family?