I shan’t look back to see how long it’s been since I blogged: suffice to say it’s been quite a while. It has not, however, been too long: living life is more important than writing about it. Mostly.
The first of my overseas visitors–two of my chosen family, from Vancouver and Austin–arrived on the 7th of December. My beloved arrived on 23 December. Throughout that period I’ve also (mostly) worked, which means it’s been a busy few weeks. Busy, but lovely. If the first one’s any indication, Christmas and St Stephen’s Day in NZ will be just fine, thank you.
Here’s some highlights of December:
Nearly climbing an active volcano: we did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Well almost as much as you can, since part of it’s closed due to the odd eruption. For someone in very poor shape I did very well: I made it to the saddle and missed just the last bit. Apparently the best bit, but being a snowboard I’ve learned to trust my instinct–and my instinct said “duuude, no more up, start going down.” 8km down is only marginally easier after 8km up, it turns out. Photos can be found here.
My team: I’ve inherited a great group of colleagues, and a unit that’s been nicely nurtured. There’s scope for us to do all sorts of interesting and meaningful work in the coming months. Very, very pleased.
Climbing into an active volcano: I first came to NZ in 1992; I’ve wanted to visit Whaakari (White Island) ever since. It took 20 years but it wasn’t at all disappointing: the sting of sulphuric acid vapours, the heat, the inability to breathe without a gas mask. The 90 minute boat trip each way was lovely too. So were the hundreds of dolphins that decided to join us on the way back to port. Only things missing were Himself and Dr. Moore. Photos can be found here.
Xmas lunch with the lads: Paul and Alan (who own this and work here and here) hosted a lovely holiday lunch at theirs. Great meal on the back deck, then chatter and natter in the lounge whilst the remnants of Evan blew through.
St. Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day at ours: our first family event in NZ. Whanau, friends old and friends new. There was much barbecuing and much warmth. More Evan. All the fun of the holidays without the stress of Xmas expectations. Perhaps an annual event?
Himself: In order to set ourselves up for the next phase of our lives Max has been Vancouver whilst I settle in here in Auckland. the first 2 months were the toughest, though it’ll be another 3 months now until we see one another again. But we agree this is the way to go. I got to deal with packing, moving and unpacking; he got to deal with an empty apartment that needed renovating before it could be sold. But as of Christmas Eve his motorcycle is on the road here and during the next 10 days I hope he goes for a few good rides. He’s earned ’em.
NZ fairly shuts down until early January (except for retail and service industry staff, though a surprising number of restos are also closed), which I already quite like. The boys leave today; Max is here until the Epiphany (Coincidence? J’espère). I’ve been a bit sad during the holidays: it does feel a lot farther from the family up North. But the first one is the hardest, right?
Wishing you and yours a peaceful, restful and joyous holiday season!