I can’t get over how beautiful the surroundings are. Hydrangea bushes 8 feet tall grow like weeds everywhere. The botanical garden is just a short (but very steep!) walk from our house and gorgeous beach is about a 15 min. drive. I always found New Zealand to be beautiful, but I had never been here in the summer. I wondered if it was so green because it was winter, kind of like California’s hills turn green, but then back to brown in the summer. But no, it really is so beautiful!
Brian left on Thursday to stay over night at a nearby marae (a traditional Maori religious/community building). So after only two nights in our new home, the girls and I were on our own. Clover and I ventured to a nearby park and that night, Piper and Tatum and I had a sleepover. While I was excited to have the big kids in school and have special time with Clover, the reality hit me on Friday afternoon that hanging out with a toddler can be lonely. I went through this with Piper, and again with Tatum when Piper started kindy, so deep down I know it will all work out, but I started feeling anxious about being lonely. Anxiety is a weird thing. I wasn’t lonely yet, but worried, that I would be lonely in the future. That put me in a bad mood. That afternoon we had a meet and greet at the Fulbright offices and I was still in a bad mood. The hard part of being a newbie was showing its ugly face. Mingling with strangers for 2 hours and trying to think of meaningful things to say is hard work! So between the mingling and the anxiety, I was ready for our 3 day weekend.
Waitangi Day (a day celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, NZ’s founding document) is today, which means no school! We spent Saturday cleaning, which was almost torturous since it was a gorgeous day outside. The house had a musty smell when we moved in and so we wanted to air everything out and do a deep clean since we are staying awhile. We sprayed all the mattresses with a vinegar solution and put them out in the sun for a few hours, changed all the bedding to ones I brought with us, and vacuumed the baseboards and carpets. So after all that hard work, we left and discovered this gem of a beach!
On Sunday we went to a church in the city that was recommended to us and that some relatives of our friends in CA go to. While we planned to meet this family, the Bairds, I was not planning on meeting anyone else. But as I was picking up the kids, a woman approached me and said, “Do you happen to be Brooke?” We also have a mutual friend in California, and I was given her name and contact, but never had the chance to actually contact her yet. Jen heard someone say we just arrived from California (She is from Huntington Beach and married Kiwi) and wondered, if we were the family our mutual friend Vanessa was talking about. She invited us over for lunch today and we had a great time as did our kids. I made chickpea curry that I brought over, and then when I arrived, I found out they are vegan. Couldn’t have planned a more perfect dish!
After church yesterday, we headed to another beach and ended up having so much fun playing in the river that fed into the ocean. The river was more desirable than the ocean since the was protected from the wind. I loved watching them play and explore in their suits and sunhats. Sunhats are a staple in the summer and they are looking like true little kiwis. I laughed when the kids came home from school the first day saying the teacher said they needed to bring their sunhat tomorrow (no baseball type caps, must have a full brim). There was no sun! But when it finally came out this weekend, it is intense! They say the hole in the ozone layer above the island makes for a more intense sun, and I’m telling you it’s true. While the temperature hasn’t been more than 72, it has felt much hotter. And poor Clover got a sunburn yesterday. I brought wet suits and rash guards for the other two, and now it is on my list for Clover. After dinner, thanks to a very late sunset, we headed to the botanical gardens up the street. Seriously dream like and the park was so fun!
This week will be busy taking care of business: getting our bank account set up, possibly buying a car, and finishing up around the house. I can’t wait to show you pics of our place. Hopefully coming soon!