For the holidays, Papa, Rosie and I went to New Zealand for just over two weeks. We spent a week in Wellington, a week camping and then several days in Christchurch. It was a very special trip for us, as Wellington was our home for abour 4 years, and we had loads of friends there that we were looking forward to meeting again. The posts that follow document this adventure.
Friday 16th – Saturday 17th
We spent most of the day packing and getting sorted, and then caught a taxi to the airport at around 2:00 pm. We went through the usual airport stuff, then found a seat by the gate and relaxed for a while. I played ukulele and read, and Rosie and I chucked a ball around. We took the first Selfie of the Day (a selfie we would send to Mama every day), and then went through security. The cake I was bringing as a present for the Cockerill-Ghanems (our old friends from living in Island Bay who we would be staying with) caused some problems, and my bag had to be searched. At the gate, I saw 3 guys from school, plus my head teacher, Mr Clark! On the plane, I watched the first 20 minutes of about 15 films (because I just can’t watch films on planes) and ate a delicious meal of John Dory with herby butter. Yum yum! For the rest of the flight, I watched Flight of the Conchords, for research purposes. Ahem. At Sydney airport, I had more trouble with the cake at security. I think it was so dense that they thought it was something else. We sat around for a while, I slept for a bit but mostly just sat around. We saw Penny (one of our friends from Glasgow days), but she was asleep, so best not to wake her. We hopped on the plane and had a relatively short flight to Wellington. I slept and ate my Asian-India Vegetarian lunch. We flew over the northern tip of South Island and got some lovely views. Upon landing, we chatted with Penny while getting our bags, then went through bio-security. Our tent got checked, but there were no confiscations. We walked out of security and into the main part of the airport, and immediately saw the Cockerill-Ghanems (C-Gs). Hugs all around, and then we all piled into the car for a drive home. It was lovely to see all the places of my childhood: everything had changed so little. However, Ruby had grown a lot, and the boys were still as funny as I remember them. We were greeted by Fiona at the C-G house, and not long after, Ella came home. We chatted for a while and took Selfie of the Day #2. I thought it would be best for my jet-lag if I was doing something, so Ruby, Rosie, the boys and I went over to the park and played football. We came back and had supper: meatballs and pasta. After saying goodnight to Papa (who was sleeping at the Home Of Compassion – the convent just up from our old Murray Street home) and having a shower, we went to bed. It was FREEZING!!!!!
I had the longest lie-in ever (10:00am), and wow. I was totally dazed. I had some Weetbix, and that was a pick-me-up. Papa came not long after I got up, and we all sat and chatted for a while. We then packed up our bags and went up for a walk behind the Home Of Compassion. We checked out the recent developments on the Home, and went and checked out the Island Bay marae. It was super windy of the top of the hill, in fact, there were concerns that smaller members of the party would get blown away! We found a relatively sheltered spot, and had some lunch: ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches, crisps and apples. We took the Selfie of the Day and then started down. Peter went home with Izak (who was pretty sick) and the rest of us went to New World. Sami and I went to the local video hire and checked out the movies and video games. We walked back and had some supper (roast chicken) and then went to bed.
Monday 19th – Rosie’s birthday
I woke up at 7:00 am (birthday girl had a lie-in) and watched tv with the boys until Rosie got up and Papa arrived. The C-Gs had so kindly got together some small presents for Rosie, which she opened before breakfast. After a quick nibble, Rosie, Papa and I started the walk into Wellington. We stopped in at a few charity shops in Newtown. Rosie got some clothes, and I chatted with an old guy about the government. When we got into the city centre,we went for a bite to eat at Subway. Delicious!!! After that, we went to New World to buy some ice cream and sweets for Rosie. We ate the ice cream on the waterfront, and they were dripping like crazy, so there were loads of spillages. We wandered along the waterfront, and saw that a diving board had been erected, and there were crowds of teenagers just diving into the sea. We took the Selfie of the Day #4, and then went to meet the C-Gs for a Te Papa visit. We went to an exhibit called ‘Gallipoli: The scale of our War’, all about the ANZAC troops on Gallipoli. It was deeply moving, and horrifying at the same time. We then went to Awesome Forces, and the Earthquake House!!!! Still as brilliant as I remember. After a short while in the discovery center, and a trip to New World to buy some fizzy, we caught the bus home. For a birthday supper, Peter and Papa went and got a massive amount of fish and chips. Washed down with a glass of L&P and followed by a slice of cake, it was a great end to Rosie’s birthday. She is so loved.
We had a quick breakfast and walked into Wellington, stopping at New World on the way to buy some food. Rosie and I got dropped off at the Wellington Library and Papa went to have lunch with his old work colleagues. Rosie and I read at the library for a few hours, and had some lunch out in the sun. Papa came and picked us up, and we went to the DoC center. Papa chatted with one of the workers there for a while, and then we went to the train station and caught a train to Poriru to meet some old family friends. On arrival, we went to New World, where we bought some peaches and some sweets. We sat by the river, chatted and took the Selfie of the Day. We then met up with Richard, whose family we were friends with in both Fiji and New Zealand, and drove to his home. We were greeted by Annie, Tui (Richard’s children) and Diana (Richard’s wife), and chatted for ages. Kirk (another child) arrived after a short while, and we had a lovely supper: fish, salad, veggies and focaccia. After, we had some chocolate cake and ice cream, and then Annie, Tui, Rosie and I went to the park and played football. We then went for a walk up a hill and say the greatest views of all the Hutt Valley. My hay fever got really bad, and I was sneezing all the way down the hill. We said goodbye, then got a train back to Wellington and a bus back to Island Bay. It was freezing!!!!!!
We got up, had a quick breakfast and then off we went! We walked up to Bann Street with Ruby and Sami. Our old home, No. 11, hadn’t changed much, but there were loads of renovations going on at the house of our old neighbours, the Samoans. We went up to Windy Hill, and were rewarded with fabulous views of Island Bay and the Cook Strait. We took the Selfie of the Day, and walked down. Next stop: Island Bay library. It was great to be back, and reading the titles of my childhood: Lucky Luke, Asterix, Tintin… good times. However, I did have a bit of a sleep because I didn’t feel well. We went to New World, and I was so tired and cold, and was just shuffling around mumbling. We walked (shuffled) home, and upon arrival, found that we were locked out! We tried to get the door open to no avail, and were just about to give up when Fiona came home!!! She let us in, and I went to bed because I was just dead. I read cookbooks for a while, and then slept for a few hours. I woke up feeling a lot better, and found that Papa and the kids had cleaned the bottom floor of the house! And without me! Terrible. We had burgers for supper, and then went to bed after some intense chillaxing.
After breakfast and chillaxing, we started cleaning the top floor of the house. However, I didn’t stay for long as I was going to meet up with my old friend Otto! We were best friends in school (in fact he was my first friend), and out of all of my NZ mates, he was the one I kept in touch with the longest. I couldn’t believe how much he had grown, but how he was still as funny as I remember him. We chatted for a while, and then just hung out. We played video games, chucked a tennis ball around, and watched YouTube videos, all the while chatting away. He goes to an arty school and is taking media studies there, and still hangs out with all the people who I remember. It’s nice that after all these years, we can still be friends, and that for all the changes that have occurred, we haven’t changed at all. It was so lovely to catch up with him, and I walked back to the C-Gs feeling very happy indeed. We finished cleaning, and took the Selfie of the Day in the girls’ clean room. We had some delicious pasta for supper, and then all the children stayed up until 12:00 pm chatting in the girls’ room!
We woke up at 7:30, having packed the night before. Papa came and we took our bags up to the Home Of Compassion, where we drove with two of the sister to the Silverstream retirement home and hospital. There, we met up with our best friend, Sr. Cabrini. When we lived in New Zealand, she was so important to us. She was the one that taught me how to play the ukulele, and she was almost like a grandmother to me. It was so lovely to see her and spend time with her, and be able to play music with her again. We met loads of other sisters, too: Sr. Pat, Sr. Loyola, Sr. Basil, and Sr. Mina. We were wandering around when one of the workers, seeing my ukulele, pulled me into a packed lounge, introducing we to everyone as “the entertainment”. I played several songs for them on the uke, as did Cabrini. Several people were clapping along, and some even danced. It was a magical moment for me. We ate lunch with Cabrini at the rest home, then Rosie and I chatted with the sisters while Papa and Cabrini went to visit Sister Loyola, who ran the community gardens as the Island Bay Home. We then got a lift to Cabrini’s apartment. We had afternoon tea (scones and biscuits) then got down to business. Cabrini and I played Christmas carols for hours, and Rosie and Papa sung along. We also chatted about how life was when we lived there, and how it is now. After several hours at Cabrini’s, we took some photos, then walked to the train station. We said our goodbyes, then got on the train back to Wellington. From there, we got the bus back to the C-Gs. I went to New World with Sami, and then we had supper: sushi! Some friends of Peter and Fiona came around, so the kiddies went to the park. We then watched a movie and chillaxed in the girls’ room, then went to the Home Of Compassion, where we slept for the night.
We woke up in the Home Of Compassion and sorted out our clothes. We went to the C-Gs, chatted and played basketball while they packed to go to Napier. They needed to get on with packing, so we said our goodbyes and left. It was wonderful staying with them and getting caught up, and they were so kind to us in the week that we were they. What a lovely family. Rosie and I walked to New World and the Empire Cinema to get closing times. We had some lunch and sorted some more. Then Cabrini showed up! We chatted with her some more, and played music. Cabrini gave us some money for fish and chips, and then we said our goodbyes to her. She is such a wonderful woman with a heart of gold. We love her very much. We packed even more, then walked along the ridge between Island Bay and Owhiro Bay. We saw lovely views of the valley and the strait, and took the Selfie of the Day. We walked down to Island Bay and played in Shorlands Park, where Rosie and I spent looooooads of time playing as children. We then went to the chippy and got fish & chips, which we went back to Shorlands Park to eat. It was a lovely evening, with not a cloud in the sky, and children playing. We walked home, and on the way bought stopped in at the Empire for secret purposes, and did a lot of food shopping for the trip. We walked back to the Home and did more sorting and packing, then we ate mince pies and played Scrabble. I had a shower, then went to bed, excited for tomorrow.
Sunday 25th – Christmas Day
We woke up and did some last-minute sorting. We had a quick bite to eat, then went to mass with the Sisters. There were only 10 people at the 1/2 hour mass, but it was really lovely, with readings from Papa and a cappella singing. One of the best ways to celebrate Christmas. We said goodbye to the sisters, and thanked them for their kindness, generosity and love, both during our stay and when we lived in Island Bay. After we said goodbye to Island Bay, we got a taxi to the airport, went through security, and got on the plane to Dunedin…
Stay tuned for the next post, documenting the Eastwood family’s travels through the South Island of New Zealand.