03 March 2012

New Zealand 2012 Recap

The day we arrived in New Zealand, we freshened up and headed to George's aunt and uncle's house. They not only fed us and gave us a place to sleep, but they also threw a fantastic family gathering. The vast majority of the family came by for a great, if windy, BBQ. I spent a lot of the time wiping tears from my eyes and keeping my legs firmly crossed; the Sadliers are a funny crowd, and I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time. I am so incredibly fortunate to have married into this family.

The next day, we headed to a fabulous rental bach (if you're not familiar with the term, enjoy some history on Wikipedia) in Kuatunu on the Coromandel with Pierre, Anna, and their two wee boys. We stayed three days and had a memorable time spent catching up with our friends, "practicing" being parents, soaking up some rays, splashing in the Pacific, eating ice cream daily, cooking with the limes growing outside the window, and generally being on vacation. It was really terrific and will not soon be forgotten.

George, Amanda, Anna, O, A, Pierre
The Bach
The beach...right across the street
Mr. O
Mr. A and his dad
Mr. A and his chocolate ice cream
When did men with a stroller become attractive?

Eventually, we made our way back to Auckland to catch a flight to Wellington. Welly greeted us with some cold and windy weather, but generally cleared up the rest of the time we were there, including some truly brilliant sunny days. It's easy to see why you can't beat Wellington on a good day.

Downtown Wellington from Oriental Parade
Wellington from the local turbine
Wellington at Night

In Wellington, we settled in with George's father, Paul, and stepmother, Robyn, who graciously put up with our comings and goings for well over a week. Because we were in town for so long, I got to know my way around, we caught up with quite a few friends, and we got to spend several evenings with Paul and Robyn and George's brother, Heath. It was so nice to be with family and to know George's hometown a bit better.
George, Amanda, Dad, Robyn

We did sneak out of Wellington for a couple of days to visit George's mum and grandmother. While there, we helped clean out his grandmother's apartment as she is transitioning to new living arrangements. In the process, we ran across some remarkable old photos and learned more about Nana and her history - very special indeed. Again, it was so nice to be surrounded by family.

George, Amanda, Nana, Mum

Back in Wellington, we celebrated our dear friends, Tim and Kirsten. Their wedding was the reason for the trip, and it was really special to be part of their celebrations. Tim and Kirsten are such thoughtful and inclusive people that, not surprisingly, they made sure that we made some new friends in the process. Between their stag/hen parties, rehearsal, reception set-up, wedding, and reception, George and I got to know their friends and families, and I got to meet many of George's college/London friends who I had not previously met. As for the day of the wedding, the weather was fine but rather windy, so it felt very authentically Wellington. The festivities were wonderful celebrations of their love and heightened commitment. I have no doubt that they have many happy years in their future.

Here comes the bride... 
Groom and Bride

Of course, my growing belly was the topic of much discussion and anticipation.* I'll always remember that New Zealand was where I started feeling our baby girl on a regular basis and where I first felt a kick from the outside. I'm really pleased that we were able to find many New Zealand items and books for our babe, and we received some beautiful NZ gifts as well. This is for sure: baby girl will know that she is a Kiwi and that a lot of people in New Zealand love her.

We've only been home for a little over a week, and I'm already anxious to get back to New Zealand. Alas, it'll have to wait until after our babe has arrived.

*On an unrelated note, New Zealand is a fabulous place for pregnant women to visit as public toilets are very widely available, and every one that I visited - more than I can count - had a full supply of toilet paper and running water. Oh, the things pregnancy makes you think about. 


denayeb said...

Great Post! I particularly love the pic of you with Pierre, Anna, and Family--everyone sitting so nicely with Mr. A wrapping his hands around Dad's head.

And the pic with Pat and Grandma shows the bump in full effect! Great shot!

Janie said...

Great photo's. Great memories. Even greater photo subjects!!!!! Gotta love family!