Migrating to a new country is such an exciting adventure, and when Mrs L. and I moved from the UK to New Zealand almost a decade ago it was the biggest undertaking we had until that point … well, undertaken. Quite how we ended up on the other side of the world is sort of lost in the mists of time, but both of us would agree that we feel incredibly privileged to be here. That said it was a huge gamble, the closest I had come to visiting New Zealand, was to watch the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. I wasn’t certain, for instance, that there would be a reliable source of electricity, but really what did that matter, when I would be sunning myself on the beach. In any case, in my grass hut I would have little use for a hifi, or computer.
From the moment I stepped off the plane, I fell in love with the place and the people. We arrived at Auckland airport, very jetlagged and totally confused. This must have abundantly clear to a wizened old lady who came to our aid and couldn’t have been more helpful. It is possible that she was employed by the airport, but equally she may not have been, it was a long time ago after all. In any case after only a few hours it became apparent that this seemed to be the way that Kiwis are. Nobody could do enough to help. Even now, I continue to be astounded by their kind and generous nature, and am so grateful that we have been made to feel incredibly welcome.
Whilst New Zealanders are generally awesome people (do you see what I did there?), there is nothing quite like having your own family around, and as it turns out, this is especially so, when you have a child (or children).
Like parents the world over, Mrs L. and I have really struggled since the arrival of our kids to carve out some time for ourselves. Whilst it’s true that we do go out on the occasional date night, it is just that; occasional. Please don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore my kids. They are the light of my life and I certainly wouldn’t be without them. It is a rare day however, when one of our adult conversations aren’t interrupted by a child screaming; “I NEED A POO!” or something similarly urgent!
Consequently we only really get to spend the evenings together, by which time we are exhausted, and our conversational skills have pretty much deserted us. Although we have had many (I am sure sincere) offers to look after our children, there are two issues which for me raise their heads repeatedly. First, I can’t help but think of what a tremendous inconvenience for the person who is looking after the little sproglets, and secondly (but less so) is trust. Call me totally cold-hearted, but neither of these are really issues with your own family.
Last week, Mrs L.’s parents kindly offered to take care of the kids for a whole weekend, and so it was that we found ourselves stuck in traffic on the Friday evening. Under normal circumstances, the journey should have taken an hour and a half, but it took us 3 hours. Aside from a very brief visit to the golden arches (to grab a lime milkshake (and a chocolate one for Mrs L!)), we didn’t stop. In the days before kids, I would have arrived at our destination absolutely seething, but knowing that we did not have to listen to the Frozen soundtrack (we’d chosen to) or the ceaseless mantra of “Are we there yet?”, made the journey not only bearable, but actually rather pleasant!
When we were booking the accommodation, Mrs L. and I were umming and ahhing over where and what sort of place we should stay in.
Ultimately we decided stay in a Bed and Breakfast (the Aurora Lodge) just outside the little township called Waipu Cove (look it up, it’s a stunning place). I have to say that I think we made the best possible choice. Our hosts were marvellous, the breakfasts were brilliant and the view from our room was simply breathtaking. I could happily rave about the location and the accommodation for hours (as many unfortunate strangers can testify), but please, if you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods, go. I promise you won’t regret it.
Over the course of the weekend we explored the local area, went on long, and sweaty, yet somehow romantic walks, and swam in the sea. We even (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), went to a museum. On both of evenings we went out for dinner, and most important of all we talked and talked and talked.
We were able to discuss our hopes and dreams, the ideas we have for our family and where we’d like to see the future taking us. We were able to talk about the challenges we’ve overcome, the difficulties we face together and individually, and many of the things we still want to achieve.
And for me at least, I remembered why I fell in love with Mrs L. This was such a precious time for us both and I would encourage any couple with children to try and spend even one day together without their offspring! You’ll be so glad you did.
We had a great weekend together, but toward Sunday lunchtime, we were both beginning to really miss Fraboo, Boy-boy and Jojo, and so we began the journey home.
You see, although Mrs L. and I enjoy each other’s company, Team Fun really isn’t complete without those guys!