When my parents were initially deciding to come visit, they just wanted to stay for 2 weeks. We had told them “No way. It’s not worth trekking across the world for two weeks; you’ll have to stay at least three.” And we convinced them to three weeks in the country (plus the 24 hours + of travel time each way on top of that).
We had a great three weeks—busy as anything. And no, three weeks didn’t give us enough time to see and do everything. We resigned to the fact that they’ll have to come back to see more of New Zealand including the South Island.
- Meeting at the Auckland airport. The excitement of finding them in the terminal as we were about to board the flight to Kaitaia.
- The scale and magnitude of the farm blew them away as it did me. They were also taken by the hilly landscape and coastline.
- Standing in front of the largest and oldest Kauri tree (Tane Mahuta) in New Zealand at 168 feet/51.7 metres tall and 45.3 feet/13.8 meters in girth and feeling pretty small!
- Sharing the mince pies and Christmas pudding we frozen in anticipation of their visit. (For those who don’t know, they are British-influenced desserts with various fruit including raisins and other dried fruit and spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg). Dad loved them but mom wouldn’t try them!
- Meeting friends and co-workers and seeing the places we go in the community—church, swimming pool, year round outdoor fruit and vegetable market, etc.
- Experiencing Maori culture in Rotorua—a traditional hangi meal, song and dance, and special to Rotorua—geothermal activity (volcanic activity, hot springs, geysers, and mud pools)!
- Helping with projects around the house like cleaning gutters and washing windows and trimming bushes and pulling weeds. Both my parents are extremely handy and energetic and love helping with some projects. In fact, they were so energetic that we had to hold them back and keep it do-able in the timeframe! Only those who know them would understand. ;-)
It’s now back to our regular routine and time to save up some money for our visit back to the U.S.!