The past few weeks have been filled with impromptu meet-ups and casually arranged gatherings with friends. It is very indicative of the way we’ve lived our lives here in New Zealand – a very relaxed, unstructured, casual, ‘go with the flow’, ‘she’ll be right, mate!’ kind of way. I still vividly remember having to adjust to the ‘Kiwi way’ in my early years here.
We soon got used to the ‘no flairs’ dress code, that ‘bare-feet’ were all good on almost any occasion and that ‘bring a plate’ and ‘pot luck dinners’ were all the rage. We learned to invite twice the number of people we expected to any BBQ, as Kiwis would casually roll up to the party – or not – depending on how they were ‘travelling’ on a given day – and that was ‘all good’, ‘no worries, mate’!
So, with the ‘big move’ looming on the calendar for the past few months, we’ve been asked, ‘Are you having a leaving doo?’ but have preferred to give the big ‘fanfare’ farewell a miss. Instead, we’ve spent quality time with small groups of friends, from all the different paths we’ve walked during our fifteen years or so of living in New Zealand.
I’m sure our friends won’t mind me sharing a few snapshots from the past few weeks. These photographs mean a lot to us, personally, but – from an outsiders perspective – they also shine a light on the relaxed way of life we’ve enjoyed living in Wellington, New Zealand.
There have been play-date days of gentle farewells at wonderful outdoor cafes…
Time on the beach to focus on the now and have a breather from the packing and boxes…
There have been casual evenings with old friends…
And fun nights with our wonderful neighbours, friends and people that have helped to support us in raising our little Kiwi born children… (It takes a village, you know!).
And whilst I’ve been at home, looking after our three children, my husband has been working hard to tie together all the logistics and administrative necessities of the big move (as well as holding down his job and being a great father!). He has had Friday night drinks with his soccer team and old colleagues. Wellington is a close-knit business community and he’s made some amazing friendships over the years.
He has come home to countless requests for assistance with ‘MineCraft’ mods! Thankfully, he has incredible patience… often staying up till 11pm to spend quality time with his older daughters, after having been tied up with work all day.
As well as entertaining his youngest daughter, with whatever game of the moment she is into… making cars and unicorns talk, or being rolled up like a sausage!
It’s winter, but the sun has been mostly generous. The ground hasn’t been as calm – but living on the ‘shaky isles’ is something we made a choice to do – certainly keeps us on our toes and has a way of bringing the community closer – even having friends for to sleep over for an impromptu gathering after a rather strong quake!
So many happy moments of life, simply lived, over the past few weeks. Moments we will treasure always and hold close in our hearts whilst we live on the other side of the Pacific Plate, in California, USA.
From the simple, universal joy and magic of bubbles in the garden with a friend…
To an outing on Wellington’s beautiful waterfront, where two sisters have a laugh on electric cars and eating gelato…
We will be back in Wellington, one day, for sure… maybe in a year, or three, or more. We are open to where this adventure will take us and how each person in the family feels.
It’s not as easy as the ‘before children’ days – and the older our children get the more their opinions, as to where to live, matter!
They are so fortunate to have such opportunities to explore.
I am sure, once we’ve settled in Santa Barbara, California, our children will adapt with greater ease than myself!
We shall take every day, every week and every year as it comes…