I’m beginning to realize that I may have given the impression that somehow we’d hung up our sea boots and were land -lubbers again. This, I can assure you is most definitely not the case. We are in fact anchored in the Tryphena Bay area on Great Barrier Island. The Land of the Long White Cloud is living up to its name although it could possibly be renamed The Land of the Constant Cloud at present. The wind and rain has been relentless for the past few days and doesn’t look like letting up for some time to come!
Still, we could be crossing the Atlantic- rewind to a little more than a year ago, where we’d not long arrived in Martinique and the Caribbean was largely uncharted territory. Ahhh, so much water under the keel since then…
When we first arrived into NZ we literally had no idea what was next. Whilst it would be fair to say this hasn’t really changed, we are making the most of what we currently have- a boat, summertime, (hmmm up for debate), spectacular natural surroundings and a host of incredibly generous friends.
It’s tricky to write about in many ways- there’s a familiarity about this place that’s akin to rediscovering a comfy t-shirt or a favourite pair of shoes-try them on after some time and they just seem to fit. We’re not really discovering a new culture, rather revisiting one we’re already familiar with. There are no language challenges, NO SEASICKNESS, no upcoming passages and no recently crossed oceans to moan about. The insights however, into how we want to live and what we’ve learnt from our travels are coming at us from every direction and with each and every interaction.
Decision time isn’t quite upon us but my goodness it’s moving steadily in our direction.
“OH FOR GOODNESS SAKE, JUST GET ON WITH IT AND JOIN THE REAL WORLD,” I hear some of you shout and you’d be justified in your outburst. Trust me when I say these thoughts are occupying far more than a little bit of Mike and my minds at present, however…
Everything has changed! At the risk of sounding like a convert, reformed smoker or survivor of a terminal disease, we are in the incredibly privileged position of having too much choice. It’s clean slate time- new place to live, new jobs, new school, new life, new everything. How do we continue to live in a way that maintains the old adage- Less is More. We’re looking for a life, or perhaps it’s better to say hoping to create a life, that minimizes the importance of material possessions and goes all out on experiences. A life that offers the kids something different than possible device addiction and cyber bullying yet still provides them with opportunities in today’s world? Alternative living one might call it- maybe. We just want the opportunity to live rather than to simply exist. I don’t even want to be tempted by the Jones’ and you can stick your treadmill some place else!
Ok, so perhaps that’s all a bit deep and better kept to ourselves. Right now however, that’s what’s going on for this little family, (the big people at least). Seeking out, dare I say it, a balance, between the ideal, necessity and reality!
In conjunction with these thoughts and often simultaneously, we are trying to make the most of our current situation. We had a beautiful Christmas with our dear friends The Greens, and spent a month in Gulf Harbour Marina, catching up with friends, old and new, all over Auckland. Mike had a very quick trip back to Australia to celebrate our friend Johns 70th and we’ve been hiking to our hearts content on islands in the Hauraki Gulf. On Kawau we were reunited with dear friends, The Bilgers. Both kids tried wakeboarding for the first time, Lilly popping up and whizzing around the bay much to her and our great excitement, (Seb was a little less excited- competitive much!) Great Barrier, where we are currently exploring, is spectacular beyond belief. The hiking trails are beautifully maintained for the most part and easily accessed from all of the bays we’ve dropped anchor. I’m really impressed with both kids, (ha ha ha, as if they had a choice) who’ve managed all the hikes we’ve done, most exceeding 10 km by quite a bit! I won’t say it’s been without a whine, but they’ve been troopers.
Time out hiking and this rainy weather gives us a chance to chat as a family…
Seb tends to come out with some clangers and there’s been no shortage from our little man most recently. He was frustrated with his ipod the other day. It’s a 4th hand shuffle that’s been brilliant to date. My Mum gave it to me in 2012 as she didn’t use it. It has a little screen, so it’s easy to navigate and was later used for audiobooks on car trips. We were having a look at it together and he said in a very matter of fact way, “yes well I’m not really surprised it’s stopped working” to which Mike, (who was on his computer) and I looked at him somewhat inquiringly. “Oh yes Buddy, why is that,” I asked.
“Well, I dropped it in the toilet,” to which we looked at him with fairly high eyebrows and wide eyes.
“Yes” he responded, “twice”
There’s not much you can say to that really.
I had to pop off the boat the other day to pick up a parcel that had been sent to a nearby lodge and to pick up Mike from his trip to Auckland. When I left the boat, Lilly was in her room reading and Seb was finishing up the last of his schoolwork. When I returned 20 minutes later, Lilly’s door was closed and locked and Seb was looking like the cat that ate the canary. I said nothing but he must have felt like sharing again, either that or confessing before his big sister had a chance to give her side of the story!
“Mum, Mum, I finished all my schoolwork, but then I was a bit lost for what to do so I had to go into Lilly’s cabin and annoy her”
Wide eyes and high eyebrows yet again from me.
“Yeah” he said with a resigned shrug, “it seems to be on the increase.”
You don’t say!!!!
As tends to be the trend, it’s quite late and time to head to bed. I have noticed a pattern to my writing. It’s quiet and everyone else is asleep. There are no questions, no one requires feeding and my goodness the wind and rain seem to have stopped! I would like to mention one last thing that I know a few people have expressed concern about and that is the topic of schooling. I have to say I’m more aware than anyone that it’s time for our children to go back to school. They’ve both said they’d like to have more schoolmates than just each other and ‘no offense Mum, but…” The urgency I felt at getting them enrolled and taught by more qualified and patient beings hasn’t gone away, (trust me, it really hasn’t gone away) but we’ve missed the start of the school year, (in both hemispheres) and ce la vie. For a few more months, while we try and figure out where we’d like to live, boat school and the school of life will have to suffice.
On that note, this is Slice of Life smelling slightly like a wet dog, Standing by!