Grass Stains and Cupcakes - Life is Good.
|View of Auckland from One Tree Hill|
Well, the Field Trippers are all back together again. The kids and I decided to skip the risky sail (that turned out to be not so risky after all - more on that later from Mark). The three of us took a morning flight into Auckland that first week of November. Michael marveled that we would be in New Zealand in a mere 3 hours, when it would take Dad at least 6 days to sail there! "We should just fly everywhere!" he innocently quipped. Queue the "money doesn't grow on trees" and "life's a journey, not a destination" parental orations...
So, what DO cruising kids do when they suddenly find themselves on solid ground in the middle of the biggest city they've seen in almost a year? Here's a few photos of how we made the most of our waiting time in the land of Kiwis and Hobbits…
|Michael trying to figure out the skateboard contraption!|
You'll notice in this photo that Michael is not wearing his usual t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops. When we arrived, the daily highs were in the 50's, a far cry from the sweltering equatorial temperatures we had for the past year. A quick trip to the town's second hand shop provided much needed sweatshirts and hand knit socks! But I'm afraid our chattering teeth and numerous layers must've given us away as foreigners. just outside the frame of this photo, a local family with three children (ages 3-7) were playing nearby, obviously more hearty than we were - wearing only sundresses and no shoes as they played! Brrr! Gradually, the weather has warmed up and our blood has thickened, so we can be back in our jandals ('flip flops' in Kiwi talk) once more.
And, yes, Michael finally got a real haircut, after many folks had asked me how old my girls were! This was a bittersweet moment, as his carefree hair has always been a representation for me of our free, nomadic lifestyle on the water. Even Mark refused to cut his own hair for the entire journey across the Pacific this year. He had quite the 'fro happening, but he sat in the barber's chair and said goodbye to his locks, too. In many ways we each find ourselves reintegrating into modern society. The other day Elizabeth watched me applying mascara and asked, "Mom, why are you getting so fancy?" Oh my, we have been away for awhile, haven't we?
|Look, Mom! It's Grass!!|
|Let's go fly a kite!|
|I think I need a secret decoder ring...|
|Scavenger hunt at the Auckland Art Gallery|
|View from the base of the Auckland Sky Tower|
|And from the top!|
|The Auckland Zoo, where we saw the nocturnal Kiwi bird!|
We had a birthday to celebrate, too! Michael turned seven! As chance would have it, the place we were staying was within walking distance of the Waiwera Hot Springs Pool. What a perfect way to stay warm and have fun! Some of our friends that we'd met in Tahiti were docked in a town only 20 minutes away and were able to join us for Michael's birthday party, making it even more special. Cupcakes, waterslides, steaming pools, and friends to share it all with. Seven years old is off to a great start!
|Happy Birthday, Michael!|