Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Aussies in ... Australia

The Aussies in Auckland have actually spent most of January OUT of Auckland, after Husband spotted some excellent airfares to Brisbane with Pacific Blue.
Pacific Blue is part of the Virgin Blue group, who we’ve always found fantastic to fly with, so booking the flights was a no-brainer. Virgin staff always seem happier and more helpful than staff at more expensive airlines, and are great with the kids. Once, they took C. up the back of the plane and painted his face, another time they took then baby H. for a walk around the plane while we had our meal.
Pacific Blue staff were just as great, and we made it into Brisbane in time to spend New Year’s Eve with Husband’s family.
The next few days were filled with doing all the things we’ve missed while living in Auckland – eating bugs, demolishing mangoes, over-indulging in Peking Duck at our favourite little restaurant in Darra, playing with pets, and catching up with family and friends, often over a barbecue. The kids knocked themselves out (not literally) playing in friends’ backyards – jumping on trampolines, and playing on swing sets. It made me realise how much they’ve missed having a garden to play in.
Poor hard-working Husband had to fly back to work after a week, but the kids and I stayed on to do the rounds with family, who opened their homes to us (and in some cases, pools and cars as well!) It was fabulous to see them all again.
There were loads of barbecues, and way too much eating and drinking. The kids picked up with their cousins as if they’d never been apart.
But all good things come to an end and we finally boarded the plane back to Auckland.
The kids were pretty good on the flight – I trialled Earplanes, special plugs which are meant to reduce ear discomfort – and they seemed to work. For the first time, H. didn’t cry as we descended into Auckland.
The toughest part was at the airport, where 6 other planes had landed. By then, the kids had had enough, thank you very much, and weren’t impressed at having to queue to get through customs and baggage screening.
Finally, we made it outside where K. was waiting. “Daddy!” the kids screamed and raced towards him where he scooped them up and gave them big hugs.
We knew we were back in Auckland, because, as if on queue, a smiling Asian man took a photo of the reunion. I don’t know why, but Asian people are always grabbing H. and C. for photos, particularly the little princess. Perhaps it is because of her blonde hair?
What was really interesting, was that it felt good to be back. This is only our fifth month in New Zealand, but it was great seeing all the now-familiar sites that were so new to us when we moved here – the volcanos, the green, the parks, and even our local supermarket.
C. summed it up best when he said to Husband: “It’s good to be home Daddy. I even missed you shouting at me!”

Our journey started with a quick bus trip to the airport

Random stranger grabs H. for a photo - so I take one of him!

H. enjoyed Auntie K's pasta so much, she ate the whole lot!

C. is favoured by Nana's notoriously choosy cat, Samantha

Waiting for the train to the Sunshine Coast

Happy cousins enjoy the spa - it's a tough life, but someone has to do it!

More happy cousins

Cubby-house picnic

Breakfast with cousins on Grandma and Pa-pa's deck

Clovelly Estate winery - cheeky!

One of the South Burnett's fabulous wineries

The kids were always well-behaved - not!

Can we take him home with us?

Home at last!

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