I returned to New Zealand on February 22, and it was grand.
I landed in Auckland, stayed with Barbara & John, with Paula, Paolo, and Mr One - who has since become Mr Two.
I learned how to tie my hair back with a headscarf ... thank you, Barbara. And I wandered city streets, as we were living in the CBD, and set myself up for this New Zealand life.
One of my dearest old friends came to the city for a Hui, and Pippa picked me up for a road trip to her home ... way up North. A place I had read about but never explored. It was a 5 hour talk-fest, filled with laughter and 'do you remembers'.
The next morning we went out to look at a property Pippa was interested in, met Nan and had the privilege of hearing some of her stories, then explored the land around the house ... exclaiming over the old-fashioned fruit trees and childhood delights, all growing there in the far north garden.
Then she took me north ... to the end of New Zealand. To Cape Regina, with its special history (but that's another entire post, if I even want to begin to do the myths and legends justice).
Returning to Auckland was a 7-hour bus journey but I was fine, thinking I would get to really see the far-north landscape. Instead, I had the extraordinary pleasure of having a lovely French man sit next to me and chat. The 7-hours passed quickly, with laughter and much conversation.
There was Mark, and a 5 minute security check-in at the airport, the flight home, and quiet tears as I landed here in Dunedin. And since then, family, old friends, familiar roads, beaches and the smile you smile when you return home after a long time away.
There is so much more but for now, this can do.
I'm home, and it's nice.