I have now been in New Zealand just over a week. Just thinking of all the travel, and things done since I arrived makes me exhausted, not to mention the everyday doings, talkings, and exchanges mostly in Chinese that surround me. My terrific bilingual grandsons, age 9, have left China, they begin their NZ school next week. Their Chinese cousins, age 9 and 7, are here on holiday before they return to Guangzhou, and my daughter-in-law (the Chinese branch of my family) is making sure her sister and nephews see a bit of New Zealand. I tag along, entranced by the chatter, loving the action, and utterly bewildered most of the time. Ting bu dong. (Don’t understand)
Our adventures – today is beautiful. On Tuesday we – my son Donal, Cindy, Cindy’s sister and me and 4 boys set off in two cars to Ruapehe – high on the central plateau North Island – where some of the party, not me, had an afternoon’s skiing, then went further to Taupo – hot springs and swimming, yes me. The plan was home again on Thursday morning – a 3 hour drive so Donal could have the afternoon and then get his plane at 8.30pm as he returns to work in China. He made it … just… as something called a 20 year storm came up early on Thursday, so driving south became a series of meeting road cones and roads closed and diversions, as snow and ice hit, and we ended up on a northerly detour off the plateau – glorious scenery and twisty hairpin roads with stream rising off the hillsides from the hot springs. From there we had to head west to the pacific coast before we could get south and east again – like driving 3 sides of the rectangle for 9 hours instead of just half a side. The last five hours were no snow but utterly awful rain and wind, had to go pretty slowly. We were in a tailback for a long time eventually passing a great container load that had blown over. All the boys were terrific – we swopped them over every so often, when Donal and I drove with Ali and Dou Dou in the back Ali had his stopwatch so we got running commentary about how badly we were doing as if we didn’t know. Donal was not too bothered about the flights – 3 G is very informative – as if we didn’t make it, the flights would not be flying either.
Yesterday I had to do the stuff Donal had no time for – sending off the boys passports to be renewed, which involved finding someone to countersign their new photos, my friend Julie did that and now today we went out for lunch. Next week I have to get school uniforms – boys start new school on Monday 25th. Cindy is back in her shop working hard as usual, after a couple of days off.
Maybe it is not too surprising I am tired.
My families are giving me a great life I could not have imagined having even ten years ago.