…and what a season it is. I love Christmas and I love summer and I love that they occur together. Of course, I’ve only ever known them to occur together so I am a product of my experiences, but I recall as a child that when I finally realised that other places had Christmas during winter I felt very sorry for those people.
Every year for the last 10, from when I moved away from my childhood city of Auckland to my current home of Wellington, Christmas and my summer holiday have revolved around travelling north for family and fun. My partner G’s family are in Whangarei and my family have been in Auckland for most of this time although they’ve progressively moved further north and are now based in Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. G tends to spend Christmas with his family, staying in our little bach, and I spend Christmas with my family.
After a week of reduced sleep from working longer than normal hours and then staying up late wrapping presents for our trip, getting pattern pyramid prizes wrapped for posting, and doing all the last minute things you do when you leave your home for three weeks, we got to the beginning of our precious holiday! On the morning of the 21st of December G and I undertook our annual ritual of cramming almost everything we own (or at least it feels like that) into our van, and this time adding a trailer with two dirt bikes to the back, before settling in for leg one of our trip, the nine hour drive to Auckland. New Zealand is renowned for its four seasons in one day and this road trip was quite exciting. We left an overcast Wellington and experienced drizzle and grey skies all through the Kapiti coast. Eventually we left the rain and emerged into full summer. We stopped at Taumaranui for diesel and icecream and by this point it was almost 27 degrees with glorious skies. Amazingly less than half an hour after that we hit the edge of a storm and went from blue skies and heat to torrential driving rain, terribly visibility, and so much surface water on the road we were wondering if flash floods were about to hit. A couple hours after that we came out the other side into Auckland, which was cloudless and stinking hot – and had been all day. I had plans to take photos of pohutukawa and other beautiful sites along the way but cell phone photos out of a moving van do not nice photos make.
We stayed with good friends in Auckland then were up early the following day for leg two, the four hour trip so that G could drop me at my mum’s house in Kerikeri. We also picked up one of my baby brothers, the Muso, on the way, which was so exciting as I hadn’t seen him since last Christmas! My other baby brother, the Artist, was living with mum until just now so he was already in Kerikeri and there was much delight all round at the family being reunited.
I should clarify – Muso Brother is 19 and Artist Brother is almost 17 and both of them tower over me, so calling them my baby brothers is a bit overstated – but they’ll be my baby brothers forever.
Poor G – when my family was further south his stop in Whangarei was also the furthest north, but now he has to drop me off than double back. He stayed in Kerikeri the night of the 22nd and we had a wonderful night as he caught up with my mum, her partner SB, and my brothers, then he left the following day to head to his place.
Christmas was wonderful. We decorated our beautiful tree together and I helped my brothers choose Christmas presents for Mum. It was the first time in maybe 5 or 6 years that my brothers have been able to spend Christmas morning with me and our mum and it was magical.
On the day itself there was much laughter and face pulling and squeals of delight. It poured with rain while my Facebook feed filled up with people saying that my (traditionally colder and windier) city was hot and calm. And I didn’t care. There was much laughter and pulling of crackers with terrible toys and worse jokes. We wore paper hats until they disintegrated, or in my case drove me crazy by falling into my eyes. There was hilarity and love and good times. Our gorgeous cat Nike joined in and even got a catnip windup mouse that had her briefly entertained until she decided it was too much like effort. Then she was adorned with a paper hat as well.
Everyone was delighted with the perfectly chosen things they received and I was the lucky recipient of a wonderful range of goodies! I won’t share all of it but the highlights have to be Knitpro interchangeable circular knitting needle set (three different sized tips and three different length cables, and OH they are lovely to knit with – I cast on on Christmas Day!), hand knitted Dr Who dish cloths, and a Yoda Lego-styled key ring, all from Mum; and a Yoda USB stick and Star Wars recipe book with Star Wars biscuit cutters, from my brothers.
Knitting tools! Dr Who! Star Wars! My family know me well…
In the days after Christmas there was much hanging out with brothers, listening to Muso Brother’s compositions and looking at Artist Brother’s drawings and talking about our favourite bands and our other hobbies (Muso Brother does rugby reffing, Artist Brother does archery) as well as some more deep and meaningful conversations. Muso Brother has just finished his first year studying audio engineering and music composition and Artist Brother is just about to start his first year studying animation and art and they told me all about their courses. I listened to them playing video games with each other while I sat and knitted. I taught them some basic rock and roll jumps because you don’t have to be able to dance to do the jumps and how cool is it to know you can catch a girl when she leaps into your arms! I cracked up laughing at the non-stop barrage of quips and jokes they made. Basically I got reminded all over again that I officially have the most amazing brothers in the whole world and I am so proud of them and adore them to pieces.
They headed to their dad’s place in the north of Auckland on New Year’s Eve and after being sad to see them go, our New Year’s was very quiet, just me, Mum, and SB, at home. I really wanted to go to bed about 10.30 but I decided to see the New Year in so I knitted while I waited for the New Year and stuffed up an entire row because I was so tired. Lesson learned – don’t knit when tired. Mum fixed it.
In the days since then I have powered through my knitting, almost finished a giant seat cushion, had lots of cuddles with Nike (who has taken to sleeping with me at night, although I’ve had to convince her that sleeping on my chest is not polite), been exploring the local area with Mum and SB, bought brightly coloured yarn from a friend of Mum’s who imports it, and acquired some fabric from the local store. After the initial rain went away there has been glorious sunshine and heat to go with it with one brief tropical thunderstorm over one evening and there has been much ice cream and fresh fruit, both of which I adore. It’s pretty much the perfect summer holiday.
I’m still at Mum’s now, soaking up the last of my holiday time with her, and on Monday morning I will be heading to Whangarei to spend a couple of days with G and his family and hopefully do some fishing before our return trip over Thursday and Friday. My time has been focused on family and crafting and hugging Nike, with very little in the way of technology – my blog reader had 377 items in it at one point! I was originally planning on posting this before New Year so that I could do my obligatory 2013 planning post round about now. I’ve had so much fun with my family and been so determined to finish a couple of crafting projects while Mum is around to help me that I haven’t really minded the lack of computer time – although I will catch up on everything soon!