Well we have arrived safely with all our baggage to a rather wet, wild & sometimes warm & sunny New Zealand Spring.
We really enjoyed our last few weeks in Ukraine, making the most of the hot summer days, and having people over for dinner to chill-out on our deck.
The 10 days we had with my sister and her family was great fun – going to the Aqua Park, boat trip on the river, the outdoor museum, a test hangi, and generally just spending time together.
The weather then turned very hot as we started to finish off odd jobs on our house, and tie up loose ends before we left.
August 21st was the day we had planned for our farewell hangi. We counted up who had been invited and figured we would be catering for about 80 or more people. We were very fortunate to have Matt & Andy Dow from the far north in NZ to make it all the way to our house for this weekend. They were on a biking trip around Europe and decided to fit Ukraine into the itinerary. Other friends also arrived and with a full house we managed to pull off a really nice hangi. We also had live music, a rendition of the haka, and taught everyone how to play the “stick game” (see my blog for more details & video). It was a really special night with all our friends, and one that will stay in our memories for a long time to come.
With not many days left we packed our house, bringing only 20kg each with us, said our goodbyes (rather emotional at times) and headed out on the 3rd September.
First stop was Dubai, then Delhi, Bangalore, Singapore, before touching down in NZ. I have blogged more detail about each stop (click on the city names to read about it) too much to write here – needless to say it was relief, but a sudden blast of cold that hit us, on arrival in NZ!
We stayed with my parents to start with in Pukekohe, Auckland while we sorted out a car, bank issues (we had $4000 stolen out of our account!), visiting the doctor and other bits & pieces. It was also nice to catch up with my sister & her 3 children, who have obviously grown a lot since we were last here.
We are now down in Tauranga, catching up with friends and the church where we used to work. We are going to Taupo for the weekend, then will visit friends in Rotorua & Hamilton. We will head up north to Jon’s family on Thursday, probably with a car-load of boxes!!
We have started the path of medical help in regards to having children and have a few appointments lined up. Should be an interesting & costly process, but we are pretty chilled out about it.
We have definitely have experienced some reverse culture shock – why is everyone so polite & helpful? It will take us awhile to get settled but now we realise that there is a lot to not take for granted.