Saved: June 6th 2013July 31st 2012
Just continuing on from Part 1 or 2… I thought I’d give you a break J
July – PARAPARAUMU
I was looking after Fergus today whilst Hev and Mike were in the hospital having baby Flora, but despite not having work I was up at 6.15am to see Heather off and make sure I was there for Fergus (who is usually up pretty early!). I knew Fergus liked me and was well behaved but I was expecting him to freak once he’d realised they were gone. Cheryl the midwife arrived to pick up Heather and Mike (such great midwife service here, one midwife looks a maximum of after 5 women, makes home visits, is on 24 hour call etc.) just as Fergus woke up. It was all a little emotional for everyone and Fergus was upset when they left but he calmed down after a cuddle and seemed quite happy with me. Mike and Heather had prepared him well! I got him his breakfast and got myself dressed before getting him dressed and dropping him at kindi and then headed into town to the shops before coming back to tidy up and pick him up from kindi.
It was all going really well until we had an incident with the TV… I don’t know how it happened but the digital channels (which save all of Fergus’s shows) switched off. These could be needed later to distract and calm him down! Bless him, he was so good though, trying to help me fix it. I called the company who didn’t want to help me at first because I wasn’t the account holder, I only wanted technical advice! Luckily, I received the great news that Flora Grace Christine had arrived safely weighing 8lb…I was so happy she’d arrived… and could ask Mike for help with the TV! His final suggestion of switching it off and on worked! Phew, crisis averted! It was time to get Fergus’s tea sorted and when I asked him if he wanted pizza or his Mum’s homemade pumpkin soup he went for the soup bless him J So we had some tea and got him ready for bed. He was as good as gold. I think he was nearly asleep when I went to check on him and woke him up! I kept an eye on him whilst making Mike’s pizza for his dinner. Once Mike was home Fergus settled down and Mike told me all the exciting events of the day news! I couldn’t wait to meet Flora!
and Sunday 22nd
July – PARAPARAUMU and WELLINGTON
I had a very privileged weekend, visiting Heather and Flora in hospital! I’m so so lucky to be here. Mike, Fergus and I would get up, get the bus, pop to the shops if needed, get on the train which was a bit of a palaver because it was bus replacement for most of the way and then another bus from the train station to the hospital. It was nice to drive through the part of Wellington I’d stayed in with Caryl before. It took 2 ½ hours to get to the hospital but it was so worth it to spend a few hours with Flora. I hadn’t met a baby less than 24 hours old before, they’re so cute! I got really emotional watching Fergus say hello to her. I appointed myself official photographer and got some really nice photos of the Triggs family, they all looked so good together. We’d eventually have to say a reluctant bye to Hev and Flora and take the bus, train, bus and bus home to get Fergus fed and into bed. We did the same on the Sunday and Flora had already changed in 24 hours! Mike and I were a good team! Fergus helped where he could… we missed Hev (and now Flora) at home though!
I’ve got to say something about the Wellington area buses. Firstly, they are so un disabled person and family friendly. I have not seen one bus in Paraparaumu, on the rail replacement or in Wellington that has anywhere to put a pushchair or a wheelchair. Fergus’s pushchair has had to sit in the aisle of every bus we’ve been on, it’s awkward for everyone and definitely dangerous. It’s such hard work for anyone managing a child and a pushchair on their own. I can’t understand why they don’t put in some folding seats?! And to not have any disabled facilities is shocking. Secondly, I find getting the bus in Paraparaumu a really random experience. There are 4 buses in Paraparaumu doing 4 different routes. They all arrive and leave at the same time. If you’re waiting for the bus at the shopping centre for example there will be no buses and then 4 will come along one after the other. And everyone will get on and they’ll drive off together before heading off on their respective routes. And my bus home usually has to wait for a few minutes half way round its route to wait for the bus coming back the other way so everything stays synchronised. I know there’s a good reason for it (to tie in with the train times) but it reminds me of The Truman Show!
to Thursday 26th
July – PARAPARAUMU and WELLINGTON
Hev and Flora stayed in hospital until the Wednesday and I went to spend a lovely couple of hours with them on Tuesday evening. We were all very pleased when they were allowed home because the hospital felt so far away for Hev and we really did miss them about the place! We now had a new-born baby in the house! We had fish and chips for tea and I made a cottage pie ready for Thursday evening.
It was a usual week at work, we had a bit of excitement on the Thursday when the fire alarm went off and smoke did seem to be coming out of the building (someone set fire to popcorn in a microwave). Luckily we didn’t have to wait outside too long because it was so cold! I got offered a really good contract job paying a lot more money but it meant staying in New Zealand longer than planned…not that I don’t love New Zealand and the people here but I want to get home soon. The whole time I’d been trying to figure out what to do about coming home, when and where to go and that. I’d always wanted to come home through India, Nepal and Tibet but I didn’t have enough time to do everything comfortably, it was monsoon season so any beach time I had it was likely to be raining, and it’s a mission to get visas and permits for Tibet. It was a nice decision to have to make and I was lucky but I was going round and round in circles!
July – PARAPARAUMU and WELLINGTON
I was excited at work all day to be meeting up with my friend Emma (who I worked with at the travel place in Brisbane), her boyfriend Chris and their friend Louise who were now all travelling around New Zealand. I was staying with them for the night at the YHA in the city so after work I got the bus there and spent a nice time chilling out in the dorm room before they arrived (I miss dorms!)! When they did arrive there was a lot of excitement from Emma and I and a lot catching up. We all wandered down to Cuba St to get something to eat (was expecting Cuban food, couldn’t see any or anything similar!) and ended up with Thai before heading back towards the hostel for a drink at a pub showing a big rugby game. We were all tired out (my one chance of a night out in weeks and I was too tired to dance!) so headed back to the hostel for a hot drink, some chocolate and bed. I was on the comfy top bunk and was looking forward to my sleep! I’d forgot my thermals/PJs so Emma had to lend me some joggers.
July – WELLINGTON and PARAPARAUMU
We had a lovely day in Wellington. Caryl and I hadn’t had the chance to see much so it was nice to do the tourist thing. We walked through the city to the Wellington Cable Car and rode that up to the top of the Botanical Gardens. It was fun and gave us amazing views of Wellington, a really nice looking city, set in the hills surrounding the harbour. I’ve always thought it was a small city because it takes such a short time to get out of the city centre into the countryside on the train, but Mike had told me everything was built up in the hills and I could see them now…and the long tunnels we go through on the train go under them. The Wellington Botanic Gardens are absolutely beautiful. We spent a peaceful couple of hours walking down through them back to the city centre. The rose garden looked like it’d be spectacular, it just wasn’t the right time for roses. We continued through Bolton Street Memorial Park, a really interesting cemetery divided by the motorway, and ended up back in the city. We had some sushi for lunch then headed to Wellington’s famous Te Papa museum.
I’d heard a lot about how fantastic Te Papa is and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a massive museum, right on the harbour, with 6 floors covering a huge range of things (we only got to 2 floors!). We started in the Awesome Forces section which is all about the earth’s geology. There was so much information in there relevant to my Uni course so I soaked it up, the displays were all so engaging and easy to understand. The sections on Earthquakes (e.g. the different P and S waves), Volcanoes, Tsunamis and El Nino (little boy) and El Nina (little girl) were fascinating. I paid a lot of attention because I’m very aware that I’m in a part of the world that can be affected by all of them (we’d experienced an earthquake and the risk level of the Mt Tongariro volcano had recently been raised). New Zealand is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and sits directly on top of the split between the Australian and Pacific plates… the fault line runs directly through the middle of the country… and Wellington. There’s an earthquake simulator in there, a little house that you can go in and experience a magnitude 5.0 earthquake. The earthquake we’d had a couple of weeks ago had been a 7.0 on the Richter scale, each step (e.g. from 5.0 to 6.0) results in 30 times more energy being released.
The Maori story of how life was created (how Papatuanuku the earth and Ranginui the sky became mother and father of family life) was rousing (best way I can explain in!). Mountains to Sea included displays of different plant and animal species, including a Pygmy Blue Whale skeleton. It was massive, I stood under it’s jaw and would have fitted comfortably inside. They also have one of only two Colossal Squids that have been caught, preserved and displayed… it reminded me of something out of an alien film. Bush City is a nice outdoors walk with native plans and rocks (I didn’t know that talcum powder comes from rocks?!) and the massive Level 4 included the Journey of People (which I couldn’t make sense of), the Treaty of Waitangi (signed in 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Maori chiefs to agree how NZ should be ruled. It’s contentious because there are differences between the English and Maori versions of the agreement), a special exhibition on New Zealand in Vogue (lots of nice dresses) and The Story of the Pacific People in New Zealand. My favourite was the Passports section which told stories of immigration and the journeys people made to get here (they had really nice little video clips from people telling their stories). The section on New Zealand’s relationship with Britain was interesting, the Commonwealth seems very important to most New Zealanders (although there is a currently a lot of talk about changing the flag so it doesn’t include the Union Jack…there’s very mixed feeling about this). I was a bit embarrassed to find the information on the ‘Radioactive Pacific’, talking about the nuclear testing that France, Britain and the USA have conducted in the South Pacific. Firstly, it’s not at all fair on the South Pacific. And secondly I’d used this as an example in my last Uni assignment and could have made more of it with the information from Te Papa!
It was getting dark by the time we left and the sky had turned a lovely inky blue. We headed back to the hostel to pick up my stuff and said bye when they put me on the bus to the train station. I’d had such a lovely time with them and would hopefully see Emma and Chris in the UK before she headed back to Australia. I got something to eat on the train and had a nice trip home… I had to wait in the rain for the bus the other end and ended up being the only person on it. I’ve always thought it’s a shame there are no late evening buses in Paraparaumu but can understand why if the earlier ones they do have are empty. It was nice to get home to the Triggs, I’d missed them!
July - PARAPARAUMU
I had a morning of doing jobs like my washing. In the afternoon we all went out for a walk through the Waikanae Estuary Scenic Reserve, just 5 minute’s walk from home, to feed the ducks. It’s so so beautiful, I wish there was more daylight in the evenings so I could spend more time on the beach! It was sunny and breezy and refreshing. The estuary is interesting, again it was relevant to my Uni course as I’d learned a lot about estuaries (I find I’m always trying to apply what I’ve learned).
There was only 1 duck at the duck pond though! He got a lot of bread! It was Flora’s first walk out and I think she enjoyed it…! Mike and I made sausage, mash and veg for tea and we had the usual evening J
and Tuesday 21st
July – PARAPARAUMU
It was a usual couple of days at work, although the train journey there on Monday had been particularly spectacular. The journey home is usually more impressive because the sun is setting but the morning light today was lovely and there was a nice rainbow. I’d got my iPOD working so that jollied me along during the day. We watched the A Team Monday evening, love a bit of Bradley Cooper! That meant we recorded our favourite programme, Missing, to watch on Tuesday night. We’re all hooked on it, it stars Ashley Judd, Sean Bean and Cliff Curtis and is about an ex CIA agent whose son gets kidnapped. It doesn’t look like it’s being shown in the UK or Australia, a shame because it’s brilliant. We look forward to it every week! I wonder if NZ bought it because Cliff Curtis (a Kiwi) stars.
I’m actually caught up, this is where I am now! I’ll be with Heather, Mike, Fergus and Flora for a few more weeks and we’re all excited to have Hannah to visit the week after next! It’s going to be so hard to say bye to them all. I’ll then head up to Jenny and Terry’s for another few weeks before heading off somewhere sunny and gradually making my way home… I’ve been so homesick and at times it’s almost unbearable (they never tell you it’s an actual physical pain!) because I miss home and everyone so much.
I have to make the most of my commute whilst I can, it might be long but if there was a list of ‘most scenic commutes in the world’ it would surely have to be in it. The Kapiti (pronounced carpet-ti) train line follows the coast to Wellington, and between Paekakariki (the next stop along from Paraparaumu), through Pukerua Bay (where Peter Jackson’s from) and Porirua (the last stop of the fast train) it’s stunning. The inland scenery is nice but the coastline is something else. Between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki (Pie-cock-a-ri-ki is one English way of saying the Maori word) the train line climbs to give a massive view out over to the South Island. I’m usually getting the train home as the sun is setting (my favourite time of day to travel anyway) and it always looks different. The sky and sea is sometimes dull and moody, sometimes bright and flowing like fire and sometimes all pink and purple. The rocks on the shoreline are sometimes submerged depending on the tides but often they look like blocks of chocolate brownie, and the sea looks like cream being pored over them. I’m just in awe of it, I don’t think I could ever get bored of it and when there are people looking miserable after their day I just want to say, ‘look at the view, it’ll make you feel better….or at least swap sides with me so I can look properly!!! I’m usually distracted from studying by the view out of the window!
Anyway, that was June and July in New Zealand! Hev made us a lovely dinner, Fergus is in bed, Flora is asleep and Mike’s just made my hot milk so I’m about drink that and make my hot water bottle!
Lots of love.
PS AH I hope you’ve liked these New Zealand ones J
NOTE: I use these updates to capture my memories and share what I'm doing on my travels with friends, family and anyone who’s interested enough to read. The views are my own and I try my best to ensure any information I share is fair and accurate but I do sometimes get things wrong. I welcome any feedback so I can make improvements and corrections for future readers. Thank you.