We left Auckland on Thursday morning. Patti and Michael accompanied us on the train to the downtown travel plaza. This was good because it turns out despite being at our lowest stuff level yet, we cannot walk and carry all our belongings and our children in one trip. We said goodbye to Patti and Michael and climbed aboard the double-decker bus on a crowded street corner. On the one hand, awesome - a double-decker bus. On the other hand, why the hell were we taking a bus? Did I not remember the last time we took a bus?
The first leg of the journey went quite well. Bear was distracted by the ipad for a good portion of the ride, and then crawled into my lap and fell asleep. There was a bit of poor planning in that we had not brought any snacks - we were expecting the bus to stop for breaks but it did not. So we were a bit hungry when we arrived for our transfer in Rotarua. It was raining quite heavily when we stopped, and the attendants helpfully unloaded our suitcases onto the curb in the rain. Benjamin shuffled all four suitcases and various backpacks from the shiny double-decker bus with bathroom to the 10 passenger van circa 1982 that was provided for the second leg of the journey.
Meanwhile, I supervised Bear's use of the restroom. After guiding him through washing his hands, I went to change the baby and discovered that we had what is technically known as a "poopsplosion," on our hands. I had stripped the baby and was in the process of wiping her down with wet wipes on the floor of the restroom when Benjamin knocked on the door to let us know the bus was leaving. I sent Bear out with Benjamin, slapped a diaper on the baby, and dashed through the rain hauling a car seat. We made it to the bus. Wet, hungry, and possibly still streaked with a bit of baby poop, but we were on the bus.
|This is going to make great cover art for his second album.|
|Blurry bus selfie!|
We arrived in Opotiki with family-wide critically low blood sugar. Thank goodness the bus stop is also a cafe. We had time to stuff our faces and become slightly more human before my new coworker met us and brought us to our house!
I cannot begin to convey to you how exciting it is to have our own house after living in hotel rooms for a month. I am so pumped to spend more than three nights in one place, to unpack my clothes into drawers, to sleep in a separate bedroom from my children. The house is great - it's so big we actually sort of don't know what to do with all the space. THREE bedrooms? It's insane. Also, my coworkers are super sweet and set it up for the kids with some books and toys. And our beds were made. And there is food in the fridge.
|Bear's bed and books.|
|They even covered the outlet in Bear's room. Who is cutting onions in here?|
|Pax approves of the bedding choices.|
We spent the weekend familiarizing ourselves with the town (all four blocks of it!) and doing some shopping for housewares. We signed up for library cards and explored the local grocery store. We did mundane, not-on-vacation type things - and it felt great.
On Monday I start work and on Tuesday Bear starts school. I still get that nervous first-day-of-school feeling - for myself and for Bear. But we are both so very ready for a routine.
This is going to be good.
I think we're going to like it here.
|Opotiki has a train. Bear declares we can stay.|
|At the library, playing with antiques.|
|So close to crawling!|
|Listen, sometimes you need some possum and goat bodies.|
|Pax LOVES watching her brother.|
|Q: Is the fridge small or is the celery big?|
|Ready for tandem skydiving.|
|Being a less litigious society, New Zealanders can still enjoy the Jolly Jumper.|