MY FAMILY IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!
David and I were up at 5:30am to pick up the fam from the airport. They were scheduled to land around 6:15, so (since we still had the rental car-sweet!) we left at 6am. After a very smooth 20-minute drive, we parked in the visitor’s parking lot and sat on the edge of our seats at the arrivals gate!
Earlier than I expected, I saw them come through the gate! It was an emotional moment! I was overwhelmed with happiness at seeing them – it’s the longest I’ve gone without seeing my mommy or daddy! I knew I really missed my family a lot, but it really hit me when I felt how insanely happy I was to see them. I just can’t believe they are really here! I feel so lucky that we can have these memories together! They looked well and said they had had a great flight, so the five of us and their three bags squashed into little Kermit the Car to drive to their hotel.
And this is when things went haywire. From the backseat while craning my neck around the luggage on my lap, I failed even more miserably at navigating. We wound up VERY lost and had to stop at a gas station for directions. They said to backtrack and take Dominion Rd into the city.
Now, the night before when I searched for directions to the airport, Google Maps told me to take Dominion Rd to the airport, but I refused. I KNOW Dominion Road (that is where my school is) and I did not believe that it was the fastest, easiest way to get in and out of the city. I found a way to get there using the State Highways, but apparently, it didn’t work as easily in reverse 😦
But of course, once we got to Dominion Rd, I knew exactly how to get into the city….but then I screwed up even more! My directions to the hotel were terrible, made even more terrible by closed roads, detours, and no-right-turn intersections. Sigh. But we made it, and now we all have another hilarious story about my ineptness 😉 lol
After storing their luggage (they couldn’t check in until 1pm) we went to return the rental car, which, I would like to add, went very smoothly! We then headed to a cafe, the General Store, for some flat whites and a snack. Everyone enjoyed their Flat Whites but we still cannot decide precisely how it is different from a latte.
Fueled by espresso, scones, cake, pie, and sandwiches, we did a bit of shopping! We just cruised down Queen Street, stopping in some souvenir shops. My mom got me my Evolve charm, a jewelry company that makes New Zealand-inspired Pandora charms. I knew I wanted a charm with a silver fern, but I couldn’t decide between the three styles they offered. Once looking at them all, I chose a beautiful square charm with two different fern shapes and Koru (spiral) on the edges.
We also stopped in an art gallery called the Lonely Dog – charming paintings with dogs doing people things, like playing poker or going fishing. My dad seriosuly considered buying the fishing one for his cabin, but resisted 😉
Other notable shopping-stops were into Ice Breaker to check out the New Zealand active wool clothing. It’s really good stuff, completely natural; you can even trace it back to the farm where they got the wool! I think Dad wants a baselayer…
After the family took a nap in their hotel, we all got dressed and ready for our evening. Even though it was their first night in New Zealand, we still had big plans. Our night started at Brew on Quay – a bar with a huge beer list and some upscale pub food. While waiting for Hannah to meet us (the poor thing had an astronomy final) we ordered some drinks. Mom and I got the Sauvignon Blanc from Mahi, a winery I had visited in Blenheim! David and Dad got some kind of hoppy NZ beer that they seemed to enjoy. The bartender also put the Golf US Open on for Dad.
We sat in the bar area for dinner, which was really fun and lively during Friday night happy hour! For dinner, we got some appetizers. First to come was the bread and dips, but it looked a lot more elaborate than our order, with meat and cheese, too.
It turned out to be a mistake, so they brought us the regular bread and dips, TOO! It was a lot of food on top of our wedges with chili and sour cream. Plus we all got meals, too. Thank goodness Hannah and I had the foresight to split the smoke chicken Cesar salad!
Among the many beers at Brew on Quay is Moa, from a brewery also in Blenheim! I was so happy to get to enjoy all my beloved wineries and breweries again… with my family, nonetheless!!
After dinner, we grabbed the free train to the game and were there in plenty of time.
The bad news was that it was raining pretty bad, so we walked around the stadium for a bit until the start. Dad lived up to his saying, “life is too short to be boring,” and was the only one of us to get his face-painted.
He also made friends with the Liquor Monitor by the bar 😉
Even though we were sitting in the cheap, uncovered seats in the pouring rain, I think the fiery beginning cheered everyone up a bit!
It was really an exciting game.
They were winning and we got to celebrate a lot of scores (I don’t know what they call them…touchdowns?).
Half-Time Show Fun:
I was so happy that the family got to experience a rugby game while they were here, and despite the rain and sleepiness, they were a bunch of troopers!
They barely made it on the train ride home, so I was happy that they agreed to take a cab back to their hotel. Now I know they will make it back safely 😉
It was a completely successful first day, and I am so, so pleased that they are finally here!