Friday, 22 July 2022


We made it back to Abu Dhabi, and lo and behold - so did all four of our bags! Yay!

We got really surprised (and happy!) to see them all four appear on the luggage belt, as our flight out of Auckland ended up being more than an hour delayed, cutting our transit time in Sydney to just about 1,5 hours. We had resigned to the fact that they wouldn't have made that, considering the fiasco on the outbound trip with a 5,5 hour transit.
But there they were! Happy days!

Now Nathan has about a weeks worth of work before he has another week off. We have all landed, beaten the jet lag, recharged. Now the plan is for Lucas and Nathan to come up to Scandinavia later in the month; and for Linnea and I to shoot off as soon as possible, to get the most out of our holidays.
At the moment, I'm not quite sure exactly when and how we will travel. I'm keeping an eye on flights and loads; but with the whole of Europe seeming utterly chaotic this summer (because of the "post-pandemic travel bug"), it might have to be a bit of an adventure trip getting there..!
Wish us luck!

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Last night in NZ

Linnea and Chester have been best friends this trip. She's taken him on nice walks, given him many cuddles and coaxed him to sleep in her bedroom at night. Big goodbyes when we left.

For our last meal together we went out to a restaurant called the Good Home. It was just us and Auntie Nikki, as Uncle Kieran had gone to Sydney earlier in the morning for a work trip.

Thank you White family and NZ for a good time! Another family holiday now converted into good memories!

Emotional work

The kids and I were last in NZ during Spring Break of 2019. It was the last time we spent with Grandma and Granddad, as they passed in September the same year. Nathan was back again in the fall, but then Covid hit and because of the strict restrictions in NZ we haven't been able to return until now.

So it's been over three years, but lots of things were still in storage waiting for us to deal with them. It was both really emotional, but also quite a bit of fun, going through all the papers, documents but above all - old photo albums:

Granddad's photos from Abu Dhabi, back in the day!

It took several days, so many things to look through and consider. We ended up bringing home with us a lot of old photos, photo frames, paintings by Grandma; and some Christmas ornaments, decorations and kitchen things. Obviously, hadn't we been restricted by the space and weight of the suitcases, we would've brought a lot more things, but that's how it is unfortunately.

Another main objective was to finally clear out the storage unit:

While in Taupō we also finally got to go see where they are resting, in the Overseas Services Cemetery. I was happy to see it was such a beautiful place, not far from the Waikato River, with great panoramic views.

A long overdue visit, and very emotional of course. We miss them a lot. NZ is not the same without them. ❤️

Rainy and wet

We weren't that lucky with the weather while in NZ. I could've taken the cold, we had packed all our Icebreaker stuff and all the merino wool clothing; but unfortunately we also had a lot of rain. A lot, it rained every day in fact. Boo.

Linnea and I tried to find the dry breaks, to take Chester for little walks around the neighbourhood. From up the hill behind the new house, we got nice views of Lake Taupō.

One day I had nice company outside the window in the kowhai bush, by this tui bird which spent ages jumping around in the bush, feeding off the nectar of the flowers. So pretty!

World's coolest McDonald's

We have always thought this Maccas is the coolest, and ever since the kids were small we have had lunch here at least once on each visit. We have enjoyed many, many burgers and chicken nuggets sitting in that DC3.

Now they had a flash new sign, that showcased their very true award - The World's Coolest McDonald's.

Although I must admit, I enjoy more the lunches we have around town here in Taupō. There is not a bad café in town! Here below we went to Piccolos on the first day in Taupō:

And this below was my plate of corn fritters, which I enjoyed on the last day in Taupō for this time, when we went out to the L'Arte Café by Grandma and Granddads old house:

Bad travel mojo

We had a bit of bad travel mojo on the way to NZ, when it came to our luggage. Even though we had well over 5 hours transit in Sydney, one of the bags didn't make it to Auckland. As per usual I had spread our things across the three bags, so luckily it wasn't just all the things from one person that got missing. But most of the things in the missing bag were Linneas, her shoes, her toilet bag etc.

For the first time I had put Apple Tags in all the suitcases so I could actually track the bag and see where it was at, in real time. This turned out to be really handy! For example when I got hold of Baggage Services and they tried to tell me the bag had been put on a flight... and I could see that it was in fact still in Sydney!
I spent days emailing and calling, although most attempts to get to speak to someone just ended up in an endless phone queue - like this particular day, when I gave up after waiting two hours...

I appreciate that many places across the globe are experiencing trouble with getting luggage to right places at the moment. The post-pandemic travel bug seems to have hit people hard, and the airports can't keep up. Still, I was really unimpressed with the lack of information. Had I not kept emailing and phoning myself, I wouldn't have had any news about the bag at all. 

The bag finally caught up with us, after a slight detour to Christchurch, after TEN days. Wi-hoo!
But if this wasn't enough, Nathans bag didn't make it across the ditch either when he arrived two days after us! Argh! His turned up on day three though, so it was slightly faster finding the right way.

Cousins night out

Liam and Caitlin wouldn't join us for the next part of our holiday in Taupō, as they had to get back to Uni. So the cousins spent their last night together having dinner out on the town in Pukekohe:

Girls home alone

While they boys were busy moving the boxes into the new house, us girls were left behind up in Auckland as Auntie Nikki had one more day at work before we could join them. She works as a school teacher and she brought Linnea with her to work this particular day. Linnea helped out in the class room, and got to read a story to the whole class:

In the evening we decided to go out for dinner, and took to Sylvia Park for a bit of girlie retail therapy, and had dinner at the Chinese restaurant, just us girls:

Moving day

Recently Nikki and Kieran bought themselves a holiday home in Taupō; where Grandma and Granddad used to live. They were to get the keys while we were there, so we got roped into helping out with the moving in. They boys were moving superstars!

Auntie Nikki had done an amazing prep job, getting all the boxes packed and furniture sorted to go. Come moving day, the boys just had to load up the truck according to the planned list. It was a bit of a tetris game to make sure it all fit, and wouldn't move around during the drive, but it didn't take them long.

On moving day, Uncle Kieran, Liam and Lucas drove down to Taupō with the moving truck; and as Nathan didn't fit in the truck he got to fly down, to join them later and unpack the truck.
The boys stopped for curly fries and sandwiches half way down:

All arrived in Taupō:

Auntie Nikki and I drove down the following day to start the unpacking of the boxes. Thanks to her fantastically organised packing all the boxes got unpacked and the kitchen got sorted the first day. Also new furniture got delivered and already on the first night, it felt like a home!

Auntie Nikki could finally unpack her 'habibis' that she bought when they came to visit us here in Abu Dhabi 8,5 years ago "for her summer house"!

After there had been a bit of driving up and down during the weekend to get everyone to where they needed to be, we had fish & chips from Shaynes down the road for the first sit-down dinner, on the Sunday night:

21st birthday dinner

In the evening when everyone was home, we had a birthday dinner for Caitlin at home. We started out with the gift opening:

Here the proud parents:

Caitlin had asked for her favourite Indian take-away, and we had so much food! Her boyfriend Ryan joined us as well, and the young ones sat on their own table:

And us parents sat on our own table:

Of course there was a piggy cake!

While going through some of Granddads boxes we had found some fireworks, so we decided to see if they still worked! They did! Happy 21st Birthday Caitlin!