Friday, January 16, 2009

Issue 34

This Week

I’ve decided that it’s not the week of crisis that’s the hardest, it’s the week after. The crisis week is of course emotional and tiring, but there are so many concerned people to help and you can push everything else aside and focus on what’s most important. The week after, however, you have to try to get everything back on track. You now have two weeks of work to accomplish, and the whole family to get back on schedule. So I guess that’s my big excuse for nothing interesting to post this week. No children’s artwork, no poetry, no book reviews and not even any photos. But rest assured the week was spent preparing so that their will be plenty of those items to come!

An Anniversary

Yesterday, Jan 15th was the anniversary of our return home from our 13 months in New Zealand. I wasn’t sure where the time had gone, but I quick review of the blog assured me that we have been productive and happy. I commented today to my Grandma that it certainly has been a different year - full of hard work - to which she wisely replied, “Of course, you weren’t on vacation.” :0)

Although New Zealand was not all vacation, and this year hasn’t been all work, they sure have felt like polar opposites. And yet, we are so happy and grateful to be fully engaged where we are. I’m so lucky to have had both kinds of years in my life. Now, if only we could make this year a nice mixture of both.

Bay of Islands part 2

We serendipitously ended up at the Bay of Islands during Waitangi Days, which is the celebration of the signing of the peace treaty between the British and the Maori in the 1800's. We learned much about New Zealand history and culture. We saw traditional Maui song and dance and helped launch the massive Waka (War Canoe) at the Waitangi treaty grounds.

Tree stump of the giant tree that the canoe was made from.

A powerful cyclone hit Australia during our 10 day stay at the Bay of Islands. Being toward the north end of the North Island we received the backlash from the storm. Monsoon like rain dumped for 48 hours straight. It was unbelievable! We extended our stay in that region by a couple days because we certainly couldn't drive in the severe weather. Fortunately we had followed Steve's promptings to take a tour out to Cape Reinga (at the northern most tip of the island) and Ninety Mile Beach the day before the rain started. This didn't make a lot of sense because we planed to camp closer to Ninety Mile Beach the next week. Not ones to second-guess promptings, we went that Monday and had a fun time on our tour that we found for 1/3 rd the regular cost. That night the storm set in and washed out the roads and a bridge and they had to alter the tours. (We talked to one guy in our camp who said they took the busload to a pub instead of the lighthouse at Cape Reinga!) Once again, we felt so blessed that we are watched over in our travels. We stayed nice and dry in our Caravan (without power!) and played games together. When we emerged, we found the playground under 18 inches of water and the gentle Wytangi River we had kayaked the week before was raging and full of rapids.

Cape Reinga, the northern most tip of the North Island.

Janey fell on the wet playground!