I returned to old Melbourne town yesterday morning. I spent the past 17 days traveling around New Zealand visiting whanau (family) and friends. Met some cool new peeps, may have cemented the end with some old ones…
This was an unplanned trip and thus severely underfunded. N’mind, a grouse time was had by all. I ate heaps of great kai (food) and drank far too much, danced and laughed, generally made mischief and talked, talked, talked…
I went because my Aunty Nan, the head of our family, has Alzheimer’s and it is getting worse. I flew in to Christchurch so that I could visit my friends from when I lived there, and to pick up my other aunties so they could come with me to the family farm and visit their sister.
I drove from Christchurch to Picton to catch the ferry, with 2 quick stops, one in Cheviot for hot chocolate and one in Kaikoura to take photos of one of my most favourite places on the planet. I had to catch the 10pm ferry to Wellington as the others were all sold out. Had an interesting conversation with a lady traveler, she is unhappily married, but when she finally divorces she will happily take her husband for as much as possible. Her glee ratcheted up when she told me the impending end would be worth about seven figures. I was struck with the notion that women may access their mercenary side only when a man who claims to love them, lets them down in both big and small ways.
I caught an hour of sleep on the boat and arrived in Wellington at 2 am feeling pretty good so I decided to push on and drive north. This may not have been my best idea of the trip but it reminded me that I don’t need drugs to alter my reality, just cut back on the sleep and I’ll be tripping balls in no time. Had to pull over a few times and hope the bracing cold air from a waterfall on the side of the road would be enough to keep me awake. I made it to the farm by 8 am, breakfast and then some chat with my aunty who was quite lucid the whole time I visited with her.
I spent the next few days eating everything, reading, sleeping (I managed to get 5 uninterrupted hours in a row, a new PB!) talking, and filming my aunty surreptitiously on my phone as she talked about all sorts of events from years gone by. Mostly family history and recipes. I hope to upload the videos and send them to her daughter soon.
I soon returned to Wellington after gorging myself on frybread and banana cake. Hung out with an old friend and his wee daughter and was just generally enthused by the changes in his life happiness since the advent of his little girl. His little ray of sunshine.
Caught the ferry back and drove non stop to Christchurch, speeding most of the way and generally loving the freedom that is a road trip: singing loudly and badly to a lot of stuff I’d forgotten was on my iPod.
I ended the trip as I had begun it, in Christchurch and dancing up a storm. Hanging out with my friend Shannon at her house and glutting myself on True Blood and vodka. Cooking and teaching Shannon the hallowed art of molljito making. Laughing with Phil and Hamu, trying not to laugh at Ash, and glad to see Dave is doing much better in his new career. Home may no longer be Christchurch but a big chunk of me was changed and improved by being part of that place and this was largely due to the people I surrounded myself with while I was there.