Sunday, 9 June 2013

S is for Surprise

They say home is where the heart is, but after a recent trip home I say home is where I can dress like a homeless person and still feel good about myself. I realized this on my first morning back when I came to breakfast looking like Christmas meets 1996 and had a souvenir t-shirt baby. My vanity prevents me from publishing a picture of me in said outfit, but trust me it was fantastic. In that shabby no chic kind of way. So instead I'll just show you a picture of what a 5 month old baby looks like:

It was so wonderful to be back. Hazel and I decided to surprise my mom for Mothers Day, which was a lot of fun and I'm quite impressed with myself that we pulled it off. I couldn't have done it without my brothers, who helped with the trickery. My Dad pulled a little surprise on me by showing up at the airport to greet us, which was super nice.

The trip was a little bit of a last minute decision as Adam was going to Vegas for work and I thought about being here alone and then had the brilliant idea to hitch a ride, so to speak, to the West Coast. And by hitch a ride, I mean purchase a pricey international fare like everyone else that lives abroad and wants to go home. It was totally worth it.

Adam and I flew together to San Francisco, but I did the domestic legs and the return with Hazel on my own. I know, I know, flying internationally with a baby is on everyone's bucket list.

I gotta give it up for Air New Zealand again though. They were awesome. We reserved a bassinet seat, which meant that our seats were in the bulkhead and right after takeoff the flight attendants installed Hazel's bassinet.

It was great, mostly because she actually got to sleep which meant we got to sleep too. Convenient, as sleep has moved to the top of my favorite things to do list. Ok, who am I kidding sleep has always been one of my favorite things to do. The supply and demand ratio is just not in my favor these days so, it's at the extra top of the list.

Going from Air New Zealand to domestic in the US, though, is like going from first class to first arse. I fortunately had some nice people next to me and some helpful crew members. An example of helpful in this case would be giving me a plastic bag to put Hazel's clothes and my own in after Hazel had a massive poo explosion on me." Infant in arms" for 5 hours. Let's get this party started. Oh yeah, she just did.

It really was great to be back. I got to see so many people I love from old friends to extended family members. I even got to introduce Hazel to her 102 year-old great grandmother on Adam's side. Everyone was ecstatic to meet and see the new baby, especially my niece and nephew.

I stopped in SF briefly to catch up with friends. Man I miss those peeps. Apparently I was having too much fun to remember to take any pictures but imagine me surrounded by ladies I love and very happy. Being away from friends and family is one of the hardest things about living in a different country. Especially now that we have this little one.

Going back to the States is a reminder in some ways of what we are missing and in other ways what we aren't. I was shocked at how over stimulating I found the airports and mall to be. I just kept thinking why are there so many shops and people everywhere and look at all the racks of clothing, this is surreal! That is the beauty of living in a different country, it gives you a new perspective. How sad if I was unchanged by this expat experience.

Just the other day I was watching The Voice Australia and was delighted to learn that people on this side of the world apparently pronounce the word albino (you know the people that look like they need to get a tan but can't) as al-bean-o. As Americans we pronounce it al- buy-no. So the past few days I've gone around the house singing "you say albino, I say albeano....tomato, tomahto."

Another thing that makes me happy we live in NZ is that stuff like this happens.  A note on the door of our local Fish N Chips shop -

Anyway, point is I did love being home, but I also loved coming back here to New Zealand. Even if it meant returning to winter.

You might remember that Kiwis aren't too big on central air and heating so it's back to long johns and nights by the fire. How cold does it get you might wonder. That I can't tell you, you'll have to check your farmers almanac for those kind of details, but I'll tell you it's cold enough for me to lay awake the other night wondering if they make a giant flannel onesize for adults. Seriously this kept me up for a solid ten minutes . Hey don't blame me for trying to stay warm and keep the flame in my post baby marriage alive.

Hazel is doing well and while the trip home was great the transition back has been rough. Holy guacamole that baby had some jet lag. That plus teething at the same time. I'm still waiting for a bartender to come up with a drink especially for such an occasion. The show must go on though. And thank goodness the show recently had a 3 day weekend. It was the Queen's Birthday and we celebrated by ferrying over to Waiheke Island for the day. Waiheke is beyond picturesque and packed with tons of vineyards, rolling hills, and beautiful beaches.

We met up with our good friends, Andrew and Adrienne, for a little last hurrah. Unfortunately for us they are moving back to Canada. We had lunch at Poderi Crisci, a delightful winery and restaurant that temporarily makes you feel like you are in Italy, instead of the beautiful wine island in the middle of New Zealand that you are actually on. We did the "Italian Long Lunch" which as the name implies was long, but it was also incredibly delicious and filled with many courses and yummy wine. If you are a local it is a must do. Speaking of all this delicious food, Hazel recently had her first taste of the good life. Mmm rice cereal.

This new role of mother is still something I'm figuring out. It's kind of a weird yet wonderful club to be apart of. Thankfully, the actual mothering part comes very natural to me. It's funny, though, if you had told me a few years back I would be living in New Zealand and a stay at home mom making her own baby food I probably would have laughed. Life is funny that way.

Life is good in that way too.

Just a place I enjoyed my coffee the other morning. How did I ever get so lucky to live in this paradise?!