Part 8: Auckland
May 1nd: Leaving Liz was no fun AT ALL! First of all because it meant leaving my best friend. Secondly because I knew it heralded the beginning of the end - soon I'd be leaving first New Zealand and then the Southern hemisphere altogether. Time had flown by FAR too quickly, and I just wasn't ready to go home. Not by a long shot!
I was set to leave Hamilton Sunday afternoon, but got a bit of a fright that morning - I went to turn on the GPS and type in Holly's address so I'd be all set for that afternoon, only to discover that the GPS wouldn't turn on! Yikes! I did NOT relish a drive to Auckland without a GPS and even less the drive the following morning from Holly's place to the airport! Sure, I had maps, but I suck at reading maps while driving, because I can't retain the information and have to keep checking to see if I'm (still) on the right track. So there was a brief moment of stress there while I was thinking up various versions of plan B in case I couldn't get a new one. Fortunately that turned out not to be a problem - Liz gave me very precise directions to the Hertz rental place in Hamilton (I'm very much a landmark driver rather than a streetname driver!), and once there I was able to get it exchanged no problems. I typed in Holly's address, and was on my way! :-)
But PTL that I went to check the GPS that morning! I'd have been in a complete panic if I hadn't discovered it didn't work until I was on my way!
It was so great to get to meet Holly, Bryan and their kids. Holly's sister was there for a long visit, so I got to meet her too, which was a treat. But I've got to say, the kids are SO CUTE :-) They'd just arrived home when I came, so were a bit tired and hesitant at first, but once we'd sat down to dinner together, we were long-lost friends, and when time came for their goodnight stories, Symeon and Verity rushed over and found three books each, and then brought them to me, so I could read aloud to them! I was so honoured that they'd let me read to them after having known them for such a short time - reading aloud is one of my all-time favourite ways of bonding with children :-) Holly's sister really said it best - there are no strangers in their world :-)
Of course we also had to have photo evidence that Holly and I had met at last.
We sat talking for awhile, and then headed off to bed sometime after 10pm. I'd been offered a bed, but opted to sleep on the (extremely comfortable! I might add) couch instead, because I had to get up at 3am the following morning in order to be at the airport in time. As it was, I was so worried about oversleeping that I only slept a couple of hours anyway ;-) and thankfully I managed to let myself out of the house without waking anybody up.
Again, thank you SO much for letting me crash! It was so great not to have to drive up from Hamilton at that hour of the morning (or spend the night at the airport as would probably have been what I'd end up doing), and I loved finally getting to meet you, even if it was only for a couple of hours :-)