It is morning and I am yawning… I’m convinced the teen is planning to spend the trip catching up on a lifetime of sleep…   

 No need to rush today though – we’re here for two nights… It’s already starting to feel like home πŸ˜‰

Yesterday was driving… driving… driving… to Queenstown…. No one to take the happy snaps, as she slept…   

   
The one lane bridges throughout NZ still mess with my head… Forever stopping… Forever forgetting to stop!   

I’m loving the NZ safety radio messages (but not the intermittent radio service!!)… Drive safely, don’t ruin someone else’s life… I know you want to keep your baby close, but keep them in the back seat… 

Lake Hawea – there is no gentle flowing water in NZ! Or if there is, we’re yet to find it… Everything is tumultuous, discontented…  

What’s with the bonfires on every beach? NewYear?   

Then up through the amazing Crown range πŸ™‚   

   
And finally…. Having driven past too many places at which we should have stopped… Queenstown πŸ™‚  

I feel like we’re moving too fast… I want to go back and undo the organisation. I almost didn’t book accommodation until we arrived… But given the time of year… Glad I did! Twice so far they’ve double booked us and had to do some crazy scrambling to find us other accommodation. NZ is decidedly booked out at this time of year! But we are skimming… I want to stop and see and experience. I want to hike. I want to climb. I want to take the road less travelled. 

Hokitika to the Glaciers

17000 steps and 75 flights of stairs, according to the Fitbit on the teen’s arm. Add an unknown number of driven kilometres. That was yesterday’s adventure! Not a lot according to many, but enough of an adventure to make us sleep well πŸ˜‰

Another hotel room to wake in… I feel like I should be writing a song rather than a recount…

Loving the adventure with the child. This will be our last before she is an adult, so our last for quite some time I imagine. She has one year of school left… Then her thoughts and focus will be firmly on her friendships… They already are for the most part…

So, yesterday was shopping for jade – these ones are my own favourite and a gift from the child πŸ™‚

 I need to research it more… I want to know the beliefs associated with this stone…

Hokitika Gorge was first on the list. Driving in NZ, the thing that strikes me is the mountains. They’re like blobs of PlayDough dumped on the island. In Oz, our mountains tend to creep up on us and you find yourself within them without realising.   

  
The Gorge… The pics just don’t capture the colours. Brilliant turquoise water – the result of melted glacier, rock flour and something else… Pretty sure I know a geologist who will fill in that blank πŸ˜‰ but the colours… Breathtaking! As simple and as cliched as that. 
   

And the swing bridge that has an odd restriction…
 Heavy people in NZ?!?
Next was the treetop walk. We have so many in Oz, but I’ve never been on one. So another tick on the bucket list πŸ˜‰ 

 A great experience if you’re into plants… And from what I read, if you’re into plants, NZ is certainly the place you want to be!!  

Then down to the glaciers finally!    

We didn’t book a helihike because we were told there are no guarantees. Wait until you are there and book it, because the weather can change quickly… Everything is booked out because it is the Christmas season!! 

So…. We hiked to Franz Josef. Within 250 metres of a glacier is NOT even remotely close to walking ON a glacier… Yet another reason to return… Or maybe I will add hiking on a glacier to my South America trip… Whenever that happens… No longer next year for the olympics!

She regretted the ‘inappropriate footwear’… 
  
 It looked amazing at the start of the trek…
     

Much less impressive from 250m away in summer…
  

Waterfalls…

  

Grey rivers… 

 

  
And rocks for the rock lover πŸ˜‰    

   

But I loved the sound of walking on these  … the sound of carrying a box of china to a new house… πŸ™‚

On to Queenstown today πŸ™‚

I am in love…

With this part of the world πŸ˜‰

I’m not as taken with the amazing coastline as I was promised – but perhaps that is simply because I am spoiled with a stunning coastline in my own neck of the woods… 

But I am loving the people and the outlook on life, and I am loving Hokitika!

  
They do keep telling us this weather is deceptive. Apparently, it’s been the worst spring and summer to date… But this week, the magic has appeared. 

I love these two pics:

   
 Because I was standing in the same spot at the same time when I took them. Beautiful summer beach weather, with snow capped mountains in the background!
And finally, the sunset over the west coast…

  
Today, if I can drag the teen from her bed, we’ll explore the treetop walk and the swinging bridge, before heading south to the glaciers. 

But I have fallen in love with this section of the coast in particular. I could live here… More importantly, I could afford to live here!! πŸ˜‚

Conversation outside my motel room early this morning, amidst the rattle of suitcase wheels:

Female (adult): I’m not waking anyone up! 

Make (adult): shh!

Female: but why do you keep saying I’m waking people up?! I’m not!!

Male: okay… Shh…

Female: I don’t need to shh! I’m not waking anyone up!!!

More rattling and banging and muttering… 

Is she really that daft?! Can she truly not see that walking outside motel rooms with suitcases and talking in a loud, shrill voice will wake people up?!? 

Another online dating reflection… I chat to these guys… I haven’t yet perfected how to be harsh – although I know I should be… So many cling to any ray of hope…

The guys half my age who are sure that when I say – I don’t want to retire just yet (or the picket fence), that I must be wanting a younger guy… Umm, no… I have a daughter three years younger than you! 

The guys who are desperately searching for their soulmate, the one! And they can tell it’s going to be me from my profile… Umm, no it’s not… I don’t want to complete anyone. 

The marriage proposals. Sure, why not…

The ‘other’ proposals…

The lonely guys who just want someone to talk to and have no actual interest in meeting…

I’m fed up with the opening of ‘My God, you’re beautiful/ cute/ attractive/ whatever…’ Or ‘Hey gorgeous, you have such a cheeky/ beautiful/ intense/ whatever smile/eyes…’  I keep changing my pic to show them – I’m not any of these things. I’m okay to look at… But no, I’m not gorgeous. I don’t look 10 years younger than I am. I’m not going to hightail it to your house so you can lavish with me empty compliments and I can lavish you with…

Even the ones I think are normal… I chat for a few days… They seem genuinely nice. We share some stories and some laughs. But then something is just a little off kilter… Something not quite right… So I postpone the date – I’m genuinely sorry, I know it sounds like an excuse, but the kids are sick/ bad tempered/ just lost their grandma…. Maybe tomorrow night? And then… A different person emerges. A nasty person who is not happy that they are not the top priority. Or a nasty person who is not happy that they don’t ‘get to go to town on you’… Wtf?!? When did you ever get the idea that was going to happen?!?

It’s a crazy world… And I find myself connecting most to those who don’t live here… The impossible ones… And I question why… Is this a subconscious cop out?

And then… And I know you are reading this and I know it hurts you to think of me dating – for this I am sorry… I receive a text from you… Four simple words wishing me a merry Christmas… And I am tumbling… Yours all over again… And I realise why distance is attractive… Why they will never come close… Why I connect with the impossible…

Christmas! I miss child 2…

This is the first christmas I have not had all four under my roof when we wake… And even though I knew it would happen one day, I didn’t expect it so soon… It’s hard enough not having him here… But he won’t speak to me either… He’s blocked me on all social media and on his phone… So it will be an entire Xmas day without him… An entire festive season without hearing his voice or seeing his fleeting smile…

And once again I am feeling sorry for myself… Because not one person has sent a message to offer me strength and love… Because they don’t get it… They see the destruction and harm, the hurt he has caused… But they don’t understand the hurt and scared and incredibly angry child that is within… And they don’t understand that this is MY little boy… Not just some kid you hear about… This one is MINE… And I can’t find the words… Or perhaps I just don’t want to write them down and make them real… But he is mine… And he is not here… And  my heart just keeps shattering a little bit more each day… And no one seems to actually get that… Or they just don’t want to know…

Preparations…

Third child: we should give Santa one of those lemon cookies we don’t like…

Fourth child: I’ll write the note… And get the carrot…

Third child: We should hide the iPad and film him…

Fourth child: Can I drink some of Santa’s milk?

Third child: We need 8 carrots! 

Me: They eat at every single house…

Third child: Okay… We’ll give them 3…

Fourth child: We can’t leave the carrots outside or the possums will eat them…

Me: I’m not having reindeer in my house!

And so it goes… β˜ΊοΈπŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸŽ