Two years have passed since my last post. It was April 2013 when I last posted. Summer was ending then and Mel and I were on the brink of our Peru trip. Now, as then, winter is already here and we just returned from another trip, this time a bit closer than Peru, to New Zealand. Only this time we had a third party travelling with us, our 10 month old daughter Aislinn.
So you see, a lot has taken place in 2 years! And now, as I write about it, I’m beginning to find similarities between both trips. Back in 2013 Mel fell ill the night before we started an epic road trip from Lima to Cusco with my father behind the wheel. Poor Mel had to endure 2 weeks of pain and missed out on a couple of things. This time around, Aislinn, on the eve of her first international journey, caught a cold. It did have us wishing we had picked a somewhat more tropical destination rather than New Zealand’s North Island. Oh well, could have been worse. We could have picked the South Island.
The trip started in rather amusing form. What now seems like a bad omen, then was just an anecdote. If we weren’t so stubborn we would’ve turn around and headed back home. It happens that while at the airport the counter lady, while checking our passports, commented upon seeing mine “do you have a visa to visit NZ” to which I replied I don’t need one as I am an Australian Resident. She wanted to make sure so she went and checked with her superior. And she came back. And she went over again. Signs of worry were showing on Mel’s face. Some time back we had already had to cancel a trip to NZ (coincidentally to the South Island) due to me not obtaining the visa on time and the ghost of that was looming again. The counter lady finally confirmed what I had originally explained like she had made an important discovery while shaking the printout with my Australian residency on her hand.
All along Aislinn observed patiently from her comfy place on her mother’s chest carrier. I had never realised how many babies fly these days. That’s probably a lie because I often used to complain about a crying baby in the vicinity of my seat not letting me sleep. Now I have been upgraded to seating right next to one who is my baby! But Aislinn was great on her first flight. The plane took off and she barely noticed. She was awarded prize as best baby on board. The reason was likely that she was too tired, sick and stuffed to cry about anything.
The real non sleeping holiday hadn’t started yet. Once in Auckland we stayed over at a friends place and that’s where the combination of the flu, the cold weather, the new and different room and the jetlag caught up big time on my little girl. The following days were a combination of something out of a Chevy Chase National Lampoon’s comedy film and a Woody Allen drama. Lack of sleep makes people irritable, forgetful and at times high. It can send you either way and you’ll be surprised to find out how far you can operate on little sleep.
We loved all of it, the crystal waters of Coromandel Peninsula, the Hobbit holes in Matamata, the thermal sights in Rotorua, Lake Taupo’s landscapes and falls, Hamilton’s gardens and Auckland’s nearby islands and beaches and it all seemed like a dream. I do remember NZ being very beautiful, yet I’m sure the strong narcotic of sleeplessness added to New Zealand’s undeniable beauty.
At the same time, we were more than ready to come back home and are enjoying our place so much. Luckily Aislinn has resettled into her routine quickly and is now flu free. Our next holiday will probably be to a beach and not a long distance. Then again, we live in Australia, everything is far away! I’m thinking of that imminent Peru flight some 16 hours away with the little one. I will be praying she doesn’t catch a cold before that one.
This wasn’t a holiday in the sense that I was used to before. I don’t think holidays will ever be the same again to be honest. That was expected, but now the measure is real, the idea is tangible. And that’s quite fine. It’s a whole new “country” what I will be exploring from now on. Extranjia is now officially reborn as I travel the unknown places and destinations of parenthood.
More posts to come soon.