The relaxed, slower pace of life. Walking to school barefoot, checking the surf on the way. Taking a family walk after dinner. Sure, you can get caught up in sports and school and work just like in the states, but somehow it really truly is different. Kiwis have a better sense of balance, I think.
|Cows. We'll definitely miss cows. Especially black & white ones with fuzzy brown ears. The smell of cow poo no longer smells yucky to us, it just smells like home.|
Feijoas. We've never even heard of this fruit before coming here! I guess they are similar to pineapple guavas, but we never ate those in the states...did you? Here they are offered by the bushel at the side of the road. They are sweet and delicious, and easy to eat by scooping the flesh out with a spoon. Wish I had a feijoa tree. We'll also miss the great kiwifruit we've had here...the golden kind whose skin isn't so fuzzy, so you can eat it like an apple. And the New Zealand Rose apple, so crisp and sweet. And green-skinned pumpkins - Gavin eats them straight from the pan once they've been roasted.
|Mount Taranaki always being there to the East. Have we mentioned that before? Love seeing that mountain while biking to the store, or driving to New Plymouth, or waking up and looking out the window to see what kind of day to expect.|
We'll miss having a lake as a backyard, with black swans and paradise ducks, and a horse to eat our apple cores, and a walking trail. Griffin and I ran around the lake to try to get our flabby selves in shape (too many Opunake ice cream cones). Our family took walks around the lake in the evenings. Boys fed the ducks bread (RIP Bob). I'll miss the dawn chorus of birds around the lake - magpies, ducks and the occasional tui.
FRIENDS!! Most of all we will miss the kind, real, big-hearted, generous, adventurous and genuine people that we have met here in Opunake. We originally viewed this adventure as a chance to really experience a different country...we hoped to travel and find natural beauty and adventure. What we didn't expect to find, but are SO glad we did, was a second home. We'll miss you all so very much.
The "girls" Mary, Sharlene, Michelle, Lori & Shelley at Headlands for an after-work cocktail.
|Grif with his guitar teacher Miwa|
Ken & Geoff at Sugar Juice. Geoff & Michelle Watt have been so kind to our family and are good friends. They gave us advice, good food and sleeping bags. Michelle looked out for Ken at work and made sure he was taken care of. Geoff took the boys surfing and paua hunting...if only he could play ping-pong...
It has been fantastic having the Park family here as fellow "Americans in town". Our boys have really enjoyed each other's company, and Ken & I are glad to have some card playin' friends in Opunake. The Ackerman and Luond families are really really special people; they are the heart of what makes Opunake such a special place. Our kids get on amazingly well. We hope to have them for a visit in the states!
Logan, Griffin, Journey, Mia, Samuel, Isaak, Gavin, Jade & Jonah...Kiwi Buddies.
E noho ra