for those who don't want to just wait it out

like the song says this is a blog for someone who wants to say something (anything) and who's happy to wait and see what time will bring...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

From the North Island and back to the North Shore

You know you might not be looking your best when you get on the plane, the stewardess automatically asks you if she can get you some water, you sit down to have the sweet (but still a stranger) little old lady just pick up your hand and start stroking it, move a stewardess to share a sympathetic tear too and have another passenger in the seats on the other side of the aisle pop up after the plane's levelled out to come and pat you on the shoulder and say "it's ok to be sentimental sweetheart".

mmm....

The comment about sentimentality came after the stewardess asked me if I'd 'left someone special behind' to which I mumbled "no" (well that's not entirely true because there were several special someones I left behind!) but that I was just being overly sentimental. This trip to NZ was always going to leave me a little sentimental. I knew it would be a great time of catching up with friends, of meeting families and developing new relationships as well as having some significant conversations. It was all of those and more.

The more was in long drives through the countryside, on the way out to wineries, walking along beaches or sitting in cafes eating breakfast at 2pm.... Life Is Good.

NZ is a spectacular country (why have I not been there before now?!) and it was great to have spent a little time exploring the north island while leaving me waiting to discover the south. Having started in Auckland for the Northern Region Easter camp for TSCF students and then a preaching day conference (more reflections on both of them later though), the Pollocks took me on a journey through Rotorua, Napier and then into Wellington where I got to spend the rest of the week with them and some others - particularly Ben and Val (also TSCF).

I'm uploading a bunch of new photos onto flickr so have a peak and read some more descriptions of some of the areas we visited if you're interested.

As one friend there said, it was a time away from Sydney that I wanted but also what I needed. I think it was needed to help me clear my head a little and refocus on the bigger picture of the next few months, rather than just getting caught up in too many details. It was a time that I needed, to be encouraged, challenged and supported and I'm thankful to each of my friends there who did that in various ways.

The highlight was spending time with the Pollocks, especially getting to know Ailsa and the boys. I was touched at just how warm and welcoming they all were and how easy it was just to hangout whether it was while we were exploring, having all sorts of conversations while driving, mucking around on beaches (even if they were laughing at me when I mistook a seagull for a kiwi - it was a brown bird though!) cooking in their kitchen or playing on the Wii (gotta master that skiing or soccer head-butting one for next time!).

On my last night, the Pollocks and Val gave me this koru which is a pendant made out of green-stone that you can only get in New Zealand. According to Maori tradition, you can't buy a koru it must be given to you by someone. Or perhaps a better word than 'given' would be 'entrusted' because a part of the gift of the koru is that it means that the pendant (and thereby you!) must go back to the ones who have given it to you one day. The one given to me is the triple infinity twist which symbolises the inter-twining of two cultures, people and stories for an eternal purpose... very appropriate that my NZ friends gave it to me then considering the road ahead. I was touched, and a little teary then as well as on the plane.

A part of the emotion on the way home may also have been that I knew this trip to NZ was the first in a series of markers, my own countdown if you will before I head back to the Gulf. It was probably fitting therefore that as my plane was rolling into the gangway, an Emirates plane was pulling out and heading for the runway - next time I'm at the airport for a flight, that'll be the one I'm on...

A bientot.