Kenny Vo said it best, "Welcome Home Bro!" when I arrived in New Zealand last month. It was surreal. I had been living in the country only a year earlier and everything was familiar. On the decent, we came through some massive clouds. It was around 5:00 a.m. and the lights of Auckland made me fill so happy.
I went on this trip as a last minute uber cheap airfare. It only cost me $483.00 USD roundtrip, but I was only going to be in the country a total of 4 days. But it was a chance to take a break, and be around people I so admire.
It started with taking a long walk to the cheapo rental car agencies just a bit outside of the airport. I climbed into my non-working radio Nissan for the drive down to Taupo. The minute I jumped in the car, I was already doing a great job driving on the left side of the road. I zoomed, literally down to Taupo in a mere 3:15 minutes and stopped immediately at the hotel to see Auntie Ali. I walked in the door and Di was standing there, looking confused about who I was and then gave me a HUGE hug. Oh, how I miss her. I walked into the breakfast area and there was Ali, saving me some Cherries and Berries yogurt and fixing me a much needed (and deserved) proper Mochachino. After a bit of conversation it was time to go look around town and meet up with Jeff.
I met Jeff at his work, Burger King. Jeff is one of the most loyal friends I have, and I was crashing at his place during my stay. He is such a good friend, and I miss being around him. I got the key to his place, and made my way to the shower.
After the long, hot shower I was ready to go and visit a few of my old spots. Five mile bay is wicked in the Summer with heaps of boats, swimmers, and parties. Being the start of winter the lake, and Five Mile Bay were desolate. I put my toes in the lake, took a few pics, and smelled the clean air. It was then off to lunch with Auntie Ali, Auntie Lyn, and Kenny at the local Thai hotspot.
On the first evening, we met up with my mate David, and Breakers and had a few laughs about life and where it has taken us.
Lets just say I fell asleep very early on my first night and made sure to get rest for what would become some epic times.
The next day was time to explore. Ursula, my future wife, and I spent time at Zest Cafe with my favorite B.E.T.A and then off to Huka Falls and Spa Park. I used to run and hike in this area a couple of times a week. It is a place I go to talk to God, my Grandma B, and for some good solitude. There are some secret spots I showed Ursula, and I think she didn't quite want to kill me for going to these places. I also went up to the forever green Taupo Botanic Gardens for a look at my old mate Mt. Tauhara.
I took Jeff out for some amazing food at the restaurant. And to get my fill of nice Pinot Noir and lamb. And it was time to go out a bit and see my buddy Karl.
I needed a good sleep for what happened on Saturday night. We started off with amazing steaks at Steak and Ale and then went on the town. Bond, Clubhouse, and Finns around the entertainment district of Taupo. It was booze filled, Maccas laden, and a great time. We made it back to Jeff's via his staff.
The next morning was brunch with Phillip, Heather, Shane, Jeff, Seb, and a couple of others. I had a peaceful, yet slightly emotional drive back to Auckland for my evening flight out.
I miss my New Zealand whanau so much. They mean a lot to me and I always have such a great time.
Thank you all for how you impact my life!