I am now, finally, back home again after a great week in Wellington - learnt lots (honestly) and I always enjoy spending time in Wellington. I was able to translate both figuratively ("what is L&P? why would anyone put it in rum?") and literally ... Maori is an official language in New Zealand and although I didn't have a hope of understanding the formal speeches of welcome that were all in Maori, New Zealanders tend to sprinkle their speeches with Maori words that don't really have an equivalent meaning in English, and not even know they're doing it. Especially in the sessions about indigenous representation in Parliament and land settlement legislation which sound a bit dry but were actually fascinating. And I could explain to confused Australians the difference between a hui and a hapu :)
The weather was a bit crap though - this picture is typical of the sky. And it was super windy of course. A few of the Canberrans were startled by the wind and I'm all like "this is NOTHING! this is a northerly! wait until you get a southerly, that comes STRAIGHT from Antarctica ... hahaha". No wonder I went for so many walks by myself. Getting back was another disaster - storms in Sydney on Friday morning delayed everything, so we missed our connecting flight back to Canberra and had to overnight in Sydney. At least Qantas was organised this time - someone was waiting when we got off the flight with hotel and taxi vouchers and we got a credit at the hotel for meals this time, unlike Auckland. It shouldn't matter because work would pay, but it makes me feel better to charge my excellent buffet breakfast to the airline. So I saw I lot of this over the course of the week.
Saturday morning I got home, fed the cat, unpacked, re-packed and headed off down the coast to finally catch up with my family. The boys had just spend ten days in New Zealand themselves (a completely different bit and I didn't get to see them) staying with my Dad and sisters and families. They were completely spoilt and taken on all sorts of outings and shared around like biscuits - a few days here and there - and had the most wonderful time. Fishing with Granddad, beaches and mines and hot pools and bush walks and bowling and being looked after by completely grown up cousins ... my niece took them back to the airport and dropped them off and I was all "there's paperwork! she'll have to stay until they leave! it's complicated!!!!" and my family is "you know she's a primary school teacher? she wrangles children all day and gets paid for it???" which is kind of reassuring but mostly makes me feel terribly old.
So it was lovely to see the boys again after nearly three weeks - my husband and I did a handover/takeover so he could go back to work on Monday but the beach holiday was a bit of a washout. The weather was crappy (photo above taken on Australia Day - you usually can't move on that beach on Australia Day it's so crowded) and number one son had had his toe-nail chopped into so wasn't allowed to swim for a week and was a bit bored and cranky. So we came home on Wednesday and have been chilling ever since. There has been baking. You have to eat the one in the middle first - apparently the gingerbread men are dancing around their sacrificial victim. And when you've eaten that one, another one gets placed in the middle (with the flag through its vital organs) to be the next for consumption. Back to school next week!