We said good-bye to Nolan and Erica at the airport this morning. And I didn't cry too much. I'm quite proud of myself.
Last night, we went out for a farewell dinner at an Italian place down by the waterfront. This area is known as Viaduct Harbour and was redeveloped to host the America's Cup in 2000. Besides all the restaurants and bars, there's a marina, boat charters, and the maritime museum. More importantly, it's still Team New Zealand's headquarters. If you're lucky, you can watch their boat going out for practice runs. At the moment, however, the boat and the entire crew are in Valencia, winning the America's Cup semi-finals 5-0 against the Italian boat, and preparing for the finals against the Swiss boat. The newspapers are already assuming victory, and the subsequent right to host America's Cup in 2010. New Zealanders are definitely fanatics about sailing and yachting. I'm not much of a sailor myself. It's just that owning a boat always seemed like a waste of money. Plus I'd get seasick. However, I still cheer for the NZ boat, and I still enjoy walking along Viaduct Harbour with the lights sparkling off the water at night. It's a great location for a farewell dinner.
At the restaurant, we had an authentic Italian waiter who was really good. I liked his accent. After exotic main courses like pumpkin-stuffed cannelloni, we still succumbed to our penchant for gluttony and ordered dessert. Chocolate of course. Yes, we ate too much, but walking back up Queen Street to get to our car helped a bit. Plus I saw a great bomb in the window of a store on Queen St. I'll have to go back tomorrow (when stores are open) and buy it.
Once we were back at the house, Nolan and Erica had to pack. It was sad to watch them closing down their life here with us to go back to life in Bellingham. Their most challenging packing problem was how to get 6 bottles of NZ wine and mead safely to America. So they'd bought a special box with polystyrene inserts to protect the bottles. It should all survive.
This morning, Curt made tates and eggies for brekkie for them one last time, then loaded all their (large) bags in our (tiny) car. At the airport, there was even a special counter for them to check their fragile wine box, along with people's oversized surfboards and such. It seemed promising that the wine bottles might just arrive intact.
All week, I had been threatening to refuse to take them to the airport, or to hide their passports, but in the end I accepted the inevitable and I'll have you know that I delivered them to the airport without a scene. Because of my earlier threats, though, they thought we were kidding again when Curt said, "You probably don't know about the $25 Departure Fee." After smiling knowingly at each other and a few nudges, they realised we were serious. There really is a Departure Fee.
As you can imagine, it's been really nice to have them here for the last 2 months. We've enjoyed their company. I try to tell myself that it'll be good when they're gone, too, because ... umm ... there'll be less dirty dishes? But I will miss having them around. Note the sad look on my face in the photo above. Then note the happy look on Nolan's face. He seems to be a little too pleased with the notion of leaving us. Hrmph. Well, I'm absolutely ecstatic that there will be less dirty dishes AND that I will have more time on the computer now that they're gone. So there.