Sunday, January 25, 2009

Joan's visit

My mom, Joan, is here in New Zealand to visit us again for about a month. She arrived on Dec 31 and will leave on Feb 3. In fact, she went to Hawaii to visit my brother and his family for 2 weeks before she arrived in NZ, and will go there again for 2 weeks afterwards. All together, she will spend 9 weeks on islands in the Pacific, while back home in Bellingham everybody is shivering in record snowfalls. It's a pretty sweet deal. She did the same thing last year, too, but the two visits to New Zealand couldn't be more different.

Last year, it was her first time to this country, so I had a schedule of tourist sights to do every day: museum, aquarium, Piha beach, zoo, One Tree Hill, Devonport, Waiheke Island, Sheepworld, kauri trees, Hamilton, Coromandel, kiwifruit farm, etc. She finally told me to relax; that she only wanted to do tourist things half the time. But whenever we didn't go anywhere, I would inevitably be antsy and bored silly.

Compare that to her current visit: No daily schedule. No tourist sights. We did go to Sydney for 4 days, but we haven't been to many tourist attractions around here. Instead, we go to the local beach at St Heliers for running/walking, then we sit at home and admire the garden the rest of the day. We went to the quilt store once. And Plant Barn more than once (to buy more admirable plants for the garden). Admittedly, we did one traditional tourist activity when we took a ferry to Rangitoto and rode the train to the near-summit. But really, we spend 95% of our time at home doing nothing. And it is glorious.

We sit on the deck in our comfy recliners. Curt drinks coffee. We read the paper. We watch the resident butterfly flit about. Joan has read at least 10 books so far. I'm usually keeping busy with something on the computer. Besides all the gardening, Curt had already made two(!) paintings while she's been here. Sometimes in the evenings, we have driveway parties and socialise with the neighbours.

Alas, Curt had to go back to work last week, and I have to go back to work next week. Then Joan leaves the week after that. So our summer vacation is coming to it end. But it feels like we truly had a vacation this time. A glorious vacation of doing nothing and loving it.