As expected, our first week back in Auckland was pretty full, as we spent time with family and friends and started to settle back into life at home.

Monday 2/12: The flight from Christchurch to Auckland went smoothly, and Craig’s stepdad Martin kindly picked us up from the airport. He and Craig’s mum had invited us to stay with them for “as long as we wanted” so we headed back to their place (which is awesome, right on the beach… I’m not sure why we’d want to leave!) and caught up with Craig’s mum and youngest sister, Stephanie.

Awesome view of Mt Taranaki from above.
Awesome view of Mt Taranaki from above.

In the afternoon I spent some time with my mum and ransacked the cupboard at her place where we keep all of our worldly possessions, or at least those that don’t fit in our backpacks. It’s sadly exciting how great it is to now have a larger wardrobe, though in some cases I wonder what I was thinking when I decided to keep certain items, or indeed what I was thinking when I ever wore them. I also visited my dad and had a good catch up with him while collecting the boxes we’d posted home from Berlin, then opened them back at Mary and Martin’s with all the joy of unwrapping presents.

Craig's personalised "C" cone.
Craig’s personalised “C” cone.
Tuesday 3/12: Since we’d completely failed to get any work done on Monday, Tuesday had to take its place. We did head out in the evening, to visit Janine, Dave and Ange, who have moved from their conveniently located old flat in St John’s to a gorgeous house in Otahuhu.

Wednesday 4/12: I’m not sure if it’s us, our lifestyle, or travel in general, but we aren’t very kind to our electronics. Craig’s laptop in particular has taken a hammering during the two or three years that he’s had it, and needs a replacement battery, so we headed into Parnell to visit the nice folks at Ubertec to see if they could get in the part for him.

While they were taking a look at it, we caught a bus to Giapo in the city centre, where Giapo himself showed us around his gelato empire and gave us copious tastings of his delicious product, as well as a sneak preview of “the future of ice cream.” The “plated cone” features a chocolate-coated waffle cone with a heavily decorated waffle ring attached. The cone is then filled with the gelato of your choice, which is topped with sauce or toppings — it’s amazing. Craig and I between us could barely finish it, so it’d be a great dessert after a light dinner.


While Craig went back to the car, I walked down Queen St to the gym. I’d found a cheap deal for a summer membership on GrabOne, and had convinced Ange to join too, so that we could continue our habit of going to random exercise classes together. The Bollywood-style aerobics will always stand out in our memories, but the offerings at this gym look like they could be all right.

Luckily, they had an assessment appointment available soon after I arrived; the trainer, Stephanie, checked my weight, asked me about my goals, and explained how the gym in general and circuit equipment in particular worked. She was great, really encouraging when I did something well and kind when I didn’t.

Thursday 5/12: While I spent the morning shopping with my mother and grandmother, Craig had a business meeting. In the evening, Craig and Steph both went to taekwondo training; Craig for the first time in almost two years, Steph for the first time ever.

The Whitcoulls Santa -- a symbol of Christmas, summer, and childhood.
The Whitcoulls Santa — a symbol of Christmas, summer, and childhood.
Friday 6/12: As well as the cheap gym membership, GrabOne has also provided us with a discounted chiropractor’s appointment. Since Craig has had minor back issues for awhile, we bought one and made an appointment for as soon as possible: today. I waited in the car while Craig was hung upside down by his ankles and generally prodded around, after which he was going to drop me at the gym.

The problems started when he got in the wrong lane at the bottom of Parnell Rise and we found ourselves on the motorway — somehow we missed our one escape route. From there, there was no exit until the other side of the Harbour Bridge, so we drove on and tried to appreciate this opportunity — at least we got a good view of Auckland city from over there.

After the gym, I’d arranged to meet a Spanish woman, Bea, for a drink and a conversation exchange; we sat by the water at my favourite bar and drank delicious beer while we got to know each other.

Our friend Rhi had invited us over for dinner, so it was quite a surprise when she walked into the bar with a bunch of her workmates — it was great, though, because it meant we could catch the bus back to her place together. We spent the evening preparing and eating a delicious barbecued meal of chicken kebab skewers and chorizo sausages, then played a few board games before saying goodbye.

Saturday 7/12: Craig’s Taekwon-Do club was having a barbecue lunch, but we slept in and arrived quite late. Afterwards, we inexplicably decided to visit the mall on a Saturday in December, and spent quite some time looking for a carpark. Although we ultimately found one and the shops weren’t as busy as we might have expected, it was still not the best of decisions!

Sunday 8/12: We always seem to come back to Auckland just in time for our friend Graham’s birthday party — and this time was no exception. We picked up our other friend Julie and arrived at the venue early so we could catch up with her before everyone else arrived, then had a lovely afternoon chatting with a bunch of awesome people we hadn’t seen since we left the country.

In the evening, we headed back to Ange’s place to play board games; Dave cooked dinner and we made the most of the clear skies by eating outside.

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