I know many of you have followed along with my recent adventures courtesy of those more organised bloggers, Laurie over at Life on The Bike and Alys at Gardening Nirvana who put up posts of such loveliness all I could do was hit the ‘Re-Blog’ button and call it done.
We had talked about a reunion ever since our first meet up in 2015 and seriously planned this adventure for a year. It seemed a comfortable way off, but fortunately, at the six month mark I had chosen the holiday stay venue, booked the house and settled in to start making ‘welcome to New Zealand gifts’. Two months later of course various accidents pulled me up short and curtailed my arty crafty activities and then time curled itself into a ball and hurtled past me into the future.
And suddenly there I was standing early one evening at an airport gate searching the exiting passengers for a tiny Canuck who was arriving via Australia. The following afternoon there I was again, searching through another lot of exiting travellers for the weary Americans who had missed their connecting flight in Auckland – due to some doggie treats that some surly, inhospitable customs officer had decided to study in minute detail.
Just like that, there we were, feeling as if absolutely no time had passed since we last threw ourselves into each others arms in warm and elongated hugs. Friends of the heart – nothing to do with proximity or commonality or any of the other usual ways of making friends. Just four women who started off reading each others blog posts, liking, commenting, following each other around other blogs, sharing stories, deepening this growing, random connection over a period of months, morphing into years.
Back then, in those early days, someone suggested a face to face meeting on Skype. It turned into a voice to voice meeting, as Skype was uncooperative on that particular day. But there were other group video calls and individual calls and letters and cards…… All interspersed with blog posts and comments which built into a long, ongoing conversation and burgeoning friendship.
It’s a modern form of pen-pals really isn’t it. Blogging and video calls make it easier to reach beyond the old pairing of pen-pals to include a small group. Reading blog posts soon informs how you relate to the writer. One of us was told surely you can’t trust what people write, they could be pretending to be anybody. Not so – we are women of some life experience – it’s pretty easy to pick up when there are inconsistencies, falsities or pretense. Our intuitive alarm bells will ring when something jars. There was no ringing of alarm bells – well not for me anyway.
So I went off to America in 2015 to spend a couple of weeks with these gals.
When it was their turn to come to me on what they all referred to as ‘a once in a life time trip’ I wanted them to meet my small family, see something of the beauty of my country and also get to do what we all wanted to do, which was spend time together.
If we had some fun while doing so, so much the better!
My eldest daughter and her partner Steven arrived via a drive down the West Coast with his E-Bikes attached to the car and his shortwave radio gear stowed in the skybox. My youngest daughter Danella opened her home to the travellers as mine is too small to accommodate any more than it already has.
I gave them all a couple of days in Dunedin to get their feet on the ground and heads on relatively straight and then whisked them off to a spacious rented holiday house in Wanaka, four hours away from the coast, up in the mountain plateau, near to The Adventure Capital of New Zealand, Queenstown.
We had another eight fabulous days together and were joined by Alys’ husband Mike for the last four days. My daughter remarked that the group felt complete when he arrived.
We had endless fun
and then, all too soon it was done.
Alys and Mike flew off for a brief visit to Auckland before returning to their home in San Jose. Laurie stayed another two days in Queenstown before flying to Melbourne for a week in Australia. Joanna and Steven drove back to Picton and the ferry to Wellington to return to their home and Kelly hopped a plane back to Canada after a month away from her home and kitties. Danella returned to full time work – still sometimes on crutches, still with two metal plates and two screws in her leg, but getting stronger all the time and I returned home to Orlando who was in complete meltdown over being abandoned into a cattery for ten days and who is determined to never let me out of his sight ever again.
And Siddy went to bed.
Though the reunion is over, the warmth, the love, the friendship, all lives on.
Which all goes to show, we never know what might happen when we start to blog. These friends, and all of you who gather around this blog, are dear to me and enrich my life in so many ways – thank you all, I am so very glad you are here!
*Photo credits belong to various members of the group.
Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!