It is almost 2 weeks since I arrived in Auckland. I was last here in January so I am well overdue a visit to my homeland. Coming through the arrivals gate to discover my little nephew is now walking quickly reminded me how fast time flies. Small children are a great measure of this as their milestones (walking, talking, first day of school) are constant reminders that time is marching on. Eeek.
I love coming home as it gives me the chance to be Aunty. My niece Neve is almost four and my nephew Cooper is 18 months old. The other day Neve and I made hamburgers for dinner. She sat on the benchtop in her pink tulle fairy dress, helping to grate carrot, crack eggs and stir the ingredients, covering herself gloriously in flour as we turned the hamburgers ‘white’. In the evenings I get to enjoy bathtime and then Neve chooses a bedtime story for me to read. Special times.
Neve knows to bring Aunty Shannon her pink slippers when she arrives. After six years in Brisbane I’ve acclimatised to Queensland warmth and really struggle with the cold when I come home. After spending two months in Bali I am really noticing the difference that temperature has on me. When the sun is shining in the morning and the sky is blue I am more than happy to get up early and go for a walk, but here in Auckland the sky is grey and the mornings are cold. I’m not drinking as much water as I usually do because I don’t like drinking it cold – and surely carrying a thermos would be too much…
I’m lucky that my visit has coincided with the America’s Cup yacht racing. Emirates Team New Zealand are racing Oracle USA in the waters off San Diego, and just like the Melbourne Cup in Oz, the America’s Cup is ‘the racing that stops a nation’. Up and down the country Kiwi’s gather in front of TV screens to watch every race – the first team to win nine races wins the Cup. In keeping with the chequered Cup history Oracle USA started the competition two points down after a scandalous illegal modification of their boat. As my brother says cheats never prosper, and the spectacular ‘almost’ capsize of the NZ boat was a sign for me that NZ are going to win the Cup back again. Sales of red socks have gone through the roof (a legacy fund raising initiative started by NZ legendary sailor Peter Blake) and the whole country is waiting expectantly for the cup to return. Come on boys, bring the Cup home!!!