So I’ve been a resident of the North Shore of Auckland for nearly two months now. Is it growing on me? I’m not entirely sure, but there are definitely aspects of this place I like.
Seeing Rangitoto from this side of the water is nice. Particularly when boats and ships meander through the channel. The way the sunlight bounces off the swells does my heart good.
I’m still not a fan of beaches. (Of course, this may due to my stoic inland Palmerston North upbringing). There’s nothing to do on them, and the glare of the sun makes it hard to read books on my iPad. But they do have the moments of pretty.
From a transportation perspective, I’m getting used to it. Lake Rd still sucks immensely, but I’m working out the traffic patterns and how to avoid them. I LOVE being able to catch the ferry from Devonport into the CBD and back again. It’s the way to commute.
However I am a bit grumpy about some people. My car has been hit twice, by two buses, on two separate days whilst parked on Constellation Drive. This makes me sad. Then two days ago, it was hit again, by someone completely failing to work out how to drive in the Devonport New World carpark. My son was in the car at the time and texted me (I have told him after the fact that it would be better if he’d taken car details etc. first which he didn’t). But still. It’s just a thing. Can’t control it. Can’t change it. Moving on…
Devonport is nice too. It has art and history and stuff. It has galleries, the Naval Museum, hills to climb and tunnels to explore. When I get a bike (I’m getting fat apparently and need to do something about it) I’ll be discovering a lot more. And yes, when I get a bike, I promise you won’t see any unsightly lycra-clad bumps and bulges on this guy. Promise.
Yesterday I had to take Master 13 to a mates birthday. As it was on the other side of Auckland from home I was not interested in making a couple of trips.
This left me with the task of providing entertainment for Miss 10 who’d tagged along.
Now, I’ve been developing a healthy and wholesome obsession with DIY stores – I love spending time in both Bunnings and Mitre 10 – and tragically my son and other assorted people in my life (I’m looking at KT) don’t seem to properly appreciate the joyous environs provided by these companies.
But Miss 10 appears to.
We went to Bunnings. We went to Mitre 10. We looked at tools. We looked at plants. We looked at wood.
I have learned that Miss 10 is really interested in home decor and design. She loves lights, and has a particular thing for fake display kitchens. She loves them! (I should note here that she is a bit disturbed by display toilets – it’s balance I suppose).
She was a great partner in a crime for me! It was so much fun.
We also spent a few hours looking for geocaches. She took pride and pleasure in locating destinations (giving me directions and instructions) and then finding the caches, logging our finds and then deciding on the next one.
It was a special time. It was unforced and just fun. I’m loving how she’s growing and the person she is becoming. I’m a lucky guy.
This week has been pretty huge for me.
My birth mother has come to stay with me and KT. She arrived in NZ a month ago – I wrote about it here – and has been spending time catching up with her old friends and reconnecting with my birth father.
Last Sunday represented the first time in my entire life that I have been in the same room as my mother and my father. It was a little surreal.
My kids got to meet their biological grandmother for the first time in their lives on Tuesday. After the initial shyness they connected. My mother (76) loves technology and gaming and has a Steam membership, as does Master 13. They’re now friends on Steam and as my son so eloquently put it “When it’s my birthday you can buy me games”. Sigh.
Miss 10 is a little more circumspect. She likes to hold back and observe until she’s considered all things. Then she talks. And talk they did.
As I’d already met Mum and my family over in Somerset and have connected with my Father and half-brother over the last few years, it wasn’t too emotionally challenging for me. Apart from an occasional “wow” moment when people around us observe mannerisms and speech patterns that are clearly genetic rather than learned. For my Mum though it’s been a completion. She’s naturally a tad pessimistic and was worried that my kids would ‘hate her on sight’. This of course was quite silly. She’s mentioned that for the first time in her life she feels directly involved rather than being on the periphery of family goings-on.
An interesting observation is that my mother and father don’t have any real experience of being grandparents so the relationship that will develop between them and my kids is going to be quite different to those my kids have with my adoptive parents and their grandparents on their mothers’ side. It’ll be more adult than anything. It will be interesting to see how that progresses.
It’s been good showing mum around parts of Auckland. She’s got to meet my ex (the mother of my kids) briefly and has started to get a real sense of my world. She has realised how similar to her I am.
My dad has been staying with my half-brother this week and has joined us on occasion. We visited Kelly Tarlton’s (yes, it’s the one thing my mum wanted to see in Auckland – she loves aquariums) and then yesterday, we all met my adoptive parents for a cuppa and a chat.
Well… by ‘chat’ I mean that the four somewhat deaf senior citizens paired off and started talking. The kids and I were surplus to the occasion so we ended up playing cards. My birth parents and my adoptive parents had a lifetime of catching up to do. They’d never met before.
So the missing pieces of my life are found. And with this visit, my life has come full circle.
Very interesting times indeed.