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Deep thoughts on friendship…

It’s funny how easily friendships are formed. A few days before we left for Aitutaki we met an Australian couple, Rob & Linda, who were vacationing with their daughter, Bridie, and were supposed to be staying in the beach bungalows next to us. Unfortunately for them, through an administrative glitch, they had ended up double-booked and with no place to stay. They had arrived at 1AM the previous night and had had to sleep on the couch in the common room of the hostel. We met them as they waited good-naturedly by the pool the next morning while Paul, the hostel’s owner, scrambled to find them accommodation elsewhere on the island. Alexa and Bridie quickly became new best friends and played happily together while Rob and Linda and I sat by the pool and got acquainted.

From cook islands

They were warm and friendly and the girls got along famously and even though they ended up staying elsewhere on the island, a connection had been made and we invited them to dinner the next evening. The kids were ecstatic to have a new playmate and Claude & I soon felt like we’d known Rob & Linda for years. Alexa actually decided that she didn’t want to go to Aitutaki because she would miss Bridie too much.

When we returned from Aitutaki, it wasn’t long before Bridie was bounding up our stairs, anxious to see Alexa and hear about our adventures. It was Fiji braid removal day and she happily kept Alexa company through the three hour ordeal. For the record, it takes twice as long to take the bloody braids out as it does to put them in! Two movies later, Alexa looked adorable with her kinky hair and I looked like the Bride of Frankenstein (no pictures allowed).

From cook islands

It was nice to have friends to hang out with for our last few days in the Cooks and Rob and Linda, who now live in Auckland, were able to give us all kinds of insider info on Australia and New Zealand. And, like every other Kiwi we’ve met on this trip, they invited us to stay with them in Auckland.

On our last day in Rarotonga we spent the afternoon snorkeling off the beach in front of their cottage and Linda cooked dinner for us. Bridie had made a farewell card for Alexa and presented her with some paper and crayons for the plane ride while Alexa gave Bridie a necklace she had made from the beads from her braids. When Simon cried foul after being left out of the gift-giving, Linda quickly cast about and calmed him down with a hastily wrapped package of tropical Post-It notes. As the evening wore on, the kids fell asleep watching movies while we taught Rob & Linda how to play Euchre.

From cook islands

Several bottles of wine and many games of Euchre later we were all bleary-eyed and silly when Linda, our designated driver, finally drove us home to our bungalow around midnight.

From cook islands

The next morning came far too soon and we hadn’t even packed yet. For the record, don’t do as I do – do as I say, and don’t drink too much red wine the night before a morning flight. My mouth felt like cotton and my head pounded every time I moved. Luckily Claude, who is mercifully immune to hangovers (I hate him for that), took over the packing while I got dressed in slow-motion and drank gallons of water. By the time we boarded our flight to Auckland I was starting to feel human again, but Claude took pity on me and insisted that I take the solitary window seat while he sat with the kids (I love him for that). By the time we arrived in Auckland I was a new woman and ready to take on New Zealand.

We truly miss our friends in Canada and the easy familiar relationship we have with them. When you’re constantly on the move, everyone is a stranger and you must always maintain a certain façade. It was so nice to relax and be ourselves with people we can really call friends – even if only for a short time. We were genuinely sad to say goodbye to our new comrades, but happy to have made a connection. Stay tuned for Rob, Linda and Bridie to make a future appearance in our round the world adventure.

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0 responses to “Deep thoughts on friendship…”

  1. Kelly says:

    Well, Christmas and come and gone. The day was odd – for many reasons not the least of which is likely you and yours on a different day then us. When you were in Ontario you celebrated on the same day – just 1 hr different. nrnrMiss you,look forward to each post,nrlovenrKel

  2. Robinson says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!nrnrWe love the pictures , everyone looks healthy and happy.Rich wants to know if the highway traffic act applies on vacation!! and Claude you look like the perfect candidate for survivor. We are so happy that you are enjoying your adventure. Travel safe. xoxoThe Robinsons

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