Auckland, New Zealand
We wake, legs entwined, his breath gentle on my neck. We stir, but say nothing, savouring the last moments, not wanting to let go.
“It’s over,” I finally whisper.
“Until next time,” he replies.
“We’ll do it again.”
For a few months now, January the eleventh has been on the calendar as The Day Rob Has To Go Back To Work. That’s today.
Before going, he prays with us, revises memory verses, sings some songs and eats breakfast. We are falling back into a new old routine. It’s strangely comforting. ERgirl3 sits on his knee – such a special opportunity she has had this past fifteen months to become a daddy’s girl, to cling to him as her rock and security, to get to know him in a way none of the other children did at the same age. We are told she will not remember the trip – and she may well remember only a little – but what a strong daddy-bond she has forged. When it’s time for the parting, she announces, “I don’t want you to go Dadda.” But she accepts he has to. She’s grown up a lot.
I ask the children, as I had asked Rob last night when we were travelling home, if there’s anything they are not enjoying about being back in New Zealand. Generally, we try to focus on positives, but we recognise it can be beneficial to process the harder things too.
There is a long thoughtful silence. Kgirl11 breaks it with the same answer her Daddy had given in the car, “Unpacking.” Well, that’s understandable!
Jgirl15 adds, “It’s not exciting.” And Kboy12 agrees, “There’s nothing new, it’s all the same.” Right now a mega-dose of familiarity is a blessing. There’s enough going on with catching up with people, trying to get the house unpacked, replacing worn-out clothing, organising learning materials and returning to *normal life*, that we don’t need to be dealing with foreign foods or strange tongues or unknown destinations or wondering where we’ll sleep tonight. You really can’t argue with a hot shower each evening or having a pillow under your head. But no doubt the day will come when we might wish for a little more adventure. Friends who lived in a developing country for a few years mentioned recently that they now find life here is easy, comfortable, predictable and unchallenging to the point of even being boring.
For us right now, familiarity has its place.
The only thing I’m not enjoying is something I had an issue with before we left, and something we were able to avoid for a good part of the trip: *car dependence*
I like daily marketing on foot. Today, after dropping Rob near his workplace, we drove (not walked) twenty minutes (not just a few minutes) to the supermarket (a big impersonal warehouse rather than open-air market filled with little stores manned by individual people, who have time to stop and chat rather than processing you through as fast as they can so they can
process serve the person behind you in the queue). We shopped for a month. Instead of buying fresh raw milk every day as we did in Romania, we now have twenty litres of milk piled up in the freezer. Instead of deciding day-by-day whether we’d have cornmeal or rice, we now have a stack of both – and chickpeas, beans and lentils, too. It’s a different rhythm here. Of course, we *could* go to the supermarket every day, but we actively try to limit our car usage. Besides, we have more interesting things to do than drive around the suburbs day in and day out.
So we did our shopping, came home and put it all away, unpacked some more books, made some bread and yoghurt, supervised some spelling, mathematics and Latin learning, and taught Kboy12 how to make an awesome almost-Italian pizza (just need the pizza oven and it would be truly authentic), zipped out in the car to pick up Rob so he wouldn’t have to walk the whole way home, showed the toilet fixer to the cracked loo, and had some friends over for the evening.
Yep, just another day at the office!
Tags: 2008/09, children, God, homecoming, postcard: New Zealand, transport