This is a post I wrote when I knew there would be a blog one day, but there wasn’t one yet! It was intended to be The First Post…as it turns out, it’s the second one……which, I suppose, means the one I entitle “Post Two” a few days later will end up Post The Third. But you’ll have to wait for that one.
Auckland, New Zealand
28 March 2007
We’re a family with a Dadda (Rob) and a Mama (that’s me) in their thirties. There are eight kiddos aged baby to twelve…and a grandpa in his seventies (Joe) tags along too!
Joe was born in England, grew up in India, was stationed with the airforce in Singapore, married a girl from Malaysia and moved to New Zealand.
Rob grew up in New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia and visited the Philippines in his late teens.
My parents took my sister and me on various trips (New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Hawaii and Tokyo) before letting me join a high school trip to Europe. My travels continued with fruit picking summers in the South Island to fund university studies (what was the best? the train trip the length of the country? the new experiences? living in strange places? meeting new people? doing something *different*?)
It was inevitable that travel should feature when Rob met Rach!
The two got married on a Saturday and left the country on Monday.
After Disneyland fun, staggering around London and hitchhiking across Europe, we ended up living in Poland for a couple of years (that was back in the early nineties when you jumped on the end of a queue if you saw one, because it meant there was something good at the other end of it!). We fell into English language teaching and fell in love with it. We returned to NZ to get qualifications…. Rob has found himself with a linguistics masters after an engineering degree and has had a job that marries the two for over a decade now! We both picked up post-grad dips in ELT as well as the dime-a-dozen RSA Certificate A passes.
And we got those eight children too
Visiting family in Malaysia has been the only overseas jaunt we’ve done with kids – quite different to backpacking in Europe! But we’ve taken whatever local opportunities have arisen…..Rob speaking at a conference in Wellington was excuse enough for an extended weekend trip to see the sights….family celebrations in Christchurch called some of us down…..mountain weekends…..beach getaways in the middle of winter…..camping with friends…..museum trips, art galleries, bush walks, outdoor bonfires, lake escapes….we love them all.
It’s great to find adventure, to slow the usual rat-race-pace, to share moments with friends and make memories to cherish, to see God and each other through seeking eyes.
Rob came home last night saying “I was in a meeting today and we were working out who to send up to China to deliver a programme next year”
He had put his hand up.
Of course noone thought he was serious.
What? 11 weeks away from your family?
No, I’d take them.
What? Take them to China? All of them?
Yeah, they’d love it.
Now they KNOW he’s mad (as if there had ever been any doubt!)
By the time he’d told me this much, I was excited.
But then he said,
“That could be the beginning and then we do something else.”
Oooooooh I could hardly sleep and I’m not allowed to tell the kids.
Will this mark the beginning of our pilgrimage….two adults, eight kids and a grandpa?
Which of our dreams will become a reality? To walk along the Great Wall, to live in a yurt in Mongolia for as long as someone would have us, to live in a trullo in Italy and a gypsy caravan in Romania, to renovate a castle in Poland, to travel across America in a covered wagon, to tour on bicycles in Holland, to live in a houseboat somewhere, sometime…..oh, and to be tourists in England, making the pilgrimage back to where our ancestors came from!
In the meantime, I’d better get the kids’ Mandarin tapes out…..if only I had paid attention when they were listening to them – all I can say is “apple”. They can manage “the big bus is on the road” and “the fat man is calling the waiter”.
We’ve got a long way to go!