My kind of cold became a full blown problem, but I didn’t let it completely stop me from having adventures. Pretty much what I did was grab a bunch of tissues before I left the house, bundled up in comfy clothes, and drank lots of tea. It worked well enough for me to have a few more stories to tell before I boarded the plane back to the States.
Thursday was Dad’s birthday—the first I’ve ever spent with him—and it was a great experience to have in my life. My brothers and I gave him his presents in the morning, and he seemed pretty pleased with his new record, magazine, and cookbook. We lounged around for a bit before driving to the Auckland domain to look at the Wintergardens and possibly pop into the museum. Our luck kind of sucked because there was some kind of special event going on and finding parking was an adventure by itself. We did find a spot and walked across a sports pitch to get to the gardens.
The Wintergardens weren’t as amazing as the garden in Hamilton, but there were a lot more plants blooming and I’m sure that it’d be better to see in the summer. There were a lot of really cool plants, but it didn’t take long before we were back in the car and driving to Newmarket for lunch. Dad found a burger place he wanted to try so we went there. It was a busy place and I ordered a lamb burger because (for once) it wasn’t more expensive than everything else on the menu. The burger was pretty decent, and I always seem to forget how much I like beetroot on my burgers because it constantly surprises me how good they are. While it was not the best burger of the trip, it was still delicious.
After that we went home and Bigger Brother and I decorated Dad’s cake with all kinds of candy. It ended up being an explosion of sweets, but that’s what love is, isn’t it? It was a chill afternoon as we relaxed before heading out to dinner at a restaurant called Mexico. As already noted, New Zealand is not and should not be renowned for its Mexican food, but the food at the restaurant was pretty good. It wasn’t super authentic but good for the region. I also managed to find the perfect hot sauce to give to The Captain.
We relaxed at home, ate some of Dad’s cake, and I read a little before going to bed.
Friday was the day that I woke up feeling absolutely dead. The sickness had reached its peak and there was nothing I could do about it other than take a sick day. So, armed with comfy blanket, a cup of tea, and chocolate, I settled onto the couch and relaxed by reading, watching movies with Dad, and taking it easy. We did grab BurgerFuel for dinner, one of my must-dos for Auckland, and I tried the veggie burger with delicious motobites on it and found it to be the second best burger of the trip. Also their aioli is still the bomb.
Also on Friday, Mum managed to hunt down the manufacturer of the hot sauce from the previous night and score two bottles of it for me to bring home for The Captain. Not only does it come in its own wooden box, but it’s also not available in the States. So that makes it a special New Zealand souvenir.
Saturday, feeling mildly better, I visited with relatives that dropped by to see me and celebrate Dad’s birthday. My aunt and Dad’s cousin chatted for a couple of hours about school, work, plans and all that before leaving. I do dislike how rarely I get to see my Kiwi family members, especially compared to how often I go to Lakeview, but when half of your relatives are in a foreign country there really isn’t much of a choice. After they left, Mum and I went to Botany to grab last minute souvenirs and shop around. For dinner, we went to Guest House with some of Mum’s family. Guest House is a traditional Chinese restaurant, where even the menu is written in Chinese and my family order from an old picture of what they like to eat written in the language. It’s family style eating so you take a bit off of the lazy-Susan in the middle and put it in your bowl. The fried eggplant is the best.
I packed up most of my stuff when I got home, dividing my suitcases into dirty clothes/liquids and clean clothes/books. My carry on ended up gaining eight pounds from all the books, but it closed with only minor difficulty. One last bowl of ice cream later and I was in bed, resting up for yet another long flight.
Sunday morning we went to the Buddhist temple right as the café opened so I could hopefully have my Tom Yum best-rice-ever before leaving. However, the café was relatively unprepared and my rice would have taken forty minutes to arrive so I gave up and ordered something else that was rather unremarkable and involved overcooked noodles. Next time, I’ll stick with the rice and arrive later so that they’ll be better prepared.
We got to the airport, checked my bag in, and sat around for a little while—putting off the inevitable. Eventually we gave up, said our goodbyes, and I walked into security. I hate leaving more than anything else because the question is always, “When will I see them again?” Security was easy and I got to my gate with plenty of time to relax before boarding.
Due to the timing of my flight, I decided not to sleep any so that I could be properly tired when I got home. Instead I watched six movies (The Jungle Book, The Good Dinosaur, Victor Frankenstein, Walk the Line, Joy, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) before we landed ten minutes early. Since customs wasn’t open yet we had to wait for 6:30 to arrive before deplaning. I got through customs faster than usual because it’s automated now for U.S. citizens, freshened up in the bathroom and brushed my gross teeth, and grabbed my bag before making my way for the exit.
Unfortunately, the whole thing only took thirty minutes and the car coming to pick me up was still an hour away because I thought it was going to take forever. Making the best of a less than ideal situation, I grabbed coffee at Starbucks, kicked up my feet, and relaxed.
It was really nice to see my mom, sister, and godmother after two weeks away. Even though I was still sick, mildly tired, and probably smelly we had a nice drive back to Reno and it was great to be home after two weeks away and barely anytime there this summer.
So that’s it. The Auckland Adventures are over, but—as usual—I’ve come home better. My anxiety is less than it was before, my confidence and happiness are back to normal levels, and I feel ready to tackle everything that I have to do. I didn’t realize how much I needed a vacation until I was there, and now that I’m home I’ve learned that I need more of them to recharge and get away from all the stress in life.
Of course, there are adventures to be found here as well…