The trip over…

20 Jul

So we are here, in the land of the long white cloud again, to learn us more kiwi, to drink triple shot lattes and local wine, eat kebabs and mince pies, walk around the town of my upbringing and basically just try and get some more memories into the boys. I’ve realized that more than the English language factor, I really want the kids to be able to come to NZ later in life and feel that sense of ‘natsukashii’ and like they belong. Because they do.

Unfortunately in order to get here we have to travel long distances, transcend the skies of the pacific, sit through turbulence and try not to think of missing Malaysian airline planes. I’m not a good flyer. I used to be – planes used to excite me, like it does the boys now. But then I nearly died on a flight in the Philippines (well the food trays hit the roof and that’s close enough to think you are going to die right?), then I had children and then the whole planes-falling-from-the-sky shit started to get real.

We managed to avoid the impending typhoon on Friday – it looked like we would hit it -or rather – it would hit us, and the airport at approximately the same time we were due to take off. However, it decided to veer northwards at the last minute and thus our drive to Fukuoka and subsequent flight to Korea were relatively uneventful.

We had a 4 hour layover, as per usual, in Korea – so I booked us into the transit hotel where I napped and the boys watched ‘How to Tame a Dragon’ in Korean. We boarded the plane, the plane got into position to take off, the plane started moving, then moving really fast, then the front wheel was just coming off the tarmac when the pilot slammed on the brakes and the entire plane just about got whiplash. Everyone was looking around wondering what was going on when the pilot announced that we had engine trouble and had to park up and get checked over.

Soooo, really really happy that he noticed before we got in the air ya know! Not so happy about the two hours we had to wait in the aircraft before being told to get off, get on a bus, go back to the terminal, gate 27, wait another hour while our bags got transferred, and then get on a new plane sans a bad engine.

It didn’t stress me out too much – the boys are older now and while I knew it would mean a very long day, over tired-ness and some grizzling it didn’t have me wondering about feeding times, nappies, longer plane time equalling longer potential for screaming baby yaddah yaddah. I also didn’t have a connecting flight in Auckland so I just flipped the car rental place an email saying we would be four hours late for pick up.  Some other people weren’t so lucky and it appeared to fuck up quite a few people’s schedule. The lady behind us was going to miss her flight from Auckland and was packing a tanty – only very slightly  helped by the 10 bags of free honey roasted peanuts the air hostess gave her as we disembarked the faulty plane.

When we got on our new plane there was an announcement that I had never heard before saying ‘please remember that smoking, anti-social and disruptive behavior is prohibited by aviation law’ – or something to that effect. I wonder if it is an announcement kept for those times when passengers are more likely to be fucked off? I also wonder if the air hostess was encouraged to be generous with her wine servings. They did the whole juice, wet towel, dinner routine pretty much as soon as we boarded – as you would expect as everyone was  hungry and now the schedules were out of whack. She asked if I would like red or white wine (I didn’t even ask for a drink, perhaps she could just tell), I said white and she filled that sucker pretty much to the rim, smiled and said ‘enjoy your meal’.

Which I would have done if the wine had been sav blanc and not bloody chardonay. I know, I know. 1st world problems and all that. The only reason I drank the entire glass was because we started going through some bad turbulence and it was either wine down my throat or wine in my face.

There was a bit of clapping when we touched down safely in Auckland and baggage claim and immigration was uneventful. We picked up the rental car, I got completely lost trying to get out onto the motorway but then by a stroke of pure luck came across a road I recognized from my print out of directions – and away we went. Our delayed flight meant we arrived after what appears to be some shit weather, including a small tornado in Auckland. I could see the aftermath on the roads, broken branches and what not, but we missed having to drive though it so perhaps the engine trouble was a blessing in disguise.

Shou had been bleating on about a bloody mince pie for MONTHS and I promised him that as soon as we got out of Auckland a bit I’d stop at a servo and we’d get him one. But then they both fell asleep, so I decided to keep driving through to Matamata – half way to our destination for that night.

We got to Matamata and drove the length of the town only to see that every shop was pitch black. It was 1:30 in the afternoon and I was wondering what the fuck everyone was doing closing up – until I realized the servo had no lights on either, so we drove back down the stretch of shops and stopped at a bakery – possibly the longest bakery in town and right down the back was a man with a flashlight welcoming us in. The whole town central had a power cut due to the weather. Power had been off for an hour. The pie warmer was luke warm, the coffee machine down and EFTPOS unavailable.

But when a boy wants a pie you get the boy a pie. 9 year olds are easy to please. He was stoked with his luke warm pie in the dark. I wasn’t so stoked that I had been in the country more than 4 hours already and hadn’t had a coffee yet. Desperate times and all that – so I bought a cold coffee drink think with gurana or whatever. Putrid stuff. I think its still in the car.

We got to our destination, had a lazy afternoon, pizza for dinner, got the kids to bed early and then my friend had a quiet party with 18 of her friends. I knew nobody so it felt a bit like high school until I’d had enough drink to not give a shit 🙂 We got to bed at 3am. I woke up at 11 – both things that haven’t happened since pre-getting married. My friend was not in a good state and couldn’t move from her bed. So her hub took us to the ‘best pie shop in the country’ – where Shou got a HOT pie – and Ryu got a Rasberry bun.

We drove the four hours here, dropped our suitcases off, went and got groceries for school lunches and breakfast and then went to my brother’s for dinner. The kids had their first day at school yesterday but I’ll post about that later.



12 Responses to “The trip over…”

  1. Shannon Walsh July 20, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

    Love it!!!! Did you get to visit Ronnie’s Cafe in Matamata?? I’m formerly from whakatane, now in NY. Spent two years teaching in Nagoya.

    • gaijinwife July 20, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

      Hi Shannon. I’m not sure what the name of the cafes was but Matamata definitely has quite a few!

  2. Jo July 20, 2015 at 11:38 pm #

    Can almost feel the congealing fat on the top of my mouth now! Nothing like a lukewarm pie to make you feel like you are home! Enjoy your time…

    • gaijinwife July 21, 2015 at 3:22 am #

      I think it hit the spot 🙂 I think the 5 weeks will go super fast. Happy packing at your end.

  3. Tracy Robinson July 21, 2015 at 1:36 am #

    Welcome Home :-). I hope you have a great time and the weather is not too crap 🙂

    • gaijinwife July 21, 2015 at 3:21 am #

      Thanks Trace 🙂 Where are you these days? HN?

      • Tracy Robinson July 21, 2015 at 11:29 am #

        Auckland so if you have a stopover here I would love to meet & catch up 🙂

  4. bri65 July 21, 2015 at 3:08 am #

    Hi, again I am amazed at how you juggle everything so well and still seem to be relatively sane. LOL I’m glad you had no encounters with typhoons or anything like that, and here’s hoping the weather is entirely as you like it for your whole stay back home. (Hmm, do you still think of it as “back home”? Just an idle thought.)

    • gaijinwife July 21, 2015 at 3:18 am #

      I still say ‘going home’ 🙂 The weather yesterday and today has been clear but cold – although not as cold as expected after reports of snow stuff last week! Fingers crossed we don’t get a typhoon on the way home!

  5. Mr sekimachihato July 21, 2015 at 11:43 pm #

    Just read this in the herald:
    Customers from Wellington are driving north to Napier to sample the pie crowned the best in the country.
    Greenmeadows New World’s potato top pie took out the top prize at the 19th annual Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards.
    The supermarket’s manager Darrell Eggers said the pies have today been “flying out the door”.

    I’m so gonna have one next time I’m home!

    • gaijinwife July 22, 2015 at 1:47 am #

      I read about it and thought I’d give it a few days to calm down – also Shou is number one pie fan in our house so would seem unfair to have one without him 🙂 When is the next time you are home?

      • Mr sekimachihato July 22, 2015 at 9:36 am #

        Probably a good idea to wait a few days although I can’t imagine 4hr queues like we get in Tokyo for some trendy food places.
        Aiming for a trip home in 2016 I guess. So wish NZ was closer!!

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