23 January 2016

Christmas & New Year, Kiwi-style

Forget that it's already a month after Christmas. Ignore the fact that New Years Eve has been and gone. Overlook the fact that blogs are meant to be on-topic reflections of all that is trendy (which probably isn't my dowdy forte at the best of times). Consider it a suspension of disbelief that I'm such a tardy blogger.

Let me take you back a few weeks, to a time far sunnier and entirely upside down in a completely different hemisphere. It was Christmas Eve in New Zealand: the sun was shining, we had our drinks fridge all chilled and the ham was in the oven slowly being honey-glazed. One by one car loads of family were pulling into the drive before unloading copious amounts of kids and presents under the Christmas tree.
Expat holiday celebrations Adventures of a London Kiwi

Expat holiday celebrations Adventures of a London Kiwi

Over the course of the next few days we gathered around the kitchen table for feasts (Mr Kiwi turned to me at one meal and goes "this will be your favorite moments of the holiday won't they?" I gulped my drink in answer...), played some seriously competitive games (some unnamed adults elbowing other adults off the slip and slide), snuck a wedding in, spend the maximum time running about on the lawn, dragged the clan to the beach (Mount Maunganui, the same that I spend last Christmas Eve on) and just revelled in the family time.

Mount Maunganui beach New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Mount Maunganui beach New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
It was so much fun I caught a few moments on film... (don't worry, this is as close to vlogging as I'm EVER going to come...)

We eventually made our way back up to Auckland for New Year celebrations. After two days of drizzly rain and movies (by that point actually a rather welcome reprieve from a busy Christmas and the sun for our almost translucent London complexions) we wandered out of our hotel towards the busy waterfront area of Auckland harbour. Our New Year plans were simple; watch the fireworks then retire for a celebratory drink back at the hotel.

Well, if the wind and rain played ball.

Luckily, for my first home New Years evening for nearly a decade, around 6pm the miserly grey seemed to lift (not always a guaranteed thing in Auckland, our city of sails) so we watched the sunset play out from our 17th Floor Balcony.

The last New Years Eve we actually planned to celebrate the clocks chiming was under Big Ben in 2013/2014, literally half a world away. We had to wear thick duvet-esque coats, knee-high boots under our jeans and pack a flask of hot chocolate liberally spiked with whiskey.

This year, we wandered around in T-Shirts and popped into a pub here and there for a beer or two before meandering our way along the marina pier. Families milled about, couples armed with selfie sticks puckered their pouts and yaughties lounged on their moored vessels, full vessels in hand. We had been recommended the Wynyard Quarter (or the Parnell Rose Gardens) for the atmosphere and views - they didn’t disappoint.

Mount Maunganui beach New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
< Insert gratuitous pavement photograph >
Sure, it’s no London extravaganza with 2 million people gathered and a gazillion more watching it live on TV, but we do pretty well for such a small country. *cough* Rugby world cup *cough* 

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