Never a dull moment with Cat around. We were up at 5 to catch the sunrise over Ohope beach... coffee in hand, of course. Christmas lights twinkling in the predawn light, both familiar and somehow strange in this land of the bright flowering pohutakawa tree, the red blossoms startling in a verdant green landscape.
It was chilly. El Nino has given the northern hemisphere a warm autumn, New Zealand a cooler than usual spring and early summer. The sun burns, out of the wind it is almost too hot, but otherwise we cover up.
So back for breakfast, back in Whakatane for more wedding bits and pieces and the obligatory coffee stop.
Then a return to the bach, volcanic White Island puffing out its steam on the horizon, the surf rolling constantly into shore, and calm as we sit on the deck gazing out to sea. For now, wedding prep is on hold...
And in the middle of all the wedding planning and preparation, Cat gets a job offer in Vanuatu. A job she didn’t apply for, yet in the field of development. A job for the same length of time as Andy’s latest contract. A job of just the right length to fit in with her plans for next year. She had applied for several jobs already, so had her CV ready to go...just what was needed. So the phone has been ringing, texts flying back and forth. One more stress removed... for it is not easy leaving a much loved job in a wonderful organisation; leaving colleagues; moving away from friends; moving home; moving country....
I did all of those things when I married, so I am more than grateful that Cat has this job opportunity where she had wanted to work. God is good. All the time.
Now Cat has returned to Auckland (by Naked Bus – what’s not to love about that name? – via Rotorua) and Andy arrives from Vanuatu. The end of the long distance aspect to their relationship: what a relief. We meet them on Monday before we drive up to Ahipara and start again on the helter-skelter of Christmas and of wedding preparations.
Meanwhile, we enjoy the beauty that is New Zealand... the flowers, the sea, the sky...and, for us, coming from European December: the warmth. Aah, the warmth.