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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Auckland, 2

We got back from New Zealand yesterday morning at 8 and I have been pushing my way through the days like wading through a sand pit. I don't remember feeling this weary going to New Zealand. Something about flying against the rotation of the sun must be especially unnatural for the body.

This morning, I was so tired I decided just to sit in the comfy pink rocker in Noelle's room and watch her play. Before long she climbed up on my lap. Then eventually she swiveled around and laid down on my legs facing up and played peek-a-boo with me. Like a wind up toy running out of torque she slowed down, slowed down, and finally one of the peek-a's never became a boo. I looked down to find that she had dozed off. We both slept for two hours - it was delicious.

My sister is now married and on her honeymoon tucked away somewhere in the Northern end of the North Island. Watching my little sister get married and move half way around the world was a fantastic roller coaster.

I left for the trip all bound up and anxious, tearful and grieving. I have returned happy, filled with quiet joy.

Being in New Zealand allowed me to see the life my sister has built for herself. On one hand, this made me sad. While parts of New Zealand remind me of our childhood in England, in the end, my sister's life will be foreign to me. Her husband is South African/Kiwi. Her kids are going to grow up Kiwi. Because of the time difference I'll only be able to talk to her on weekends, and perhaps only see her once every couple years. Her children will grow in leaps and bounds before I get to know them, if I ever truly get to know them. Hence other women will have to step in and fill the big sister role in my sister's life.

But on the other hand, I fell in love with Annie's life. Her city is beautiful and inviting. Her in-laws are some of the most special people I've ever met. The church where she attends, East City Wesleyan, bent over backwards to provide Annie a beautiful wedding. We will never be able to repay all the hard work those men and women and teenagers put into decorating, cooking, arranging, and hosting. They thought of every little thing, even for Dwayne Noelle and I. Little considerations, like the beautiful tea set the pastor's wife brought Noelle, made it hard not to melt into their Kiwi hospitality. (Noelle is now and expert tea pourer.)

Witnessing all of these things put my heart at ease. Allowed a satisfaction and joy to open up.

On the way home, Dwayne sat next to two passengers and heard a little about their life. They shared with him how they each had family all over the world. Admittedly, Annie's in-laws are spread across South Africa, England and New Zealand. My new found friend across the alley is Albanian and is the only one from her family that lives in the United States.

"I think it's more and more common for families to be more global," Dwayne said to me once we got home. I can see the truth in this. We're not the only ones with family oceans apart. Perhaps we're just joining that global community where international travel has become the new "road trip" to visit Aunt Annie and Uncle Graeme.


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