On December 3rd I left Seatac-Tacoma international airport on the first leg of my journey to visit my family in New Zealand.
I only had a couple of hours to wait before boarding the plane for San Fransisco, so spent my time reading a book and wondering what news I would hear from Mr C when I called him on the following Tuesday. Many of you know he had a biopsy to determine if there was cancer present, and you will now know that the good news on Tuesday was that he did not have cancer, so I was able to settle down and enjoy my time with family.
As the Boeing 737 gained altitude and headed south toward San Fransisco, we had a wonderful view of the snow covered Cascade mountains surrounded by a blanket of clouds.
Arrived in San Fransisco around 3:45pm and thought about how I was going to kill some time before my next flight left at 7pm.
I wandered around the duty free shops but was not interested in buying any thing, so bought a cup of coffee and headed to the departure lounge where I settled in to read for a while, before boarding the Boeing 747-400 for the 13 hour flight to Auckland.
We left San Fransisco about 30 minutes later than scheduled and by this time I was ready to get on board and have my dinner. I knew it would be an hour or two before dinner was served, so I tried to be patient and spent time watching a movie until dinner was served.
After watching all the movie while eating dinner and drinking a couple of glasses of wine, I reclined my seat as far as it would go, pulled my blanket up under my chin closed my eyes and drifted off into sleep. I usually have a difficult time sleeping during a flight, but this time I was surprised to wake up after sleeping for about six hours. I know it was a combination of lack of sleep during the past few weeks, and the two glasses of wine I drank at dinner which allowed me to 'go out like a light' It didn't seem that much longer when the cabin lights came on and an announcement was made that breakfast was going to be served. Evidently I had dozed off again
Auckland at last. I was a weary traveler by this time but not too tired to admire this beautiful Tomokanga. (carved gateway) The magnificent Tomokanga provides a uniquely kiwi welcome for international travelers when they arrive in Auckland. Standing 2.8m high and 6m wide, the carving symbolises a spiritual portal from one realm to another, a journey from the dark (the outside world) into the light (world of the living).
As the traveler approaches the Tomokanga a traditional Maori recorded welcoming message is heard.
I am not shy about asking someone to take my picture to record my journey. I have passed under this gate on a couple of occasions, and this is the first time I stopped for a 'kodak' moment.
Whenever I hear the traditional Maori welcome chant, I feel I have arrived home. Even though I have been living in USA for 30 years, I will always feel, as I am sure others do, that New Zealand is my home, at least in my heart.
I'm so glad that all went well and that the news of Mr C was so great!
Enjoy your time with your family!
Had you taken I'll while there, Doctor Erin at the main hospital's ER might well have taken care of you! She was just graduating from U of Oregon, getting ready to enter medical school when you last passed through here.
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