We were finally able to finish off 3 of Tristan's mid terms. He did really well and I am really proud of his determination over the last month to get caught up successfully. We had a hard mid term cram session that included 4 12 hour days of studying and then exam pattern. It was definitely a challenge and I think he got really burned out at the end but stuck to it and received A's for his classes. We are very proud of him.
We secured the boat to its new home on a piling system in the marina and hit the road. It is always a fun time with us all crammed in the car dancing and singing at the top of our lungs. It always amazes me the vast amount of songs our kids have memorized. We got to auckland and checking into our air bnb. On approach of the house it sets a new definition to the worst house in the best neighborhood. This house was so delapitated on the outside I thought it was a empty. The porch is rotting and falling off and all the windows in the front door are broken and all the paint is pealing away. Now the owner did warn us that she is in the process of fixing it but sheessh.. The house was built in 1910 and feels like it. It is a super cool old house and she has done an amazing job refurbishing the inside. You can almost hear the stories coming out of the walls as you walk down the hallway. I think a good portion of this neighborhood built it self around it. I feel like we are in the original house from the movie "Up" and it is holding its ground strong. There is a really big grass park right outside the front with a fountain and surrounding it are rolling grass hillsides. I could just see Alina's eyes light up as we pull into our parking spot. As we got all of our stuff in and were settling into the house Alina is begging to go to the park and play... she just can't stand it, she is all wiggly. Then before we know it we hear the front door doorbell and here is little Alina who took it upon herself NOT to wait and not only did she go to the park but she also decided to play IN the fountain and came back soaking wet. UGH>>>> Okay I can't be too mad because unfortunately the little stinker got out and no one noticed she was even gone. We need to work on that one.
Another big benefit to the house is it was located just 2km from the Fire Garden Art venue last night. This is a festival comprised solely of pottery, metal and fire and fuel. It is in an outdoor park, like Golden Gate Park (but smaller), right in the middle of Auckland. It was amazing. The heat that this art show produced was intense as you walk by some of the sculptures. Several times I ended up shielding my phone from the heat. Now the pictures definitely don't do it justice, being night and all. But I think you can get drift. The had baskets of coals hanging in trees, artists letting out huge puffs of flames, rotating garden pots of flames in a circular dance, garden pots strung up into the trees along wire, tee-shirts hanging in trees with candles in them, Large flows of burning embers off the ground, little glass balls of fuel hanging in the trees and then just garden pots on fire to line the walkways. There was something lit on fire and burning every turn you made. It was so beautiful and mesmerizing to think of all the people walking around, getting so close the the flames to take pictures, some pretending they are in a kung fu movie. By the end of it the kids were ready to go home with their burning eyes and throats from the burning fuel but it was well worth it and one I would love to do again.
Here are some of the pictures of last night... I wish you could have experienced it and all the kids kept saying was, "They should bring this to San Francisco!" Hmmm do you think the states would bring this into one of their city parks?
We are now heading back to Celia's house for the night. She has been so amazing to offer her home once again to our family and let us stay there. The kids are really looking forward to it, they just love it there! It is also a little closer to Wellington, which is our next stop and that should take about 7 hours. From Wellington we catch the Interisland Ferry with the van and cross over to the South Island.
Hugs and love to everyone,