I spent a few days chilling out up at Mangawhai heads earlier this week with a few old kiwi mates.
We were on the water both days, and after years of trying, I finally got up on one water ski. Hurrah!
I found it a bit like making the transition from snow skis to snowboarding - less 'technical thinking' required and more of a natural connection to the land/water. It felt wonderful to dig the back of the ski in and carve some lazy sweeping turns. I was grinning from ear-to-ear for ages!
Richard got up on one ski for the first time too (pictured here in 'Special Boat Squadron' pose).
Chris & Lainy threw a BBQ in my honour last night. Top time had by Paul!
It was great to have so many old friends in one place, all with wonderful stories to share. The last ones standing, sitting, are captured above. More photos here.
I also got to see my new 3-week old niece Kendra. Very cute. Funny to see my little brother in 'dad mode'. Both he and Di will be great parents I'm sure.
Short post today, as I have to go help Chris pack the boat for our two days up North for a bit of waterskiing and boogie-boarding action.
Still have quite a bit of preparation to do for the two days of work I have later this week, so it'll be good to relax and subconciously mull over a few things before getting back into it proper on Wednesday.
Now all I have to to is avoid any waterskiing injuries!
I'm finding this New Zealand experience a bit of a weird one.
Don't get me wrong. It's absolutely fantastic to be be back here again ... seeing family and friends, doing interesting work with bright people, warm weather, world-class coffee. It's all good.
But my head seems to be swimming in matters cultural.
I lived in the UK for the first 27 years of my life; the next 9 years in Auckland, then moved back to the UK about 18 months ago.
Where do I belong?
I have no idea. And it's bugging me a bit.
Moving back to the UK surprised me. I thought I'd hate it, but I found myself enjoying the feeling of being back in the middle of the world. It's also been wonderful to witness the obvious joy that my parents and in-laws get from Callum (and vice-versa!).
I've grown professionally too. Over the last year Fio and I have created a business that allows me to creatively express my occasionally weird business thinking with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland, GlaxoSmithKline, Toyota, Natwest Bank and the John Lewis Partnership. And of course, my new part-time role as planning director at an advertising agency is pretty interesting and challenging too!
In a nutshell, it's great to be around family and my brain is being well-fed.
But I think when you live somewhere magical like New Zealand for almost 10 years, it's gets into your soul. Weekends away doing fun stuff in special places merges with the laughter of your friends into a visceral entity beyond words.