One thousand three hundred and thirty days.
That’s how long I’d been away from New Zealand, and how long since I’d seen my family in person. But really, it didn’t feel that long. Regular Skype contact and Facebook updates mean that keeping in touch with friends and family on the opposite side of the world is easier than it used to be.
Still, it’s a long time between drinks, and it’s surprising what’s changed.
A city has been levelled. Fast food and beer are about a dollar more expensive. An overweight German geek, whose name sounds like it was invented during a bubble in Y2K, is championing liberal tech policy. State highway one is slightly less of an embarrassment. Bars and shops I used to frequent have gone. My parents have started winding down the old family home in Wairoa. Brothers and cousins have grown up. Friends have gotten married, brought houses, had kids.
But Auckland transport is still shit.
Experiences change your perspective and I’ve certainly had a few of those over the past 4 years. It did feel as though I was looking at things through a different set of eyes. Ironically it’s not until you go elsewhere that you realise what you took for granted, and the opportunities you missed.
What follows is a set of pictures from a very short 3-week trip back “home” to New Zealand. In addition to catching up with great friends, my family and getting plenty of sunshine, this holiday also included a wedding in Wanaka, a 30th birthday on Waiheke Island, Milford Sound and an emotional tour through the destroyed remnants of a city I once called home. But that’s another blog post.