Sunday, 19 May 2013

Weeks 51-52 - A year goes by, the parents explore Wellington, and an inspiring weekend!

Random House in Island Bay
Hey Everybody, excuse the reduced frequency of these posts, but I have been so busy between keeping the folks out of trouble, a few social engagements, and some pretty inspirational basketball events with the amazing group - Special Olympics Wellington! More on that later! A year has passed and the next blog post will be a more reflective post about the major events of of surviving one year in NZ!

My parents have been attempting to put the Wellington bus companies out of business by getting on any available bus to anywhere in the city. The good thing about their enthusiasm for public transport is that we have been to places that are new to me too! One such place being Island Bay - where we not only discovered the funky and clever house in the picture above, but some pretty large waves and another new cafe! 
Island Bay 
Large Waves @ Island Bay
Island Bay - breaking waves
Me & Mum @ Island Bay
The parents have really embraced the Kiwi outdoor lifestyle, walking here, there and everywhere the bus will take them. They have also been made the most of the chance to watch almost any live sport, including the Aussie Rules, NZ Rugby league team the 'warriors', and the local Wellington Rugby union team the 'Hurricanes'. All games have been at the Westpac stadium, and have been in all kinds of weather! 
Mum & Dad at the Westpac
At the Warriors game!
The folks have certainly enjoyed the getting in the mood for sports....
Mum & Dad at the Hurricanes game...
It's been a year since arriving in NZ and it's been quite an emotional week for me, getting to this point, and thinking about how my life is very very different from my life of one year ago. As well as thinking about all the amazing new things, people and places that fills my life, I have also been thinking about the things, people and places that are missing: the birth of my good mate's baby daughter, friend's engagements, weddings and big life events. The opportunity to spend the night of my anniversary with my parents seemed very meaningful, especially as 365 days earlier they had driven me to the airport in London to say goodbye. We also went to a place (Wagamamas) that we have been to together many times in the UK, so it seemed very fitting to have this very familiar scene from my 'old' life happening right here in my 'new' life.

I just want to finish off this post by saying I have had an absolutely inspiring weekend with 'Wellington special olympics' basketball athletes who competed in the first tournament of the year this weekend.  This is my first full season volunteering with this amazing group. The athletes stepped up to the mark and took on the challenges of facing guys much bigger and stronger than themselves and never complained once, when they got barged out of the way. I quite literally stood back in admiration when seeing the athletes support each other, whether things were going well or badly. The head coaches have done an amazing job building confidence and a team spirit that put many of my own sporting colleagues to shame, and showed the true meaning of belonging and support. Whilst all the athletes have faced some tough challenges in life, the way they played and conducted themselves could only be described in one word - class! 

Regards from New Zealand

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