[LIFE] 2 Weeks in New Zealand (amongst the COVID-19 crisis)

So it appears that I blogged on Friday 6th (a week after leaving the UK). If I was entering New Zealand in the next couple of hours I would have to self-isolate for 14 days (which is the length of time that I’ve now been here – in some ways feels longer, in others it’s rushing past).

7/8 March

The world’s news, the amount of work to do, upcoming birthday (always seems to spend my brain into a bit of a spin) meant I woke up Saturday feeling quite bleak – so I took myself down the beach … and managed to catch a New Zealand unique Pokemon – Relincatch (not seen another – want more to trade):

Also read ‘Girl on the Train’ and watched the film on Netflix, did some work, more swims, some anxiety-management with Emma (Brisbane time) via internet, and some relaxing!

9 March

Woke up to my 45th birthday (honestly, with secondaries diagnosis last year, every birthday is going to be a surprise!) – my mum had put some small gifts in my case, and Helene had got a friend to post a card within NZ so it arrived in time! Thought it would just be a normal day BUT when I got up for morning tea – cake/candles AND a present:


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Well look at that – cake, song and presents for morning tea at #VaughanPark #Birthday #NewZealand

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Also had a message from Steff that I’d been on Kate’s Radio 2 show, so popped off to find that:

Callie then said ‘can’t just go down to the studio and work’, so, after work, took me to nearby Long Bay Surf Club for a drink (before heading back for my saved dinner):

10 March

I had been chatting to some of the Arrow Leaders group who were staying, and had been invited to join their morning sessions in the chapel (I had nearly walked in mid-service yesterday, which would have been fine). Physical church is hard work when you’re no longer in the habit of it – and it was a really interesting sermon based around Joseph ‘what are your prisons’?

Ended up chatting to Sapati (chaplain) til lunchtime – when we turned up there was a look of relief as I’ve not not turned up for morning tea without saying before… Otherwise carried on doing bits and bobs of work (and of course a swim), whilst trying not to feel overwhelmed by COVID-19 news!

11 March

Took it slow Thursday morning as all the emotion of yesterday was tiring… remembering that part of the plan for NZ was to find space to breathe (but there’s so much work to do!)…  Thursday afternoon Stephen came to collect me and we headed out to the Massey University campus to meet with Philippa Isom to talk digital, faith, children, and all sorts (also managed to get some Hokey Pokey ice cream, and try some Lamington ice cream – also nice) – checking out the Spanish style campus, and the random chicken wing artwork which cost about $90k!

12 March

Despite the weather forecast often predicting the (needed) rain – the sun seems to keep breaking through. We celebrated Jane’s upcoming birthday at teatime, and in the afternoon, I went out with Alexis (from WIASN)’s aunt Stephanie (who lives nearby), and we popped to Brown’s Bay for a hot chocolate and a very enjoyable chat – and the hope of another catchup if the country hasn’t gone into lockdown!


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Decent weather, and lovely to celebrate Jane’s upcoming birthday, join with a Arrow Leaders and meet Stephanie. #NewZealand

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13 March

One of the targets for this trip is to sketch out the plan for an academic article associated with my book. There was a call for articles for a special edition on children and the internet, so I sketched out an idea – I think it’s too rough to get accepted, but it got me moving along the line. My other plan was to read 800+ online articles, but actually read under 100 of them – all very useful, but I need to move onto other material – as first half of trip = reading; second half = writing.

Swimming vid: 20200310_042243

14 March

A chance to catch up with Jen, who I know from Winchester, but who’s been in NZ for 10 years now … she came to pick me up, we headed off for brunch, after which we walked both ways on the beach (Long Bay)  and a little wander round Vaughan Park:


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Awesome to hang out with Jen in #NewZealand …

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Trying to make the most of the seaside – the sea really helps in feeling like shaking off some of the worries of the present age, so hopped back in:

And then it was time to be collected by Kim – who took me off to their house, where chilled out with Stephen and their family, had a lovely meal – then they brought me back via a chance to check out a bigger Pak N Save and we took the long way round so I could see the Auckland skyline at night (yeah, my pics are a bit blurry):


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Spent the afternoon with the Garners, chilling – and we came back via Auckland Harbour Bridge #NewZealand

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15 March

A lie in (I think I can miss at least one of the 5 food opportunities sometimes!), a bit of social media/news reading, but my head can’t take too much more COVID-19 talk! Work have offered to repatriate me – but – to be honest – New Zealand feels safer than UK at present, and although it’s looking like my events schedule may not all happen  (inc seeing friends, and, hopefully ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘) – seeking to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON with things out here (where they’re just about to enforce self-isolation for all international arrivals) and enjoy the sunshine for now! Counsellor was trying to teach me to have 2 lists in my head re worries – one that is ‘you can’t do anything about that, acknowledge and put to one side’ and ‘yes, maybe there’s an action you can take there’ … so seeking to put COVID-19, etc into that, and hold onto many things lightly (cancer has given quite a lot of practice at this)!

When Jen left yesterday, she said she was going to a food market (somewhat like a craft/farmer’s market) near me, so could pick me up Sunday afternoon if I wanted – so I said yep to that, and she picked me up 4ish… we had a super-lovely time in the sunshine, tasty food, interesting bits and bobs:

And now I’m supertired as it’s getting close to 11pm, and I’m usually half-way asleep by this point – sure I had other things was going to write but…! Oh, and really chuffed to have got my survey over 200 responses (still open til 12 April).