So it has been one whole year since you left us. I can’t workout if the year has gone quickly, or if it feels like an eternity since I last saw you. Either way this has been the hardest year of my life, for all our lives. I am not really sure how we got through it.
I barely wanted to get out of bed this morning, and not just because of the 6:30am wake up call. Of course waking up to people you hardly know doesn’t help. I also woke up really feeling like I shouldn’t be here, I should be at home.
Then I had your voice inside my head. I know what you would be telling me; things like “don’t be stupid” “I am not there, there is nothing you can do to help me” “life is for living” “don’t just sit around moping” so I got up and did what I came out here to do, life live and every day to the full. You would have been very unimpressed if I just hid under the covers all day. Well I am not about to let you down now.
So I got up this morning and we all made our way to Rotorua, about two hours from Waitomo. Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity. The earth’s crust is very thin here, so random pockets of steam just shoot out from the ground. They are everywhere! Our first stop of the day was a tour of the Te Puia, a geothermal valley. We were given a tour and learnt about the geothermal forces and Maori culture. The geyser was the star of the show, it shoots boiling water over 30m into the air, practically on the hour. As we were walking round we were also told the ancient stories of the Maori people regarding the geysers. Some of the story’s and the games given to the geysers are not suitable for this blog, they were extremely rude and crude (entertaining though).
We also saw a real Kiwi! Apparently the chances of seeing one are slim. They only have two there, in a special enclosed environment. They are usually asleep or hiding, but was was walking around right at the front of the glass.
On then to a gondola ride up a hill. The view from the top was pretty awesome! It overlooked the massive lake. This lake is so big you can’t see the other side of it from ground level. There was also a cafe at the top where we stopped for lunch. You would have liked it, a good view, our door seating, and they served alcohol.
Now I know this would not have been on your list, but after seeing it; I had to do it. You could luge down the hill! It wasn’t street luge like I knew it mind, more of a toboggan with handlebars. It was really good fun. Of course a bunch of us ended up having a ‘Mario Kart’ style race down the hill. To start with we had to do the ‘scenic route’ but we enjoyed it so much we went back up to try out the ‘advanced route’ – we were clearly experts by then! Well the advanced route was even more fun, especially if you ignore all the ‘slow down’ signs. We actually lifted of the ground and got a bit of air over one bump, true ‘Mario Kart’ fashion. It was quite amazing no one crashed at the speeds we were taking corners.
We checked into our hotel and some of the group went white water rafting. By then I was tired and a few messages were coming in. I decided to skip the water rafting, figuring I could water raft anywhere in the world, and went on a hike around the lake. By then I just needed to not be surrounded by people I barely know, and have some time to reflect. Nearly two hours later I found my way back to the hotel. I actually enjoyed the walk. In places the trail just stops and you have to walk across an area of geothermal activity, staying inside the warning poles. You did not want to get too close to these things, bits were like quick sand with boiling water. You fall in, yoir not coming out. The smell was potent too, sulphur; like a rotten egg smell. Yuck.
I also stopped in a shop on the way back. It’s nearly Easter, and the Easter chocolate was out. To my sheer amazement, I found a bag of mini eggs. They were the most expensive bag I have ever seen, but considering the date, and the fact I wanted some (hopefully) good chocolate I simply did not care!
A whole group of us then walked into town for a meal. We ended up in some travellers cafe called ‘Fat Dog’. We all ordered burgers, which turned out the be the biggest burgers ever! I could have shared a burger and still not managed it. The rest of the group headed further into town to a bar. I am all up for making the most of it, but a big night out is just one step too far for me. I am exhausted, mentally, physically and emotionally today. The thought of coming back to a quiet hotel room and just chilling out for an hour in peace with my mini eggs sounded like a much better plan to me. Although when I got back I was still too full to attempt eating mini eggs.
Well one year on, and I am the other side of the world. I have got through today, and my day is over, but everyone at home is just beginning theirs. It is crazy to look back on how we got through this past year.
I hope I have made you proud this year Dad. I hope we have all made you proud.
I miss you Dad x