It’s easy to write on the blog about the highlights of our days away, but there is also a fair amount of “down time” too. At this stage of our trip (2/3 done), the kids are finding that the unscheduled time weighs a bit heavily on them – the novelty of the various things they brought to keep themselves busy is wearing off. Here are some of the things we tend to do in between adventures:
- Groceries. It’s a bit of a game, first because we’re trying to buy just enough but not too much to last until our next travel day. And also because I’m not used to menu planning on the spot, as a group of five!
- Laundry. This takes some planning, as most places don’t have a dryer, so we need to work around the weather forecast and the length of our stay. (Mostly, we seem to have packed properly and well — I was a bit optimistic about needing bathing suits and tank tops very often, and one dress would have been plenty…)
- Games. Thankfully all five of us enjoy playing cards and board games. We’ve been playing lots of cards (mostly Hearts, Cribbage and Euchre, with occasional matches of President or Wizard thrown in. Claire taught us to play poker, but the Dollar Store set of chips we bought is limiting our stakes). We also brought a couple of portable favourites along (Cover Your Assets, Sushi Go) and a few new games (mostly with a cat theme: Exploding Kittens and Kittens in a Blender…yup…top 10 at The Boardroom Cafe in Guelph when we left, with good reason). And a lot of Boggle on our phones. Occasionally we can find a game at one of the houses — last night it was Taboo, minus the buzzer.
- Books. There’s been a bit of a role reversal here. The non-readers are reading more than usual, and the readers are perhaps reading less than expected but bingeing occasionally. We do have electronic reading devices available, but all of us prefer hard copy books, so we’ve popped into several used book shops and have tried to choose titles than more than one person will enjoy. Tim’s hustling to finish a title that he found on the bookshelf at our current place, as it needs to stay here when we leave tomorrow.
- Knitting. For one of us at least. At last count, Rebecca’s made 3 socks, 2 mitts and 1 hat. (And purchased enough new yarn for, well, more than that).
- Technology. Some of our accommodations have had Wifi and some haven’t. And in some cases Wifi is available but not fast or reliable. When we don’t have it, a lot of time is spent finding it – not just for social media, but also for researching the next day’s activities and downloading maps and movies for travel days. Uploading photos from our various cameras and getting them into the blog has taken a ridiculous amount of time too.
- TV. When available. The kids have taken to watching Kiwi game shows, bad British dating shows and HGTV marathons…
- Journalling. This appears to have tapered off a bit compared to earlier days of our adventure, but it still happens occasionally for each of us.
- Math. As I type this, Jonah is practicing for the Gauss math test he’ll write when he gets home. Others have been less enthusiastically involved in this activity.
- Exercise. Each of the kids has been faithfully keeping up with their workouts in most places. Impressive. Notice I said the kids…
They do miss home — it’s part of the both/and we anticipated at the start. They’re enjoying our time here and they’d like to be at home. As Gen said, she’d like to go home for a day or two, check in with her friends and be at school for a day, then come back here. New Zealand feels very familiar to us (probably the most like Canada of any country we’ve visited), so it isn’t culture shock exactly. It’s more about not wanting to miss out on their day-to-day life with their friends. Each of us misses our independence, as we’ve spent a lot of time just with each other. We miss familiar spaces. Rhythm and responsibility. And our own beds.
It makes me realize too that Tim and I were excited for a big, memorable break, but the kids were not craving a change in routine as much as we were. Understandable. But overall the positives have far outlasted the waves of homesickness, and even those patches are building resilience for which we’re grateful.