April 29

The past couple weeks have been spent making arrangements for the two month long road trip that Zhoel and I are taking through the South Island. We have packed our things and said goodbye. We even bought a huge 4WD Mitsubishi Pajero (which we have since learned means wanker in Spanish) to take on the trip. We intended to head out yesterday and we even arranged to take our friend Conor to the airport (he is flying home to Ireland); however, we weren’t able to get everything done on time. Zhoel nipped down and dropped Conor in Auckland while Liffy and I packed. It worked out well though because the extra day allowed us to have a beer with a neighbors (who own the property we lived on) and spend an extra night at Liffy and Mike’s house after we moved out of our bach.

We left around 9 am from Waipu with the plan of heading to Cambridge to deal with my car. We made a couple stops along the way, including the army surplus store in Auckland where we hoped to purchase bright red Antarctica onesies and sleeping bags for our trip. Our mission was unsuccessful (the onesies were too stained to be cool in a lame way) and we headed to Cambridge onesie-less.

We arrived at Andrew’s house around 2 pm. I was so thankful for his help. We gave him some walnuts that I had collected from a garden that we helped Liffy landscape and some bliss balls that I had made for Sue. We were trying to decide which wreckers to send my car to when Zhoel said we should go visit his aunt who lives in Cambridge and that she might have an idea of who we should call (Carbusters?) We sent a message to his aunt, Debbie, and found out that it was her birthday. She couldn’t wait for us to come visit and insisted that we stop by immediately.

We went to her house and I met some of Zhoel’s cousins, Shontelle and Shannon, as well as their younger sisters, Shawna and Brianna. Debbie said that she wouldn’t hear of me sending my car to the wreckers when it was clearly worth more than the standard $150. She insisted that we tow it to her house and that she would sell it for me on Trade Me (similar to Craigslist). I couldn’t believe how amazingly helpful she was and how much she wanted to do for me. Her husband, Darrell, towed my car back to their house and Debbie said that she would take care of everything. She wanted to earn us some extra money for our trip! Then she invited us to stay at their place for the night. We had a blast meeting their family and friends and celebrating Debbie’s birthday. We had a delicious dinner and birthday drinks. I also had ample time to play with their awesome dog, Blaze. He is a 12 year old husky with dementia. As a result, he thinks and acts like he is a puppy.

Everything worked out perfectly with my car and our time in Cambridge. It was an awesome first day of our roadtrip (or mission, as the Kiwis call it) south!

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