This bush - in bloom again!
(Was able to take a close-up of this bush. There are two birds in this photo; can you see them? Alas, these photos were taken behind my car windscreen.)
On the 24th Nov 2009 when I enrolled her at Arohanui Special School there were many of the above flower blooming on the road in front of that school. I picked one as a memento of that momentous day for us. After all, we worked so hard and waited so long to get the funding to get her enrolled in that special school, not to mention me having to "serve" detention days in a mainstream school, attending it with her every school day for one year and one term. : ( So that was a kind of "day of liberty" for me!?
Incidentally, on the night of that same day I got the email from my sister informing us that we have become eligible to submit our application for immigration to the US. I actually didn't want to read the whole email with all the attachments with it because I was just not ready to think about moving again. Not when we have just settled younger daughter in a school just right for her!!? O.o It's not a matter of liking this place or not, it's a matter of me just tired of moving.
Well, it's been really fast and not only one year is over, it's been two years that we have been here in West Auckland and we have actually only started to learn to get to know this place. Because of the one year and one term "detention" I had in daughter's first school I had so little time to get to know people nor see this place. Besides, it's been lately only that my older daughter decided to change her Friday church routine (Youth Church) to attending church with us on Sundays. That makes her available on Friday nights and gives us the chance to go out as a family on Friday nights, a tradition we used to have in Malaysia.
In the past few months we found out that the Mall doesn't close at 5 pm everyday, but rather only on most days. On Thursdays and Fridays it closes at 9 pm. That's one of the major discoveries we had on our Friday night outings. :-) We find that really odd because in Asia where we come from, malls usually have extended hours on weekends rather than on weekdays. We find it so frustrating that by the time we have finished the chores we need to do at home on weekends, we only have an hour left before the malls close!
When we first came here we went to a mall near our house one late night and we found out that the only shops that remain open until late are the liquor and video shops. So we figured, this is how they chillax on late nights here - they buy booze and borrow a video and then go home and drink while watching the movie?? Hmmm, no wonder there are so many problems related to alcohol here. We also find it very difficult to find a good bookstore. Also, in Asia, young people hang out at the mall on wekends. Here, they have nowhere to go because the malls close so early. No wonder the youth here are so bored.
But having been set free from "doing time", I discovered a few other things on my own. The Pacifica shops actually sell food that are similar to our Filipino food! Yummm! The best stick bread (baguette) is not found in Pak n Save or Countdown but from a small bakery in front of my daughter's school! You can find lots of cheap and really useful stuff from the "$2 Shop." You can find "small fish" - the kind we eat - from a Filipino shop somehwere away from the malls. Fish and Chips and Meat Pies are not so bad as quick lunches, especially when you're really hungry! >.<
Finally, I also had the chance to take the train from the city! But I guess that would be the first and last, no more chances left. : ( I have also learned to take the bus from my daughter's school to Henderson and to our house, and back!! Whoa! I felt so proud of myself doing that when I dropped my car at the mechanic for repair. But alas, all these we learned only after two years, just when we are about to leave again. : (
So you probably wonder if I'm sentimental about leaving this place? Actually, places are very similar to one another. They all have malls, libraries, parks, resorts, schools, etc. I don't usually get attached to a place. Instead it's the seasons of my life that baffle me, and the loneliness that haunts me anywhere I go. You might meet people and make friends along the way but having the gift of a true friend who can be there when desperately needed is so hard to find. That kind of gift only God Himself can give. That is why, no matter what, no matter where, I am thankful that I have God in my life. So there. Lonely Planet? Rather, I think any place can be the loneliest one on Planet Earth, unless you have God on your side. :-)
BTW, that was some awesome fireworks we saw tonight (not much noise though). We watched it for 45 min. on top of the hill up our road - happy Guy Fawkes! :-)