While in Auckland we booked a weekend at Waiheke, which is gorgeous little island a short ferry ride away. It's lovely: big rolling green hills, lots of wineries and lovely little beaches. However, because we're brilliant at timing things like we are, we went when there was a typhoon. Fun times all round. It was a great weekend, though. Lots of wine drinking, and playing games (Games Against Humanity went down a treat, even though we were playing it with my Dad + his partner. Trying to explain to Sibling what 'road head' was ensured hilarity).
We did walks along the beach, and drives in the car (all squished in cause there were six of us). The boys were often off swimming, which was nice. We had hot chocolates in the cafes, and BBQ's on the deck. The highlight though was definitely the wineries. Wild on Waiheke did a great tasting selection, and OH LA their oysters! Fuck, they were awesome. Mudbrick did a great rosé, but oh! Cable Bay and it's views! It's views were phenomenal. You could almost see all the way back to the city.
As a weekend away goes, it was nice to be out of the city, while still not being that far away. The weirdest part though was just being so very aware of how I haven't been living in New Zealand... of time having passed and not passed. An example: I've been to Waiheke many times before. I have had wine in all the wineries we went to, and I've admired the views and I have lain in the grass and enjoyed the sun. Nothing has changed on the island, the wineries are were I left them, the bush is still green, and the roads go to the same places. And yet... everything has changed.
Dad's partner Jay had many fun stories to tell about all the times they've been here in the past (when I was in London) with people I know in the UK. Life didn't stop when I left, and it was SO WEIRD to hear and see how the relationships have changed. My Dad and Jay are more comfortable with each other than they were, everything feels easy and practiced between them. Sibling has a whole new boyfriend, who I don't know at all and yet their relationship has depth. I didn't get to see any of these relationships develop, wasn't there to witness any of the stories. I feel like someone pushed pause on my life, and then fast forwarded past everything and now here I am. Three years in the future and everything is eerily the same and oh so different.
It was the first kind of subtle hint that life had moved on without me. I knew it on a literal level, of course. But emotionally? Everything felt much less stable. Like the roots that I always identified as home had lifted slightly and something unfamiliar was growing in, that feeling that I wasn't quite as connected with everyone as I thought I was. It was the first time that 'belonging' felt like an uncomfortable, itchy woollen jumper. I wasn't sure whether to throw it off and be cold, or itch slightly and be warm (obviously chose warm, I hate being cold).
Still, if you're going to be thrown for six, Waiheke was lovely, gorgeous place to do it.