Summer's End - Part 1

April 19, 2016

It’s officially autumn here in New Zealand much to my dismay. Those who know me know that I am a summer person through and through. Having grown up in Arizona I am used to being warmed up all the way to the bone, and nowhere else quite measures up ... the thermometer. sorry

I lived in Hawaii for seven years after leaving Arizona and I would literally get seasonal affective disorder from not getting enough sun. Now, I have to admit it’s not entirely Hawaii’s fault. Being a tropical island without the traditional four seasons there was an expectation that Hawaii would be sunny and warm all year round. Don’t get me wrong, a Hawaii winter is warm and sunny compared to a mainland winter, but Hawaii isn’t necessarily inviting you into the ocean for a swim 365 days of the year either.

The reality is Hawaii summers are beautiful, warm (read: hellishly sticky and humid unlike Arizona with it's "dry" heat), with pristine waters that could grace magazines and computer desktops, while the rest of the year it is either too windy, too rainy, too polluted from overflowed sewers from the too much rain, or with too many Portuguese man o' wars (for those of you from down under: bluebottles – for those of you who are still lost: little blue jellyfish-like creatures with invisible and impossibly long tendrils that feel like they electrocute you and sting like hell and can only be cured by peeing on yourself, or so they say) … with some beautiful, sunny, pristine days sprinkled in there as well.

[Did I really just put all of that into one sentence?? I need a grammar editor, but I’m not even going to bother fixing that in case it’s like a run on sentence world record or something.]

Anyway, what I was getting at is that I had this expectation of 365 days of sunny heaven in Hawaii but 75% of the time I would be disappointed. What happened was I just pretty much gave up going to the beach at all … or going outside for that matter and became somewhat of a hermit who hated Hawaii for not being warm and sunny enough (God, I had some serious lessons on thankfulness that had to be learned, but that’s a story for another time).

It’s very different here in New Zealand. Everyone is acutely aware that summer is temporary, so as soon as you rip the November page off the calendar, the beach is teeming with sunbathers, swimmers, surfers, boaters, and so on. And yes, summer officially starts December 1st and ends March 1st, there’s none of this equinox nonsense here; the government dictates when the seasons start and end!

Maybe it’s an age thing as well. I was young and unappreciative. But even though I love summer so much that I’d rather shut myself in a room and have no summer at all than be disappointed because what was supposed to be summery wasn’t summery enough, I think four seasons suits me a lot better than an endless* summer, and makes me value summer a lot more.

*conditions apply

Nowww …. back to the whole point of this post..

It is officially autumn, but there was this one gloriously sunny day. Now that I live in New Zealand and no longer stupidly think summer is forever, I decided to think like a kiwi and get outside with the kids. Make hay when the sun shines.

I decided to go to one of my favorite places on the North Shore of Auckland:  Long Bay Beach, the top of Long Bay Beach to be specific (which happens to be just 10 minutes away from where we live). There are a couple of short bushwalks (hiking trails for you normal readers …  I mean Americans) and there’s a path up to rolling hills of beautiful green paddocks with gorgeous sea-cliff views and a secluded beach called Granny’s Bay down the hill. If the tide isn’t high you can walk around from Granny’s Bay back to Long Bay where the parking is instead of hiking back up and down the hill.

The kids had so much fun running in the paddock, climbing the driftwood trees and splashing in the ocean which they weren’t quite brave enough to be submerged in for a proper swim anymore.  

And, at the end of our gloriously sunny excursion, my daughter exclaimed “This is the worst day ever!" (the grass was a little bit prickly).

*sigh* ... I guess it’s time for some more lessons on gratitude!


Since this turned into a huge essay when it was meant to be just a short intro to the photos of our outing I’ll put the rest of the photos in a separate blog post.

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  1. Haha I enjoyed reading this. I actually learned what "bush walking" is having heard the term used for years and all this time thinking it was a made up word. Post the pics already!

    1. I wasn't quite sure if speaking in both "kiwi" and American was useful or just annoying, so I'm glad to hear I was of help to you! Haha