My time in Waipawa with Skye and Finn has drawn to a close; I find it hard to believe that three weeks have passed so quickly. I started the morning by feeding Tiger one last time, and then Skye put me to work clearing the concrete path along the side and back of the house of the weeds growing in the cracks.Even using a knife to dig in amongst the concrete slabs, it’s still nearly impossible to get the root systems of clover or dandelions out completely, which makes for very frustrating work. I also had to trim back some sort of aloe vera-like hedge plant that was overhanging the pathway, and it leached a goopy substance onto my shirtsleeves, promptly staining them and forcing me to do laundry again before I left.
Packing up all my belongings took longer than I expected it to (and not just because my parents called to chat halfway through the process): how did I manage to accumulate even more stuff? Jogging my memory, I recalled Skye gave me a shirt and a coat, I bought eight shirts from Op Shops in Waipawa and Hastings, I bought a tent and walking pole in Hastings, and I have a book and two DVDS Skye asked me to take back to the Napier Public Library for her. Add in the fact that it is summer and I can’t wear my coat, pants, sweatshirt, and hiking boots like I did when I arrived here, it all adds up to claiming precious space in the backpack.
Nevertheless, I got everything crammed into my hiking and school backpacks, and put the tent, walking pole, and sleeping bag in another gear bag. I said goodbye to Finn (he gave me a hug and wished me well on the Heaphy Track), and then Skye drove me down to the bus stop on High Street beside the museum. She gave me a big hug as well and then was off, as Finn had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. I am sorry to leave the two of them; their place really was a home so very far away from home for me.
In true New Zealand fashion (and just as Skye had predicted) the bus to Napier was over half an hour late, leaving me waiting in the swelteringly hot bus shelter, watching as the shade rapidly disappeared as the sun travelled across the sky. Seeing everyone walk by dressed in shorts, tank tops, skirts, and jandals (or barefoot), my mind simply can’t accept that it really is the 23rd of December!
As the bus pulled out of Waipawa, I put on my iPod and listened to “Take it Back” by Barenaked Ladies; a fitting ending to my time in Central Hawke’s Bay, as it was the song playing on my iPod when I arrived there on December 2nd. I shared the song’s lyrics with Skye (she was always asking me about what bands and songs I was listening to on my iPod while I gardened), and she liked the words to the bridge the best:
Long lines and warning signs
Think of all the lives
Saved by plastic knives
It’s naïve but make-believe
We will never lose
If we remove our shoes
I arrived in Napier at 4:18pm, with Frank waiting for me at the bus stop on Dalton Street; he gave me a big smile and hug when he saw me. When we got back to the house I had hardly been here two minutes when Fay started to brew up up a pot of tea and set out a tray of cookies. As someone who has seen very little in the way of processed sugar on the table for the last three weeks, the cookies were a wonderful treat, and the dinner of hamburgers (with corn on the cob, mom! Just thought I’d throw that out there) was delicious as well.
Now I’m settled back in my Uncle Stefan’s old room once more, and Fay has instructed me not to get up early, as I deserve to have a sleep-in on my Christmas holiday. In the morning Frank and I are going in to town to the butcher’s and the baker’s and the library, and somehow in there I am going to figure out how to purchase a few things to make a gift basket for Fay and Frank for Christmas (Stefan and I have been scheming). I’m yawning like crazy, so I’m off to bed. Night!