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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


What a whirlwind week it has been. The candle has been well and truly burnt at both ends. Rehearsals for end of year concerts & prizegiving (and the ‘real’ things), Farewell get-togethers, End of year outings and functions galore, plenty of driving, plenty of eating, plenty of socialising, and not much sleep. There was even a surprise birthday party! More on that later. Like most of the Southern hemisphere who are coming to the end of our year, we are exhausted. Simply pooped. And not surprisingly, we have all been sick. I think we will all come to a complete halt very soon. Probably after Christmas….

K did the manly thing and went with the boys to the end of year Middle School outing to Waiwera Hot Pools (complete with lots of thematic pools and wild slides). Apparently the pools looked like fish chowder with 1000+ kids, all celebrating summer and the end of school. Utter chaos. I braved the shops in search of essential Christmas items….chaos of a similar nature!

And even I have had a birthday party! Of a completely surprised and random nature – ‘Surprised’, cos I was. ‘Random’, because I am of the age where I no longer require birthdays….and besides which, even if I did, my birthday is not in December! I had thought, that I was due out to a Farewell party. I thought wrong. I did have quite a nasty suspicion that things were not as they should have been. But being the kind and gracious friend that I am (!), I gave my friends the benefit of the doubt and took them at their word. At this point, I should confess, that I did throw the spanner in the works just a few times to keep them guessing! It would’ve been too easy otherwise. Anyway, it was like a replay of K’s surprise party, except in a slightly more ‘genteel’ fashion. I was ‘chauffeured’ rather than walked up the road, and my driver asked me where “Megazone” was for a friend of hers who wanted to host a birthday party soon. I fell into the trap and suggested that we drove past the Laser Strike Game place since it was only a slight detour to the restaurant…..only to discover as we turned into the driveway, that The Girls were waiting for me! The moral of the story is, CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY!

To cut a very long story short, my white negligee and feather boa only lasted a short while before I was able to stash them away unnoticed by the excited female commandos. We thoroughly enjoyed a great game in our three teams. Moral Number 2 is, BEWARE the quietest, sweetest, gentlest women! They turn into the feistiest, most competitive, bloodthirsty warriors when they are let loose into a game such as this!!! After blowing out the candles on my “non-birthday” cake, and having some refreshments, we were let loose into the arena for another bout of Laser Strike. The funny thing, is that some Korean friends of ours were present at both surprise birthday parties – HE attended K’s party, and SHE attended mine. Afterwards, HE asked his wife if HE could have a ‘surprise party’ when they returned to Korea! And after my surprise party, SHE asked me if this was the way Kiwis traditionally celebrated their birthdays (by being set up by their friends and dressed in all manner of unusual costumes just so they could shoot each other with lasers in the dark!)….I can assure you, ‘tis enjoyable, but not traditional!

I felt so special. Dinner at a Turkish CafĂ© afterwards was delicious…..unfortunately, my stomach cramps returned, but I was able to enjoy my meal again later on at midnight! Yum. It was lovely also to drive down at the end of the evening, along a road in the city which traditionally lights up over December. All the houses in that street are decorated with lights and displays for Christmas, and thousands of people walk down its length each night before Christmas. There is a real party atmosphere with carollers and buskers and coffee merchants, and lots of Christmas music and hum. Wonderful to stroll along on a balmy evening with friends and family.

And one of my birthday gifts, was a treat to a pedicure and manicure tomorrow morning……booked in with several others! I’m interested in how the staff at the establishment will handle a bunch of rowdy women, all booked in to get their nails done at the same time!!! Should be fun! I’m so glad that my friends didn’t just book me in for a nail job by myself, but decided to book themselves in at the same time too! What a buzz!

After that, it will be time for school to finish (only a half day), time for the end of year party (all kids in the pool!), and then dinner with some good friends who are visiting from Brisbane.

I did feel quite sad this evening though. Tomorrow is the last day of school. With it, comes the inevitable farewells and end of year sadness. This year, we will be losing some sterling people. Friends and acquaintances who are moving on, change (which I loathe), and all the associated goodbyes. Ohhh the sadness. Huge sighs.

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