Trouble in Paradise
Our first taste of New Zealand took my breath away; well maybe not the very first taste. After a long day of plane travel and grocery shopping we arrived at the campsite in the pitch black and set our tents up like the veteran campers we've grown to be. But emerging from the little yellow tent into a world of beautiful wide blues and greens, rolling hills and sharp morning air was something I'll never forget.
I think the colors of Tawharanui are what will stick with me the most. The freezing cold ocean, which was our only option for bathing, was stunningly clear. The picturesque pastures were almost emerald green, contrasting with the stark white clouds and the golden sun. To me, it was paradise.
Each morning started with light service work, including clearing the invasive species gorse (bright yellow), beach clean up (calming grey), and the construction of a fence (back breaking brown). Meals were made altogether like the big hustling family we are, and afternoons were spent in sun kissed, leisurely downtime.
Whether it was snorkeling, running to town, or simply catching up on some reading in the hole on the side of the hill, our time in the national park was something out of a novel I'd love to read. Stars were watched, laughs were shared, the whole nine yards. But like any good novel, disaster eventually struck our little community.
A flu slowly encroached on us, taking us down one by one. It started with Jack, then Charlie, who happened to be my two tent mates. I held out until the third night and luckily didn't have to handle the grueling work of digging trenches while sick, but I did end the trip shivering for hours in my tent. But my boys stayed up with me and the support came out shining.
I think that's when we really became a family; amidst the beautiful colors and the ugly virus we took care of our sick with a smile on our faces.