My Dearest…

My Dearest Dears,

If I have scheduled this properly, this post should be up by the time I am more than half way back home.

My Dearest Friends,

My time here in Middle-Earth has come to an end.  I am very sad to be leaving this place, but I know I will be back.  I can promise you that.  I can’t say I’ll be back soon, but I’ll be back.  As this photo from Facebook says, I left my heart in Middle-Earth.  Yes and no.  My heart is big enough to encompass Middle-Earth.  I will bring it home with me.  And no, I am not talking about all the souvenirs, but the wonderful memories and experiences from these last two months.  Middle-Earth, no, New Zealand will live in my heart no matter where I am on this earth.  The people I have met, the friends I have made will be with me even though we are on the other side of the world from each other.  Take care of yourselves.  I expect to see you when I return.  Thank you for making this trip such a memorable one.  Some of you might think that you only had a small part in my experiences, but even the smallest parts added up together makes a great experience.  Thank you.  I have loved every moment here in New Zealand.

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My Dearest Nieces and Nephews, My Dearest Darlings,

I have had the greatest adventure these last two months and I can’t wait to share it with you.  First off, I have to say that I have missed you all greatly.  Even though I chose to go on this adventure, I still missed playing with you and seeing you whenever I could.  And I thought of you quite often, usually when my adventures were so breathtaking and I wished I could’ve shared it with you.  Perhaps one day, when I return for a second adventure, you’ll be able to come with me and share in this magical experience.

When I get home, I want lots of kisses and hugs please!  I hope you missed me too.  I will have lots of pictures to show you and lots of stories to tell you.

I will tell you about all the new friends that I met on this trip that made the experiences even better than I had hoped.  I will tell you about travelling light and how impossible that is if you are gone for two months.  I will tell you about all the sheep and cows that cover this land.  I can’t wait to tell you all about the stars in heaven and the beautiful sound of silence and the excitement of kayaking in stormy weather.  Wait till I tell you that I drove on the wrong side of the road for two whole months!

I hope you will like the presents I brought for you.  They were all a little something of this wonderful country that I disappeared to.  And I think you are old enough for me to read you a story about a hobbit who lived in a hole in the ground.

Would you like to come out with Aunty when she goes to exercise?  What about a little walk around the park?  Or a run?  It’s never to early to start running.  Or maybe I should wait till your a little more coordinated on your feet perhaps?  Would you like to do the Sun Run with me in April?  I would like a little company.  If it’s still snowing, we can go out and make a snowman, or how about snow angels?

After two months on my own, I would like company.  I was never lonely these last two months, even though I was alone.  I always met nice people who were chatty and curious.  But they were not company.  They did not lay under the stars with me and whisper ‘Oh Wow’ with me when the shooting stars zoomed by.  They did not break the glassy surface of the waters in Doubtful Sound in a kayak nor did they hear the Kiwi bird in the Kauri forest in the Northland.  People were there, but they were not company.

I will tell you about a good friend I met in this lovely city called Wellington and I am so thankful for it because she helped me to enjoy the city even more.  I made another friend in this beautiful place called Paradise, who also helped me learn new things with my camera.  Can I take your picture when I get home?  I promise not to use the flash and maybe I can teach you how to take good pictures of your own!  I have learned a lot from these new friends.

And that’s one of the most important things about going on an adventure.  You should always return home with a little more knowledge than before you left home.  It doesn’t matter what you learned as long as you learned something.

My Dearest Nieces and Nephews, My Dearest Children,

I can’t wait to share in your adventures as you grow up to be smart and beautiful adults.  I hope that along the way I can add a little to your knowledge of life, because fair’s fair.  You have already added to my life just by being in it. I thought my heart could not get any bigger when I held you in my arms and introduced myself to you. But then I went away and discovered a new country, a new Middle-Earth and my heart just grew bigger. And now I can’t wait to share because keeping it all to myself will only make my heart burst.

A wise old wizard once told a little hobbit that there was no guarantee of returning from an adventure and even if he did return, he would not be the same.  I am returning now from my adventure, my dearest little ones.  But I am not the same Aunty that left Vancouver all those two months ago and I hope that you’ll think that I am better for it.

Be good for your moms and dads.  I’ll be home soon and then we can play.  Luv, Aunty!

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