When you come to the far side of the world, you don’t expect anyone to visit you, so when anyone does, it’s a big event.
In April, our friends Neal and Sarah came with their two boys, Asher and Owen. Neal works for an airline, so he gets a deal on airfare, but we still felt honored that they’d endure a trans-Pacific flight to spend a week with us in New Zealand. (And their return trip, flying standby, involved about as much sacrifice as shelling out full price for tickets.)
Neal and Sarah are as easy-going as house guests come. We knew this from staying at their house in St. Paul a few times. Good hosts are usually good guests, and Neal and Sarah are great hosts, always cooking slow food breakfasts and making us feel like we can stay all day, and another night, if need be.
They also describe themselves as non-typical tourists. They travel a lot, especially to England, but whenever someone asks what they’re going to do there, they saying “Not much.” They’re content being with friends in a strange environment, eating good food and playing it by ear.
On their visit to our house, they were content hanging around Tuatapere and Invercargill most of the time, which was good, since Diane and I were working. Asher even went with Leif to school two days. They took one day to travel on the Wairaurahiri jetboat, and we did an overnight on the Routeburn Track and a tour boat on Milford Sound.
My favorite day was probably their last full day with us. We were planning on taking a two-hour drive either to Queenstown for some touristy activities, or to Clyde, where there was a wine and food festival, but in the end, we just stayed around home.
We went up to the Clifden Bridge and walked across, then followed the kids down to the banks of the Waiau River. After that we went over to the Clifden Caves. Neal, Asher, Diane, Leif and I took the 45-minute trip through the caves while Sarah waited outside with Owen, following the sheep trails up the steep green pasture.
It was great fun because we had never made it all the way through before. Way better than four hours in the car would’ve been. Sometimes not doing much is the best thing way to spend a day.