Twelve adults. Four babies. One bach. Seven nights. A recipe for disaster or the ingredients for a New Year holiday of fun and fabulousness? This is what I was pondering just over a week ago, as I set off for Pukehina (in the Bay of Plenty) for a holiday with my friends. And to be honest, I was thinking it was more likely to be a disaster…
New Year holidays with my mates became a bit of a tradition when we all finished uni and started having disposable income. We holidayed in many and varied places – Whangateau, Kennedy Bay, Ruakaka – with the basic requirements staying the same: some friends (usually around 10 or so), a bach near a beach, sunshine, board games and an inevitable water fight. In those days of being footloose and fancy free it was a fairly straight forward thing – pack up the car with the essentials, make sure all three major holiday food groups (chips, chocolate, cheese) were covered, and hit the bach for a week of R & R. Each holiday would have a stand out memorable event – whether it be insane sunburn on my feet (ouchie – not recommended), an all-out water gun battle or playing spotlight and freaking ourselves out in hardly populated Kennedy Bay.
Of course, when I moved to the UK in 2005 these New Year holidays had to happen without me. However, many of my friends were in the UK too, so we simply changed it up a bit. New Year became European summer, and the bach became a villa in Italy or France (see, being a corporate sell-out had its advantages ;-)). Again, we would assemble a large group (making a villa an affordable prospect), choose a location (we did Tuscany twice, Provence once, and Sardinia), find a villa (a pool was a must have), and off we went. The basic requirements weren’t so different to our New Zealand holidays – albeit that days at the beach became days lounging by the pool, and often times we would do day trips to interesting places like Montepulciano and Sienna. A new traditional was established too, where a dress up party during the holiday became mandatory. I may be to blame – but I will accept it. Any opportunity to dress up is a good one in my book!
On my return to New Zealand we assembled some of the old New Years’ crew and some of the new villa crew together two years ago for a New Year holiday in Taupo, which was lovely. At that stage there were lots of couples but no babies as of yet. But all of that has since changed. So when we started talking, early in 2012, about a New Year holiday, my first thought was – will it be the same with babies around?
And no, it isn’t the same. But same is boring. I was somewhat expecting the kids to be an annoyance and detract from the relaxing nature of the holiday. But I should have known better. All four of the kids in question are chilled out dudes (and dudettes), with equally relaxed parents. Further, I had underestimated the entertainment value of wee ones. Seriously, put the four of them together playing with some random toys (or just a toilet roll – they were easily amused) and you could be entertained for hours. Not to mention watching their poo faces when concentrating intently on a bowel motion. Sorry, but it cracks me up every time…
And we still did the stuff we always do – the eating, the drinking, the beach time, the board games. We just did it around kids’ schedules or with kids in tow. We were also lucky to have four of our friends back from London – and they all came down to spend some time at the bach. I am sure it was pretty cool for them to see their friends as parents and meet the offspring, and to do it in a sunny, beachfront bach in good old Godzone.
As well as providing me with some down time that was desperately needed, the holiday also reminded me of two key truths. One – summer is by far the best time of year, and being by the sea at summer is the best part of it. Two – I am extremely lucky to have such wonderful friends – some of whom I have known since primary and secondary school, others from uni – who have become good friends themselves over the years. Seeing them as parents, and seeing them reflected in their kids’ funny expressions, is an amazing thing. But, for those of you thinking this is a sign of cluckiness on my part I state clearly ‘No’. They are awesome, but handing them back is awesome too 😉 Happy New Year everyone!