Thursday, April 25, 2013


Three airports, two planes and fifteen hours. We have finally landed in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Located just three and a half hours East of New Zealand, we are in unchartered territory and it looks like it. The airport is a total of two buildings connected by a roof. You step off the plane onto a TARMAC! We make it through customs (they let us in!), head past Jake playing the ukulele, greeting incoming planes like he has for thirty-odd years, and head out into the great wide-openess.

Into the rattiest minivan I have ever stepped foot in. With no air-conditioning. Oh, to backtrack, it is 7:30 in the morning and we have been in that last airplane for nine and a half hours (although they do serve alcohol - for FREE - see HERE). We were greeted with a fragrant lei and our luggage is stuffed in this van (a Mazda, I think. For some odd reason the memory didn't stick).

We drive halfway around the island in this van that I'm sure is going to break down any minute. This guy is driving like a bat out of tarnation ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!! He's passing scooters with little old ladies on them, scooters with teenagers talking on their cell phones and scooters with adults driving and five year olds hanging on the back of the parent's shirt. Nobody's flipping him off. Nobody's angry at being passed. And nobody's getting run over. Did I mention that not ONE of those scooter occupants was wearing a helmet? Not a single one.

We do survive the van ride and make it to our bungalow (literally, a free standing one bedroom building all our own) and check in at the Palm Grove. After unstrapping ourselves from our luggage, we break out the shorts (they were packed on top in the smartest last-minute packing move I've made) and flip flops and head out to explore.

I'm not sure it can get ANY better than this!

Oh, but it does...

And we're there.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'll Follow You Anywhere

All I'm saying is that I will fly ANYWHERE Air New Zealand goes. They serve wine with their dinner! Did I mention they serve dinner? Real food; chicken with mushrooms and potatoes and little corns, with a roll, a salad, and, I'm not done, DESSERT! (That was just one of the two entrees - Jeff had the fish). And the wine in case I forgot to mention it earlier. They even have decent utensils. It's plastic, but it was fancy, sturdy plastic that didn't bend when you used them.

Their movies were all free, headphones; no charge, blanket; yes ma'am, do you want two? (spoken with a cool accent) Yes, it was a 9 and half hour flight, but Air New Zealand rocks in service!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Heading Out

Do you ever find yourself walking down the street or standing in line at the grocery store or getting geared up to play the final soccer game of the season and realize that this is your life? Almost that out of body experience? Not the creepy kind, but just the "I-can't-believe-this-is-my-life" kinda moment? (If not just bear with me)

I had that moment at Sea-Tac on the underground train from one terminal to the next. I'm standing up, hanging onto the pole (like there's so much movement that it warrants holding the pole to stay upright) and it hits me:


My family and I were headed to our dream destination - The Cook Islands - and it was really happening (I had passed through security and handed over luggage to a conveyer belt so I could prove it). At that point I was looking around (at everyone with ear buds in their ears) and realizing I was really in the moment. I was really going to get on a plane (two for that matter, for a total of 12 hours) and travel to a remote tropical location.

I had to stop and realize I needed to be in the moment more often. Not just on the big stuff, but every day stuff. I vowed to pay more attention and concentrate on ALL the stuff God puts before me. Good (yeah) and bad (ugh).

As the doors slid open I walked through so much more aware and ready to see what came next.

More pictures to come!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rarin' to Go

I haven't forgotten about this blog. On the flip side, titles and stories and recalls are rattling around in my brain 15/7 (not 24/7 - I LOVE my sleep). This blog is about a journey and we just got back from a doozie. At every turn, titles to the blog were flipping through, stories, funny moments, pictures, all of it. Alas, my ducks all have to be in a row, the pictures needed to be gone through - Hullo, 4,156 photos from FIVE cameras.

Here's a teaser. In my duck-lining-up, I think I'm two things away from being able to devote a lot of time to the blog, but the time is coming closer! You ready?