383 photos. A bit less than a week. It’s all too much. Really, I can’t take how good it is here. Every place I look is saturated in charm, and a one hour drive can take you from the quaintness of green pastures and rolling hills to rugged coastlines that feel untamed and wild. The beauty of Coromandel is ridiculous, actually. There should be a law against it, because I know with certainty that when I have to hop on a plane in a couple of days and return to real life, I’m not going to like it much. And then there’s the company. Caitlin and Matt feel like long-lost soul mates and the four of us have barely left each other’s sides. It all feels like a big ol’ dream. The kind of moments you live for.
We’ve watched massive rain fronts sweep in and pound our roof tops. We’ve made countless fires. We’ve had boozy nights (soda water for me, folks) playing a card game which took three hours because we were all laughing so hard our ribs nearly popped out. We’ve had road trips and gardening days. And, Lord have mercy, we’ve eaten. By God, we’ve eaten.
There are too many moments of happiness to document them all, and I’m reminded again why photography is so important to me. Memories of whole days or stretches of hours can be remembered by just one picture, and you know what I love? I love showing Caitlin these photos and saying, remember that? Remember when Matt rearranged the whole kitchen because he wanted the dog to find that mouse? Remember that backyard picnic we had with the cheese platter and the boys not eating slowly enough? Remember that fight you had with Matt about eating all the Violet Crumbles? Remember when we were waiting for Joel and Matt to finish snorkeling and I sneezed so hard I peed a little? These are the stories that bind two separate lives and cement a friendship — the ones you had to be there for, and so many of them are forgotten without the existence of photographs.
Yesterday was one of those days that was destined to be good from the very start. Spontaneous decisions were made, based on what felt right instead of what we planned for. Joel and I were supposed to head a few hours south to this place called Waitomo where glow worms fill huge limestone caves and you can hop in a boat and travel down underground rivers to see them. I thought it was important to do some touristy things so I could feel like I really experienced all of New Zealand.
But in the morning, music was turned on and then it was turned up. And the five of us danced around the kitchen and decided we didn’t want to be separated and wouldn’t it be so fun if we go on a road trip today and you guys don’t go to Waitomo after all? Yes, we said. That sounds like just the thing to do.
It turned out to be one of our best days yet. We headed out along the Coramadel peninsula, weaving through windy coastal roads and having the time of our lives.
The boys geared up and braved the cold water. There were things to catch, you see. Things to be hunted. Things to be put on our plates for dinner.
And they felt so manly after their catch we didn’t stop hearing about it for hours. Friends, may I introduce you to paua. Kind of like mussels, but chewy like calamari. Dinner was totes amazing, like the kiwis say.
And you guys, this is Little Bay.
Too much goodness. Really, it’s more than a wee human can bear. We are laying low today baking cakes and, well, eating them. I’ve got my eye on Matt’s mum’s lime curd recipe and plum relish recipe and I promise you I will not leave this country until they are both in my hot little hand. A couple days remains to soak in every drop of these people and this place I have come to adore.
I hope wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you’re enjoying the small and big things too.
Happy weekend Red Tenters.