Gisborne: The First Week, Part 2

A bit more about our new life…

The House

We’re living in an old, three-bedroom house. In so many ways, it’s the best place we’ve ever lived. For one, it has a pool!


It’s unheated, but we’re not picky. In fact some of us have already checked it out. Thora, in a small performance, entitled “Showing Off for Dennis and Nathan,” disappeared and then reappeared in her swimsuit after a costume change. Then after a little cajoling (we weren’t about to let her get a case of cold feet) she jumped in! She got out pretty quickly, but managed to bolster her courage enough to jump in a couple more times before coming to her senses.

The house has some serious old-school character. There are super high ceilings which make the place feel cavernous.

“Hello down there!!!”

Our voices carry and ricochet off of the walls and the hard wood floors, which makes for a deafening experience when Thora and Auric begin one of their scream-singing versions of “Tomorrow” from the musical, Annie. The acoustics are pretty deceptive, however, since they allow our voices to carry, but distorts what we’re saying, because we’re always yelling to people in different parts of the house, convinced that they can hear us. And they can, just not what we’re saying. This is an exchange that happens pretty regularly:

Me: Have you seen the backpack?

Sean: (muffled) What?

Me: (louder) Have you seen the BACKPACK?!?

Sean: (louder but still muffled) What?!?

Me: (now walking) WHERE ARE YOU?

The house is also blessed with massive windows and thick curtains that take a surprising bit of effort to drag apart or together. There’s an old-fashioned front lounge

Thora watching her first All Blacks game (since living in NZ), a massive window framing our grapefruit tree in our driveway.

and a dining room with vintage décor,

the “log-burner,” as they call it here

including the charming feature of a window to the kitchen.

The kids LOVE helping us transport food through the window from the kitchen to the dining room, where we eat our meals like civilized people! Thora, in particular, gets great enjoyment out of setting the table and making sure that our table has a beautiful centerpiece.

In fact Thora said to Sean and I, on different occasions, that she loves this house, that it’s exactly what she could’ve hoped for. There are old couches that, if you ignore their slight mustiness, give the place a feeling of stature and formality, a fanciness of eras past. As they are, the fixtures and details are a bit rundown. However, if they were in their prime condition, it all would be significantly fancier than anything we’ve ever owned. And Thora appreciates this faded glamour.

The back half of the house is much more modern, with the kids’ room, a spare room, a water closet, a bathroom, and a washer and dryer. When the washer hits the rinse cycle, it sounds like a jet engine starting up from inside our linen closet, but hey, I’m not complaining!

Also, the back half of the house has the convenient open floor plan. Thankfully, we spend much of our day in the kitchen/living room, and so we don’t spend that much time searching the hallways and smaller rooms for one another. And there’s enough room for the kids to get a good running start before launching themselves onto the couch. So that’s great, I guess.

And here’s that grapefruit tree. Now if we could just find a good recipe that called for grapefruit. (Not marmalade, though. I want something easy and marmalade does NOT sound easy!)

More to come about our new life here, namely the incredible people and our first overnight trip away, to Napier. Stay tuned…

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One Response to Gisborne: The First Week, Part 2

  1. Kris Speakes says:

    Brazilians made a really delicious sweet from the thick skins of grapefruit and other citrus fruit that we don’t have in the US. It takes a while to make, but it is EASY. I’ll translate a recipe and send it to you.

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