They'll probably kill me for posting this photo. But it really mirrors their first words to each other. Nina & I had never met Wendy in person. We knew she would be waiting for us when we got off the plane and she had told us she would be wearing black, and probably red. I spied her right off and headed towards her. Nina's first words to Wendy were, "You're short!" and Wendy fired right back, "You're short, too!". That immediatley set the stage for the relaxed and close friendship that developed over the days we spent in Wendy's care.
First stop was a local shop that sold greenstone, a form of green nephrite jade found in New Zealand. Wendy knew Nina was on the lookout for stones. Then we were on to Wendy's home, driving through the rolling green hills between Auckland and Morrinsville. The garden captivated us before we even got out of the car. We immediately began to take pictures, an activity that would become central to our explorations and continue throughout the trip. There were photo ops everywhere - it was like seeing the world with new eyes. It was the NEW in New Zealand.
When we could tear ourselves away from the garden we proceeded to the bedroom to drop our suitcases. Wendy wanted to show us her work, and proceded to open a drawer where they were all tucked away. "No, no, no," we said, "you must display your artwork." I proceded to set them up on the wee table. There's nothing better than an array of juicy altered books to stir the imagination.
There was a goodie bag on each of our beds, flowers and sunshine pouring in the open window. We were home. It wasn't even noon and we already felt we had experienced a day's worth of wonder. Little did we know what Wendy had in store for us. As the days unfolded, so did the magic. We shared her home, her family, her country and her friends.. Stay tuned.