Seven sisters

It seems appropriate that we travel now with Matariki to guide us as this is exactly the same time we traveled last time. Though I rather hope there’s some latest technology on our plane, and the co-pilots not peering out the window looking for Matariki and telling the captain to veer left a little! Over the oceans we head once again. Leaving the start of winter and it’s chilly starts and finishes, heading to beaches and sunny climes. OK, I’ll stop there.

In Maori Mythology the star constellation known as Matariki, who with her six daughters, greet the Sun Ra. In Greek Mythology it is known as Pleiades, where the seven sisters are the daughters of Atlas and Pleone.

In old times it was a time to be thankful for harvests tucked away for the winter to come, and to plan and ready the grounds for next seasons crops. There was no nipping to the dairy cause you didn’t get the spuds in. Nope, you had to work hard and plan ahead. It was also a time to connect with whanau and acknowledge the year gone by, especially those who had passed.

The pre-dawn rising of the star cluster Matariki is referred to as ‘Te Tau Hou’, the New Year. Whatever you call it, the cluster is known internationally as it can be viewed from anywhere in the world. In Greece, several major temples face straight towards Matariki, as does Stonehenge in England. Funny how I have been thinking of it as our stars and haven’t quite grasped the smallness of our world and the vastness of the night sky.

I also read, in Japan the Subaru brand is named after the Matariki stars. REALLY?

If you ever want to see it keep an eye out in late May early June as Matariki rises on the northeast horizon, around the same spot as the rising sun. The best time is around half an hour before dawn. I tried but can’t seem to drag myself out that early, maybe next year …

I was trying to think of something very kiwi to take to baby Ellie who has everything a baby could want, won’t care two figs who I am, and will probably cling to Ren and refuse to smile. Ren has been her Nanny for a few months now and I want to take her something that can be special, instead of a gift for a gifts sake. Tara suggests Matariki stars that can hang in her bedroom. I think that’s a beautiful idea. Tara has sent me a video explaining how to make these gorgeous many folded stars, and tells me its easy. I beg to differ after watching a lady’s faceless hands flick and dance across the screen with strips of ribbon, twisting and turning like some form of magic or trickery, until voilá there is a beautiful little perfect star! I admit I didn’t even try. I could barely concentrate long enough to see the end result and I could tell pretty quickly this was well past my skill level, so I suggested THEY might like to make some. I then found a garland of tiny silver stars and added Simone and Tara’s seven to that, which I think will be lovely to hang in Ellie’s room and remind her of the odd couple who seemed to have a a lot to say and then whisked her BFF away for six weeks! The bastards…

The bags are packed and while I brag constantly about our traveling solely with 7-8 kilo carry on, I am red faced to say we will be checking our bags in on this first stint.

Why? I hear you ask. Well a few days ago I got a msg from Ren that started with ‘natural confectionery lollies’ and ended with ‘cans of reduced cream to make dip with’. I smiled a Mother’s smile and thought, ‘funny ole Ren has put her shopping list on a msg to me instead of in notes’. A few days later when we talked, it turns out not only is this shopping list for me, there was chocolates and vogels to add to it too. Ummm Ren. two words. SEVEN KILOS…She had but one word for me…”Mum!!!!”

You’ll be thinking I buckled, but it was her Father who added a couple of things and said, as we weighed out the purchased list and saw that that alone was 7 kilos, “We’ll have to check this lot in”. So we split it between us and packed our bags to the gunnals. After all, when Ren’s visiting us in the rest home she’ll be bringing sqiggles biscuits and whittakers peanut bars to us. It’s only fair. That’s assuming I still have teeth!

We’ve had a rather leisurely day. The day starting bleak and getting colder, not warmer and drizzle for the most part, meaning my list of outside jobs were gladly forgotten. Every time I passed Gilbert he had the biggest grin as we made eye contact, as if we shared a secret.

I’d headed early to my booked massage Tara had given me to ease my flight fears, and it was easy to forget what was happening later. After so many flights I should be immune, and once up there I can completely forget where we are and sip wine while watching a movie. It’s the taking off and landing I fear most. The leaving the ground and return. Just thinking about it makes my voice strain, my heart pound, my stomach flip and beads of sweat track across my brow. Ren sends me a video clip showing me how many flights streak across the sky’s highway. It’s not that comforting to be honest, to know there’s several hundred planes up there at any one time. Because this fear is an unreasonable fear I can’t just tell myself not to be stupid. So I have learn’t to manage it. Its not debilitating. If I want to go anywhere, take offs and landings have to be a part of it and I will grin and bear it, but if one of these planes crash…I will be fully wild…and probably dead.

In the meantime my masseuse has spent the morning sweeping her strong hands from side to side on my back and up over my shoulders. Untying knots and stretching my scalp. Working down my spine and into my hips. It was the first massage I have had where she massaged my ears! It was all fantastic and such a good idea with the calming aromatherapy oils lingering on my skin and keeping me grounded. I sip relaxing tea and suck rescue remedy lollies. All will be well.

Some of the grand kids have sent us travel tips. Lagi tells us not to take too much. Toothpaste and clothes are ok but don’t take toys. We can probably play with Ren’s toys when we are there. Tai tells us that if we see a bull at Aunty Ren’s house best not to go by it. It might be mean. Haha! I’ll keep that in mind…Anneka says get the plane to Auckland.

I know where we sit right now has more been because of good solid hard work. It’s been bloody hard sweat and tears at times, and luck didn’t have much to do with it, but right now I feel like the luckiest pig on earth and I’m hoping to enjoy every last bit of this trip. By god I’m even going to try and enjoy each take off and landing and be grateful that I can.

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