Wow, what a weekend!
On the afternoon of Friday 12th April I headed to Christchurch for the Bloggers Connecting conference. I arrived back at Wellington airport on the Sunday lunchtime and gave me wee boy and husband a HUGE hug.
The time in between was intense, busy, loud, exciting and a HUGE step out of my comfort zone.
Here are some of the things I want to remember...
Waving goodbye to these two for 2 whole nights. It was my first time away from Mr Mischief overnight but he had an awesome time with Daddy.
Meeting Maria - who kindly offered me a room at her house on the Banks Peninsula. It was lovely to meet her and her family and I really enjoyed climbing up the hill by her house in our pyjamas to see the amazing view on Saturday morning and all the talking on the car journeys everywhere.
We shared a lot of stories and it's wonderful to spend time with someone that has had a very different journey to get to New Zealand and great to still find things in common.
Going back to Christchurch. My last time in Christchurch would have been January 2010 but I was there for work and didn't venture beyond the airport (I was seeing off a group of volunteers). I have fond memories of Christchurch and spending time there with my Mum and my hubby in 2008 in particular. I wasn't looking forward to seeing the city the way it is now but I am so glad I did witness it and got to hear such brave and heart-breaking stories.
Meeting Lauren - my swap partner (we made each other a name tag and swapped a small gift). It was lovely to meet and chat with Lauren after visiting her blog to come up with ideas for her name tag and gift.
The Famous Bloggers Panel and Saturday morning workshops. Amazing to see so many bloggers in one room and so strange to recognise so many people from their blogs but not know yet what their voice sounded like!
Spending Saturday afternoon at The Make Cafe chatting and crocheting in a seat by the window. The concept of this store is fantastic - the craft shop, the cafe and the classes on offer are a great combination and I'll definitely visit again when I'm next in Christchurch.
Meeting like-minded people and arriving at the C1 cafe on Sunday to discover I wasn't the only one ready to get back into my hoody, jeans and allstars!
Seeing the surreal-ness of Christchurch. Looking across the city from the roof of C1 and struggling to find my bearings as so many of the landmarks are missing. But then spotting a car on the side of a building and taking a double-take and smiling.
So many genius ideas in C1 like the Harry Potter style bookcase/door which opened when you stepped up to it. And the water saving idea of a tap above the toilet cistern for washing your hands.
Taking a tour around the city with the people that have lived there for a long time. Listening to the stories and being able to reconcile the pictures seen in the media with what is actually there. And that's why I am so glad I went. The city looks broken in most of the pictures seen in the media but there are so many other things going on. So many awesome people doing small things to make others smile. So much beauty amongst the rubble and the re-build.
Seeing a glimpse of some of the beautiful architecture that once filled the city - even if it is a little broken (look at the top of the spire).
Misty mornings and driving through beautiful scenic New Zealand.
Diggers, fences and trucks of rubble everywhere showing that people are want to re-build, get on with things and carry on.
Finding some pretty pansies growing in the CBD.
Beautiful building facades being held up with containers.
Beautiful Autumnal colours and blue trees.
Also not pictured but great memories...
* a look round the Friday night craft market and bringing a few things home and seeing familiar faces as I walked around
* walking into Miriam's house on Friday night to a houseful of chatting bloggers having fun
* a fabulous goody bag containing some lovely things to accompany me home
* dinner at Winnie Bagoes on Saturday night and watching everyone having fun with the photobooth
* chatting with bloggers that I've felt I've known a while through their blogs and swaps and emails (like Juliet from Tartan Kiwi and Megan from Mouse House)
It really was a wonderful weekend and the ladies that put all their time and effort into organising it did an absolutely fantastic job.
I am glad I went :-)