Monday, January 6, 2014

A Very Vettoretti Christmas

The gorgeous Vettoretti home
Being left in New Plymouth during Christmas with nothing to do, we were fortunate enough to have an invite up to Auckland with our friend Gina. Gina is a good friend of Amy and mine that we knew from university in Christchurch. She was up to visit her parents in Auckland for two weeks and we jumped on the opportunity to get away and meet some lovely people. We can't begin to express how grateful we were that they opened up their home to us and let us be a part of their family Christmas celebration. The Vettoretti's were unbelievably kind and generous, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for giving us some Christmas cheer and a fabulous time in their beautiful home on a lovely 10 acre lifestyle block not too far from Manakau. It was a gorgeous place to spend Christmas and they treated us just as a part of their family.

Amy, Thomas and Gina with Santa!
As soon as we arrived, Gina's mum asked if Amy was "really American," and thus wanted to decorate their Christmas tree, since she knew American's like that sort of thing. Amy was thrilled because she LOVES that sort of thing, and with Gina's help, the girls decorated the tree with every decoration offered, not even leaving out the Santa Head lights from the '80s. On Christmas Eve Gina took us for a drive around the area. We ended up at a small town to visit the local hall which was decked out with Christmas lights trees, trains, elves, reindeer and so many dancing Santas. A few cheeky Santas dropped their trousers, and one even got Amy in the face with some water, quite amusing. We then headed to the wild Karioitahi beach were I was the only one to have a swim in the rough and turbulent ocean.

Thomas and Gina, with the gorgeous decorated tree!
We had a great Christmas day of presents on the morning, and as usual I did very well for myself. As did everyone, with thoughtful gifts. But again, we most appreciated that we had been invited into the Vettoretti family. We had a big lunch of ham, chicken and leg of lamb with all the usual trimmings. Aunties, Uncles, cousins and Gina's grandma came for lunch. A second round of leftovers and more family members followed for dinner, not that we hadn't eaten enough at lunch though! Amy particularly gushed over the Christmas crackers, as they're not a thing for American Christmas, and we laughed about the pathetic toys they included and wore the crowns the rest of the day. We even tried all the different traditional Christmas cakes and puddings and played outside with the rugby ball, cricket bat and Frisbee. That night, we drove off with Gina and her parents to find a house decorated in Christmas Lights that was apparently an impressive sight. As we arrived, along with hundreds of other hopefuls, we saw that the lights weren't lit! We waited around awhile, and even walked up the road and back, but they never turned on. Disappointed, Gina's dad made a spur of the moment decision to drive all the way into Auckland city to find Franklin Street. They told us that this street is famous for its Christmas lights and decorations and apparently every house needs to sign an agreement that they'll decorate during the holiday season. Almost every house or business was covered in lights and we walked up and down the road with the sky tower lit up red and green in the background. It was very impressive!

Thomas and Amy enjoying Christmas Day
We stayed for about a week, and felt like we became part of the family. Life was extremely chilled, as we tried to keep away from the Christmas hustle. We spent Boxing Day out in Cockle Bay, visiting Tom and Dorothy Deverson and catching Alan Deverson quickly before we left. It was so nice to see some family during the holidays, as well as catch up with them after about a year and a half. We also went on a mission with Gina to find a second hand shop to get me a pair of shorts, went on a mission through the Botanical Garden to find the sculpture exhibition and we also drank lots of wine. We enjoyed our time in the spa pool and played a good few games of Cluedo and Trivial Pursuit. We were well looked after food wise but we were able to treat our host to some of our staple Greek dishes. What we enjoyed most was just spending the week with everyone, chatting and sharing stories.
Amy enjoying the view of the Sky Tower
Amy and I did head into the city one day and had a yummy Southern American style lunch, which was a Christmas gift from Amy's grandma Louise (She gave us money to go out to a nice meal), followed by taking the ferry to Devonport. We looked around the naval museum and did some shopping and enjoyed the hustle of a big city.

We hope your Christmas was just a great as ours! Merry Christmas!

One of many fabulous nights in Auckland

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