One year at The Campground

I have a whole list of drafts in various states of completion. But they all seem just a little bit too hard right now.  The owners of The Campground are away at the moment, which means we’re working every day.  I’ve lost my voice, which makes both working and parenting more difficult. I’m sooooo tiiiiiiiired.

But this week marks ONE YEAR in The Campground, so I can’t let it go by without a blog. And that can only mean one thing…. It’s time for a lazy photo blog.

And so, I present: A year in The Campground (in photos)

October 2016: The Campground Kid “mowing the lawns” and enjoying our new home.

November 2016: Abseiling 100m into the Lost World with Waitomo Adventures.

December 2016: The road between Kawhia and Waitomo on a beautiful summer day.

January 2017: The view from the Waitomo lookout while out on an evening walk.

February 2017: A walk in the Ruakuri reserve. A snack on top of the rocks.

March 2017: Watching the sheep shearing at the Waitomo Caves Sports Day.

April 2017: Stomping in the mud during a very rainy autumn.

May 2017: A holiday in Taupō. Beautiful sun over the lake.

June 2017: A walk in the Waitomo hills. A view to Mt Pirongia.

July 2017: Another holiday. Toddler’s first snow.

August: A sunset. The end of our first winter in five years.

September 2017: A walk to Opapaka Pā. A view over Waitomo.

It’s been a BIG YEAR. In and around these photos there have been ups and downs. Some things have been surprisingly easy. Other things have been very very hard. But one year in, we’ve made it through together, and we don’t regret the decision to come here for a second.

Let’s see how far we’ve come!

We have a new receptionist starting in our team, and her first days were this weekend. It was a big weekend, and we had no other reception staff. Plus we had a Campground Kid underfoot (she started daycare this week, and after two days we’d already become accustomed to working WITHOUT a toddler). Plus one of our cleaners had to head to the hospital with her son this morning (thankfully he’s fine!) Plus we had a big bus group arrive earlier than expected and a bed cover that was pissed on and a whole lot of people checking out late.

All of which adds up to: chaos.

There were moments where I wasn’t at my very best, I’ll admit. But the biggest thing I took from the madness was a recognition of just how far we’ve come in the last 6 months.

And I’m not talking about physically (although this weekend also brought a reminder of that, in the form of this little video of our town in Brunei):

I’m talking about how much we’ve all learned and changed. 

It’s perhaps most obvious in the Campground Kid, who is now a confident and chatty two years and eight months, able to hold full on conversations and tell amazing stories. She’s got a magnificent imagination and has learned million little things about the park. The other day while we were having a swim she told me “I’ve just put a little leaf into the skimmer” (the skimmer being what most people would probably call “the filter-y thingy”, myself included.)  She is also a lot taller than when we arrived, which we know because she can climb onto all sorts of new places. 

Breakfast in the office.

In me and Campground Papa, the change is perhaps more subtle, but it’s definitely there. We have learnt new skills (he can maintain a pool, I can navigate our park management system like a pro, we can both fold a fitted sheet with our eyes closed); but we’ve also grown and developed as people. We’re both more confident, especially with making phone calls (although to be fair to Campground Papa, it was mostly me who hated phone calls before). We’ve learned to be more clear and vocal about our needs and how others could help us meet them. We’re better at prioritising and planning ahead. We’re more confident to just dive in and fix problems on the spot, even if they’re not problems we know how to fix. 

We’ve had so much change and craziness over the last few months that I hadn’t really stopped to consider these things, but seeing someone new trying to figure it all out is a great reminder of those first clueless days of nearly 6 months ago. And the fact that I am now entirely confident to recruit and train that someone new is a great reminder that I am learning and developing as a manager.

Even though I’ve come a long way, today was still pretty fucking hard. So now I’m going to put my feet up, and maybe have a glass of wine.

Cheers!

Ten years of Februaries

TL; DR – a whole lot has changed in the last decade!

February 2007

I had just graduated from university with a chemistry degree. I was living in Hawera, and working in a milk powder factory as part of a graduate program. Campground Papa (then just My Boyfriend) was in Wellington finishing off his study. I was boarding with a rad couple and had a few friends around as well as a great group of people in my graduate class. I missed my sisters and friends in Wellington, but it was a grand adventure. I was training for a triathlon, and I also read a lot of books (I didn’t have Facebook yet!) I was excited to have my first real job and real paycheck.

February 2008 

We had just moved to New Plymouth, and I had started work at a cheese factory in Eltham. My Boyfriend was still unemployed, or maybe he worked at Farmers. We lived in a funny orange house in a cul de sac full of cars in the backyards and noisy DIY mopeds. There was an awesome swimming hole just down the road. We were excited about being in our first proper house and living together again. I met a few great people through my job, and joined a carpool so I didn’t have to drive 500 km per week on my own. 

February 2009

My Boyfriend had become My Fiancé. I was still working in the same job, but was preparing to leave for three months to a scholarship in the Netherlands. We were planning the six week backpacking holiday that would follow said scholarship. We had a lovely kitten called Trudy and some great friends. My Fiancé was working as an engineer and we were really enjoying life in New Plymouth. 

February 2010

We were in the last stages of wedding planning, and were excited but also a bit stressed about it all. I was starting to get frustrated with my job, and was thinking about moving into HR/training. We still lived in the orange house with the swimming hole nearby, and our European adventure was a distant memory. We had another cat called George; he and Trudy were, unfortunately, not good friends. We had bought mountain bikes and loved spending time mountain biking and tramping and enjoying the amazing New Plymouth outdoors.


February 2011

I was working at the same cheese factory, but everything had changed. I’d been away for 6 months, and had just returned for a big project management and HR role. I was excited and hopeful about the new job and not too worried about going back to commuting after 6 months without it. We had been living in our new house for around 8 months and had not made nearly as much renovation progress as we would have liked. The cats were still not friends. We had recently returned from one of the greatest camping trips ever. I was in the thick of training for the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km walk.

February 2012

The job I started in 2011 didn’t work out, and I was working part time and about to start a full time distance course in career development. I had recently stopped fertility treatments and was trying to plan the next steps. I was thoroughly unhappy about that situation. We got an amazing new nephew. We were slowly slowly getting through our renovations. I won tickets to WOMAD, which was one of the most fun weekends we’ve had.


February 2013

I’d finished my study, and had given up some cool career opportunities for a cool life opportunity: we were moving to Brunei. The Engineer was there already and I was waiting for my visa. I had recently had surgery and worried about the time apart from my husband. I had an awesome new tattoo. I did lots of yoga and acupuncture and started knitting. I started a blog and read a lot of books. 


February 2014

I was four months pregnant with The Campground Kid and was still pretty unable to deal with the heat of the tropics. So I stayed at home and napped in the air conditioning a lot. We had met some great people in Brunei, and coincidentally quite a few of them were pregnant too. I started swimming and was doing a prenatal yoga class. I had just finished recovering from a nasty dog bite to the leg and was excited that I could walk again. We were doing a lot of baby planning.


February 2015

The Campground Kid was seven months old and we had recently returned from our first trip back to New Zealand. She was amazing, crawling quickly and just starting to stand up, but she also slept terribly and coming back from the holiday was a tough time. We were teaching a Mums and Babies yoga class, and attending a couple of great playgroups. 


February 2016

We were still in Brunei, but were pretty convinced we’d be back in New Zealand very soon. The Campground Kid was 19 months old, and she was obsessed with her toys Teddy and Moose.  We’d recently returned from a holiday in Lao that was pretty great but also ended up revolving around me slamming her fingers in a door pretty badly. I had travelled alone with her in Bangkok, and we survived, so I was planning to do it again in a few months for a trip to New Zealand. We went on a holiday to Mulu and Kuala Lumpur and it was awesome, (despite me being pretty sick at the time). 


February 2017
We are back in New Zealand, though it wasn’t as soon as we had thought it would be. We live in a small village and manage a holiday park. The Campground Kid is two and a half and she’s really getting to be a kid, not a baby. We are busy, but I am getting back into crafting and yoga and walking. We read a LOT of kid’s books, but not very many grown up books. We spend more time together as a family, but a lot of it isn’t really quality time. We just bought a caravan and are excited to do it up and travel around with it.