The best surprise of my life

Trip Start Jul 18, 2010
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Trip End Mar 04, 2011


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Monday, December 20, 2010

Major oversleeping this morning! Can’t believe I got in at 4am though?! Flew out of the hotel for 11am, quick coffee and on to a research trip for work. Melbourne weather has lifted today, it’s pretty pleasant actually! I love Melbourne, wish I could have had longer here. There’s some really nice character to the city, old architecture, trams and horse drawn carriages! The latter may have just been for the festive period though.
I make a quick dash back to the hotel to collect my bags and back on the sky bus to the airport. I’m flying on to Auckland, N.Island tonight for a 6-hour stop over, then on to Christchurch on a 6 am flight. Stuart very kindly booked me into a hotel there, although 5hours with travel will mean I only really have chance for a nap and a shower.
My group is the last to be called for boarding as I’m seat 19. I’ve never had to wait this long. Strange. So I board and sit down in the flashest seating ever, it says it’s my seat though. The guy next to me, Richard, is a Kiwi from Auckland off home for Christmas. After chatting for a few minutes I am overcome by a horrible feeling that I am business class and have gotten my seat number wrong. I say to him “Is this business class?” to which he replies, “Yeah, looks like we got lucky”! Seems the flight was so packed that the travelers who paid the highest fares were bumped up to business class to fill the seats! Amazing. Thanks Air NZ!
Richard and I spread our legs and enjoyed 3hours chatting with each other whilst crossing the Tasman. He was great to talk to as he’d spent some time in the UK working in what I can only gather was the same line of business and Dave and Stuart! How do I always meet these people?!?!
I landed just before midnight to a call from Stuart to check I was okay and give guidance on how to get to the shuttle bus to the hotel. I said goodbye to Richard and headed through customs to collect my bags. I was walking through the departure gates, and the whole of arrivals was full of people waiting to meet their loved ones on Christmas vacation. It was a little bit tear jerking that I didn’t have anyone to meet me there… but I spotted the card desk Stuart had told me to go to, and just in front was Stuart with a bunch of flowers!!! He’d flown up from Wellington for the night to see me, then back to work the next morning! What an incredible person, and so, so lovely to see him after 4months of talking via Skype.  We got the shuttle to the hotel, with a 4ft kiwi outside!! Haha. Stu had prepared gluten free chocolates, bubbly and candles… so incredible. I grabbed a quick shower. Being surprised like that meant I was hardly looking my best! Quick nap before departure at 5am on the shuttle bus, bahhhhhh.
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