We checked out of our B&B and started our drive back to Auckland. The drive is a good 5 hours but it was worth coming out this far to see the geothermal parks and taste NZ wine. We did stop at the Crab Farm Winery (crabfarmwinery.co.nz) on our way out…it was a cute restaurant with a fisherman’s theme, it also has live music during dinner. The wine wasn’t really our style but the staff was very friendly and we would have come here for dinner had we known about it.
Once on the road, we drove for several hours before stopping at a random cafeteria type restaurant for lunch and a bathroom break. We grabbed a couple Panini sandwiches and continued our road trip until we finally reached the city of Auckland. We checked in and saw our hotel room had a washer and dryer…always a good thing. We have been looking forward to Auckland because we have tickets to the Scotland vs England Rugby World Cup match! I bought them for Giff for Christmas last year…
We threw our stuff in our room, and walked the few blocks from our hotel to the city center. There were signs everywhere in reference to the world cup. We found a bar playing one of the games on a big screen with 2 seats left at the bar. We grabbed them and ordered not so good for us food and beer. This bar was also connected to a gambling counter…you could place bets with the machine, it would take the money and give a ticket…if the ticket wins, the bar pays the winnings…this could be dangerous for Giff. He would usually need to make a call or get online to place his sports bets, now he can just walk 5 steps and place it…this could be bad.
We chatted with some of the people at the bar and watched the game. We ended up winning one bet and losing the other, we won more than we lost…not too bad. After the game, we walked back to our place. Tomorrow we will explore the city and go to our rugby game in the evening.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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