New Zealand, week one: new friends


Arriving Auckland, New Zealand

We were delighted when we boarded our plane from Tokyo to Auckland and found out the flight would be approximately nine hours. Nine hours on a plane is do-able for us. That’s about how long it takes to fly from Portland to Tokyo and we do that all the time. For some reason I thought it was more like 13.5 hours (foreshadowing, that’s the length of the flight from Sydney to Portland, oy).

So, I did something months ago I have never in my life done before. I invited myself to someone’s house. Not just for a howdy, or a meal, but I actually invited myself (and Blue Eyes) to stay at this person’s house(s) for three nights. She happens to be someone I had never met. I know, what was I thinking? Well, I’ll tell you what. I have been conversing with her by blog and by messenger for what seems like forever. I think maybe it has been close to two years now. We are not so similar in some ways, and very similar in others. Regardless, I could tell from her blog, her writing, and our conversations that she is someone I want to have a relationship with. She is someone I want to know, better. Most of you regular betrayed spouse bloggers know her as “horses,” “horsesrcumin,” or by her real and lovely name, Paula (Paula’s Blog). A big part of my reason for wanting to get to New Zealand, a place that has been on my wish list FOREVER, but kept getting pushed aside due to sheer distance from, well, everything in our lives, was to meet Paula. Well, I’m here to report, it’s just not far enough away for me to use that excuse anymore. I will return to New Zealand. In the meantime, I must tell you more about the wonderful Paula.

Not only did she agree to house us, but she also picked us up from the airport! A couple friends have asked me if I was nervous to meet this person who I only really knew from my blog. Well, this is not my first rodeo, people. I started meeting blogger friends a couple years ago and I have met a few. I talk all the time on here about how blogger friends know me better than most real life family and friends. The Kat on this blog is real. How I write is who I am. Meeting me, if someone were so inclined, should be an easy transition. What you see is what you get. And, you guys know my deepest darkest secrets (and my weight, yikes!!! 😉 ). Well, not secrets so much as the shit that happened and what transpired after that. Same with Paula. Her blog represents her. We both like to just talk it out. An online journal if you will. We’ve also both learned to take some comments and commenters with a grain of salt. Learned that one the hard way. I knew we would get along. Paula was also instrumental in my decision NOT to contact the other woman all those months ago. Her cautionary tale convinced me that contact would most likely not have the outcome I desired. And I believed her. And I am better off for her advice.

Paula admitted that she was a little nervous about meeting us/me, that special breed of human called Americans, on that February morning at Auckland airport. I don’t think I thought about the whole thing long enough to be nervous. The reason I had asked to stay with Paula was because they live a bit rural. I didn’t want to go all the way to New Zealand without being able to meet Paula and I really wanted to spend a little time with her. I knew neither Blue Eyes or I was equipped to drive in New Zealand, and Paula lives in the countryside so I wasn’t even sure if there was an alternative place to stay nearby. Anyway, I was very excited. It was a big adventure for me. Everything was exciting at that point. Of course I tried to get in on the wrong side of the car, Paula was expecting that. I actually did that for a couple days. She drove us to her beautiful and tranquil farm and set us up in a lovely room.


The view from our guest room. I know! You want to go there right now, don’t you!


My new friend Maple on the bed, beautiful linens. She had a good time rough housing with Blue Eyes.

I had the pleasure of meeting Maple, the adorable long haired dachshund/terrier mix, and then me, Blue Eyes, Paula, and Rog took a walk at the amazing Blue Springs, very near their home.


Te Waihou Walkway is internationally acclaimed with water so pure it supplies approximately 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water.


The spring is fed from the Mamaku Plateau where the water takes up to 100 years to filter through; the resulting water is so pure and clean that it produces a beautiful blue color while being virtually clear (


We may or may not know the two blokes in the picture. I’m not sayin’.


Water from the Blue Spring flows at a rate of 42 cubic metres per minute and could fill a 6 lane (25 metre) swimming pool in around 12 minutes. The water temp is a constant 11 degrees celsius throughout the year. (


The walk to the springs follows a track alongside the Waihou River, through wetlands, across rolling pastoral land and features views of small waterfalls, native bush and the famous Blue Spring with glimpses of trout along the way. (

After our walk, we took an exciting drive around the farm. What a huge and gorgeous piece of property full of rolling hills (and sheep), green pastures (and cows), beautiful rock cliff faces, and pine forests.


Hey ladies, what’s shaking.


Old waterwheel in one of the many pine forests on the property.

That evening, Paula and Rog made us one of THE most delicious meals we have ever eaten. We were hungry, and the food was fresh and simply made. Amazing! I was so hungry I didn’t even take a photo, bugger that! Fresh rack of lamb with a mint and herb sauce straight from the garden, roasted potatoes and a big healthy salad. Simple, fresh food is the best. Blue Eyes has been talking about that meal ever since!


Dusk, and rolling green hills, and sheep, all outside Paula’s living room. Heaven!

Monday was all about the Waitomo caves. First glow worm caves (no pics allowed), then the Aranui Cave full of stalactites and stalagmites.


IMG_3451We enjoyed a really lovely Italian dinner out with Paula and Rog that evening in the town of Cambridge.

Tuesday we headed to the Lake House (bach–pronounced like batch, not like bach the composer). What a beautiful spot. Blue Eyes wanted to just stay there for the rest of our vacation. On our drives between sights and houses, Paula and I never stopped talking. Unfortunately, Paula talks quite fast and I may have missed a few bits of the conversations. I often felt like I needed subtitles. It was a whole lot of fun.


We took a walk to a little park near the bach. This is the glorious Lake Taupo.


Little Beach on Lake Taupo near the Bach.


Blue Eyes loves panoramas. This is his shot of the view from the bach just before a little rain shower. It was a beautiful night.

Wednesday morning we drove back into a town close to Paula’s farm and Paula handed us off to my old work friend, Ruby (who is from North Carolina, but has been living in New Zealand for nearly three decades). It was a bit of a quick exit, what with trying to fit our luggage into Ruby’s teeny tiny car, and not wanting to break down and cry at having to say good-bye to our new friend so soon (both me AND Blue Eyes were about to lose it). I had never wanted to overstay our welcome or burden Paula and Rog, but if we had had our way, we would have stayed with Paula longer. In the end, we couldn’t stay with her forever, and she has work, and a big paper to finish, and well, it was so worth getting a little out of my comfort zone and making this connection across the world. I hope we can reciprocate very soon.

More to come…


32 thoughts on “New Zealand, week one: new friends

  1. How awesome and how exciting that you got to meet each other! I wonder how odd it was for Blue Eyes and Rog, knowing that they, well their actions, were the very reason you were meeting each other. Sounds as tho you had an awesome trip Kat xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting question, PW. I bet they never really thought much about the fact that me and Paula are friends because of their individual infidelities. Maybe they did, who knows. I guess that result is one of the very few happy things to come out of this mess. Rog and BE talked some, but not about affairs and such. They are incredibly different men in general and the specific circumstances of their betrayals are very different. I do believe though that they were able to connect and talk on some level and in my mind, being able to talk and share and be open, especially men with men, is a good thing. Nothing good comes from feeling isolated and hiding inside ourselves. In that case, I think both BE and Rog are very similar. BE’s hiding and rationalizing and behaving badly started at a young age and became an addiction whereas Rog’s most likely built and was circumstantial. That’s my opinion… outsider looking in. Only Rog and BE really know what went on inside, and in my mind, that’s what got them into the mess they both found themselves in. All… that being said, no matter how it happened, I am so thankful to have met Paula, on this blog, and in real life and we had an absolutely amazing trip! xo


  2. I am so touched/ creepy or not😛, by reading your post and the back and forth comments between people who have been so hurt and are able to be happy, kind people. You all give me so much hope. I still can’t believe most days that this happened in my life. I have learned a lot about addiction and intimacy and Sometimes I think I am more open as a result. I don’t want to live a pretend, empty life that my SA lived ever. I want to feel things again and trust that there is good. I know I won’t ever be the same version of me but listening to you has made me realize life goes on, and quite beautifully at times as documented in your amazing photos!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paula and my stories represent very different scenarios, and different outcomes for our partnerships. But what is not different, as you mention, is that we can still be kind and happy. We can still make friends and have life be about something bigger than the betrayal, and bigger than addiction for that matter for you and me. I was always a bloody (not literally, I’m using my NZ/British lingo 😉 ) open person. I never wanted to live in a dark and secret place. I really did believe that if I treated people a certain way, they would treat me that way back. I was naive, and I did not take into account all that came before me for my husband, or even what he was capable of. I only knew a part of him, but the part I did know and do know is kind and loving and gentle. We move forward now with both of us knowing what he is capable of, including capable of being that better, healing, recovering addict. You won’t ever be the same, but you do have the power to have whatever kind of life you want, realizing you can love people, but you can never change them. We have to love them wholly for who they actually are, regardless of whether we stay or go. I have never been a bitter person, and that has served me well. xo Wow, xo.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I feel as if I could have written this reply, word for word. I’m thankful for this extraordinarily positive yet realistic community of kind and loving women.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this article and the pictures are beyond gorgeous! Have read about New Zealand’s amazing public education system but didn’t realize the country is so beautiful. I think one of the unexpected blessing of this SA journey is the friendships we find along the way. Those of us who walk or have walked this path understand as perhaps few can. Thanks for the link to Paula’s blog. Love it. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So cool you got to to spend time together. Glad you both took the jump to meet!

    Kat, your pictures capture the soul of Paula’s land so beautifully I can’t stop looking at them! (@Paula – your home looks extraordinary!) The photos taken from the guest and living rooms seem like tourism promo shots! Plus cows, I love cows. New Zealand was already on my travel short list, but this bumped it to the top spot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • New Zealand is as wonderful as everyone says. I have never lived on a farm, but I have been to many in the U.S. Paula’s farm is different. The land is gorgeous… no big barn, no chickens running around, yada yada, just rolling hills of gorgeous green, dotted with sheep and cows, plus amazing landscape, pine forests, and even a lake. Their property is like no other. But what really makes it beautiful is the farmers that own it. Even though Blue Eyes and I both struggled with understanding everything they said (LOL… shhh, we didn’t tell them), we both felt right at home, like family. That’s the spirit of New Zealand. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nawww! It wasn’t long enough. I followed the rest of your trip Down Under with even greener eyes! Next time I will be more organised and less stressed. It was such a blessing to be able to touch you. Your pics make my home look even more beautiful than ever. Arohanui, e hoa ma xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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