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“I had missed them so much!”

Restrictions in the New Zealand borders lasted more than two years because of the Covid pandemic. The border closures or the anxiety around the virus stopped so many people travelling overseas, including our residents.

When the borders finally opened in July 2022, New Zealanders slowly started to venture abroad but it’s not until now that we can fully sense a return to normality.

Among the first ones who journeyed overseas was Anne, a resident from Warkworth Oaks. She went to Australia in March 2022 and she stayed for 20 days. The main reason for her trip was to visit her daughter and her family, and also some relatives and friends. The last time she saw them was back in 2019.

“My daughter and I used to catch up online, but seeing them physically and hugging them was so awesome and so emotional. My grandsons were so excited to see me, they had grown up and they are now taller than me! I had missed them so much.”

Anne (in the middle) is pictured here with her daughter and her grandchildren.

Some residents didn’t need to catch any planes to reconnect with their families. Graham and Valmai, two residents at Remuera Gardens, feel extremely lucky that their Swedish son, David, and his family could finally travel to New Zealand last December. “Last time we saw them it was 2018, so we were very excited when they came for Christmas. It was a magnificent time and we got to know them better”, says Valmai when talking about her three Swedish grandchildren.

David and his family are very outdoorsy and they love tramping, climbing, orienteering, skiing and skating, so they asked Graham and Valmai to spend one week in Hanmer Springs, in the South Island. There they got the chance to meet with their other relatives, and they recreated the same picture they had taken 20 years ago when the whole family was together for the last time.

Epsom Village’s resident Eileen may be 90 years but almost nothing daunts her. Last December she took the long flight to the UK to reconnect with her son Nicholas and her grandchildren, Archie and Freddy. It was the first time she met them since June 2019. They spent Christmas and New Year in a cottage in Devoran, a small village in Cornwall. “Over Christmas there were about 20 of us in Devoran. In spite of the cold weather, the time spent with my family and friends was at times very emotional but enjoyable. It was worth the effort I made to get there.”

Eileen took daily walks to the river Fal with her family and altogether they visited Truro, the county town of Cornwall. Before Christmas they attended a carol service at Truro cathedral and an evensong on New Year’s Eve. After five wonderful weeks in the UK, Eileen took the flight back to Auckland with her heart full.

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