we ♥ family

my goodness what a fun week we just had! yesterday we dropped off epito and epita in the morning, aya and hana in the afternoon, and then moved back into what i call our “real” house. it was an amazing seven days, and we are all suffering from a little bit of empty nest syndrome and melancholy. luckily we still have francisco, joe, kris and aimee for another couple of days to soften the blow. a “soft landing” as my dad put it so eloquently. now i know how my parents must have felt after every christmas when my sisters and i all went back to our respective lives. luckily, the swell picked up and we had a beautiful morning on the beach surfing and hanging out. nothing like a good surf to make everything right again. but that’s enough sadness for this post. let me recap all the wonderful things that happened!

our christmas holiday began in earnest on the 20th when brenda’s sister christie and both of my sisters arrived. this was also the day we moved into our swanky big house for the week. it didn’t take long to get settled into a groove. the house was very comfortable, with lots of space for everyone to spread out. as usual most of the time was spent in the kitchen, but there was also a nice terrace on the third floor which was cool. it even had a hammock! christie has some amazing photos of the house up on her equally amazing blog, so check them out!





the pool wasn’t heated, but hana bravely led the charge and christie and i followed. that was the one and only time we used the pool though. hehe.



nayou took to everyone very quickly which was great. he did have a grudge against epita for a while because one day she took care of him while brenda and i went to yoga and then for a surf, but by the end he was friends with her again! nayou is at the age where he isn’t as friendly with strangers anymore, so it was interesting to see him be friendly with the family right off the bat. we show him photos of everyone frequently, and he gets skype time with lots of them so i suppose that helped.





everyone was so generous and bought tons and tons of stuff for us. we now have a large stock of unobtainable essentials like coconut oil, organic apple cider vinegar, quinoa and grade b maple syrup. and of course chocolate! i got enough japanese books to last me a couple of lifetimes, and also a new charger for my nikon d60 (thanks hana!). its so nice to be able to take good photos again. my sisters also introduced me to two hilarious australian television series – summer heights high and we can be heroes. they are both by this guy chris lilley, who hana is apparently going to stalk and then marry. if you’re looking for something good to watch, then check the shows out – highly recommended.

our house was very close to the beach so we managed to get plenty of sand time. unfortunately the waves were horrible all week so there wasn’t much surfing to be had. which i guess was fine in the end because we all got more hang time.












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we all got spoiled rotten, but one member of our family in particular got a LOT of loving – rocky. everyone was smothering him in insane amounts of love and he relished every minute of it! rocky even got to sleep in hana and aya’s bed all week, which is something he is never allowed to do in our house. he has made some headway though – now he gets to sleep on his own special mattress on the couch, where before he was outside on some straw mats. brenda and i were scared to let rocky be too comfortable with us because it is highly likely that we will need to find him another home when we leave. but this past week broke down all remaining barriers and now he is most definitely part of the pod!



due to some scheduling issues, we ended  up exchanging gifts on the morning of christmas eve. i hit the jackpot this year with a new ipod and another portable mp3 player for our car. my old ipod decided to finally give up after three years of daily abuse, so i have been starving for tunes for weeks now. thank you santa brenda!











santa bought another great gift in the form of four of our friends from san francisco. we met them all in wellington a few years ago haven’t seen them in ages. they are here for just over a week which is awesome. they arrived just in time for dinner on christmas eve. all of us had big lunches that day so we all said we weren’t hungry, but as soon as aya and epita’s huge dinner hit the table, it all went down in record time.



eating and drinking were two very common themes during this past week. we grazed and grazed and then kicked it up a notch over christmas. christmas dinner was the most ridiculous thing ever. aya took to the kitchen like a bat out of hell and whipped up all kinds of crazy dishes while epito handled the grill. hana and i actually managed to start a charcoal fire which was pretty impressive. high five! dmitri and heidi came over with dessert so it was a pretty full on meal. in fact, brenda and i are just polishing off the rest of the leftovers now!





things calmed down a little on boxing day. we had a leisurely breakfast at choco banana with everyone where nayou devoured his soy fluffy.

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the next morning it was time to pack up and bid farewell to everyone. as is typical with these kinds of gatherings, it was over all too quickly. but i suppose it just means that we have to do it all again soon! a big huge enormous thanks to everyone’s generosity! we can’t believe the amount of stuff you hauled (or sent with the hapless mules). i’m so glad that you got a chance to come down and experience the magic of sayulita and hope that you enjoyed it as much as we do!

everyone took so many photos that its almost impossible to choose the best ones. here are some other photos to finish up 🙂





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