My parents still live in the same house that I grew up in. Until I left home at 17, I had never moved house. The house has changed a lot, of course. It is not the little 3 bedroom bungalow that it was when mum and dad bought it 35 years ago, but it is still essentially the same home.
For a long time, I didn't realise that this wasn't the case for everyone. I guess I never really thought about it. I would head down the line to university, and in the summer I would get to come home to the same old neighbourhood. There was something so comforting about that. When we got burgled last year, we moved in with mum and dad for a couple of months, and it was a good feeling to be sleeping in my old room, with my old happy memories.
It actually goes further than that. Every summer we head up north to the same beach and stay at the same beach motel. We love that everything is so familiar up there. And every winter we go down to Taupo and stay at our winter holiday house. Which is what this rambling post is really about.
Mum and dad bought the house when I was 15. Every single winter since then we have gone down and stayed there. We do the same things each year. Mary and I run the loop road. We visit the falls. We go to the Prawn Farm and eat buckets of garlic prawns. We drive to the mountain and ski. We get coffee at the same cafe. It is part of our year when we all get to relax and spend some time together. There is a cat that lives down there. It's not ours, but we reclaim it every winter. We have even named it. It probably gets very confused.
A couple of weeks ago, we sold the house. Ever since then, I have felt a kind of sadness that I couldn't really pinpoint. It has occurred to me that it is probably because it is the first time in my life that this has ever happened. We have never sold a house before.
It's weird – it's like losing part of your family. But I guess it just means we'll have to create some new traditions.