A joyful start to 2016

After Christmas, I was most worried about celebrating New Years Eve in New Zealand. How we spend birthdays varies from year to year, but we traditionally spend NYE with our Newark, Delaware friends:

The food is always delicious, the friendships long-term and rich, and the dance party is rocking.

We rang in 2016 at the Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre family retreat. We joined 5 other kids and several other families for six days of fun, sharing, meditation, and joy.

I promise to post a full length entry with photos, quotes, and stories when I have a bit more time to write. For now, I’ll just share that the kids were all reaaaaally sad to leave the Garden of Mindfulness retreat.

We did meditation classes, the kids put on a NYE variety show and made tons of crafts, we all got to know new friends, we made and enjoyed tasty food…

Evelyn cried in the car when we were driving away when I explained this retreat is only held once per year and that the rest of the year it’s not the same. She was devastated–she thought we could come back again for a similar experience.

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Playing Telephone with some new friends.
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Whare
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Tree essences, floral/fruit arrangements, and art. All by the kids.

For now, we are camping on the west coast of the South Island, using it as a base for visiting the glaciers and Lake Matheson. (Post to follow.)

On our first night here we spotted a double-rainbow (all the way across the sky):

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Family rainbow beach selfie!
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Part of the view from the beach.
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The end of the rainbow.

Unfortunately the kids have worn out their enjoyment of the playground we’re visiting so I am going to sign off now. I promise to post more regularly as long as we have internet and/or mobile coverage.

Happy 2016 and much love from the Atlas clan!

///janel///

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