We weren’t homeless on Thanksgiving! We were thankful to have found a job getting Hans and Winnie’s house ready for an annual neighborhood BBQ. We’re in Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay for a week. Brittany has been looking at real estate, that’s how much she likes it here. Hans and Winnie are from Holland and have lived in New Zealand for over 25 years. They own heaps of animals, such as clydesdales, miniature horses, goats, sheep, dogs, cats…and there are stories of each one.
Dinner with them was like watching a youtube video that’s gone viral. They have so much personality, I don’t even know how to begin describing them. On our walk from their house to our hut for the week, I said to the girls, “So. Much. Writing. Material. My head is going to explode.” Now that I’m at my computer, I’m finding it hard to explain. Winnie makes sounds…like four to eight sounds per sentence. Whether it be a grunt or a squeal or an animal sound, I laughed hard enough to burn the calories from the sweet soy sauce that I doused my rice in. She also spoke in one word sentences at times (yes, still four to eight sounds per sentence). For example:
“There was a Clydesdale for sale. Shit. Phone. Denise. Clydesdale. Shit!”
Hans said sweetly, “Can you guys tolerate how she says ‘shit’ so often?”
They have been married forty years and seem to legitimately enjoy being around each other. After each story, they look at each other and say something like, “Those were good times. We’ve been lucky.” A few things said at dinner:
Winnie: “Hans has rules for me. For instance, no horses are allowed in the house anymore. And no more ducks or geese! Can you believe it?”
Hans: “There were thirty. I’ve got to draw a line in the sand.”
Winnie, whispering: “But the sand is like, shifting!!”
Hans: “You’re only getting wine one night. And this is it,” as he poured an affordable malbec. An hour after chatting with us, he got the dusty 2003 out and we knew we were in. Totally in.
Me: “American mustard?!”
Hans: “Yes, we did that especially for you. When the French come to stay with us, we get French mustard.”
Havelock North is close to Napier, which is one of the coolest places we’ve been yet. It’s the art-deco capital of NZ and it’s right on the water. It has been completely rebuilt since 1931, when a huge earthquake destroyed most of the city. Now it is bustling with shops, Starbucks, coffee shops rivaling Starbucks, pubs, and fancy restaurants…all donning the “Great Gatsby” type font on their signs. Hans and Winnie left town today and will be back on Wednesday. Again, we love how people trust us with their prized possessions after only hearing our stellar introductions.