It was wonderful to return back to David last night, just after a week after I hitchhiked south to Auckland and bought a van. I’ve enjoyed my time away — travelling with a baby is a breeze compared to being with a whole family, but it’s even better to be back home — where my heart is.

Although our truck is still broken, David’s been able to drive it short distances, and he was invited home on Sunday by a local homeschooling family — the Steenkamps. Their home has been a lovely, safe place for David to hang out while waiting for my return, and it’s nice to have a base like this while we wait to see if our horse truck will be fixable.

Steenkamps' house, Kaitaia, May 2012
Our horse truck and little van are now parked outside the Steenkamps' house near Kaitaia. Although the house is very large, it's good to have our own sleeping space — especially when Elijah needs a nap.

Although I’ve only just met the Steenkamps, it’s clear to see that they’re an exceptional family — open, welcoming, relaxed and good fun! We’ve been able to talk about a range of topics, from unschooling to religion, and we still haven’t run out of conversation.

François Steenkamp, May 2012
François is a local vet, and his household radiates peace and calmness from his gentle parenting style.

Ammi Steenkamp, May 2012
In the short time that I've known her, I'm impressed by Ammi's graciousness in hosting many different visitors to her home. Her house is always open, and we're not the only people staying overnight.

Joshua Steenkamp, May 2012
Four-year-old Joshua is a special friend to Calista. They've been playing so intensely that Calista put herself to bed late this afternoon for a nap to rejuvenate herself!

Hannu and Dawid Steenkamp, May 2012
Although they're not twins, Hannu and Dawid are almost inseparable, roaming the property together and fashioning swords out of scrap timber.

Isak and Ivan Steenkamp, May 2012
One-year-old Isak is well cared-for by his oldest brother, 12yo Ivan. Ivan's current interest is origami. Using a book from the library, he's been fashioning amazing objects out of paper.

Beulah-Joy Steenkamp, May 2012
Seven-year-old Beulah-Joy is the only daughter in the Steenkamp family, and so she's delighted to have our girls to play with.

Beulah-Joy and Aisha, May 2012
Aisha and Beulah-Joy have rapidly formed a special bond. They have created special places in the garden where they can talk in private, away from the eyes and ears of their brothers and sisters!

Brioni playing with Hannu and Dawid, May 2012
Brioni plays well with the two boys Hannu and Dawid. They chase each other around the garden, climbing trees and riding scooters. Although Brioni misses her sister when Aisha becomes close friends with someone else, I'm glad to see she's learning to connect well with others — even if they *are* boys!

Treehouse at Steenkamps', May 2012
The children love playing in the multi-layered treehouse built in a old macrocarpa cypress tree.

David being chased by Hannu and Dawid, May 2012
Hannu and Dawid love to race David through the trees. The kids have the advantage of agility and size, but David is pretty good at navigating through the branches too!

Dawid Steenkamp in a tree, May 2012
Dawid, especially, is a real possum. He climbs the trees and then shimmies along to the outer branches, demonstrating no fear as the foliage gets thinner and thinner until he can see the view.

The Steenkamps are heading off tomorrow for a two-week holiday, so I’m glad I got to meet them. However, they’ve invited us to stay in their house while they’re away, an invitation we’ve kindly accepted. House-sitting is fun, and now that we have wheels, we’ll be able to visit our friends with day-trips!

Reflecting on the last ten days, my gloomy post about being stuck in Peria seems so unnecessary and pessimistic. If only I could remember that good things are waiting with each new day — courtesy of the God of Love — I can reach a place where I can walk through valleys confidently, knowing I’ll see the sun again over the next rise. Let this be a lesson for us — don’t underestimate the future. The past has been good, the present is great, the future will be awesome!