A month ago Bruce and Louise Stobart were the owners of a thriving Hawke's Bay cafe, living out a dream gap year in an idyllic Pacific paradise.
Now their cafe Birdwoods Gallery and Sweet Shop near Havelock North is shuttered by Covid-19, their life in Vanuatu has been destroyed by a Category 5 cyclone, and they're officially in limbo-land.
After a frantic Air Force mercy flight back to NZ on Sunday morning, the couple are now quarantined in an Auckland hotel, forced to press pause and contemplate what just hit them.
The Stobarts left for Vanuatu a little more than a year ago, acknowledging a long-hushed secret of hospitality - that after 14 years running a successful cafe, they were suffering from burnout.
At the beginning of March 2019 they left Hawke's Bay for Aore Island, 10 minutes' boat ride off L'Espiritu Santo in the northern part of the island chain.
"We leased a house right on the water overlooking the island capital, Luganville - from New Zealander Murray Connolly and his lovely partner, Nanette, who established the Robert Harris coffee shop chain - to spend some time re-invigorating tired batteries," Louise said.
On Easter Sunday, at 4am, they returned to New Zealand, not quite in the refreshed state of mind they'd hoped, but unbroken nonetheless.
World Vision says the extent of Cyclone Harold's damage to Vanuatu is becoming clear after assessment teams were deployed across the island recently, with officials describing it as "worse than imagined", and Red Cross saying "catastrophic is an understatement".
One of the worst affected islands, Pentecost, reported that 90 per cent of dwellings had been destroyed, and a further 20 per cent of the population were estimated to be injured.
Three in Vanuatu died, 30 across the Pacific in total and thousands are in urgent need of shelter, water and food.
Louise Stobart said the category 5 cyclone destroyed their island home "Lula's", which they had spent much of the past year renovating.
"But the villagers lost a 100 per cent of everything. The wind, the tidal surge, they lost food, their clothes, their shelter. Everything."
She said as the devastation raged all around them, she couldn't have been more proud to be a Kiwi.
"They were the first on the ground in Vanuatu with much-needed relief for villages and communities, " she said.
"The NZ High Commission worked tirelessly for three weeks to try to repatriate those of us needing to get home, which wasn't looking too hopeful until the cyclone created the opportunity for the RNZAF to send a Hercules full of emergency supplies."
The Stobarts were two of five people flown out of Luganville on Easter Saturday to Port Vila 320km south, to connect with the Hercules return trip later that night.
"There were 41 of us packed in the belly of the iconic plane on webbing seats and given blankets and earplugs as it was very noisy and cold at altitude.
"All we needed was a parachute and Tom Cruise," she joked.
The couple landed at the Auckland Airport at 1.30am and were met by a "barrage" of health, security and airport officials and then transported to Novotel Ellerslie, next to the racecourse.
"We can go out for exercise and fresh air, but only for a short time. Otherwise we are confined to our rooms. So this is the reality for us.
"Seeing the community of Aore Island all pull together to clear up, get access for relief and to protect the island from looters was heartwarming. Our hearts wanted to desperately stay and help but our heads needed us to go," she said.
"To witness the NZ Government's intense efforts to get us home safely and protect its people so fiercely is humbling."
So what's next? They can't do much now but the lockdown and isolation will give them time to think about what Birdwoods will look like when it reopens.
As always, they're making big plans.