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Changeling

January 17, 2016

I’m getting older. I can feel it each time I open my eyes to a new day, and every night when I close them. I’m slowing down, I’m savoring the sweet moments; the smell of fresh coffee, a wave from a curious child, the soft curls forming in Guy’s hair and how they gently twist around my fingers as we lay intertwined.  I’m accepting, and forgiving and making more room for light and love in my heart. I’m folding my wings and living in the moment – here, now, today. I’m finding peace, and I am feeling quiet and content. I’m blooming. Softly and slowly like a new flower.  This is the beginning of something special.

Journal

Las tortugas

December 4, 2015

things to do in zipolite, mexico

As the sky slowly turned a rosy pink, and the waves lapped a little higher on the sand, a small crowd began to gather on the beach.  Curiosity is instinctual to me and so I found my feet pressing softly into the warm sand before consciously deciding to.  At the centre of the crowd I found a man.  A man with a bucket full of baby turtles.  All around me people were stretching out their hands and as they did so he would place a baby in their palm.  Guy reached out and had one placed into his hand.  It was black and so delicate I fell in love instantly.  We carefully carried it to the ocean and Guy set out battling against the waves to set it free.  As I watched, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a little black body floating in the shallows next to my feet. I picked it up as gently as I could feeling clumsy and gargantuan as I did so. Stepping into the warm water I struggled to keep my balance against the pounding of the waves.  My little turtle flapped his arms and lifted his head as if he could sense how close freedom was.  All around me local children ducked and dove through the waves picking up the babies that were being buffeted back by the waves. Their sqeals of laughter rung out more loudly than the crashing of the ocean. Gradually I made it out as far as I could but the waves were too strong.  My little turtle had no chance of making it out to sea.  I waited for Guy to return – he had swum far out past the breakers, farther than I dared to go. While I waited I told my little turtle that he’d be free soon. I whispered to him to be brave and strong, and when I passed him to Guy I kissed him goodbye.

They have a battle ahead of them and maybe that’s the way nature intended it.

Good luck little ones. Buena suerte tortugitas.

Journal

The Pomegranate Tree

November 5, 2015

Today we visited the charming little village of San Martin Tilcajete, just out of Oaxaca.  We stopped at a families house and watched the women create the most gorgeous woven creations, the same way that their mothers did, and their mothers before them, with simple wooden instruments and a lot of patience.  After a while I wandered around the garden, feeling like I was on an island oasis in the middle of the ocean. I glanced up at the blue sky and to my utter delight saw pomegranates hanging in the branches above me.  To me, pomegranates are quite simply the food of the gods – I can think of nothing I would rather eat than the little ruby red jewels encased inside them.  I plucked up my courage and asked the eldest of the ladies if I could buy one from her (Puedo comprar uno granada de su abole por favor) she nodded and walked off beckoning for me to follow.  We stopped under the tree, she picked up a long stick and started pulling one of the branches toward her.  I reached out and plucked two ripe ones from the branch.  Before I could thank her, she was reaching out once again – I told her no, these two were enough but she shook her head and told me I must take more.  She twisted the branch around the stick and with a sudden snap it broke free and slid down the stick toward her.  We both started laughing at the same time and as our eyes made contact we leaned toward each other slightly so that our voices intertwined into one loud giggle.  I thanked her, and thanked her again – the laugh stretching my mouth into a smile, and she told me I was welcome – the laughter making her voice musical and young. In that moment we weren’t a local and a foreigner, or a Mexican and a New Zealander, or an English speaker and a Spanish speaker – we were just people, and it was so so nice.

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Journal

Changes

October 8, 2015

I wish I could split myself in two. I would take one half of me on far away adventures meeting new people, trying new things, exploring new worlds –  and leave one half behind, right here, right now  or better yet a few weeks ago before everything was changing.

Last week we sold our coffee table and as I watched it being carried away a crack appeared in my heart. It was the table where we have eaten countless meals together and with visiting family and friends. It was where we’ve rested our feet as we sit together and read on a sunny afternoon, and where I’ve written everything from my thesis to poems. All those moments seemed to be taken away with the table and I was left feeling empty and sad.   Last night Guy started pulling down our inspiration wall and I stood in the middle of the lounge watching him with tears streaming down my cheeks so slowly they tickled my skin. How many time had we sat on the couch with a glass of wine in hand and gazed at that wall? How many discussions had we had about the proverbs displayed there? How many times had I found solace in a picture or quote when I was having a hard day?

I wanted this change, I wanted all of it and more. I wanted it so deeply that I needed it. But now it’s here I don’t want it. I want to stay in my kitchen and keep cooking with familiar ingredients.  I want to stay with my family and friends, and our part time cat. I want things to go back to normal and stay the same. But I don’t. Not really.

I’m trying to be gentle and kind with myself, and give myself the time I need to adjust and work through these changes. But I’m frustrated with myself – ‘you wanted this’ I tell myself ‘you got exactly what you wanted’. Now I see that our desires are never as simple as they appear.  They are never one dimensional, nor are they clear, and mostly they aren’t monolithic. They are fluid and hazy, without a distinct form or function, existing to give structure to feelings that are in themselves formless and multidimensional.

I’m taking a deep breath, closing my eyes, and stepping over the edge. And I’m trusting in the magic of new beginnings.

P.S I am loving the change in season – spring blossoms make my heart sing. 

spring in wellington

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Journal

The elephant in the room

August 24, 2015

We woke to a soft blue sky and a warm golden sun peeping out over the mountains. I smiled and called to you that it was a beautiful day, and you scratched Chico behind the ears.  I poured water over coffee beans, and cooked bacon until it was crispy.  We ate and smiled at each other contentedly. Later we walked next to the ocean, gazing at the suns reflection as it danced on the surface of the water. We talked about how different our lives would be in a few short months, and our voices rose and fell as the emotion leaked into them. Before long the elephant in the room appeared from its hiding place and stood right in front of us.  I said to you “I understand what you’re giving up to do this, I know your putting your career on hold to travel with me” and you said to me “I know you need to travel; I know you need to get out of New Zealand and get your career started. And I want to travel too.” My heart filled with love at the same time as sadness washed over me. My eyes filled with tears that slowly rolled down my cheeks.  I turned and gazed at the horizon trying to draw strength, trying to find it within myself to tell you ‘let’s just go for one year, and I’ll figure the rest out’. But I couldn’t. So I cried more deeply still wishing I were stronger, and wasn’t so selfish and wishing things were different.  You asked why I was crying and I lied and told you the wind was stinging my eyes, and gradually the elephant in the room slunk back into its hiding place.

Journal

Home (?)

May 6, 2015

the traveling anthropologist Coming home is a funny thing. For a long time all I wanted was to come home; to be back cooking in my little kitchen, playing with our neighbourhood cat and sharing a bottle of red wine with Guy. Gradually the longing subsided as I adjusted to my new home in Laos and established new routines. I fell head over heels in love with my job, developed close friendships and learned to stand on my own two feet in a way that I hadn’t previously. When it came time to leave Vientiane I surprised myself (and everyone else) with how sad I felt. I hadn’t realised just how much I loved parts of my life there. Then came Bali where I spent a wonderful couple of weeks in a bubble of Guy, sunshine and beer. The first few days back in New Zealand were a blur of catching up with people, and finally after a week I arrived home — back in Wellington. I was surprised with a spotless house, tickets to a concert, my favourite wine and a visit from Chico the local cat. The next day we went to the farmers market together (a rarity) and had our friends round for a barbeque. Life was great and I was happy to be home.

Monday morning I woke up with a long list of things I wanted to do (clean the house, unpack my bags, sort through my wardrobe, tackle the garden, look for a job, practice yoga…). I had a productive day but felt strangely restless and a little sad. That night I cried, then lay awake in bed for hours. The next day I felt even worse so I went for a jog and did some yoga but neither made me feel any better. I still had a long list of things I wanted to bake, cook and sort through and it was another productive day that we ended with a picnic on the beach watching the sunset. I cried sitting in Guys arms and later that night cried myself to sleep. Wednesday morning I again woke feeling sad and exhausted. I spent the day in the garden and gradually I started to realise why I felt so out of sorts; I was homesick.

It’s strange to think and even more strange to say that I miss Laos and the life I had there. How can you be homesick for a place that you never considered home? I keep reminding myself that it’s a positive thing — it’s nice to miss something because of good memories rather than only thinking of it negatively. I also keep reminding myself that change is good, change is growth, change is a chance for a new adventure.

the traveling anthropologist

I wrote this about four months ago when I first came home to New Zealand.  It’s strange looking back on it, I can still remember exactly how painful that transition was for me.  Sometimes I think I’m still going through it.  Although, I’m happy to be here I still have a soft and gentle longing for my life in Laos sometimes.  I miss the freedom of being in a place where you don’t know anyone, I miss making new friends almost every day, I miss the excitement of getting a letter from a friend and I miss how cheap life was.  I’m beginning to think that’s the blessing and the curse of being a traveler.  We are fortunate enough to live the life we want, yet we will forever have restless souls. I for one, am happy to make that sacrifice.