Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.   ~Kahil Gibran



Taken this morning just as I dropped Atticus off to school and received the text from Stephen that he was departing for NZ


As my love travels through the air, at this very moment, to get to New Zealand, my month of independent (+ 6 year old) exploration in a new land comes to a close.  I know I won't remember how this feels unless I make a note of it.  This journey has been one of excitement spawned by discovering a land full of natural beauty at every turn and discovering, within myself, that I am able to tap in to independence and strength; with such a supportive and giving partner who is with me in every time of need, I wasn't quite sure I still had the ability to not only survive but thrive.

Memories and lessons I hope to keep with me from this month include~

  • if I open my eyes to the beauty surrounding me I experience miracles every day
  • letting go of fear and negativity is the first step to being open to living those miracles
  • any illusion I had of being the "fixer" or the glue in my life and relationships was just that: an illusion
  • ultimately I can only control my peace of mind and my ability to see the beauty in the world and that is the focus I need to keep; it is so clear that "miracle vision" is occluded when taking on others' issues or too much at one time

During times of stress or difficulty I was always mindful of how fortunate I was to live in such a serene dwelling on such a lovely lake in Illinois.  Stephen and I would go on 20 and 30 mile bike rides and wind through Lake Sangchris and the central Illinois countryside and without fail we would marvel at how lucky we were.

Did I have to move thousands of miles away to experience more profound beauty?  Hmmm.  No? (note ambivalence . . . it is soooo beautiful here)  Do I believe that this move is part of a bigger plan and that I am seeing signs of it with daily waves of synchronicity? Yes.

The latest "coincidence" was contacting a local horse farm about riding, going to her place on Sunday while a local riders club met, exchanging information about what we do and being welcomed to come look into volunteering at RDA (click to see website).  Prior to leaving on this journey I told Stephen- "You know, I think I could get my horse fix if I just helped out at a barn."  With meeting Cathy I have the opportunity to get my "fix" and give back with lovely clientele at the same time.  And in the mean time Cathy introduced me to the huge Paint, Clydesdale mix, King Arthur, and asked me if I wanted to ride at the next riders meeting later in the month; I groomed him and loved on him.

I could not have made that dream happen if I tried . . .

That's just one example of many miraculous connections that have happened to a new girl that was totally cool with just having solitude, nesting and writing for the month.

I am blessed.

This past month I have had an intimate reminder that our most cherished partners may not be here as long as we would like them in our lives.  Previously, I felt that if I had to experience the loss of my partner I would be rendered helpless- as if I'd lost my limbs . . . and my heart.  And while suffering but a glimpse of another's pain I know, without a doubt, that I would be rendered incapacitated for who knows how long but this month has taught me that inside, no matter what else is going on . . . illness, situational stressors, transition . . . I can tap into strength and live independently.  It is absolutely NO comparison I know, but a very minute, still part of me has an inkling I might just make it which has let me switch a paradigm of fear of the impossible into a paradigm of trust and hope in myself.

I am blessed.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Another wonder-full day!

It will be impossible for me to write this experience accurately enough to have you feel that you are with me.  I've started jotting down the (brace yourself, here come the words) synchronicity and serendipity as it occurs but it is so frequent I know I've missed points.

Eight years ago when my life-partner and I began our relationship it was full of magical moments; so much so that my eighty eight year old mother proclaimed, "You really need to write a book and get this all down."  There were magical moments before but I must admit, in the last eight years the universe has brought gifts at every turn.  That is not to say there have not been difficult times as well, but typically the gifts of those painful times eventually reveal themselves.

In the past week I have continued to meet wonderful, kind and welcoming people.  Just yesterday I coffee'd with the WINGS group of transplants from all over the world.  A kind and gentle older Polish woman who lives in the oldest house in Parua Bay, on the waterfront, invited us to come for tea.  We were able to stop by for a bit and see her exquisite ginger bread house and we left with the instruction for Atticus to call her Babscia- "grandma" in Polish.

Atticus and I then fulfilled an invitation to meet with 3 other women and 5 children and he was introduced to school mates he will be with at his new Parua Bay School on Monday.  Today we went to one of my new acquaintance's art shop where artists have studio space in the back and Atticus was asked to help a local artist, Kathy, with her awesome sand painting.  Out of that was an invitation to go to her house after I drop Atticus off at school and then she would take me on a walk to yet another beach in our area (yes, another neighbor and yes another beach).  This was after meeting with 3 women on Thursday to hike in the area close to our new home and discovering  2 more beautiful beaches and learning that all three of them happened to be my neighbors as well.

My good friend has been humming the theme of The Twilight Zone to me since our first trip in December when these serendipitous events were making themselves known (like our husbands realizing over breakfast one morning they had been in the same play in med school- they hadn't known they were in med school together until the first phone call about the position).  Da da da da,  Da da da da.

On Friday Atticus and I were at the "cool park" and he bonded with a little boy; his mother and I began chatting.  She was Irish although I wouldn't have known from her accent; she had traveled and lived all over the world.  She shared how, out of obligation, she tried to live in Ireland again, "but it had changed and I had changed . . . and then I realized that I really don't see my family or friends that often and I was spending all my time planning trips to get out of Ireland . . ."  She gave birth to her son at 45 so we had that life experience in common; she happened to be tremendously kind and friendly and told me how as a teacher she decided to homeschool her son who has never seen TV and only watched 2 movies in his life and how she and her husband have become organic avocado farmers.  They are part of the WWOOF program (google it)  and would love to have our older kids come work and stay with them.  She has insisted that when Stephen gets here, we make the trip an hour south and go visit them.  I can't wait.  About moving to New Zealand: "You are going to think you've gone to heaven, this is the most laid back and beautiful place in the world," she stressed.

Then there is the long term rental in the best imaginable place ever, and Mike the helpful, helpful neighbor that liaises with the owner who lives in Paris to manage the property and knows everything Kiwi and will show us the great fitness walks at our doorstep, and all the must see places and the best fishing (this is THE land of the best fishing).  If I go on and describe the farm share situation of our rental and the view and the orchard where we have access to fruit abundant 12 months a year, and the bay access, and did I say the views?  Yep, well you just wouldn't believe we could have found a rental there.  I still can't.

I've Skyped and iChatted and texted and phone chatted with my family and have had the first experience of someone I love going through an impossible time while I'm on the other side of the world, but with all those interactions I continue to feel a profound sense of connection and for that I am grateful.

I'm proud of myself.  I'm missing my soulmate but I'm doing the best I can to lay a foundation here that will ease his transition as well.  Atticus and I have, of course, had some intensely fun bonding time and the little guy, ninth of nine, deserves that in this lifetime.

I have a calendar where I cross off the days.  Ten days until my heart and soul arrives, but I'm grateful for the gift of seeing, while so far away from those I've been physically connected with:  I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and gosh darn it, people like me.

Photos from today's exploration (and my trusty iPhone with no enhancements, filters, etc.):

We can also see this from our new house.  It is said to be extremely sacred ground for the Maori and Chiefs were laid to rest on the rocks upon their death.  The following is a quote I found regarding the lore about what the rock outcroppings represent:
"The area is in the Ngati-wai Tribal area. There are many legends of Manaia and most of them have aspects of infidelity, but this is my favourite. Manaia came home from fishing one day, maybe using his causeway (in Taurikura Bay near the Ody Road corner). He found that his slave who was supposed to be mending the fishing nets had been enjoying the company of his wife. Manaia, in a rage, threw the slave and the fishing net down the front of the mountain and he, his wife and 3 children were turned into the prominent rocks on the top of the mountain.The slave and the fishing nets are obvious rocks among the trees at the front."

Ocean Beach- another gift find
The boy that thought he wasn't really into oceans today took about 2 minutes to strip his clothes off to frolic.

 He still has his sense of humor.  Unfortunately the sun is too bright to see the ocean view behind us as we had a late lunch at "The Deck."  Small little cafes are full of treasures.

Mussel Fritters.  Yum







Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Reporting live from New Zealand~


early morning misty view from front of our house
I was so proud yesterday morning when I promptly sat down and whipped out a lengthy blog post.  Since my computer and internet have been acting a little sketchy in New Zealand I decided to write it in Pages first and then copy and paste it to my blog.  At the very end of my over 1000 word document my computer crashed.  Since my arrival in NZ I’ve had a few instances where the screen I am working on in my MacBook goes black.  Everything is locked up and I am instructed to immediately power down my computer.  I was hoping my brilliant MacBook and Pages program would auto save.  Au contraire. 

Bummer.

I spent that instant and snippets of the remainder of the day letting go of frustration and anger about how Apple had just stolen an hour of my life and decided to look at what the lesson might have been for me.  As I took my hour-long walk nestled between two ancient dormant volcanoes and observed the beauty I feel so lucky to have landed in, I pondered.  I felt that Spirit was giving me direction. 

Let. It. Be. 

I have a book to finish.  I have myriad folks and family with whom I want to stay connected; next to impossible without Facebook and the reason why I will continue to post my iPhone photos but will not have time or internet capability to peruse FB for time on end. 

I have the desire to have a document of this journey and the adventures that go along with it and will work out how to do that without sitting on my bum longer than I am standing on my feet every day. (but yes, I do have a first draft of a book to finish and I will not let my wishes for my bum get in the way of completing that goal before my dear husband arrives in 21 days) 

As writers we can be much like photographers : we can be so involved in documenting what is going on around us that we are not always experiencing what is going on around us (which is why although I love photography, I pretty much limit my photography to my iPhone and the occasional swiping of my husband’s state of the art camera). 

With this move we have the opportunity to make some concrete changes in our lives.  One of the ironies of NZ is that although moving here is a step away from hustle and bustle and a step toward a more simplified life it is quite clear that NZ is catching up to technology in a way that would make us able to become as plugged in and tuned out as we would care to be. 

And I don’t care to be. 

I will write but I can’t be so caught up in documenting my life that I forget to live it.

I will try to blog every week or so about this journey . . . or whatever I feel like.

So far the positives have been:
  • Atticus has adjusted better than I could have expected.  Allie, our neighbor, has taken him under her wing, he rides horses with her, gets on and off the school bus with her, he has slid right into Maungatapere school and loves it and apparently is doing well, “It’s just fun stuff Mom, no hard learning at all.”  His reading is already coming along by leaps and bounds.  He’s HAPPY.  (NZ's education is rated 5th in the world to US's rating of 22nd so we are expecting the best) We’ve chatted with Daddy and sibs on iChat and he has embraced this adventure.  He has started going barefoot, “I’m a New Zealander,” and correcting me with Kiwi accent, “No mom it’s pahk,” instead of park.  He brought home a very expressive Mother’s day card written in his own words and writing  that I treasure.
  • The natural beauty at every turn.  A volcano is my landmark for my home and I have a second one within view.  A beautiful ocean beach down the road and thousands more to discover. 
  • Kind and helpful friends and strangers.  A great friend, Caron, who spent much of her time last week showing me around.  A great support network for newcomer women: WINGS. 
  • A wonderful fresh, organic and ethnic grocery selection and weekly Farmers Market (the first to ever appear in NZ and brings in consumers from the city of Auckand!)
  • A great library that has a bistro—fancy that; a library built to be the social hub of the community. 
  • A bustling, active downtown.  Half the size of Springfield this downtown area is more alive than downtown St. Louis.
  • A town full of a disproportionate amount of artists and healers.
  •  Being introduced to Dawn Picken, an adventurous American mom that has transplanted herself and young children, for now, in NZ while exploring the world -- a trip that was precipitated by the tragic loss of her husband.  You can follow her journey here: http://pickendawn.blogspot.com .It’s great to have the connection and text pal with one that has gone (come) before me; she has been here 4 months.
Negatives:
So far Zero.  I’ll keep you posted on that but note that on this journey I am not looking for negatives and it is amazing the difference that can make in one’s perspective.

crepe stand at Farmer's Market-- yippee
'
fresh catches brought in by fisherman every week
Whangarei Farmer's Market
Ruakaka Beach on Mother's Day

Our angel, Allie, 
Dormant volcano over a million years old I see on my daily walk.  Maori belief is that the volcanoes are very spiritual/sacred.
A little friend that came to visit while I was writing this . . . a cousin to a chicken.  Or maybe a chicken?