One of my greatest pleasures is staying in my daughter’s home. I love that when we arrive she has cleaned and tidied the place, bought the food we like to eat and made arrangements to explore Melbourne. Best of all is that, at 26 years old, she clearly enjoys spending time with us. None of these actions are in themselves profound, they are the sorts of things that we all do when having guests to stay, however I notice and cherish them all.
If you ask parents of young children what future hopes they hold they will inevitably answer Continue reading →
I can’t believe that I didn’t see one rabbit on our Phillip Island Easter break, and that’s a good thing. But what I did see on this Island sojourn was spectacular. Grey geese, penguins, koalas, kangaroos, draught horses, vintage caravans, a grand prix motor cycle circuit, cavorting seals, Aussie surfers, foreign tourists, tangerine sunsets and a lunar eclipse. What an eclectic mix!
I am enjoying the wonderful absence of urgency and stress. We have had two weeks at home after the trip to New Zealand and there is plenty of time to do anything that needs to be done, but nothing seems particularly important. I love lazy mornings with slow starts, problem is my lazy mornings can easily run into the afternoon.
Make new friends but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold
This old refrain keeps echoing through my mind. These eight weeks have been full of precious new and old friends and family. The intensity of the delight in reconnecting with people has surprised me.
We have had many conversations with friends about how much you need to work at our stage of life. Could work look differently than it does now? Longer leave periods? Part time? Less stressful jobs? Can you retire too young? How much money do you really need to retire? How do you have Continue reading →
Our stay in New Zealand provided a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with a family who changed the direction of my life. I have altered their names in this story to protect their privacy, so let’s call this family the Smiths.
When I was 15 years old the Smiths moved to Wellington, they entered my life just as I was moving from childhood to adulthood. They were only there for a year but this family had a profound impact on the formation of my identity and the choices that I would make about education and work in the future.
I became close friends with Megan, the oldest of the four Smith girls and one Smith boy. This family was so different from my own. Dinner around our family table was mostly a quiet and sombre affair whereas dinner around their table was full of Continue reading →
My niece Melissa was born when I was 19 years old and working in Queenstown, just before I headed to Australia. I remember queuing up to use the pay phone in downtown Queenstown so I could ring home and find out whether my sister’s baby had been born. That’s how you kept in touch before mobile phones. I was very excited to be an aunty for the first time. I had been diligently knitting a baby jacket and booties in a soft mint green. In those days you had no idea of what sex the baby would be so mint green was a safe colour, appropriate for either a boy or a girl. For some reason I thought that the beautiful and delicate layette should be finished with a hard dark brown ribbon. Maybe this was my clumsy gesture towards hoping that Continue reading →
I value kindness, that old fashioned virtue of helping out another human being in a gentle and unassuming manner. Simple acts such as picking up a toy dropped unnoticed from a pram, giving directions to a stranger, checking on a neighbour or giving a heartfelt compliment can make such a difference to the recipient’s day, way beyond the magnitude of the act. More profound acts of kindness take time, effort and commitment. As a psychologist I have heard many sad stories where small acts of kindness would have made a significant difference to someone’s life. Kindness can be contagious and I like to imagine that even the smallest kind act can Continue reading →
I left New Zealand when I was 19 years old, my first experience of running away. Since then I have tried to come back every two or three years to see my family. Each time I feel compelled to reach out and touch the ghost of my childhood and wonder whether others have similar experiences. I devour chocolate fish and pineapple lumps, (New Zealand confectionary delights), candy floss, mixed lollies sold in paper bags, hokey pokey ice creams, spearmint milkshakes which must be served in an icy cold aluminium container and for a savoury dish, bacon and egg pie with sliced tomato on top. I could buy these in Australia but somehow it would be traitorous to eat them there.
Then there is the drive past the family home, sold when my mother died 15 years ago, Continue reading →
We’ve been on the run for about a week, maybe just a bit more, and time is starting to slide. I have very little idea of what day it is and it feels as if I have been away for a long time. Bliss. This somehow feels different than a holiday. Having six months off creates a new perspective. Sorry work but I am not missing you.
Our pace has now dramatically slowed as we are spending time with my 65 year old sister who uses a walking stick and has challenges with mobility. It’s a humbling exercise in patience, one which I struggle with.
Now with my family of birth I have taken up the position as youngest sister and slid easily into the middle seat in the back of the car, a place where I suspect many youngest sisters live. My daughter will laugh at this as often her place in our family car is the middle seat. There are not many situations where I am now the “youngest” of anything so I will relish my place.
I am already getting tired of restaurant and fast food meals which means that for the first time in a long time I am thinking about cooking, not that I am doing any. Steven cooked bacon and eggs for dinner and it tasted like a treat.
As the frenzy of work has absented my head I have space for other ideas to float by but right now I’m not thinking of much more than how extraordinarily beautiful Queenstown is.
Steven and I are muddling along beautifully together… there will be a time along this journey when I suspect we will need time out from each other.
I’ll update regularly about our experience on the run… but I couldn’t possibly set a timetable for that….or anything.