Tag Archives: Friends

Getting Back Up

Hi!

 

Have you missed me?

 

Well life has been a series of busy lately, and while all of it has been fantastic, none of it really lends itself to being ‘blog-worthy’.  Or at least, not in a way that I can think of just yet.  So what has been happening in life down here in kiwiland?  Well, let me tell you.

 

A couple weekends ago two of our really close friends got married.  It was an absolutely fantastic day, the ceremony went off just as was planned and the Bride and Groom had a great time.  I was so very happy to be not only invited but to also be a part in helping them plan and get ready for their day.  Having only known them for a few months, it’s truly amazing just how close we’ve become.  I can’t express enough or in the proper words just how humbled and grateful I am to the pair of them for allowing me to spend time with them and share in their joy on that day.  Love you both R&K!

 

This past weekend, another pair of our friends moved into their new house! And we, of course, helped them move!  Now, I know that does not necessarily sound like a barrel of laughs, and it was some hard work, but it was also absolutely great.  We got to spend time with friends, help them move onto their next big step, and generally just enjoy everybody’s company.  And while helping them move, unpack, and settle into their new place, I had time to look back, reflect, and focus on just how far this life that I’m living now is to the ones that I’ve lived before.  Doing physical labor, but laughing and joking at the same time. Everybody coming together collectively to help out, and then sitting around a table (which is gorgeous!) for a well deserved dinner.  I am struggling to figure out if life gets better than that.   The house is gorgeous, the couple fantastic, and our time spent together equally precious.  Congrats R&E!

 

What else, what else.

 

The job hunt is not so much a hunt as it is shooting arrows wildly into the forest in every direction, only to have them shot back at you with no points and no fletching. Not helpful.  But! perseverance will prevail!  Employment will be gained! Somehow.

 

Now, the biggest new thing happening to me personally is that I’ve committed to a Personal Trainer. Tom is going to be kicking my butt left, right, and sideways twice a week for 45 minutes.  After 7 months at the gym, and a significant amount of body tightening up, It was time to get even more serious.  I’ve got weight I want to, must, lose and it’s not going to come off on it’s own.  And while I’ve stuck with going to the gym at least twice a week for 7 months, I need something more. I need to keep pushing myself even more, harder than before.  I must lose this weight.  The rest of my life depends upon hitting that healthy moment and then keeping going.  And that’s not an exaggeration.

 

Today was my second session with Tom and everything went well.  Really well, actually.  But it was the last ‘exercise’ that got me into a contemplative mood.  Essentially all I had to do was lay down on the ground on my chest and then stand back up again five times, and then lay on my back and get up again five times.  Sounds simple, right? Wrong.  It was definitely not easy.  There was so much involved, just so much energy and movement and muscles.  It was by far the hardest exercise that I did.

 

Just like life.  It’s fairly easy to get knocked down time and time again.  It’s the getting back up that’s the hardest part.  And all of this, the man who is supporting me, the friends that I’ve found and love, and the gym, this is all part of me getting back up off the ground.

 

And this time, I’m going to remain standing. And then, start running.

Round the Bays 2012

What an absolute crap day.

 

Oh the race itself was great, the company a blast, and being able to cross something off my list highly fantastic!  But I was just not quite in the mood. I woke up grumpy and it stayed with me pretty much all through the day.

 

I went to bed early the night before, but having been awake for far too long by that point I was not able to make up my sleep quota in just 7 hours, so I woke up at 7am on sunday morning, and I was grumpy. Cranky, and a few other words that end in -y and are not pleasant things to be.  But i was awake and there was no way I was going to back out of this now.  I made myself some oatmeal, had a mug of tea, and then our friends arrived for the carpool caravan!

 

We drove with them towards the end of the race track (because you see, you walk the 8.4km and then you have to get back to your car, which is likely at the start of the course.  So really, if you’re unlucky, it’s actually 16.8km walk. but only half of it counts!  But we were smart this year!  We carpooled with some friends and we each parked our cars at one end of the course!  Huzzah!  So after dropping their car off at the finish line, we drove back towards the start of the race and parked ours.

 

And here is where my day started to go bad.  I had to use the bathroom.  I know I probably could have held it a bit longer, but that seemed to be utterly foolish.  So while scouting for a place I finally gave up and went into a petrol station with a line.  I was still standing in line when the race officially started, with cannon blast and everything.  I didn’t actually get to the starting line of the race until about 20 minutes after the race started.  Which was actually not too bad since we were still with a bunch of people at that time.  There were over 70,000 participants in this event.  That’s a lot of humanity.

 

 

So you see, we started in central Aucklan, right along the waterfront.  Walked up past the Port of Auckland, where the Portworker’s Union were standing out with signs about keeping the Port public.  And then all along the walkway that’s just been finished .  Up and around all of the bays. Mission bay, where I’ve spent some time, and others that I haven’t yet.  The views were quite pretty, but I did not bring my camera.  My big cannon just would not have worked well.

 

So, now that you know the route, let’s get back to me and my bad day.  Somehow I started off putting my left foot down wrong. Or at least that’s how it felt.  I tried to adjust my gait over the course of the day, but it just was not working well for me.  My big toe was hurting and I was getting cramps down the outside of my leg, along my knee.  I stopped a few time to try and stretch the offending muscle, but to no real avail.  It was just not a good day.My pace was not consistent as a result and by the last kilometer of the race I was barely moving.  I was running on absolute dregs of the dregs of fumes.  My tiredness from the day/night before plus the exertion of the race seemed to have caught up with me and I was just plain wasted.

 

I made it to the finish line though, and the official times haven’t been posted yet online, but shortly after I crossed the line, they announced it had been 2 hours and 28 minutes since the start.  So a little over 2 hours if we want to be technical and not count my being in line for the toilet.

 

Now there were some fun things along the route.  One radio station was apparently handing out sausages, and another was giving out/selling slushies.  They had packed up by the time we reached their trucks, but we were told that they had been awesome.  Cadbury chocolates had set up a giant water sprinkler at just about the halfway point for people to run under and cool off a bit.  Luckily, or not I guess, the weather was actually overcast and cool so there was no real need for the sprinkler, but it was really cool either way. And there were some folks from the Ice bar company (a new icy pop business) giving out samples of their lemonade icy bar.  Which was really welcome at that point in the race.

 

Overall, the race was good, and had I been in a better mood, less tired, and better prepared mentally I probably would have enjoyed myself even more.  But my mind was just not in it, and my body certainly was not quite ready for it.  Next year, I will be more prepared, and I will conquer it again.

 

had a good time with walking the race with E though, he decided to not run it, but instead hang back with me and our friends and do the course at a leisurely pace.  Which was greatly appreciated.

 

There were some good bits, like the sprinkler and the icy bar, and the army guys and their perfect jogging technique. Oh, and the firetruck that got stuck on the Start banner. And it did feel good to finish the race, walk to the bbq that his work put on and have some post race food.

 

But It was just not my best day, and not my best race.  It’s left a tiny bit of a sour taste in my mouth, but i’ll get over that soon.

 

Soon up!  Crochet projects galore!

Canon in D

Nearly every little girl that I know, or have known, has had some idea or fantasy about their wedding.  And most have got it planned out long before they even meet the man that they want to marry.

 

Lord knows that I did.  At least twenty times.

 

I can’t even begin to think about how many times my mother bought me bridal magazines so that I could look through the pictures and gaze lovingly and longingly at the dresses, and the cakes, and the rings.  I watched hours upon hours of the shows on TLC about women and their weddings.  And weddings on a budget.  Somewhere at the house in the states my mom has a folder of ideas that I started saving for my wedding.  Lord knows how many years ago.

 

And for the most part, my dream wedding didn’t change from about the age of 18 until around about… now.  It would be a small family and friends gathering, and the colors (as everybody who plans a wedding knows, having the right colors is important) were going to be white, dark blue, dark green, and silver.  But mostly white.  Everything white. White on white on white with accents of blue and green and silver.   My dress was going to be white and silver, my flowers were going to be mostly white with little blue flowers or gems here and there and a cascade of ivy over my arms and hands.  My bridesmaid were going to be in white with blue satin sashes, and my husband was going to be in a kilt. Yes a kilt.  I am attached to my family’s scottish heritage.

 

The dream reception is in a room covered in white fabric, the tables are covered in white linen, and everywhere there are white trees, pure white with silver, blue and green metallic shimmery things in them, and candles everywhere.  The cake would be a white cake, flavored so craftily with vanilla, and an earl grey mousse inside, and covered with a white thick frosting, that is not sweet at all.  The music would be everything I could think of that would make me happy, make people dance and smile, and make my mother cry.  And the last song of the night would be Stairway to Heaven, because that’s just the way it goes.

 

The honeymoon was ideally imagined about being spent in Australia, when that was on the other side of the world. And in my head, all of this could be done for less than two thousand dollars. Well, except for the honeymoon.

 

But now?  What would the dream wedding look like now?  A small gathering of friends, in a park or field or backyard, with a handful of flowers, in a sensible dress that can be worn again in theory.  Dinner would be almost like a potluck, with dessert being tea treats and sweets baked the day before.  And the honeymoon?  Wherever the dream took me.

 

What got me thinking about all this today?  Has something in my life changed? Is there a secret that nobody knows about yet?

 

No.  I just get crazy ideas in my head and have to put them on paper.  Also, one of the songs on the ‘bedtime’ cd that we’ve been listening to at night now (a requirement for me to sleep easily is some form of noise, or pure exhaustion) has the Canon in D on it.  You know that song.  It’s everywhere.  All around you.  In nearly everything romantic or wedding related, you’ve heard that song.

 

I hate that song.

 

If I am planning my wedding and anybody ever wants to suggest help with the music or anything, please rest assured that your help will be greatly appreciated.  So long as you leave that song completely and totally out of any suggestions.

 

So, while reviewing my music that I have in my head, I got stuck on the Canon in D.  And that spurred this post.

 

And now for something completely different, a question for my reader, whoever you may be.

 

Do you/did you have your dream wedding planned long before it was a reality?

My Boyfriends Friends

What great people.

 

I mean it.

 

I am so fortunate in life to be not only in this place and in this time, but to be blessed with such beautiful wonderful people around me.

 

They are caring, warm, loving, polite, and respectful.  They are brilliant, insightful, glamorous, and interesting.

 

I could not, in my life, have imagined myself in a better place than I am right now.  happy, loved, and with a slowly growing group of friends that are absolutely fantastic.

 

What brings this on? Simple.  We went on a picnic yesterday with some of Ee’s friends and basically all ended up at the last minute grocery run together, because nobody was really prepared for a picnic.  Cheese and salami and fruits, and bread, and salads.  And without saying anything, or making a statement at all, they picked up smoked salmon and some shaved roast beef because they knew I didn’t eat pork products and they wanted me to have something to eat other than just bread and cheese.

 

We went out for lunch with another friend to dim sum, and she made sure that there were options on the table for me that weren’t pork.

 

I am so very blessed to be surrounded by these people, and so very amazed and even humbled by their overwhelming kindness, generosity, and their acceptance of me.  At a time in my life when I could very much feel so very alone and lost, they have made it possible for me to not be so homesick.

 

My boyfriend’s friends have found a way to make me feel at home, and for that, I can never thank them enough.

 

Love you guys.

Remembrance

of course I remember where I was that morning.  Like most 20 somethings on the East Coast I was desperately trying to ignore the sunlight coming into the window in my dorm room.  I was groggily trying to figure out why my phone was ringing. I hadn’t set my alarm, I didn’t have a morning class.  It was my mom.  Now, when you get a call on a tuesday morning just after the start of your second year of university, something is going on.  Mom insisted that I turned on the television.  Luckily I had one in the room because the roommate had a TV, but we hadn’t gotten the cable hooked up yet so it was a fuzzy picture on channel 3 or 6 or 9 that I got in.  Something was going on in new York.  I couldn’t really tell what.  Mom had to go, but now that I was up and watching tv, she felt a bit better.  My parents always had that opinion that if there was history on, I had better be watching it.  I’m grateful for that for the most part.

 

The picture quality was really crap and my brain wasn’t fully processing what had happened yet, just that something had flown into the world trade center.  Well ok, that’s happened before.  One of the flatmates came into the dorm suite talking about something happening in DC, but again, still half asleep university student.  I remember wanting breakfast. I mean if you’re going to be up at this ungodly hour in the morning, you should at least have some food in your system.  So I got dressed and headed over to the campus center, turning off the tv in my bedroom just after the second plane hit.  Still, not quite registering anything other than I wanted Mike (the grill guy in the food court) to make me some pancakes.  Dude made wickedly awesome pancakes. And maybe a fried egg.  Seriously, guy was good at his job.  So I walk downstairs, well ok, I lie. I took the elevator because I was living on the 7th floor and I’m not a very active person at this age.  Even today I would take the elevator for 7 flights of stairs.   All of the security guards on the front desk and the staff from the housing office are gathered around a TV behind the desk, their mouths open and their eyes wide.  But for me, all I want is pancakes.

 

So I trudge my body across the street to the campus center and there I run into Mike T from the theatre.  Now Mike and I have worked together in the theatre for a bit, and we had some summer classes together, we’re both english majors and he’s cute.  Of course he’s destined to become my best friend at University, but that all happens later.  He asks me if I know what happened, I mumble something about a plane flying into the Twin towers and I was going to get some pancakes.  Holy crap, I really wanted those pancakes.  So I offered to buy Mike some coffee and maybe breakfast (He was a commuter so he’d been conscious for at least a bit, but not yet awake since he’d only had two cups of coffee so far).  So we walk into the campus center and are stunned at what we see.  Everybody is standing around the ‘Pit”, a large area that looks down from the main floor of center onto the lower floor in a kind of mezzanine type fashion.  Down in the Pit there’s a big screen TV.  And this big screen TV is blasting in full color and sound that which I could barely see on my little tv back in the dorm room.  The Towers were both hit (Had I seen a second plane?) and they were both smoking and fire, and holy crap was that a body? And then it happened.

 

I was standing around the pit, my soon to be best friend at my side, surrounded by the other students of this urban campus of every color, religion, background, gender and we all stood and silently watched as the towers fell.  Well, the first one was met with silence, and then the crying started.  And we stood there, our eyes glued onto the television, still not believing what we were seeing.  This was some new viral marketing campaign for some new movie.  Next thing was Toby Maguire was going to swoop into the shot as Spiderman and save the day and the joke was going to be on all of us. No. The second tower fell and the place went numb.  Oh sure, there were people cursing, swearing, nobody could believe what had just happened.  We were staring in shock, stunned into silence and tears.  I think i might have grabbed hold of Mike’s hand or arm, but I don’t remember.  I also don’t remember how long we all stood there for, but I know what snapped us out of it.

 

Cal M, the campus’s events coordinator and head of Student Life stepped out in front of the big screen TV down in the pit.  At first there were yells at him to move, we needed to see what was happening in the world, but he quieted us down  and informed us that as of right now, there were more planes in the air and nobody knew where they were or where they were going.  Our campus was right across the river from Philadelphia.  On a good day from the 10th floor, you could look across the river and see old William Penn pissing on the city.  If they had attacked New York, what was to stop them from attacking the Liberty Bell? Independence Mall? The Naval Yard?  We were all told in no uncertain terms to go home.  If you lived on campus, go to the dorms. If you lived off campus, go home. If you lived on campus, but had someplace else to go, go there. But we were not to stay on campus, classes were cancelled and the school was shut.

 

I never got my pancakes.

 

I remember going back to the dorms, and gathering up some clothes, telling my flatmates that school was closed and that I was going to Jimmy’s house.  I passed on Cal’s message of “don’t be an idiot” to my flatmates, grabbed my cell phone (a delightful virgin mobile prepay) and headed out the door.  I climbed into my car and started calling Jimmy’s house.  His mom answered and I told her to wake Jim up and plop him in front of the television, I was coming home. I had just the one last stop to make before getting there.  For a few months, since April, I had been working part time at one of the grocery stores near Jimmy’s house as a cashier.  Well, we weren’t so much working as we were on strike, and had been for about two weeks at this point.  I wanted to make sure the people on the picket line knew what was going on.  They did, so I headed to Jimmy’s parents place.  I found him, and his mom, on the couch watching the television.  He was still in his pajamas and his hair was still in that awful state of bedhead that just was unfixable.  I dropped my bag in the kitchen and went and sat down.

 

I don’t remember really much else of that day, other than watching Television.  I can’t remember when it was revealed that the terrorists were arabs and not Timothy McVeigh back from the dead to live in my nightmares again.  I remember being confused, scared, and uncertain.  I remember sitting in that living room, watching the television until it became too late to stay awake.  And then waking up the next day and going back to the television. I also remember the days after “That Day”.  I remember going back to campus and listening to the angry Wrath of America and God speeches from my theatre mentor.  I remember all of our muslim and arabic students walking around campus in groups, for their own protection.  I remember the signs, and the posters.  And I remember that moment when the first plane in three days flew over the campus, and everybody stopping, staring, and forgetting how to breathe.

 

I remember going to the picket line a few days later, on the weekend.  I remember the people who had only a week before been bringing us coffee and pizza and sandwiches were now driving by, cursing at us, spitting at us, throwing water balloons and trash and whatever else they could hurl out of their vehicles at us.  I remember the yelling, the angry, high-pitched screaming confrontations of people who thought we were being selfish because so many people had died.  I remember the cashier with the voice of an angel standing with a bullhorn near her mouth and singing the National Anthem and every other patriotic song she could think of while being screamed at for being lazy and a whore.  I remember the huge American flags at half staff and attached to cars, being run ragged and tearing to shreds in the high-speed world of the interstates.  I remember classes starting up again, and the professors saying their pieces and then starting to lecture.  I remember starting work on the next show at the theatre, and I remember going to my dorm every night, thankful for the lack of a television.  And I remember the footage.

 

But I think that this is where I have to diverge from a normal “I remember” post.  I remember all of this, I recall it all as though it were yesterday.  But gladly, thankfully, it wasn’t.  No.  It was ten years ago.  My god I can’t believe that it was ten years ago.  The pain of that morning is still there, the terror of watching those buildings fall, the anger that was everywhere around, and the uncertainty, they’re all still there.  But as with most things in life, with most grief, the pain is less sharp.  There is still a tang of bitterness in my mouth, but it’s not the overwhelming searing ache that it used to be.  And, it was ten years ago.  Look at me, where I am now.

 

If you had asked me ten years ago where I would be today, let me tell you how different the answer would be.  I would have been Rabbi Sarah Priest.  A Jewish woman married to a Roman Catholic man who had gone to seminary school and was a Rabbi.  I would have been married eight years by now, and probably have had two kids.  We would have been living in some city, probably philadelphia and I would have a synagogue that I ran and still done work for a local theatre. Had you asked me about my future on September 10, 2001, that’s probably what you would have been told.

 

But here it is, September 10th, 2011 and I am not a Rabbi. I am not married to a Roman Catholic man with the last name of Priest.  I have no children, and I am not in Philadelphia.  I’m in new Zealand, with a man that I love and he loves me.  He’s not religious, and I’m more spiritual than Religious as it is.  There are no children, and no plans for any in the immediate future.  This was never where my life was ever going to go back then, but my god am I glad it did.

 

So yes, I remember.  and yes, I feel the remembrance deep in my heart and in my body.  No, I don’t think I will ever forget where I was on that morning, or the sequence of events, or the fact that I never did get those pancakes.  But I will also remember that for better or worse that day shaped my country, my family, my friends, and my life and all of that together with all of who I am has led me to be here.  In a country that I love as much as my own, with a man I love as much as life, and happy for the first time in about ten years.

 

For the first anniversary of this horrible day and thing, I can say that I will be better than I was on that day.  I will be happier than I was. I will be ok.

 

I can still remember without being depressed. I can still honor the fallen without wallowing in misery, and I can still live my life as I want to because even though it was a tragedy, life does go on.

 

God bless those who were killed, God bless those who showed up to help.  God bless those who are still struggling to find a place in this new world, and God bless those who are sick and dying because they did show up.  God bless the United States of America, and God bless this beautiful world.

 

And God Bless You.

Besties

There is always that one person that you can count on to be there.  The one person in your life that no matter how long you spend apart, you always start right back up in the beginning again.  A best friend, a soulmate.  Although most people now take soulmate to be strictly for love and marriage and other things, but it may not always be so.  I mean, sure there are soulmates for love, but there can be soulmates for friendship as well.  If I can love my friend and love my lover and love my parents all at the same time, it’s still love.  Different love, but it’s still love.

 

Shaun.

 

Of all my best friends in the world, Shaun is the oldest.  And I’m not just saying that because he is older than me.  But because we’ve been together the longest.  Fourth grade.  I was still pretty much the new kid from Philly, and he had moved from Dover and before that Michigan.  We were the outsider kids.  And the only thing the other one had.  We hung out on the playground and we made up our own world to tell stories in.  I don’t remember half the stuff that happened or half the characters involved, but we were quite the little storytellers, let me tell you.

 

So much so that most of our next few years, we spent every moment we could (when not doing other things like school work) writing a book.  We had it all.  Shaun would come up with the plotlines and I would fill in the holes with the characters.  He wrote the story, I gave it flesh.  We started this book at least three times that I can remember, and finished it, sadly, only once.  And that manuscript was lost to the years.  We would spend hours on the phone going over chapters and stories.  How this character felt about this and that.  And every year we would take a break from this and watch Miss America together.  Over the phone.

 

Yes. You read that correctly.  We would watch Miss America together over the phone.  You have no idea how truly awesome that was.

 

There were boyfriends and girlfriends and relationship fights, and the constant, insane instance from everybody around us that we were dating.  We swore and swore to them that no, no we were just friends.  He had a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend, there was no way that we were dating, we were simply best friends.  Throughout middle school this continued on, until after 8th grade graduation, the horrible reality struck.  We were going to different high schools.

 

It turned out to not really be as bad as we thought.  We still spent time together, weekends and some school nights.  There were times when I would have piano lessons at Avenue Methodist and then Shaun would meet me after the lessons and we’d walk down to the waterfront behind the church and sit on a rock there and just talk for the night.

 

Every big moment in my young adult life, Shaun was there.  From the first major breakup with a boyfriend, to the first car accident.  I had been going food shopping for my parents in my little brown pinto.  I had gotten to the corner across from Causey Mansion and was all set to make the left hand turn. I looked left, I looked right, and I went.  But somehow, I didn’t see the large white station wagon.  I don’t know how I missed it.  But we hit.  Their front passenger bumper to my front driver bumper.  The next hour or so was a blur, I remember a few of the other kids from high school driving by and looking but not stopping.  I remember going into the house on the corner to call the cops and my parents.  I remember sitting in the cop car, talking to the police officer and looking out the window across the street.

 

And there was Shaun.

 

He had been coming back from church and had seen the brown pinto and lord knows I was the only person in town with that car so he knew it was me.  So they got home from church and he walked to the accident scene (only about 3 blocks-ish) to wait for me.  I saw him outside and started to cry, finally started to cry.  The cop and I finished up and he let me go over and Shaun and I sat on the grass while waiting for my parents.  He wrapped me up in his arms and just held me as the shock of what just happened and what it all meant started to hit.

 

Shaun has met every single one of my serious relationships. Every one.  The guy that I was engaged to back at University. The Guy that I moved to maine for.  Even Ee.  Shaun has met every single man in my life that has ever become a big part of my life romantically.  He has met them all.  He was home from University on Halloween weekend when I brought Jimmy home.  He was home for a visit from Michigan when Chase and I were down for a visit.  And he was living in Seattle when Ee and I were there last year.

 

To say that Shaun is a huge part of my life is by no way or means an exaggeration.

 

We realized, or at least I did, at some point after high school was over that we had actually been dating all of those years.  We had actually been a couple and that all of those people we kept telling them that they were crazy, were indeed not crazy.  We were.

 

They say, and I don’t know really who ‘they’ are, but they say that you never really forget or lose that first love.  It just grows into something else.  Shaun was my first and longest best friend.  Shaun was my first love and the first guy to ever make me care more about myself than what other people thought about me.  Shaun saved my life on more than one occasion and has always been right there when I needed him to be.  He is the best friend that I know for certain i will be able to see again in five or ten years and it will be like nothing has happened.

 

The hell that I went through the last year in maine, the trauma and drama of finding myself and building myself back up again, the numerous scars, were all helped to ease away by seeing Shaun in Seattle, hugging him tight, seeing him happy and seeing him smile.  Ee did a lot for my healing, and a lot for my confidence, but Shaun finished it off.

 

There is always a place in my heart and in my life for Shaun.  And there always will be.  I’m trying to think of the best way to finish this off without saying something that will set my world ablaze and will not make people go crazy.  But, The best way to end this, is the only way guaranteed to make people think I’m nuts.  But ohwell.

 

I love you, Shaun.

You will always be my best, closest, oldest friend.

You will always be the one reason that I am here now to type these words.

You were the first person to save my life when I needed you most.

You will always be a part of my heart and of my life, no matter how far apart we are.

I love you.

 

Fort Minor

So, there’s a song by this group called Fort Minor and I enjoy it a bit.  The chorus begins with ‘where’d you go?’ and I figure that’s a question that I should be answering.  The long and the short of it is, I’ve been working.  And then sleeping.  And then working.  The original 4 week assignment has turned into almost 3 months, and we finish up on July 29.  Although that feels so very far away.

 

Also, I’ve been sick.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m back in a call center and still getting my body used to being bombarded with germs from every direction, so that when one person gets sick, everybody gets sick. Or if it’s because of the weather change down here and it being Winter but not really a winter that I would call a winter so I don’t get as bundled up as I should.  Or if it’s because of the humidity and moisture in the apartment having finally settled into my lungs and refusing to go away.  Or, if it’s a combination of them all.  Suffice to say, I’ve been sick.  Stuffed nose, chesty cough, I even lost my voice the other day.  I start to feel better during the day and then the night hits and my body feels like giving up all over again.  I’ve been eating right and drinking plenty of fluids, so maybe all I need is rest. I’m not in work today simple because I could not find the strength or the energy or even the desire to move or do anything but hide in the bed.  Headache, nausea, and some light other intestinal problems along the way as well.

 

So today is for resting, and medicating, so that I can go back to work tomorrow, finish this week off strong and use the weekend to complete my journey back to healthiness so that I can stop feeling so damned miserable.  Being miserable is not a fun thing.

 

What new adventures am I having?  Well, we went out about two weekends ago and I bought myself a big monitor.  my little netbook is still running everything, but I can now see more than I thought possible.  the screen is about twice the size of my netbooks screen.  Awesome.  I have bought myself some early birthday presents as well.  A new bento box and lunchbag, and some video games for the computer.    Last weekend we went out and bought a dehumidifier.  To try and get rid of the excess moisture problem.  It’s a 20L tank and thank god for that.  We turned it on after we brought it home, around 5pm and left it to run over night.  When we got up the next morning, around 7am, the thing had sucks about 17-18L out of the air.  And I wonder why I’ve been feeling sick and chesty?  We’ve run it on and off again since then, but haven’t gotten the amount out again, thank goodness.

 

I’ve been exploring the goodness of a wok.  I finally got around to seasoning the wok that we bought back in february (God bless Youtube!) and we’ve been making some tasty stir-frys ever since.  And I’ve been investigating Tofu.  and the many different ways to make tofu. We’ve marinated it and eaten it just like that.  We’ve marinated it and baked it in the oven.  And we’ve added it to the stir-frys.  I think that I am starting to not only get the hang of tofu, but also to liking it.  I am not, however, going to be giving up my meat.  Tofu is just another alternative at the moment.

 

But mostly, I’ve just been working.  And I love the work. I love the people and the company and I even enjoy the customers.  Hard to believe, but it’s true.  Unlike American customers, it seems like Kiwis will readily tell you that they’re not really mad at you personally, but they are going to yell anyways, but please don’t take any personal offense.  And some of them, most of them, are quite easy to turn around and calm down after they’ve been allowed their moments of yelling.  It’s amazing.  I’ve been cursed at once by a customer.  And when I informed that customer to not curse at me, she immediately apologized and was calm from there on out.  I do enjoy the work.  And were it work that I could continue to enjoy in the manner that I have been (M-F 9-530) then I would most happily continue there.  But, it is a call center, and that means working rotating hours with rotating shifts and rotating days off.  It would mean never getting a normal sleep schedule, or a normal day off with Ee.  And that’s really not anything….

 

I came down here to start a new life, and go in a new direction.  And right now, in my mind, that new direction includes weekends with my partner and nights curled up on the couch watching a dvd.  Not days off in the middle of the week and coming home from work just as he is going to bed.  I’ve done that life before, it ruined the relationship.  And I didn’t come halfway around the world for that.  No.  As much as I love the office, I think it really is in my best interests to keep searching, to keep looking.  To explore more options and grow more as an adult.

 

But as a first experience working for a New Zealand company? I couldn’t have asked for more.  I think, however, I may want to look into the public sector.  Maybe a government job, if possible.  Eventually.  But for now, I’m going to go back to resting as I am feeling rather worn down, and I want to get better, faster.

 

So that is where I went, and where I’ll be.  Next update will probably be before Rotorua and after Orcon.

To Make the Best Better

image courtesy texas A&M Ag Extension

 

“I pledge

My Head to Clearer Thinking,

My Heart to Greater Loyalty,

My Hands to Larger Service and,

My Health to Better Living for

My club, My community,

My Country, and My World”

That is the pledge that I took every Tuesday night in the basement of a small community church, right after saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  Those are the words of the 4-H Pledge and saying them now to myself while I type this up means a whole heck of a lot more to me, than when I said them all those years ago.

It’s been twenty years now since I first joined 4-H, with the Broadkill Kool Kats gathered in that little church in Milton, Delaware.  It’s been ten years since I’ve been active in any 4-H events at all.  But I can still remember that pledge, and holding my fingers to my head, heart, outstretched in front of me, and then to my sides every week.

When I first joined 4-H, it was mostly because my parents wanted to get me into something extra curricular, but I refused to join the Girl Scouts.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a Brownie or a Girl Scout.  But for me, there was one major flaw.  No boys.  I had grown up surrounded by guys, and in that turn I found them easier to befriend, the thought of being in a group with a bunch of girls mortified me.  In some ways, it still does.

I didn’t appreciate back then, the good that 4-H did for me.  Even when I was leaving the organization upon turning eighteen, I still had not quite grasped just how important it all had been in shaping who I am today.  In giving me the outlook on life that I have currently.

Everything started on a personal level, with project books every year. I hardly ever finished mine, but that didn’t mean that they weren’t useful.  Everything from animal care to geneaology was offered and I had friends who raised chickens, sheep, and pigs, while I worked on sewing projects and making bread.  As a whole for the County we put on Horse shows for local equestrian enthusiasts and students, we cleaned up beaches of trash and filth, we had nights of food tastings and competitions, including my favourite event where each participant chose a country and made a traditional food from that nation.  Everything was geared towards helping children to learn.  To become better adults in their later years.

And what happens during that awkward transition time, when you change from being a child to being an adolescent? That horribly painful time when your body doesn’t work right, everything is changing and nobody is nice to anybody else?  In 4-H, you become a Junior Leader, and you get responsibilities.  While other places are unsure of how to treat adolescents who are trying to become young adults, 4-H is there with the answer, treat them like young adults.

We were given classes on inclusion, very basic psychology, life saving measures including basic first aid and CPR certification.  And we were entrusted with the care and oversight of other children.  We became camp counsellors, the people that you drop your kids off to in the morning and pick up in the afternoon in the middle of summer.  As Junior Leaders, we were given the trust that we could handle these other kids, and the confidence in ourselves to make the program on our own.  There was adult supervision, always, but only for emergencies.  Everything else was handled by the Junior Leaders.

And we handled it just fine.  With responsibility comes Maturity, and with maturity comes something else.  Some other attribute that is hard to place, but is nonetheless knowable to others.   Being in 4-H, while I didn’t realize it back then, and it has taken me several years to open my eyes on it now, has not only made me who I am today, but has enabled me to make it to today.

I am getting ready to turn thirty years old.  I’ve hit a lot of bumps in my adult life, but I’ve always seemed to bounce back from them, somehow.  Currently, I am living in New Zealand and starting my life over again.  I have found myself repeatedly typing the same words while looking and applying for a job down here.  I want to have a positive impact on my community.

I no longer want a job just for myself or for the money.  I want a career that will mean something to somebody else.  A position that will help myself move forward, of course, but will also serve the greater good, the better purpose.  And up until recently, it just made sense, that was how I was.  But then a friend’s son started getting bullied at school and she was looking for something to help him with his self esteem.  I immediately suggested signing him up for 4-H.  And I made a very bold statement in doing so, I quite honestly told her that 4-H had saved my life.

It seemed so out of the blue, and yet, it was true. I owe my life to 4-H, both the organization, my County, and my Club.  My fellow members, my Leaders and Junior Leaders, all of them helped to make sure that I not only survived the living hell that was adolescence, but also have helped to shape me into the adult that I have become.

Without the sense of community, trust, and leadership skills that I learned and picked up during my time with 4-H, I am not certain how I would have made it this far, and I know that I will rely on those skills, those teaching moments to move myself, my community, my country (both of them), and my world further to make them stronger, safer, happier places.

I don’t owe everything of who I am now to this Organization, but I owe enough of myself to say thank you.  And to eagerly, heartily, and readily recommend to anybody with children that 4-H is one of the best options out there to help your child through a difficult time.  They will find friendships, they will find laughter, and they will come away from it all knowing that they can make the world a better place.

-Sarah K

Broadkill Kool Kats, Sussex County 4-H, Delaware, USA

1990-1999

So Much

Ohman ohman ohmy.  So much to cover.

 

I know, i promised a more thorough thought through the horrors of bullying, but you know what, i’m sure my viewpoint on that is not going to be anything that anybody really wants to hear, so we’ll just let it go.

 

Although if somebody decides they are dying to know my opinion on Bullying, just let me know and I’ll be more than happy to write something more up.

 

However, there are other things.

 

First off, I have a job interview!  Tuesday morning at 10am.

 

I will not jinx this by saying much more than that, but please if you are a believer in finger crossing, I would greatly appreciate the cramped knuckles in my general direction (for most of you this is down).

 

Ok, you can let go now.  No, seriously.  It’s ok. You can let go.  Well I didn’t ask you to get your fingers stuck, now did I?

 

Sheesh.

 

Alright, in other adventures, we haven’t really trekked or tramped anywhere of much lately, been busy meeting the friends, planning my domination of his house (nearly complete), and cooking on the weekends.  Sometimes the food is stellar, other times not so much.

 

Sometimes, we have meals that are halfway there between stellar and average.  Like tonight.  Tonight was store bought chicken skewers with butternut squash.  I tried to season the squash savory, but I really didn’t like the results.  It also cooled far too long.  the skewers, however, were just barely tolerable.  High levels of salt, mostly fat and sinew, and the flavor was eh.  Not a repeat purchase.

 

Today, however, was a successful day in the kitchen.  I took the leftover Challah and turned it into a rather tasty bread pudding (yes a sweet treat that even E will eat), and then tonight, discovering the tomatoes that we bought last week still lingering in our fridge, I decided to try my hand at tomato soup.

 

I peeled, seeded and sliced the tomatoes, I sauteed up some red onion in olive oil and butter, added in garlic, and some spices, and then stewed everything in some vegetable broth.  after the tomatoes had broken down and the liquid had reduced by almost half, I poured it into my new Food Processor (YESSSSSSS) and pureed it up.

 

POOF

 

Tomato soup.  Fascinating.  I was going to let E take it to work tomorrow, but he still has Hot & sour soup leftovers that he has to finish up.  So I get the Tomato soup tomorrow for lunch.

 

Score!

 

I might make myself some rice to put into it.  Shocking!

 

hmm.

 

that’s about it for the moment, but yes.  If you are a thinking, praying, hoping, wishing, finger crossing and uncrossing, kind thoughts type of person, send some of that magic karma my way on Tuesday 10am  (that’s around 5pm EST Monday).

 

I’m gonna need the good vibes.

Tapas!

So, our friends from Christchurch made it out and are up in Auckland for a week or so, just to get away from the shaking and the stress, and to have a shower. In order to assist them in their need for normalcy, E and I invited them out to the movies on saturday afternoon.

 

And they kindly accepted.

 

So, we met at the large movie theatre downtown in the CBD on Queen Street, and while waiting for them, E and I got some pizza (man somebody could make a killing opening up a real NY Pizza place down here.  A killing.), and picked up a frozen coke for the friends.

 

We went to go see Love Birds with Rhys Darby and others from Auckland.  If there is ever a chance you want to get a 2ish hour crash course in everything that I’m seeing and doing and the people that I’m meeting, you should watch this movie.  The scenery is all from Auckland, and the humor is, as our friends said, decidedly Kiwi.

 

But I’m not here to talk about the movie, no no no.  I’m going to tell you about the absolutely delightful food we had after the movie.  The pizza slice before it was a bit of a downer, more bread than sauce or cheese.  And you gotta know that there’s no sauce on it for me to be complaining about it.  But the food after dinner? Terrific.

 

We walked up Queen street a bit and into the Whitcoulls, a local large book chain, kind of like Barnes & Nobel back in the States.  But the entrance to the restaurant that’s usually open through Whitcoull’s was closed, so it was back out and down to the small alleyway up beside the building.  I say alleyway, and it’s more like a lane.  On an incline.

 

Everything is on an incline.

 

And we entered into the Tapas bar.  Now, I don’t remember the name of it, i think it was something with Mezze, which would make sense. But this is a place that you would be hard pressed to find in Delaware, possibly Baltimore or Philadelphia, but even then, maybe not.

 

Wooden tables and chairs, a very cozy atmosphere with the menu written up on a large chalkboard behind the bar.  There were drink specials and Tapas and then main meals.

 

Tapas is, essentially, a very Spanish thing.  No, not Hispanic. Spanish. Like from Spain.  Small bites and bits of dishes for sharing amongst friends over good drinks.  So we got little bits of this and of that and then had a blast.

 

Patatas Bravas: potato wedges cooked with a delightful spice mixture, topped with a red sauce and some sour cream.  delightful, if a bit difficult to spear with toothpicks.

Tricolore Uno: Pita bread and crostini with a trio of dips, Red pepper, Pesto, and Garlic.  Very delicious, although the Pesto really could have standed some pinons added into it.

Gambas al ajillo: I think that’s right. It’s essentially these delicious little prawns (or shrimp) with garlic flavoring, served on bits of toast with some aioli on the side.

Chicken and Risotto:  This was a meal sized plate, but it came with four pieces of chicken, so it portioned itself out very nicely for all of us.  The chicken was fantastic, I didn’t even mind eating the skin, and the risotto was terrific. so good.

Bowl of Vegetables: was exactly what it says, a bowl of vegetables but seasoned wonderfully and roasted in the oven until delicious. Tomato, courgette (zucchini). mushrooms, carrots.

Meatballs: these were actually really really good.  Not sure what all was in them, probably a mixture of meats, but it was definitely well seasoned and cooked, topped with crispy croutons and red sauce.

 

We had a bottle of pinot gris between three of us and E had a glass of limonata, which was more expensive than the whole bottle of wine.

 

I’ve had more wine in the last week than I have in a year.  Or more.  But it’s all been very good.  And all Kiwi.

 

so that’s it.  the point of the matter is, go find a place that is doing Tapas. You get small plates of delicious food to share with everybody, and you no longer have to look at a menu and go ‘man, i wish i had tried some of that!’  because with Tapas, you can.