Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just a quick 'un

There is a huge amount to say, not least all the holidaying and subsequent photo parade but also all the emotions and thoughts and...
However, that will all have to wait as I have neither the time nor the brain to really do any of it justice right now. Once back in England, cold and unemployed, I should get a few more posts out there!
For now, it will have to suffice to say that we had a marvellous holiday (only slightly blighted by cyclone Funa) and it is good to be back in the Hutt. We've managed to get most jobs sorted now and will hopefully be able to enjoy our last few days.
I'm utterly exhausted at the moment and probably need about three weeks sleep but that isn't going to happen quite yet!
This afternoon we are embarking on a final Wellington adventure - going to the Rugby 7s. Very excited, or I would be if I were a little more awake, though not sure our costumes (morris dancers) are quite up to scratch...
Hope all is well with all of you. More soon ;)

Saturday, January 12, 2008


So, here we are, 48 hours (and a bit) since leaving our house and the Hutt for our final NZ adventure.
We haven't quite worked out being relaxed yet. Husbink has (until about twenty minutes ago) been having to sort out the whole applications nightmare. This involved several hours at church (using their printer, scanner, internet...) before leaving home, more phone calls to Husbink's parents in the last week than in the previous six months, various times of being on the internet when we should be enjoying the country and a general sense of not having quite managed to chill out yet.
Anyway. It is done now. Five applications. Five deaneries. Five possible jobs. We shall see. And now, we can start thinking about this holiday of ours.
We spent a chilly night in Wanganui (we picked a picturesque but stooopid place to pitch our tent - lovely lake views...wind tunnel!) on Thursday which got us a few hours from home. Friday we made our way to Waitomo which is where we are now. You are meant to do all kinds of crazy activities in Waitomo, based around the various caves and the like. You are meant to abseil and climb and cave and black water raft and and and. We have not and are not going to. Which is kind of a shame - Husbink couldn't do it because of the injured foot (not sure if I've mentioned that at all) but even if he had been able to, I'm not sure I had the oooooooomph for it.
Instead, we are taking the easy route. This morning we went to a cave and looked at stalactites and stalagmites and say oooh a lot, as you are meant to. We also did a wee bush walk that was also very "ooh".
This afternoon, we go to discover the glowworms in their cave and then, after that, we shall try to see some in the bush tonight once it has gotten dark enough. All good stuff.
Hopefully, we shall also find some calm in the next few hours. And start to realise that we are on holiday. And that life is indeed good.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

And so it happens

We have entered the time of farewells, of final things, of frantic activity.

Yesterday afternoon we went to Husbink's work as they had organised a farewell tea for him. It was lovely to hear some of the things his colleagues had to say about him and to see how highly they valued him and how much they will miss him. He would never, ever, ever blow his own trumpet so I thought I should do a little bit for him.

In the evening, various friends came over for some "legal looting" and took away lots of our food and little bits and pieces. Which was fun. :) Husbink was a great auctioneer - considering that everything was going away free!

This morning, the Salvation Army came and took most of our furniture away. We are now waiting on the washing machine man. Tonight, some friends are coming and taking the last of our possessions. Tomorrow, we will leave a few boxes with friends and head off on our last kiwi adventure.

There have been tears already and I know there are heaps more to come. I'm looking forward to the adventure (of course) and know that it will help prepare me for the final departure in just under a month's time.

It is difficult to comprehend going home when we have no concrete plans to return to. Husbink has so far managed four applications for those big nasty jobs that don't start until August anyway... Our internet connection gets switched off this time tomorrow. The applications have to be in at the weekend so this is his last chance pretty much. Hopefully he'll get to six applications and then we simply have to wait and see. Wait and see.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Feeling Helpless - Again

I've been wanting to post this for a few days but the website in question was down and I didn't want to post until the link would work...

So, as you may recall, Husbink and I watched Hotel Rwanda a little while ago and were overwhelmed by the sense of helplessness and shame that it brought on. Most significantly, we both said "surely if this happened, and we knew, we'd do something..."

And so this week we found ourselves sitting down and saying "this is awfully close to happening again, what are we going to do?"

The story that grabbed our attention and made us think this and discuss this was of course Kenya. As the number of stories increased and the nature of those stories worsened from the initial "a few killed in protests" kind of stories to the "church burnt down as people took refuge, over half those dead were children" kind of stories, we felt we had to try to do something.

Following my fling with Burma (I try to keep up with developments - or the lack there of - but as predicted at the time, it is hard), I am on the mailing list for and they tend to be pretty good at telling me what I should be doing about any given conflict. I couldn't find anything on their website but the next day they sent out this link and offered advice on how to help.

At this point, that advice is to write to your foreign minister (the link makes this very easy for you, only a very few clicks of buttons) urging them to avoid recognising the newly "elected" government in Kenya until an independent review has been carried out. Premature recognition of the government would make it much harder for a new election to be held and the situation defused.

It doesn't feel like much at all but perhaps it is what is needed at this point?!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Keeping Going

I'm packing. I'm packing four different ways - what we are leaving behind/giving away; what we are shipping home; what we are taking on holiday; what we are taking home but not taking on holiday (basically read BIG JUMPERS there)...
We have six days left in the house (if you count today and the day we leave).
As well as the packing, sorting and cleaning required for leaving the house, Husbink has to apply for those pesky proper jobs that don't start until August within the next week. Hoo-bloody-rah.
I didn't sleep last night. This was mainly due to not being able to get comfy because of my tetanus injection the other day. Once I couldn't sleep though, of course my brain did not shut down. Not a jot of it. I wasn't particularly worried about anything or stressing, I simply couldn't stop thinking. Some of it was only about Harry Potter... The lack of sleep wasn't aided by the bit when I did get some decent sleep (between about 4am and 6am) being woken up by our crazy neighbours who do their washing at 4am and hang it out sometime between 5.30am and 6.30am. It was about 5.45am this morning. They are (it seems) both deaf and shout a lot. But that is ok. What is not ok is their clothes line. It is a whirlygig as I'd call it and it squeaks. A lot. And this morning they seemed to be playing some kind of game that involved spinning it. Oh what fun.
So anyway, by the time I got up, I was not in a great frame of mind. Husbink managed to soothe me for a while but then had to go to work at 10.30. The soothing lasted quite well but I now seem to have lost it again.
In some ways, the problem is that I can't quite finish anything - we still need most of our kitchen stuff, there are clothes still hanging on the line, we are still using our bed (and thus bedding)...So I have many half full boxes that I can't do anything with.
I'm stuck at home waiting for someone who has bought a heater off me on trademe to get in touch. I feel guilty that I'm not at our friends house helping them build a fence but kind of figure that I have enough jobs of my own on today. But have convinced myself they don't see it that way.
Going to eat muffins.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

What a difference a year makes?

This year, I have been closer to actual resolutions than for a long time. For all of about ten minutes, there were a few well formed, snappy sentences in my head that could have been set down as resolutions rather than long-winded thoughts expressing a basic idea. They went (the well formed sentences) and don't seem to be interested in returning so, as you can already see, I'm back to my more usual evaluation of the year and vague ideas of things to change in the future.

I thought I'd read the post from a year ago before starting and frankly, with a few small changes, I could just re-post it. Before looking at it, I was even considering using what turned out to be the title of last year's post...

2007 was great. Up there as one of the best years of my life and certainly the best year of our life. There were some lower points (the stress of visas and the mad landlady and trying to find to this house and all that should not be swept aside as if everything was peachy all the time). It was not a perfect year (had it been, the only thing to do would be some kind of Thelma & Louise driving off "into the sunset" because if you've had the perfect year, where do you go next?). It was, however a very good year.

A few significant things of 2007...

  • Holidays with parents and with the Scouse Dangermice. Both times were excellent breaks, more enjoyment of this beautiful country and great time with special people.

  • The decision to stay on in NZ for this extra was a pretty big one, you might say! We ummed and ahhed and here we are. I would not change that decision for anything. I miss people of course but staying on has allowed a number of things to happen, not least the next point.

  • The surgery. For me, this has actually become a highlight of the year. Yes, it was not fun. The prep beforehand was horrid, the pain after was unpleasant (but not dreadful) and I have some slightly peculiar scars now. Overall though, the positive is by far the winner. I am still reaping the benefits of the surgery (I can eat all kinds of things again, my periods are heading towards "normal", I have a lot more energy). On top of that, the enforced time out was very, very good for me. I'm not keen to have that surgery again of course but it was a good thing.

  • Being able to spend some quality time with my brother both here and in Sydney - and we even have one more trip lined up to see him and his wife on the way home. Very good.

  • Speaking at the Women's Retreat for church. It was a new experience to do a couple of connected talks rather than just a stand alone talk. It was also a great time with people of that I knew or didn't know so well.

  • Finally for this bullet pointy section, the consolidation of our friendships here. We have gone from being a novelty (and thus invited to lots of things) through a slightly dry patch to being normal and having proper friendships. Some of our friends have been planning their OE (Overseas Experience as they call years out/travelling here) for a while now and it means we know that they will come to see us (wherever we are) in August or September.

So where does it all leave me for 2008? My aim for 2007 (as it also was for 2006, but in a slightly different way) was to "have more fun". As I said at the time, this did not mean being self-centred and uncaring but instead living in the moment, appreciating all the blessing that I have, being available for people, making the most of opportunities and above all, not worrying and stressing my life away.

I've made progress on this front. I have taken many experiences by the scruff of the neck and done the best with them that I can. I have become a calmer, less worried person. But there is still a lot of work to do! I went into meltdown on Saturday over the whole jobs when we get home thing. I need to reach a point where I don't do that. Yes, I can justify it, it is a pretty big thing on the horizon and all that but it is not the way to live. If I believe God has a plan for my (and our) life (lives), worrying and fretting and stressing is not the right way to behave. I do believe that, but I have to remind myself day in day out that it is out of my control but that is ok. I know when I have gone too far from being organised and getting things done and making it possible for God's plan to come into action to trying to control that plan and allow the stress in - I get sick. Within 24 hours, my body gives up a bit (in reasonably spectacular fashion sometimes) and I know the stress was the cause. It's a pretty clear (and not very fun) indicator of where my stress levels are. The fact that I can say when it has happened over the past while is a sign that it is not as rife as it was a year or two ago when it would have been far more frequent and harder to count. By this time next year, I'd like to not be able to remember when the last meltdown was.

There are other hopes that I have for the next year, hopes that I will remember everything I've learnt and worked out while I've been here. That I will hold firm to my faith. That good intentions started now will continue in changed circumstances.

It's been a good year; it could be an even better year.