A little life catch-up

Hi anybody reading this! 😀

I’ve been wanting to write a little life catch up post which may not benefit anyone but myself! Alas.

Beehive Wellington

On a walk between offices the other day. One of our Parliament Buildings “The Beehive”.

I started a new job 3 weeks ago. I am a Team Leader for about the next 5 months, leading a temporary team of 4 core staff and lots of extras I can draw on if needed. This is my first REAL leadership position, after having done some Acting TL stints before. We kicked off as a proper team on the 1st and the two weeks leading into that were about designing the work, doing the training, implementation stuff, which I think I’ve been able to bring a lot of value to. I am also gaining some good experience that I can likely draw on in the future! It’s kind of funny because the work we do is processing Marriage Licences and smack bang in the middle of my stint in this role, I am getting married! Funny life.

My Love and I have been frantically working on our house a lot and are getting quite obsessed with gardening. We’ve built and filled two raised beds now and I have got some seeds in the ground. I cannot wait for them to sprout. I imagine the radishes will show themselves first.

I’ve also been working on a side project which is a blog/website/facebook/instagram (phew) about Gluten Free options and products available in Wellington NZ. I’m not really sure if this will take off and help people but I do hope I can help at least someone. Before visiting Italy I did a lot of research into eating so I want to help those sort of people, as well as locals with new products etc. The address is http://glutenfreewellingtonnz.com if anyone is interested who is reading this.

I’ve really fallen off the wagon with exercising which is annoying since we invested in some equipment but at the same time my job and the garden have both been much more physical lately. I got back on the bike tonight though and it felt good!

Sleeping Cat

In lieu of many relevant photos, here is our adorable Cat, Thor.

Our Wedding planning is also floating around in the background with all of this! We’ve done some invites (a few more to post) & we’ve started getting the catering sorted. We’ve booked both our legal ceremony and family wedding celebration in. We are keeping things very small without sacrificing on creating something memorable, I hope!

So as you can see, there has been a lot going on in our lives, lots of change & it can feel like work, work, work. We’ve managed to let of steam with a glass of wine or 4 now & then though, and I think this is just what life is like when you’re a functioning adult!

Best wishes to all, thank you for reading my self-indulgent, personal record keeping, life overview. Be well.

I want to write but…

There is a lot on the line at the moment and the week hasn’t even started yet. I don’t know how to write about something when I am nervous and kinda stuck in the middle of it. Somehow writing about it feels risky, like it might spoil things.

The past weekend went by really fast but quite a lot was achieved. Perhaps?

We started looking over and reviving old paperwork and getting ducks into rows and planting seeds of ideas all over our worlds.

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The Sky in the early evening. June 2018

I am bound to write more transparently in the next few days with some kind of sense-making update. For now I am riding the tumult of uncertainty but I think I am doing okay!

I have one or two more posts to write about my recent holiday but for now, I don’t have the time to formulate words and remember scenes. My brain is too electrified. Sleep is going to be interesting tonight~! Goodnight, World.

 

E-Cycling and Farm Animals.

Whilst we were away on our holiday to Ohakune, My Love and I had our first opportunity to try out riding E-bikes. I think we were both a bit skeptical about them at first. Are they really bikes at all? There are a lot of trails around the area we were staying in and after a few mere minutes on the bikes, I think we were quick converts.

Whilst on our little jaunt we met this goat below.

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Goat on the side of the road on a bike ride. June 2018.

It was chained up on a reasonably long chain outside of a property. It seemed reasonably happy but I still couldn’t help but wonder if it could have a better life. We were able to give it some pats no trouble though. Goats have very unusual eyes, they look to me like they have minus symbols in them. I would love to have a few goats one day as I have seen them be rather affectionate creatures and it would be nice to be able to make our own feta cheese and perhaps use their milk too.

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Beautiful Stream on our bike ride in Ohakune. June 2018

The environment was beautiful all around us and it felt a lot more like Autumn than Winter, at least in the ways those seasons feel in my own home city. I find it difficult to associate with the seasons as much in Wellington City. There are not as many deciduous trees to guide the seasonal changes, dropping their leaves and sprouting new growth. The chilling wind makes enjoying the outdoors more difficult in Winter. We do get good days now and then but you really have to grab them by the horns and take off into them when the rare opportunity strikes.

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Cows heading toward the milking shed. June 2018.

Earlier in our bike ride, I got left behind for a while as I stopped to talk to some cows. This was before this photo was taken by a good half hour. They were happily grazing and looked up at me but didn’t come toward the fence. Later on in our exploring we stopped but another section of the fence (pictured) and the cows were heading toward the milking shed. It’s always fascinated me that cows develop this routine – they know when to go and form into lines across the country.

I find animals quite inspiring to observe. Their existence is unburdened by many human concerns – money, housing, intellectual pursuits, relationships, raising a family. I concede that their lives, particularly in the domestic realm, are subjugated to the desires on humans, despite some of these other freedoms. I find interacting with animals refreshing  as they make me reassess my own troubles and put life into perspective. They help me focus on being in the exact moment. Maybe it is to do with being unable to interact in a linguistic sense and we talk to each other through body language and facial expressions? My cat can be quite vocal at times and while I like to think I understand the cadence of some of his meows, I will never quite know whether I am correct!! I have had several dreams where he can speak English, which is kind of odd I suppose… and a tale for another time!

Contrasts

Whenever I go away from my home city, I always find the contrast of the lack of wind quite remarkable, particularly on returning home. While we visited a technically much colder place for the weekend, there was virtually no wind to cut through our clothing to our bones. This wind is quite responsible for the desire I get after holidays to up sticks and move back to the lovely, wind-free places I’ve seen…

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From the “Top of the Bruce” at Whakapapa Skifield. June 2018

This photo from my phone is of my first ever experience atop a snowy mountain. It was very cold up there but not bitingly so. I didn’t realise at the time the appearance of the sun. I don’t recall ever seeing the sun like that in one of my own photos. This is the view from the cafe where enjoyed a coffee after walking part way up the mountain.

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Happy Valley at Whakapapa Skifield. June 2018

This is a view of a beginners area (I believe) and will be somewhere I might explore more on my next trip when I am actually ready to try some snow sports. Having never been to a mountain before, My Love and I were woefully unprepared for skiing this time but were keen to learn more about what it is like to be up a giant mountain and to get the feeling of the place.

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Peaks and Sky.

I’ve come to wonder about the direction and purpose of this blog. It has become a bit of a journal, which I think is what a blog is meant to be….

But what I think I want to do too is to offer some content of value, more in the format of articles. My life is very busy as it is so I am not sure if this is realistic so the Articles as opposed to Blogs might be less frequent. I am not sure! This is somewhat an experiment for me so I am excited to see where it will take me.

I have more to write about my holiday but I think splitting it into smaller chunks is the way to get it done. I also have the photos from my other camera to look through and see if I managed to take any good shots. I am really enjoying getting back into photography.

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Normal life resumes

Today was straight back into the day to day, weekday kind of life after a very inspiring weekend away. NZ celebrated Queen’s Birthday on Monday so we were able to take one day off to have a 4 day weekend. We headed by bus to the central area of the North Island which took 4 hours, virtually non-stop and gave us a great glimpse of the countryside all the way there. The weather was beautiful as soon as we left our city behind and stayed that way all day.

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View from the bus, rather blurry/reflective. June 2018.

We spent the whole 4 hours marvelling at the countryside. Despite having been on many family trips throughout our lives, it is only recently that we’ve become a lot more enamoured by the beauty of the countryside and the prospect of living a rural life. We are still working out how to make that happen but every bit of knowledge we can obtain and every experience on the way to it is very valuable indeed.

Simply getting to know a new area is helpful while we explore what is possible for us. Our destination was Ohakune but we saw many towns and rural localities on the way there. We saw evidence of many types of farming – dairy, sheep, crops, forestry, small scale farms and larger operations. It is quite a wonder as someone who has grown up in a city as to how people get into these industries. Some of this pondering is definitely related to medium-term goals but it’s something we can do as we figure out lives out.

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More phone based blurriness. My phone tells me this is the Rangitikei River. June 2018.

I’m a bit tired from the travelling and getting straight back into work today but I have a lot more to share related to this journey and some much better quality photos as I took my SLR camera with me too. It will be really great to be able to go on adventures and take photos at my leisure once I have my license sorted.

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Near Flat Hills. June 2018

These pictures from the bus are pretty blurry from all the movement but I think that they capture the essence of our bus ride. The trip back was very different because it was mostly in the dark! It was nowhere near as interesting and even somewhat challenging, particularly for My Love.

I’m happy to be back with my Cat who I miss when I go away so I think I will venture to bed to catch up on some extra rest and cuddle with Mr Thor. I really do have a lot more that I wish to write so I must ensure I find the time. Holidays are really magnificent at giving you a new perspective on your current routines and lifestyle. So much more to say but I must do right by my tired body! Goodnight world!

Some thoughts on distance.

I’ve just finished packing in preparation for a small weekend away. I hate packing but I am feeling excited to visit a part of my country that I’ve not seen before and to see how my Father lives since he moved away from my area a while back. His partner has a place closer to here that they stay at sometimes so it’s not that I haven’t seen him, just, not at his place! This makes me reflect on our relationship a bit and family relationships in general.

I was on a boat entering the Marlborough Sounds.

I was on a boat entering the Marlborough Sounds. An old, bad phone photo from 2016.

It seems that we are all forced to make choices about where to live because of what we can afford and the kind of life we think we can make for ourselves. It feels like things really changed in the Victorian Era and have continued to do so in more fragmented ways ever since.

From looking into my family tree I’ve learned that there are parts of my family that stayed in the same general locale for many generations. I can look on a map of Dorset for example and see all the areas referred to in my family’s records and how reasonably close together they are.

BUT, in 1841, after the Census, one branch of my family set sail for New Zealand.

I wonder (and I hope to learn) why such a big leap was taken. The family were recorded as agricultural labourers in the Census and I guess NZ seemed like an opportunity. I wonder how it was pitched to them? There was a bit of back and forth between here and Australia in a few parts of my family. I have family from Leicester, Yorkshire, Limerick, Dorset, Midlothian and there are many parts of my family I am yet to understand or learn about.

But the thing that they all have in common is that they all left home and came to this land. They came to a land that they had not seen, that was the other side of the world.

And I am sitting here from my relatively comfortable life and think it terribly dreadful how far apart I live from many members of my family, which in comparison, is at least the same country. But, I cannot just pop and see people freely, I can’t do so without budgeting for it and lots of travelling.

Driving will help somewhat. We tried to start my car today. The battery is dead! Oh dear.

Proximity to family is an important factor for My Love and I as we embark on starting our life together and our own family. Obviously as a new mother, having family close to advise and help out sometimes will be very advantageous. So we’re having to think about what the best compromise is going to be between the kind of property we can buy and the distance from those people who matter to us, for support as we start a family and just simply to keep those relationships near.

We’ve been busy lately on weekends with quite a few family events. And I want to keep this up but the thing is that it still never quite feels enough yet I also feel the lack of down time all the travel requires.

I feel blessed that I have been made to feel very welcome in My Love’s family and it is like I have another whole family which is a very nice feeling for me.

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My Love’s Parents’ Dog Angus, May 2018

It is my brother’s birthday this weekend too. He lives in the South Island of NZ and thus we don’t see each other in person very often, though we have been doing FaceTime in the last year!

How do other people stay close to their family? In this age of the internet which makes it easier than before to stay in touch, it still seems hard. Family is important to me and life feels so hectic, so often that it feels hard to balance it all!

Reorientation, Part Three.

It’s an indecisive day here at my family home. The weather is fluctuating between sun and rain, and is quite crisply cool. I’m at home due to feeling unwell. I’ve been experiencing strange headaches which I am currently attributing to one of two things, or both – coffee (ie. too much) or not wearing my glasses so much lately. I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s unrelated to either.

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Rainy Gloom 28 May 2018

I’m taking this day to write a lot. I’ve been thinking about blogging for some time and I think it is best to strike while the iron is hot. I don’t have much energy for much else today, which I’m not really happy or proud of. Alas! to continue…

My life has been in forward motion since having the realisations mentioned in my previous post. I’ve thought about buying a house a few times since my mid 20s and it was always a cycle of hope and despair. The housing market in New Zealand is very difficult and to be able to achieve home ownership as a young person takes a lot of dedication – and realistically a partner.

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Paths through the Sand. Waikanae May 2018

Even then, those with partners tend to need to pool together their money from their retirement schemes and other grants and to have at least some savings and probably a contribution from their families too. Perhaps this is not true of all but it seems likely for many. This is the reality for many of my generation who spent a lot of time adrift as I did.

I spent a large portion of my 20s studying. Student loans and allowances were pretty easy to come by and for someone like me who is good at managing their income I was able to get by week to week without a part time job.

I was lazy. I didn’t want to work and I saw something romantic about getting by on little. I sold it to myself that I would do better at university which would be better down the line when I got that all important career. Ironically, as I stepped into the workforce, I continued to step in and out of it to study and partially to avoid adult responsibilities.

I rather wish that I was forced into employment as a student. Perhaps the student money was too generous, or did our government think that more students would behave like I did and “get by” on little? I value the budgeting skills I gained but having a larger amount of savings by having a part time job as a student would have been better.

Perhaps I would have borrowed less or travelled more? I have a large student debt now and have been paying that off for years (admittedly at the minimum required) and that’s only reduced it by about 30%. There is not incentive to pay it off faster in this country unless you leave but it still sits as a burden.

When I first completed my BA in Art History and Religious Studies, I thought about Europe. I wanted to see the things I had studied in person and I just felt a pull toward it. It was always just a dream though. I could not fathom how to possibly make a trip half way around the world on my tiny budget.

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The Edge of the World, perhaps? Waikanae Beach May 2018

Since the decision not to move overseas, My Love and I have turned our minds back towards buying property. I started investigating it on my own but soon after talking to him about it, he was on board too. This moved the search from a small apartment, to something more resembling a home. We’ve been working on this for about 9 months now but I think that the obstacles we’ve faced have been blessings in disguise.

My Love changed careers from the unsociable hours of being a baker, to working in a government office role similar to myself. This change however became a deterrent to the bank who were previously keen to lend us what we needed on top of our deposit.

Another difficulty that seems to be apparent is that employers, particularly those offering government roles are hesitant to employ on a permanent basis. The logic behind this in my area is that with more processes going online, less permanent staff will be required in the future. That’s business I guess.

The role My Love acquired is temporary yet ongoing. This is not considered stable by a bank until you’ve done it for at least two years. So we search for new work once more. My Love does not find himself enamoured with the office lifestyle and thus this is another opportunity. There is also a hope that less commuting will be required in the future.

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A photo from my daily commute to work. Sometime earlier 2018

Our weekend just past included a lot of time on job applications so I am feeling hopeful. We both want to get on with our lives, after our next big adventure – the long dreamed of trip to Europe. We go to Rome and Naples in September to fulfil this one dream before we truly settle down to creating our home and family life.

Creating a home is an important step in life for those who want to raise a family. I don’t think that what it takes to achieve home ownership is taught, stressed or emphasised anywhere near enough to younger people. I think that our society has lost sight of what IS important and of teaching the upcoming generations how to get there. I don’t know whether this was taught in the past or not but it needs to become relevant again because without goals like homeownership more and more people are going to be unhappy because they can’t ever do it or struggle to achieve it when they realise they needed to work towards it all along, like myself. Home is where the Heart is. Cliche but true!