Reflection

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We have just returned from a long vacation ‘back home’ in New York.  `The weeks were filled with a relaxing stay on Fire Island, visits with friends and family, time in Manhattan.  It was relaxing, busy, warm, sunny and beautiful.

I had some of the best moments in reflection during runs – in the sand, where I surrendered to the surf, took off my shoes, and ran along the waves like a child, and in the city, where I got on the ‘track’ with dozens of other runners in central park.

The words of Dave Dobbin’s Welcome Home came on my iphone, and I ran through the park with tears of emotion as I reflected on the feelings of living in New Zealand and being so geographically far from so many I love.  I was happy for the anonymity I find in New York,  and for the community I’ve been welcomed to in New Plymouth.

Nice to have a break – and get some space with which to greet the busy season in the House.

tonight I am feeling for you
under the state of a strange land
you have sacrificed much to be here
there but for grace as I offer my hand
welcome home, i bid you welcome, i bid you welcome
welcome home from the bottom of my heart
out here on the edge
the empire is fading by the day
and the world is so weary in war
maybe well find that new way

so welcome home, see i made a space for you now
welcome home from the bottom of our heart
welcome home from the bottom of our hearts
keep it coming now – keep it coming now
youll find most of us here with our hearts wide open
keep it coming now – keep on coming now
keep it coming now – keep on coming now

theres a woman with her hands trembling – haere mai
and she sings with a mountains memory – haere mai

theres a cloud the full length of these isles
just playing chase with the sun
and its black and its white and its wild
all the colours are one

so welcome home, i bid you welcome, I bid you welcome
welcome home from the bottom of our hearts
welcome home, see i made a space for you now
welcome home from the bottom of our hearts 

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Walks by the sea

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On most days, Weston and I walk on the beach.  We’ve been blessed this winter with the majority of days being filled with crisp, bright sunshine.  I have a tradition of collecting a seashell each time I run, and now have added looking for beach glass each time she and I walk.

This haul was from one day….the collection will be immense by the end of the summer!

A simple daily ritual.

Spring is in the air!

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I have tried to grow strawberries for the past 3 years.  Each time we get small little berries from the dozens of plants we put in…I dream of making strawberry jam (my favorite) and having an abundant crop, but each year I lose that battle.

I am trying a few new techniques this year and have planted 24 plants amongst our compost.  Fingers crossed!

Spring seems right around the corner.  Days are getting longer and annual gardening tasks are starting back up.  As my mom notices the start to crisp mornings in New York, I am revelling in the warmer and sunnier afternoons here.

Bring on summer!

Roar of the engines

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We had guests arriving last week who rented out the whole House for one night.  When I asked them what time they thought they’d arrive, they mentioned that they were on a ‘bike tour’ so would likely be late afternoon.

I assumed that a ‘bike tour’ meant mountain biking…so when we were sitting having a wine and chatting at the end of the day and suddenly we couldn’t hear each other talk, I knew I had it wrong.  My mistake – a ‘bike tour’ to these Frenchmen meant Harleys.

They were celebrating a 50th birthday by doing a four day ride around the North Island.  I had no idea you could even hire Harleys.  Neither did Rodney, and I think I know what he’ll want when he reaches that milestone.

What a great way to see this beautiful country!

Soaking it in

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We are in the midst of an epic summer in Taranaki.  Officially, our region had the most hours of sun in New Zealand for January.

While they are statistics, for me, I’ve finally made it a point of enjoying what our region has to offer, rather than just telling guests about our amazing beaches, cafes and summer hot spots.   I tried taking lunch at the beach, working of my first summer tan lines since I lived in New York, and even had my first beach night swim.

We are taking pause, gardening our hearts out and getting ready for a month with 2 weddings, 20% more bookings than February 2014, and plenty of summer fun ahead.

Kiwi Christmas Trees

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These beautiful Pohutukawa trees took my breathe away on the walkway during my run yesterday (or they were my excuse to stop and rest a bit.)

They are in their full glory during Christmas time here and we are lucky to have them lining a good part of the walkway.

I am learning new ways and traditions to celebrate this time of year.  At times we miss the London pub culture, and I miss San Francisco’s dungeness crabs, or New York’s grand department store fronts all decorated.

I guess these trees are a bit of New Plymouth’s own window front.  (Stretching, I know.)

I loved reading this article on The Huffington Post today – 10 Lessons about living abroad 

The writer embraces “Nutella moments”, moments of such glory that make all of the challenges worth it (like trying Nutella for the first time, or for me, sitting in a cafe enjoying my first French rosé in Provence.)

She writes of the importance of letting go of things, stuff…“Now I smile and shake my head at the thought that a reluctance to part with the paraphernalia of my life to that point could have stood in the way of launching the new life I’ve enjoyed all these years since.”  An amazing description when I remember all my ex-husband and I had to do to leave San Francisco and the beautiful home we had just started to build.

Most of all, my favorite, “To bloom where I’ve planted myself…”

The Pohutukawa blooms remind me to celebrate this beautiful place that I now call home.  Sweet as, indeed.