Island Life and Me ...

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It's an interesting life, here on the island ... 

I'm always searching for beauty, no matter where I am but here, it simply hits you square in the face.  I had stopped for one last pina colada, as I leave early next week and voila, this unfolded in front of me ... between torrential downpours.

It's clear my senses have been quite overwhelmed at times.  It's been a return to a more natural life, of bare feet, minimal clothing, fresh fruits and lagoon-swimming.   Torrential tropical downpours and humidity above 80%.  But more than that, the island has impacted me at a psychological level too.  There is nowhere to wander, and I have always wandered ... out of 'situations' and into the world.  

I understand that I couldn't stay here forever.  I have loved my time here.  It has been the most extraordinary privilege to find a job that would bring me here but ... I'm ready to leave now.

But first  ... the Saturday Market, with the Czaria.  

About Rarotonga and Me ...

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I drive around this tiny island and I am overwhelmed by the place, by memories of growing up in New Zealand, so many years ago, when life was so different to this European life I've spent the last 15 years living.

I am living quite a simple life here but such a good simple.  There are little houses here, painted turquoise greens and blues ... just here and there, not standard but they remind me so much of the summer houses we called 'crib's', down there at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand.

I have returned to a natural kind of life; a life I didn't even know I was missing. I swim in the sea, in the lagoon really.  We might sit out there with a beer, escaping the heat, escaping gravity too.  The current in the lagoon runs round the island, so you can be in the shallows and simply swim against it.  It's bliss really.  The reef protects us from most things.

My skin is turning a deep golden brown.  The brown of childhood.  The brown I had forgotten was possible.  My arms, my face ...

My legs are following, much more slowly, mosquito-scarred but moving from a pale white into something slightly toasted.

The landscape is volcanic, so there are lush green peaks in the centre, odd shapes, quite beautiful, and Nature.  Nature is in the ascendant here.  Lush rain-fed vegetation, ants, mozzies, coconut, mango and paw paw trees.  And so much more I don't know.

Driving round the island though, that's what I want to write about here but I need to try again another day. 

Oh, and there are two radio stations.  One plays music I love, a lot from my past, and easy-listening contemporary music too.  The other is very much about local news and music.  I move between them.

Meanwhile, on my bench here ...

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Fruit Smoothies, Rarotonga

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Living in Rarotonga has, for some unknown reason, left me feeling brave and curious.  After years spent avoiding raw fruit and veges, due to allergy issues, I decided to leap in and try everything here.  Or almost everything ...   

I have fallen madly in love with mangoes, paw paw and bananas, straight from the trees.  I've  abandoned my 'holy moment' breakfasts -the only meal I've ever tried to maintain no matter which country I've lived in.  The toast, butter, jam, and coffee is gone. 

My days now begin with a smoothie made from the ingredients you see at the start of the post.

I'll miss this ... 

Home

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One has left a version of oneself at the place of departure and it waits for us at the point of return - but she is not me when I get there.

Kirsty Gunn. My Katherine Mansfield Project.

I went out wandering with Mari Lena, a new friend, an Italian staying here too.  And we found these beautiful flowers growing on the side of the road.  It's so lush here in Rarotonga.

The notion of home is coming at me from all over, in my reading ... in my everyday life too, as I head home after 6 years away, after 8 years away before that.

I'm about to buy an e-book.  This extract came from it ...

It's an idea that has always preoccupied me - that notion of creative process as a making, a willed brick-by-brick, word-by-word building of a place on the page that might let a story inhabit it - to create a home of words, where I, the writer, may also live.

Kirsty Gunn, from My Katherine Mansfield Project.