Me standing in front of one of a series of photographs that New Zealand film director, screenwriter and film producer, Peter Jackson, asked me to take. Location, Flanders Fields, Belgium. The photographs were used in his Great War Exhibition, in Wellington, New Zealand: https://www.greatwarexhibition.nz/
It’s been a wild few months of ‘should I stay or should I go?’
Leaving Genova … difficult for me to even begin to contemplate.
I was wanting to stay but suspecting I needed to go home for a while, to sort out my life … find my feet, and work out how to go forward in life, as opposed to simply reacting and problem-solving as each wee crisis unfolded.
And so I booked my flight after those weeks spent living in Switzerland. I booked and had buyer’s regret every day afterwards.
Finally the day came; a 5.30am taxi, a 12.40 Singapore Airlines flight, a 12 hour stopover in Singapore … and onwards.
I left Genova on a Monday, and arrived in New Zealand on a Wednesday.
For those hours and days, the journey was the destination, and I loved it. And then I was home again. And that old and familiar world closed round me, making me wonder if I had ever actually left … as happens.
Tomorrow, I will have been ‘home’ for a week. I’m driving Dad’s car, I’m applying for jobs, I have my cafe … aka, my office, and my friends are all there. We’re catching up. That’s grand.
So begins another chapter. One that involves me getting back here on my website. Back into photography. And hopefully, into a wee cottage someplace on the Peninsula.
Jess and Sahara flew home a month before me. We’re all together again.
Christmas in New Zealand this year.
My days begin, wandering along a narrow country road. with my tiny Hairy McLary companion, here in Switzerland.
I was heading home actually, when my sooner became a bit of a ‘later’, and I detoured into Switzeralnd, via some of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever viewed from the passenger seat of a car. In the best company too.
And that’s where I am … for the moment.
You know those moments in life, where you’re living on a wing and a prayer one moment, and the next you’re in a car with a stranger, driving to another country?
I wrote a post, over on Facebook, about Loneliness ...
But things have a habit of disappearing there. It's the nature of FB. Life scrolls on. Perhaps it reappears at a memory in a year, or two but I wanted to keep this post because it seemed to really strike a cord in people.
I wrote from the heart, and people responded from that place too.
It was this:
I have mostly been part of a tribe...
1 of 4 children, twice a wife, a mother, a stepmother, and a nonna too. And then I have had lovely circles of friends where ever I have lived.
'Tribes', made up of family & friends, are things that I appreciate so much, simply because I know I should never take them forgranted.
Out here, sometimes, the loneliness makes me leave the house, with my camera, and walk these ancient city streets. It has always been my way, since I was small, in New Zealand I sought out the beaches and rivers. In Istanbul, I would cross the city on foot. And anyway, out walking opens me up to seeing things I wouldn't see if I wasn't alone. It's double-edged sword perhaps.
But if I'm honest, I believe that even being part of a tribe can still leave a person feeling lonely sometimes. Loneliness is interesting. I've been trying to just let it be ... knowing there are so many lonely people in the world. In or out of relationships, surrounded by family or completely alone.
It makes me kinder. It makes me admire the older people I see, with their walking sticks and their slow shuffles, out shopping alone. I admire their courage. It makes me offer to help because I know I would appreciate it. And sometimes, like this morning, this lovely older woman and I ended up chatting ... about her sciatica.
But in Italy, in Genova, the people who perhaps understand most of all, are the barista's. I adore the ones I adore. Sometimes they save my day, after a night of bad dreams, when I wake alone in this life I am pursuing. Today, a lovely man gifted me a free espresso and gave me back my courage. It's that simple sometimes. It's that simple to be kind.
We don't talk of our loneliness. But we should. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is familiar with it.
I dislike being this honest :-) but I suspect it is needed in this world where we all prefer to seem like we're doing okay. And we are ... we are.
I took this photograph back in August 2016.
Today, I saw them again. I wanted to talk to them, so much. I walked past them, looking for someone who might speak English and act as a translator.
I met the kindest man. He agreed, and we asked if I might talk with them and tell a little of their story.
It wasn't possible but it was so beautiful to see them again, and see that same connection between them, as they walked along the street.
Grazie mille, to the guy who translated. I appreciate it so much.