A Short Post About Joy ...

or this.jpg

I rediscovered the joy I experience when trying to capture the heart & soul of those I'm photographing.  

I was incredibly tired this day, and had no idea how to pull it together for this photography shoot.  

I had forgotten.  There is always this up-welling of joy when I work with people, trying to find who they are and gift it back to them in their photographs.

A Wild Ride ...

the road goes on forever.jpg

It has been wild ride, this homecoming.  A time of old friends, family, dental work and trying to work out where I belong in the world.

I rode in on a wave of joy.  A few tears slid down my face when I landed in that old familiar airport, and then again when I saw my sister and nieces. 

I crashed here, when I compared my life to others I knew, seeing how vastly different mine was.  I lost my way for a while.  Lost my nerve.

Slowly I've picked myself up again, by understanding that I regretted very little of it.

It's been a wild ride ...

the truck on the hill.jpg

Home ...

I returned to New Zealand on February 22, and it was grand.

I landed in Auckland, stayed with Barbara & John, with Paula, Paolo, and Mr One - who has since become Mr Two.

Barbara and Di.jpg

I learned how to tie my hair back with a headscarf ... thank you, Barbara.  And I wandered city streets, as we were living in the CBD, and set myself up for this New Zealand life.

One of my dearest old friends came to the city for a Hui, and Pippa picked me up for a road trip to her home ... way up North.  A place I had read about but never explored.  It was a 5 hour talk-fest, filled with laughter and 'do you remembers'.  


The next morning we went out to look at a property Pippa was interested in, met Nan and had the privilege of hearing some of her stories, then explored the land around the house ... exclaiming over the old-fashioned fruit trees and childhood delights, all growing there in the far north garden.

Then she took me north ... to the end of New Zealand.  To Cape Regina, with its special history (but that's another entire post, if I even want to begin to do the myths and legends justice).

Returning to Auckland was a 7-hour bus journey but I was fine, thinking I would get to really see the far-north landscape.  Instead, I had the extraordinary pleasure of having a lovely French man sit next to me and chat.  The 7-hours passed quickly, with laughter and much conversation.

There was Mark, and a 5 minute security check-in at the airport, the flight home, and quiet tears as I landed here in Dunedin.  And since then, family, old friends, familiar roads, beaches and the smile you smile when you return home after a long time away.  

There is so much more but for now, this can do.  

I'm home, and it's nice.  

Island Life and Me ...

aperitivo, cook islands.jpg

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 ...

raro colours.jpg

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 ...

on my bench, raro.jpg