A co- worker tells me she doesnʻt do social networking, if she wants to know the family gossip, sheʻll ring her 94 year old mother. Mum gets facebook status updates from all of the family and thus knows who is getting married, having babies, etcetera. She was also signed up to Blendr by one of her nephews. I laughed in my co- workers’ face when she told me. ʻDo you know what Blendr is?’ I asked. ʻI do now. She gets date requests from 101 year old men.’ We both squawked with cackles at that. Love is blind, ageless too.
I returned to old Melbourne town yesterday morning. I spent the past 17 days traveling around New Zealand visiting whanau (family) and friends. Met some cool new peeps, may have cemented the end with some old ones…
This was an unplanned trip and thus severely underfunded. N’mind, a grouse time was had by all. I ate heaps of great kai (food) and drank far too much, danced and laughed, generally made mischief and talked, talked, talked…
I went because my Aunty Nan, the head of our family, has Alzheimer’s and it is getting worse. I flew in to Christchurch so that I could visit my friends from when I lived there, and to pick up my other aunties so they could come with me to the family farm and visit their sister.
I drove from Christchurch to Picton to catch the ferry, with 2 quick stops, one in Cheviot for hot chocolate and one in Kaikoura to take photos of one of my most favourite places on the planet. I had to catch the 10pm ferry to Wellington as the others were all sold out. Had an interesting conversation with a lady traveler, she is unhappily married, but when she finally divorces she will happily take her husband for as much as possible. Her glee ratcheted up when she told me the impending end would be worth about seven figures. I was struck with the notion that women may access their mercenary side only when a man who claims to love them, lets them down in both big and small ways.
I caught an hour of sleep on the boat and arrived in Wellington at 2 am feeling pretty good so I decided to push on and drive north. This may not have been my best idea of the trip but it reminded me that I don’t need drugs to alter my reality, just cut back on the sleep and I’ll be tripping balls in no time. Had to pull over a few times and hope the bracing cold air from a waterfall on the side of the road would be enough to keep me awake. I made it to the farm by 8 am, breakfast and then some chat with my aunty who was quite lucid the whole time I visited with her.
I spent the next few days eating everything, reading, sleeping (I managed to get 5 uninterrupted hours in a row, a new PB!) talking, and filming my aunty surreptitiously on my phone as she talked about all sorts of events from years gone by. Mostly family history and recipes. I hope to upload the videos and send them to her daughter soon.
I soon returned to Wellington after gorging myself on frybread and banana cake. Hung out with an old friend and his wee daughter and was just generally enthused by the changes in his life happiness since the advent of his little girl. His little ray of sunshine.
Caught the ferry back and drove non stop to Christchurch, speeding most of the way and generally loving the freedom that is a road trip: singing loudly and badly to a lot of stuff I’d forgotten was on my iPod.
I ended the trip as I had begun it, in Christchurch and dancing up a storm. Hanging out with my friend Shannon at her house and glutting myself on True Blood and vodka. Cooking and teaching Shannon the hallowed art of molljito making. Laughing with Phil and Hamu, trying not to laugh at Ash, and glad to see Dave is doing much better in his new career. Home may no longer be Christchurch but a big chunk of me was changed and improved by being part of that place and this was largely due to the people I surrounded myself with while I was there.
Haven’t had a decent chinwag on here since the last one… Many things have happened in my little bubble and the great blue yonder, namely the world’s mourning of the great Tata Madiba; Nelson Mandela. Possibly one of the best and most honest response I read after his passing was this: Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. http://www.okwonga.com/?p=869 If you’ve paid even a passing glance at a few of my posts you would know my aversion to nostalgia and ever more so, historical revisionism.
I am day/s away from booking my ticket back to Aotearoa in February. I will endeavour to visit my friends and also bully my aunties into accompanying me home to the family farm up north. Their eldest sister has Alzheimer’s and it is progressing as these things do and soon she may not remember her younger sisters. So I’m taking them to see her. If I don’t it will invariably be too late. Many women I know and particularly these two relatives, tend to put everyone else and external demands first, their own needs barely rate a footnote. Here cometh TX the taniwha, to scare them into putting themselves and their selfless, ailing sister first.
Going out to Xmas catch ups with friends, getting drunk, going to weddings, meeting Elvez, the Mexican Elvis, reading heaps and downloading more TV shows than my hard drive can fathom has been the cultural highlights package of this, the business end of the year. In amongst it it all I’ve also managed to acquire a few more obsessions and thus, still have a tangible reason for leaving my bed… I like it when the idea I have of someone as a personality is wildly exceeded by the reality and force of their wairua. In conjunction with this happenstance I may have finally begun to forgive myself for some long ago transgressions, a mark on my soul that has finally been given the chance to heal. I will see if this is an authentic moment of growth or if I slip and grapple with the troubling nature of being a partially functional mortal. If the battle within causes a reversion then I will have to fight harder, to forgive myself again, now that I am finally, finally able to try and let myself be what it is I am, and be less anxious about this truth.
I fear this has been a rather self reflexive post full of unassailable issues only I can temper. I think I should cheer you up now, if you’ve made it this far…
Went to hospital on Wednesday and had my cast removed. Have to wear unwieldy moon boot thingy instead. Do some light physio exercises and try not to kill anyone because I’m still house bound. They wont let me drive yet. Which is killing me, hence the need to pass on the deathly sentiments to any and all who head my way. Which doesn’t augur well for the 40th birthday I will be emc-ing tomorrow night.
It is also an irony filled situation (not lost on me, just mildly despised) wherein I am suffering not just the indignity of having to be in a wheelchair (which sucks because everywhere I wanted to go is really steep and uneven when faced in a chair) and ask friends for help, which I am no good at doing. The irony is that I can’t drive and yet I have espoused the virtues of vehicular mobility loudly and often, both publicly and privately, including academically. I have spoken at several conferences on the issue of driving and tino rangatiratanga (Māori self determination) for wāhine Māori (Māori women). Now this Māori woman is stuck in the house and is not allowed to drive her car….
I talk about the importance of wāhine being able to leave the house, not only because they and their children may be facing domestic violence situations, but also just to strengthen their ties to the community in which they live. They are able to become full and rounded citizens, participate in normal activities for leisure and social purposes such as weekend sports, hobbies and visiting family. These strong ties help prevent isolation which enables many unhealthy situations such as mental health issues and susceptibility to domestic violence.
Having a car also enables wāhine to be able to apply for and maintain a job. Particularly in rural areas, which are ubiquitous in New Zealand. Having a job or career strengthens these community ties and also gives women an outlet for social interaction, friendship networks and money to provide better lives for their families.
I currently have no car and no job. However I have friends who visit and I have lots of writing to get done, so I probably don’t have time for a job. Once I’m mobile again, I’m sure I will reassess the situation. Some people may think driving isn’t really that important. I usually reply “Tell that to a lady in Saudi Arabia’. Nothing subtle about me