Road trip, air trip, moll trip

Road trip, air trip, moll trip

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.

Tempus fugit

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…

 

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Books, beds, birthdays, and bad behaviour

Books, beds, birthdays, and bad behaviour

I’m going to need something like this after the hectic week I’m enjoying. It was Keanu’s birthday on Monday and we went out for tea at the Mt Erica Hotel in Prahran. Well, actually it was my birthday yesterday and my friends had a dinner for me at the pub, but that’s just semantics… Keanu and I get to celebrate our birthdays the same week as the AIHL Ice Hockey championships, this coming Sat 7th and Sun 8th September. My team the Melbourne Ice are fourth and in the finals. They have won the last three years but I fear we may not be able to maintain the rage of previous sudden death finals. With the help of copious amounts of vodka (and absinthe) I should survive the weekend… win or lose, I aim to misbehave!

Catch ups

Went to dinner at a friends’ restaurant in St Kilda last night.  It was in honour of the fact that I am no  longer jobless, legless, or homeless.  I invited all of the friends who had come to visit me when I was housebound and stuck in a wheelchair. 

It would seem that it had been a year since this group had seen each other, and that was at another catch up dinner held at the same restaurant.  That time had been to celebrate the fact that I had been safely repatriated back across the Tasman, no longer a roving academic working and living in earthquake prone Christchurch.

I’ve recently started working at a public library.  Some people who know me casually have laughed heartily at the idea of me being a librarian.  I’m not exactly what one associates with quiet, hard working, bookish types that are the stereotypical image of librarians.  However, librarians have changed, just as libraries have.  I was telling one of the attendees of last nights dinner how much I was enjoying the job.  When I sign a new member up I slide their new library card across the desk with much reverence and pronounce “Look after this, it’s the key to the universe.”  They usually have a bit of a laugh with me (or at me, I don’t care) and then they hop up and I take them for a tour of the facilities we have on offer.

They are often astonished (just as my friend was) that they are allowed to talk in the library and bring food in with them.  We have a cafeteria in the foyer that is run by Yooralla, an organisation that supports people with disabilities.  In the children’s area we have a PS3 and a Wii for the kids to play on.  We have computers for internet access, a quiet pod for those who need silence while studying and reading and we support community languages including Arabic, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Croatian, Polish and Mandarin. We also have DVDs, Cd’s, audiobooks, and eBooks available for download from the library website.  All for free.  Yeah you read that right, FREE.

So life is pretty busy.  I’m currently editing the first thirteen chapters of my novel and I started a Diploma of Library and Information Studies last week. As it’s only at Diploma level there are a lot of contact hours on campus… Which is possibly the most challenging aspect of the course so far.  That and the book talk I have to give on a children’s or teen book.  Not a book review, a book talk, to encourage children to read the title… Yeah, I think they think I will be able to dumb myself down so I can communicate with children.  The last presentation I gave was at a film historians conference… This is going to be interesting.  Just like being at the library ; )

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