Gosh, it’s been a while since my last post! Not planned, but life has been busy.
I’m enjoying my job managing social media and marketing for a local church. The work lets me unleash my creativity, and I have almost total autonomy, which is how I love to work. It’s a high-trust environment – if only all workplaces could be like that!
I find myself baffled that it is September already. Covid-19 has interrupted the yearly flow of life. I have not done half the things I wanted to, nor caught up with all the people I want to see. My brain still struggles to comprehend the pandemic. The fear, the masks, the social distancing, families separated. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I’d like to just take a nap until all this is over!
I was on a retreat by myself in Kerikeri when it was suddenly announced that NZ had moved back into Level 2. My ‘break’ turned into a very stressful time as my flight home was cancelled…then put back on but with no guarantee it would go ahead…
I made it home just fine. And eventually I got to relax, just not in Kerikeri!
So far this year has been spent in lots of pain, thanks to the injuries from my car crash. My knee is mostly better though, and I’m able to get around without noticing it now. I have seen the surgeon who thinks my spine and knee require surgery, but I am awaiting more scans before he can proceed. I find out in three weeks.
The pain has made me tired and irritable and not very social. So if you’re one of the people on my list to visit with, sorry. I will get to you eventually.
All four of us have spent most of the winter catching everything that’s going around. This is normal for us the first year we move somewhere new! Different bugs I guess. Rev G has been very rundown, and has been dealing with coming to grips with his new job, and dealing with settling estates for his father and aunt, and now is in the process of selling two houses! We’re praying for a quieter year in 2021.
But having said that, I’ve met lots of new people through church and the two Bible/Prayer groups I’m part of. My faith has grown tremendously this year, and I’m about to start a discipleship programme that I’m really excited about. More to come on that in the future.
We are enjoying our new church, we feel like we relate well to this congregation, and it’s been a good fit. I’m enjoying the wide variety of theology they embody and the things they are passionate about. I have many ideas of things I’d like to do there, but they are shelved until after I have surgery.
Rev G and I have taken great comfort in our old friendships. It’s nice to just be Donald and Angela, and not the Minister or the Minister’s Wife to our mates. I was reflecting the other day how I find life in Wellington is much more stressful than I remember! I guess I prefer life in smaller places where the traffic isn’t so mental and most amenities are all in one spot. But here we are as a family nonetheless, and I trust that it’s for good reason.
Miss E and Master D are thriving at their new school. Master D went through a phase of not wanting to go to school, after they returned in Level 2, and I was worried that perhaps the Montessori method didn’t suit him. But he got over that, and is happy as Larry now. Miss E has a BFF (her Mum runs an after-school forest playgroup, yes!), while Master D’s teacher says he’s friends with half the school (he’s very, very extroverted). He is now a sophisticated six-year old and likes to leave me little notes saying “Mum you I love.” and “poo”. Poo is hilarious when you’re six.
An early start for the day, getting up for the ANZAC dawn service. I have seldom missed it over the course of my life, even attending them when I lived in London.
A ‘Stand at your Letterbox at Dawn’ campaign was launched by the Returned Services Association, and many of our neigbours have decorated their front yards and fences with poppies.
At 6am the service begins. There are 6 people out on our street, not a great number as our street is quite long, but I see lights on in other houses and I suspect many people are listening on their radios inside.
The day is cool and windy, but fine. We head to a nearby reserve that I’ve read about but never visited before. Online I am told it has a family friendly circular track. It is a stunning walk.
The path leads up through bush, going up hill for about 30 minutes, and you are rewarded by expansive views of Wellington and the harbour.
We spend over an hour in the bush; it is just what I needed. The walk is too steep for my knee right now, but I pushed myself and am still very glad we went. I will wait a bit longer before attempting it again, I did spend several sections of the walk having to hobble around like I was 80.
Miss E and Master D are in their element, flitting about the bush like sprites. They find cicada casings, they claim a hollowed out section of bank as their ‘palace’, they climb trees and make up games.
I catch up with family online and they seem in good spirits today. Most of my parents’ street turned up for the Dawn Service after my mother made everyone a poppy invitation.
By the end of the day, the wheels fall off. I have just noticed that Master D has scratched something in the house quite badly – which is bad because we are renting, and bad because, well, we don’t use scissors to deface property ever.
He goes to bed in disgrace. Miss E gets upset because I am cross that she watched her brother do it and said nothing. She too goes off to bed.
Rev G’s sermon has vanished and he cannot find it on his computer anywhere, so he spends much of the day rewriting it. It is not for nought, he thinks the new version is better anyway.
I spend my time doing exciting things like online grocery shopping and cleaning and perusing Pinterest for craft ideas using the limited resources we have. I got rid of loads of craft stuff before we moved – now I wish I had things like scrap pieces of fabric and embroidery floss. I rarely get remorse about things I’ve cleaned out, but this year, boy, so many things would have made a difference to my lockdown experience if I’d hung onto them!
The weather is bleak and miserable today, and my mood seems to match it. I make it to my prayer meeting, and I am grateful for this encouraging group of strangers-who-are-feeling-like-friends-now.
Rev G is ‘on’ the kids today, although it is clear that his mind is on his work, and not them. Not for the first time, I feel resentful of how the church seems to be getting the best of him during this time, and not us. I am sure I am not the only spouse feeling this way. Right now is one of the busiest times of the year for the church – Easter is not the time to put in the bare minimum of energy if you are a minister.
I’m really tired today, and it takes me ages to summon the energy to have a shower and get dressed. But today is ‘Formal Friday’, so I throw on my best dress, and have fun doing my hair and makeup.
My son walks in from a walk with his father and sister. “Mum, you look really nice,” he says, I think for the first time ever.
The rest of my family dress up for our daily Zoom catchup, and I have a giggle sharing ridiculous Snapchats with my cousin, J. I am so grateful for technology today.
My parents, MiL and brother are suitably dressed for our catchup. We share some laughs. Next week’s challenge is making up a crazy hat. My recycling bin was made for a time such as this! Still, everyone is a bit down today, and we are running out of things to say to each other. I resolve to share some jokes or poems etc the next time we meet.
After the call, we catch up with friends from down south, and film a video segment for our church’s Palm Sunday service. I wrote a rather silly, short children’s play for Palm Sunday two years ago, which we’ve decided to recycle. Recording segments and putting the video has provided some fun and something to do for several people in our church, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like.
At home we are all a little snippy and shouty with each other. The children don’t eat their dinner, so they are put to bed early. Rev G and I enjoy the quiet and watch more of “The Man in the High Castle”.
Day 6 started off well. I got up for my prayer meeting, and I headed out for a walk with the children.
I wish I could personally thank the person who thought of the ‘bear hunt’ that is keeping children all over the world occupied. Like rock hunting, it turns a walk into an adventure.
Miss E counted 39 stuffed animals on this walk, which took us down little side streets we hadn’t walked down before. The people in my suburb have really embraced the bear hunt, as you can see.
I am thrilled to be able to get out of the house again. My knee isn’t 100% but is okay enough to go for a 20 minute walk. I’ve noticed it is going up (particularly stairs) that exacerbates it, so I can keep that to a minimum. I notice so many beautiful things on my walk, and feel refreshed.
However, by lunchtime both Rev G and I are feeling seedy. He goes off for a nap, and I am not far behind. I develop a bad headache, and realise later it’s a migraine. I usually get visual disturbances with migraines, but not this time. I have to spend the rest of the day in bed in my darkened bedroom.
I still feel yuck (headachey and nauseous) when I get up the next day, and I do my best to parent from the couch. A few weeks before lockdown, Rev G and I bought some activity books and crafts in case school closed. I bust one each of these out and that keeps them occupied for the morning.
In the afternoon, I send them out to the garden to do a nature scavenger hunt. They love it so much they spend the next four house playing outside! I gradually start feeling better, although I worry I am now running a temperature. Our ear thermometer is wildly inaccurate at the best of times, so I don’t really know if I am.
We worry it might be COVID-19, although given that I haven’t seen anyone but my family for two weeks, it seems unlikely. After dinner I stop feeling hot. Perhaps menopause is starting? Who knows?
Longtime readers will know that I LOVE all things Christmas. Advent is my favourite time of year. I enjoy all the things that this time of year brings, like carols and driving around to see the lights, nativity plays, going to church on Christmas Eve; all of it. My tree goes up on December 1st, and you might (okay, you will definitely) see me singing along to all those annoying Christmas songs that stores start pumping out in November.
As a Christian, it is also a very meaningful time of year. I try to take time out each day to do a devotional, to re-read Luke’s gospel, to reflect on the gift that is Jesus.
This year will be a Christmas like no other for my family.
In less than two weeks, our belongings will be packed up, shipped to Wellington and put into storage. We don’t know how long for, because Mr G’s new job still has to find us a house to rent! We’re very fortunate that we can stay with friends in my hometown for as long as we need to.
We are taking a much needed holiday between jobs – a break that includes a two week road trip around the gorgeous sights of the South Island, and catching up with friends who we’ve not seen in ages. So, for much of Advent, we will be on the road.
It feels somewhat flat to not have a Christmas tree, the end-year-parties to attend, and no plans to make gifts for my loved ones (normally by now we are knee deep in ginger beer and other goody-makings). The advent calendar I made several years ago, will be gathering dust in storage. The nativity books we read each year will be boxed up.
This year I have been super organised with getting my Christmas cards out and gifts for my December birthday friends, but I’m not making a single thing this year. Moving is stressful enough without adding a long road trip and Christmas to it, and I don’t want to add crafting or baking madly on Dec 23rd into the mix because of some self-imposed idea of what I should or should not gift at Christmas.
As my kids get older, the more they are exposed to the world. Santa is everywhere. Gimme, gimme, gimme is everywhere. So I plan to keep on observing Advent on the road to help my children (and me) focus on the ‘reason for the season’.
Here’s how we’re doing advent on the road:
I’ve bought a couple of chocolate advent calendars. One has Marvel superheroes and one has Toy Story 4. Because nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like Hulk Smash, am I right? Actually, they did have ONE solitary nativity chocolate advent calendar but it looked of very dubious origin and I don’t want to give my kids radioactive chocolate. Anyway, Buzz, Woody and Hulk Smash etc are light, and way more robust than the family advent calendar I created a few years ago. Hopefully the two calendars will make it to Dec 24 after being battered around in the car.
We’re still going tocelebrate St Nicholas’ Day (Dec 5 or 6, depending on what country you live in). We don’t do Santa, but we do celebrate the actual saint who inspired the Santa myth. We’ll read a story about him(I must write my own because, trust me, there is quite a gap in the market for a well-written book on St Nick), and the kids will find some coins in their shoes when they wake up.
We’re going to ‘follow the star’. In a similar vein to Elf on the Shelf (which I despise, so I’m kinda ashamed to realise I’m doing something similar), I am taking the star from our Christmas tree with us. It’s light and doesn’t take up much space. Where ever we are, the kids can wake up to find the star hiding in plain sight, and follow it, like the Wise Men. We’re going to be staying in a dazzling array of places, but that twinkling, comforting star will be there too.
We’ve got a carols playlist. As I mentioned, I have zero shame belting out carols way before December, so why should the confines of my car be any different? For the record, O, Holy Night is my favourite.
We’ll read a bit of the Christmas story from the Bible each day. I also have a small advent journey game I picked up last year, for when we’re looking for something to do while we’re travelling.
I’m bringing the kid’s Christmas sacks with me, because familiar things are comforting.
And that’s plenty. Now I see it in a list it seems like a lot, but they are all very simple things. Calendar, story, songs.
We will be in my hometown for Christmas, and I’m looking forward to seeing our church family there, and their annual Christmas Eve family service. This will be our last Christmas where we are free to do what we want and go where we want, as Mr G will be pretty darn busy as a minister in Christmases to come.
As our time in Pleasant Point comes to an end, I am mostly feeling surprisingly chill about the move. I’ve whizzed through my to-do list, and have only got fun things like farewell parties, and not-so-fun things like defrosting the fridge left to do.
May your own journey towards Christmas be a joyful and peaceful one.
People, we have seven weeks left here in Pleasant Point. Seven!
Mr G’s two year internship has simultaneously dragged and whizzed by. I’m not entirely sure how that’s even possible, but it’s definitely how the two years have seemed to me. Perhaps there’s a time/space vortex just down the road from me, that the local council really should do something about? Don’t believe me?
My baby started school today. My baby is FIVE and is at SCHOOL.
He had a wonderful first day, and is so blase about the whole thing. If he were a teenager he’d be rolling his eyes, saying ‘Chill mum, I start school, like ALL the time!’ He’s not a teenager, so he just lays out the info like most children. In other words, school was ‘good’, and his teacher was ‘nice’ and he ‘played’. Can’t ask for much more! Well, there’s no getting any more out of him…
Now D is at school, I find myself with seven glorious weeks before we pack up our stuff and move to Wellington. My oh-my-Lord-I-have-all-this-time-to-myself-for-the-first-time-in-forever list is ambitious, like always. Daily walks, dusting off my beginners French, writing, painting (a desk, not art), getting our things ready for the move. Bliss.
I find myself in a familiar place.
That waiting-for-my-life-to-start-in-our-new-place feeling. I have moved so many times (I think I’m up to move 29), that once I know I am on the move (especially cross-country), I find it tempting to shed my ‘old life’ and am usually impatient to just get on with it and get to the ‘new’ place. I distance myself from friends in my old place as saying goodbye hurts. I stop trying as hard at work and elsewhere because ‘I’m leaving so it doesn’t matter’. I am eager to get to the ‘new’.
But this time, I find myself strangely enjoying limbo. The old is comfortable and familiar. I am in no rush.
Perhaps it is because this time our move is a little bit like going home? Mr G will soon be the Minister for Wadestown Presbyterian Church. Wellington is his hometown, and I have lived there for 15 years, on and off. We have good, old friends there who just know us as “DnA”, not as the minister and his wife. We have family there too (who we are looking forward to seeing more often!). I used to live a few suburbs over from where we will be based, and know the area well.
Wadestown is a very affluent suburb, and not somewhere we’d ever visualised ending up as a ministry family. But God has been in each step of the process and we feel confident that we are going right where He wants us to be. I know it won’t be all unicorns and kittens and rainbows because church can be a difficult and messy thing at times, but I also know that God sure knows what he’s doing.
Our two years in Pleasant Point hasn’t been easy. Many times Mr G and I have been on our knees, asking God why He brought us here, or why we needed such tough life lessons! Mr G has borne the brunt of it, of course, but has been moulded into a blimmin’ good preacher, if I do say so myself. It has been and still is, a troubling time for our small parish here, who are facing an uncertain future. But I have confidence that we were sent here for a reason, even though I may never know what that was or see the fruit of it. And I know that God is with our parish here.
We have met some beautiful people, who I will really miss. I will miss the jaw-dropping scenery. Being able to walk anywhere in town in five minutes. The slow pace of life. The lack of traffic.
I will not miss the parochialism that is rife here. The ‘oh, your family hasn’t been here for 150 years’ attitude which I find bizarre, not being the sort of person who actually cares about that kind of thing. I hear it gets worse the further south you go, but it’s not like there’s any scientific data to back that up so let’s chalk it up to a cultural experience?
Anyway, as I’m going to take a leaf out of my kid’s books and live in the moment more over these seven weeks. Because I actually can. Seven weeks to myself. Wow.
I was only a few days into a 10-day South Island road trip with my American friends who came all this way to see me, when we got the news that my lovely father-in-law was dying.
It wasn’t a shock, as he’d almost died back in April, due to heart, liver and kidney issues. We knew he was on borrowed time. He’d been back in hospital for two weeks while the doctors tried to get to the bottom of the problem. Mr G and I had even discussed what we’d do if the worst happened while I was away on holiday with my friends.
The worst did happen.
At first we were told he was dying, this was really it. I was in Omarama with my friends. Fortunately we were only two hours out of Queenstown, travelling on a familiar road. There was a flight out to Wellington (where my FIL lived) if we left in a hurry.
As I was driving my husband called with the news that his dad had passed away.
There is such a huge difference between knowing something sad and painful will happen, and it actually happening.
I felt so awful for Mr G, who had a warm and loving relationship with his dad. I was gutted for our children, who will never get to appreciate the vibrant wit and spirit of their Granddad – let alone the loss of a man who was just crazy about them, and thought everything they did was wonderful and marvellous. And there was my own grief, for the loss of a man who I loved and cared for.
I also felt anger and grief at losing precious time with my friends. We were going to explore part of the South Island I had never been to before. I was so enjoying their company, after not seeing each other for over six years. My friend J and I have been friends for over 25 years, first meeting in journalism class in a Kansas high school where I was an exchange student. J and her mom are so, so special to me. It felt cruel to have to leave them to continue the journey on their own. I still feel angry at losing this time with them, even though it is absolutely no one’s fault. But it is still there, all the same.
The next few days were a blur; organising all the things that need to be done when someone passes away. My FiL’s affairs were in a right mess, but we experienced the love and care of many, many people in our village.
Friends had our children over for playdates. Relatives looked after our children so we could concentrate on organising the funeral. We got so many messages of support from all sorts of people. The minister from our old church – where Mr G and I met – took the funeral service. A friend from that church took time off work to be on the sound desk for the funeral. Many of our church friends came to the service. A good friend of mine, who barely knew my FiL showed up to the funeral just to support Mr G and I.
My FiL died without a will, and it’s been such a headache to sort out, resulting in Mr G being on the phone to family members most evenings.
Two weeks after the funeral we got the news that Mr G’s terminally-ill aunt was on her way out. Fortunately she pulled through and is still with us. Then two days later I had a spectacular car crash.
I was on my way to Christchurch, planning to spend the day hitting a couple of shops, before going to the museum and art gallery. My idea of a great day. Mr G had been away for his ministry training and I was going to pick him up in the evening. Then we were off for a few child-free nights to stay in beautiful Akaroa.
I took the back roads because they are safer….I was singing along to music when suddenly the steering wheel jerked out of my grasp. It took me several seconds to register what had happened – the car had hit a patch of black ice. There was no visible frost anywhere – it was mid-morning on a very sunny day – so ice was the last thing I was expecting. I was on a long, straight road, going around 90kph.
As the car lost traction, there was nothing I could do.
My first thought was ‘I’m going to die!” followed by ‘this is really going to hurt!”
The car spun over to the other lane, hit a concrete race on the side of the road, spun again, hit another race, and then came to a stop on the side of the road.
When the car came to a stop, I was stunned to find myself alive, and relatively unhurt (or so I thought). I’d given my knee a huge whack on the steering column, and my seat had twisted so it was almost facing sideways, but I was okay. Luckily no cars had been coming the other way otherwise it might have been a different story.
“NOT TODAY SATAN!”, I yelled. Plus some swear words.
A lady travelling behind me witnessed the whole thing and called an ambulance, and came to check on me. She told me she thought I might be dead after seeing the accident. She couldn’t believe it when I told her I was mostly okay.
I decided to stay put in the car because I wasn’t sure if my leg was broken or not. I thought not, but decided to play it safe.
Another couple who lived nearby stopped and stayed with me until the emergency services arrived, saying that the particular stretch of road I was on was notorious for black ice. And I’d gone that road because it was safer…
I had a first responder (volunteer) turn up, followed by the fire service and police. The policeman was livid – not at me, but at the local council as he’d told them to grit that part of the road the day before! He assured me the accident was not my fault.
I was treated for possible spinal injuries which meant the ignominy of being strapped to a board and lifted out through the back of the car.
An ambulance had arrived, and by the time I was put in it, I realised that my chest and ribs were not okay. Apparently shock does that – you focus on the bit that hurts the most, and just don’t notice everything else!
The rest was like something out of a movie.
Being put in the ambulance, loaded up with painkillers, seeing the hospital only by its ceiling tiles (I was not allowed to move, and was strapped to a board for hours), having an MRI, being poked with myriad needles as my veins weren’t cooperating. The nice doctor apologising for all the needle marks. The nurse who stroked my hand and told me how well I was doing. The hospital volunteer who texted people for me because I couldn’t move. The receptionist, who turned out to be a minister herself, inviting Mr G and I to stay with her.
It was the most horrible day of my life. And I was alone – except for the amazing hospital staff, but you know what I mean. My Mil and my children were home in Pleasant Point. There was nothing they could do, and I didn’t want to worry the kids. Mr G couldn’t get to me until about 7:30pm that night – he’d had no choice but to stick to his original flight from Tauranga. His ministry school kindly organised a rental car for him.
It wasn’t until Mr G arrived until I finally burst into tears. I had survived a high speed crash with only two fractured ribs, a prolapsed spinal disc, and several bumps and bruises.
I was determined to carry on to Akaroa, which turned out to be a good thing as I had three days without my children trying to jump on me.
I had never been to the beautiful, french-influenced village of Akaroa before, and I loved it.
Despite my injuries, and the painkillers making me sleepy, I made the short walk to Akaroa lighthouse. It was a warm, sunny day and I just felt so incredibly grateful to be alive.
I said many prayers of praise and thanksgiving that day.
The awful terror I’d had, where I honestly thought I was about to die stayed with me for several days. I am still very twitchy in cars as a passenger, and now I can drive again, I am naturally very paranoid about any roads that have trees shading them. I can’t wait for warmer weather to arrive so I can relax again!
But several weeks on I am almost back to normal. My bruises are gone, and my ribs are almost mended. Life goes on.
If you are one of the people who sent me a message of support or a card, or cooked us a meal, or prayed for me, I’d like to tell you just how much it means to me. Thank you so much.
If you are a pray-er, would you please pray for Mr G? The poor man has had to look after an injured wife, whilst grieving for his father, trying to sort out the estate, plus working, study assignments, applying for a new job (his internship finishes at the end of the year)… It’s a heavy load to bear, although he’s doing it with his usual humour and grace. But prayers appreciated just the same.
“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Let me publicly confess that YES, I am a Bon Jovi fan, and I have nailed that song many, many times during karaoke sessions. And by nailed it, I mean I sounded like a dying cat. Sorry, Jon.
But lest you think I shall be blogging about how totally awesome mullets and acid-washed jeans were, the name actually refers to the new situation my family and I are in – knee deep in church ministry. My husband, who will now henceforth be called ‘Mr G’, decided way back in 2011, that he felt called to become a minister for the Presbyterian church. After much blood, sweat and tears, two kids, more tears, lots of sweat and maybe a little blood, he added a qualification in ‘knowing lots of stuff about Jesus’ to his long list of qualifications. Mr G is sole-charge of a sweet little congregation here in Pleasant Point, as he completes a two-year process as an ministry intern. You can call him a not-quite-Rev, but I prefer ’embryo parson’ (shout out to all my Cold Comfort Farm fellow fans).
I am the ‘not-quite-Minister’s wife’. My kids are the ‘not-quite-Minister’s kids’. Gulp!
Living on a Prayer also refers to the fact that Mr G has taken a huge pay cut to become a minister, and he’s the sole breadwinner for now. My long-time followers will know that I enjoy living a frugal lifestyle, and am looking forward to the challenges that our new life will bring. Relying on God to provide – really, truly relying on God – isn’t something this pair of middle-class, educated folk have been used to, and it’s been a humbling realisation for Mr G and I. So you can expect me to continue sharing my frugal doings – and I hope also sharing stories of God’s provision for our family.
So how’s it all going?
After the.most.hideously.stressful.move.ever, thanks to our terrible moving company, I arrived in Pleasant Point ahead of Mr G and the kids, with broken belongings and high blood pressure. I was scooped up into the arms of the lovely church ladies who sheltered me for a night, helped me unpack, fed me, and generally soothed my blood pressure back to normal. One lady had even made my kids presents as her way of welcoming them! Folks, THIS is what church is all about. THIS is what they do well here.
We’ve settled in. The people are nice – I already have friends! It’s a pretty spot, surrounded by more pretty spots, which neighbour upon some of the most gob-smacking scenery on the planet. Needless to say, I’m enjoying life here immensely.
Here are some observations I’ve made:
If you call this place Pleasant Point, you are immediately flagging yourself as an outsider. Pointsiders (I just made that up, umm, Pointers? Pointizens?) simply call it ‘Point’, as in “Yeah, my kid goes to Point Primary, ” or “I grew up in Point.” Timaru (the nearest big town) is called ‘Town’.
No, they don’t roll their ‘r’s here. I’ve checked. But the local cafe does make a mean cheese roll.
I suck at predicting the weather here. I have no idea what it’s doing. But, I don’t feel bad, because clearly neither does the weather. In one week it was so hot I considered taking up residence in our fridge/freezer, immediately followed by needing to dig out my winter coat and wondering where I put the matches to light the fire. In ONE week!
The people here are mostly hard-working, practical farming folk. See that lady in her 60’s walking her dogs? Boom! She’s actually 93. That middle-aged man lifting bales of hay? Boom! He’s 86. True story bro. They don’t want to talk about your feelings or your latest hippie venture – it’s not that they don’t care, but there’s work to be done.
I am not merely an older mum here, I am frigging geriatric! Most mums here are blond, pony tail sporting glamazons who were clearly child brides, because I’m pretty sure they’re all 23. Either that, or I seriously need to get the number of their botox provider.
It’s like everyone remembers New Zealand being in ‘the good old days’. I’ve been here two months and know loads of people. People know their neighbours. There’s little crime. No graffiti. No hoodie-clad teenagers misspending their youth. You can leave your bike outside a shop without fear of someone nicking it. It’s safe enough to ride a bike here. CHILDREN PLAY OUTSIDE AND RIDE BIKES WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION. Because it’s safe.
Point has all I need. Point may only be home to about 1,300 people but it has two schools, a health centre, a bike park, a hairdresser, public swimming pools, a supermarket, a pub, a dress shop, a cafe, a taxidermist’s, a railway museum, several playgrounds, scenic trails and more. And I can WALK to it all.
So walk with me as we navigate our new life in Point. At the moment Mr G and I feel like kids dressed up in suits and ties – our new roles don’t quite fit right, but we hope by the end of the two years, they will.