It’s been a wonderful 3 weeks of holiday, and I really appreciated a break – life here is tough, that’s the bottom line, and I was quite exhausted and ready to breathe for a while…
When Mom’s Away, the Cat Will Play…
Before I share bits and pieces of news, I should give you an update on IJ 😉 Mr Indiana Jones had a fine time while I was away, and didn’t even seem to miss me! Apparently all he needs is people around to give him some attention, birds and mice to hunt, and the odd opportunity to sneak into some forbidden place and wreak havoc.
Fortunately he was better behaved than the last time I went away (that time he got wedged behind a cupboard and also broke a kitchen window!), but he has still gotten up to various capers in the last month, including but not limited to: getting himself locked in the laundry, refusing all food except tinned mackerel, watching Michael carefully potting orchids and then just as carefully uprooting them, sneaking into Michael & Nicki’s house and going on a merry romp on EVERY clean surface with his VERY muddy paws (!), throwing up half-digested lizards onto Nicki’s carpet, and sneaking into Sharlene’s house where he hid under the bed and he refused to come out!! Sigh.
However, IJ did score one big brownie point in finally catching the big rat that has been pestering our bins and composts. He kindly brought its half-eaten remains to Nicki, which maybe wasn’t so appreciated, but hopefully this heroic endeavour has redeemed him a little with my long-suffering neighbors…
Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud
My holiday trip was initially to Australia, but due to cheap fares and the fact that Sydney is so close to Auckland, I ended up tacking on a New Zealand leg to my trip! It was wonderful to spend time with my crazy, beautiful Italian-Scottish-South African family, and I felt so cared for in every way. They went out of their way to make my time at home sweet and comforting in every way. It was also very special to celebrate my 30th birthday with them, and to enjoy the memories and experiences we share as a “nomad” multi-cultural family unit 😉 They have been such a good key influence in my life, and I just loved being around them again. God truly blessed me with these special people, and as well as enjoying various adventures with them all, I appreciated the chance for some quiet coffee catch-ups with each one. I also spent time with my dear Nonna (Italian for grandmother), who continues to support me, write to me, and uplift me in prayer every day.
I also enjoyed cuddles with my NZ ginger puss, Shumba (an African word for “lion”), who is now 9 years old, but as fluffy and affectionate as ever. She and IJ have quite similar markings, except Shumba is much darker with no white – and IJ is much skinnier, still being half kitten 😉
After a quiet break in NZ, I headed across the ditch to Sydney where I stayed with my lovely friend, Rachael. She works part-time for Hillsong Church, and we went to several services and a small group – it’s amazing how spiritually uplifting it is to hear preaching and sing worship songs in the language that is familiar to my Western ear. Rachael also treated me to a very fancy afternoon tea for my birthday, as well as a “home facial/pampering session”! She also made sure I left well equipped with plenty of worship music and recorded sermons to listen to. We had so many good talks and laughs and she made me feel so at home…
After Sydney I went on to Brisbane, where I stayed with good friends, Karl (an old school friend) and his wife Melody, and their gorgeous children, Maia and Raylan. They took me to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and it was the most relaxing day trip I’ve been on! We wandered the beautiful natural surroundings, saw all variety of Australian birds and animals, and soaked in the leisurely walk. Then we went up Mt Coot-tha for a delicious cafe lunch overlooking Brisbane. The view was wide open and beckoning, and it was a brilliant sunny day – perfect for my last day!
SLEEP – seems a trivial thing to fret over, but I am already tired again after only one week back. There is a club 30m down the road from my house, which pumps window-rattling music all night, every night. There is no such thing as noise control here, and while we are currently trying to negotiate with local council to cut the noise down, in the meantime my compound in particular is suffering. Most nights I have very broken sleep, losing several hours at least, and often I’m forced to remove my earplugs and bear the continual affront of noise as my ears ache from wearing the plugs for so long.
HEALTH – needless to say, this affects my health! But a bigger health problem is the huge rubbish pile across the road from our fence. It is now the size of a small house, and with the rains and the rot, the decaying filth and the decomposing piles, the stench is overpowering. Every now and then the locals set a section on fire, which means thick black smoke, reeking of melting plastic, pours over the fence and into our compound.
Since being back, I have not opened most of my windows! I’m also hanging laundry inside, as putting it outside means that it soaks in the smell and gets covered in flies. These flies are also a health hazard, and they surround our doors in droves, hoping to get in. Sitting outside on a sunny day, opening windows to get a fresh breeze, and putting laundry in the sun are no longer options.
But because I don’t want to end on the exciting picture of a rubbish tip, here is a final picture – my dinner the other night 😉 Thank you again for your support, prayers and love. It means so much to me…