We surpassed the 6 month mark on March 23, 2022. Time is so strange. On one hand it feels like we have been here for years, but 6 months doesn’t sound that long at all. We also got our application in for residency, so hopefully in the next few months our visa status will change. So how are we at this mid-year check in?
COVID was handled very differently here, in that New Zealand pretty quickly locked down back in 2020 when it first hit. They stayed relatively free of it for the next two years, because all entry at the border was controlled, so it didn’t spread much in the community. It hasn’t been until this year that they have started to reopen borders and allow it to be in the community on a path to eventually allow tourism again. It’s been very interesting to watch, as it feels very much like being back in the US in March 2020. The community seems to be doing ok, but prisons are handled a bit differently. No one wants 700+ people sick at the same time, so things have been managed very strictly in an attempt to slow the spread. For me (and I would venture to say prisoners and staff alike), it’s been stressful and I will be REALLY glad when protocols return to pre-covid era.
My partner went from trying to find a job in a new land to starting full-time work and school at the first of the year. We are both busy, and feeling challenged at times with the intensity of it, but I think I can speak for him and I both when I say we feel we are where we need to be. We are trying really hard to still find time to get away from the daily tasks and explore our cool new country. We got lucky on a recent trip to the North Island where we saw glow worm caves, Hobbiton, geothermal parks, and took a boat ride to some natural hot pools. I look forward to getting to explore more on that island.
For some daily life highlights, I could tell you the story of how spiders seem to increase in autumn (since it is fall for us now). The other night, I went outside to take the laundry down after dark and looked up to see what felt like thousands (but was probably 10-15) spiders surrounding me in the rafters on my deck. Big ones with very large webs. The eerie red light shining through the webs (from the alternating colored deck lights we have) didn’t help it feel less horrific. My partner’s decision to come out onto the porch after witnessing my meltdown while playing “gangham style” on his phone only made it weirder. When I asked him what he was doing he said, “I’m trying to make it feel like a nightmare.” I think it was successful. Luckily, I don’t think they are poisonous.
For Easter weekend we plan to hike the Abel Tasman, which is one of the 10 Great Walks in NZ. This will be the first one we will do in its entirety (we got to do a day hike on another Great Walk over Christmas). We will backpack it in 4 days/3 nights. I am really looking forward to shutting off my phone and being out in nature. My soul needs that- especially when life gets more intense and my “energy tank” needs refilled more often.https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/nelson-tasman/places/abel-tasman-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/abel-tasman-coast-track/
Circus classes are going great too. In my intro to aerials course, I get to demo hammock, Lyra, trapeze and silks. It’s fun to get to try them all out to see which one I want to develop. I thought I was going to like trapeze, but so far I am leaning towards the Lyra. Next week’s class is silks, so we shall see what the verdict is after I have tried them all.
Partner acro is a ton of fun too. It always amazes me how they have us doing things much more quickly than I would imagine. In week two, I was already doing a handstand while my partner held me up by the shoulders (a move called candlestick) and some other things that made me feel like it was a quick escalation from my time in gymnastics as a child to doing them here as an adult while balancing on another person. I never felt unsafe, but there is a lot of trust, balance and strength involved. I’m really looking forward to our progression and growth as we do this together. I’m also grateful we have an activity outside the stressors of daily life that we get to share and cultivate together. Outside of work stressors (and stressors that come from watching the news), things here are pretty good.
I do have an exciting project in the wings, that is too soon to share yet, but I will as soon as it advances farther along. It’s a collaboration with a non-profit and we are coming up with something pretty exciting. It’s a reminder to me that life is a mix- highs and lows, ebbs and flows, good AND bad, all swirled together to create this complex thing called life. I look forward to sharing more in the future if things turn out the way I hope. Until then, I found an incredible documentary called, The Prison Within. It can be rented on Apple TV, Amazon, and a couple other platforms. It’s totally worth the watch.
Until next time. I hope you are staying safe, finding ways to self-care, and taking life one day at a time (while being gentle with yourself in the process). My motto this month has been the serenity prayer- it never ceases to be helpful for me: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”