So maybe one post per season is a more realistic goal for this whole blogging thing. It’s gone from spring to summer, and from 2013 to 2014, since I last wrote. Interestingly, my comments on the conundrum of routines seemed to have had some effect, as this year I am trading in my safe kiwi lifestyle for a move to Taiwan, where I will spend two years learning a new language, a new culture and a new way of life. In two years, I’m sure that I will establish a new routine, particularly given the structure required for language learning, but here and now the fact of not knowing what that routine will look like is terrifying. What time will I wake up? Who will I meet for coffee? Where will my daily errands take me? How will I know that what I’m doing is the right thing?
The last question is an impossibility, I think. However, it is a reminder that while change is exciting, the lead up to change is interspersed with periods of panic. No one really knows if any particular decision at any particular time is the right one – it’s more a case of closing your eyes, jumping, and making sure you land somewhere (anywhere) solid. At the moment, I’m still climbing the ladder to the diving board, head-filled with possibilities of falling and breaking my neck, but once I jump I’m sure that all will be fine.
A new country and a new routine might mean a new blog. Perhaps even one with more “purpose” such as eating, drinking, shopping, running – all those commendable activities about which the internet provides an inferiority-complex-inducing library. While I have nothing but (slightly intimidated) respect for such things, there is also something quite fun about rambling into the void. On verra bien.
Before completely ditching the premise for this blog, however, a thought a bit more retrospective musing might be appropriate. And, for lack of anything more original, the “this time (last) year” format will have to suffice.
– This time last year I was finishing my summer holiday with my family: reading books and swimming in rivers in the evening with my sister, when the sun was less able to burn but before the mosquitoes were out in too much force. I was thinking about the end of university, the case I was working on over summer, international investment arbitration, the start of a new job and a potential “career”, re-establishing in the city I grew up in, possibilities. I was eating apricots and nectarines and sweetcorn and drinking Rosé (but not that much, still recovering from New Years’ celebrations in Paihia). I was smelling the burnt grass of Wairarapa summer and the decaying Christmas tree in our lounge.
– This time the year before that I was in France, having returned from Paris, where I had been for the New Year, to Lyon, to sit an intimidating exam and pack up life there before moving on to the next adventure. I was sad to leave but also excited, packing up my things into overpriced boxes addressed to a destination I didn’t even know how to pronounce. I was tired: of long train rides, nights studying, the daily struggle of not being able to express yourself in the same way as you do in your mother tongue. I was eating croissants and drinking 2 Euro wine like I thought they were going out of fashion. I was cold, but wary that where I was going would be even colder, and there wasn’t any room in my baggage for coats. I was wandering the streets, trying to soak them up for one last time but also distracted by the prospect of the next adventure. I had my eyes closed, and I was crouching for the jump.
– This time the year before that I was just back from Mexico, after a month of travel and discovery and a departure that was much more difficult than anticipated. I came back to New Zealand to a mixture of celebration and mourning, quite unexpectedly (although it shouldn’t have been). I was still tanned and free spirited from the Mexican sunshine, and although I hadn’t wanted to leave, I was pleased to be home. I was explaining my acquired vegetarianism, the relative price of Corona, and the delights of Spanish grammar. I was sad, but I was energised.
This year I am recently returned from a quintessential New Zealand summer holiday, and contemplative. I am wondering why I keep leaving, when things are so good. I am attempting to go back to work, but struggling with the flu. I am itchy, from sunburn acquired at northern beaches, which will soon start to peel. I am eating scorched almonds (that enduring Christmas present) and drinking tea with homegrown lemons. And I have just finished a book, “How it all Began”, by Penelope Fitzgerald, which finishes with some rather wise words:
“An ending is an artificial device; we like endings – they are satisfying, convenient – and a point has been made. But time does not end, and stories march in step with time…These stories do not end, but they spin away from one another, each on its own course”.