I’m writing this blog entry, not because I have anything sensational to say, but because I feel so guilty about neglecting my website.  Apart from the Sustainable Development News I haven’t written anything for months.  I had imagined my progress would be better than this.

I must admit though to feeling a little disengaged.  For those of you who don’t know, I moved to New Zealand recently.  A very stressful experience that I won’t go into.  I am now ensconced in my new home and have been here now for a total of six weeks.  Long enough to stop moping about the cold weather and get on with writing?

I had forgotten how weird it is to move to another country, especially given that I’d been in Australia for ten years and the same house for nine.  I was expecting culture shock, as has happened every time I’ve moved country, but there isn’t, not in the same way as when I was younger.  The people here are lovely and caring, the scenery is outstanding, the weather, well, that’s pretty shit… the only substantial downside.  So I don’t feel unhappy, this time it’s more about a feeling of being lost.

Back in Australia, I was well-established, I had (have – they’re just a bit further away) fantastic friends, I knew where everything was and what products I liked at the supermarket.  Now I have to re-evaulate almost everything I do.  It’s quite energy sapping… but that might be too melodramatic.   I only feel a bit adrift and this brings home to be how important our society, our community and a sense of place, belonging, is to us.

I managed, in the first couple of weeks, to purchase new terracotta pots (made in Italy) and potted some fresh herbs – a must for cooking.  I have discovered a small organic shop that has a fair range, but nothing like where I came from.  A good example of how population and consumer demand or consumer power affect availability of goods.  Going from 500,000 to 50,000 people is a big change in the scale of economies.  But there is obviously a demand for organics and I’m glad for the choice and I will support them when I can.  There is a VERY small farmers’ market on Sunday that is not well attended.  I have only been once and must get back to compare (maybe I went on a slow day).

Today, I finally got my spinach, rocket and cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage) planted into the garden.  We’re renting a furnished bach by the ocean – it has ocean and mountain views, quite stunning on a clear day – and there is, happily, a vege garden here that the neighbours have kindly allowed me space to plant in.  The soil looks fantastic, rich, dark and friable and nothing like the sticky clay in my Australian garden.  I hope everything will grow like a weed.

Now I am writing this on the couch as rain squalls pass by, interspersed with sunshine, watching the naturalised European Goldfinches forage in the grass and the occasional Blackbird digging for worms.

Tonight we will have NZ rump steak, NZ Brussel sprouts and NZ home-made potato fries washed down with a nice drop of NZ red.  A good Friday night meal.  I am finding the range of veg available at the supermarket is good but much of it is from Australia, which does surprise me.  I would have thought NZ could grow round beans, for example, and capsicum.  Some things that NZ does grow are interesting.  Lovely persimmons, at a good price too, and aubergine/eggplant, not a good price at this time of the year.  A lot of the dry goods are also from overseas.  I have some learning and research to do.

On Monday I start a new full-time job, a new direction and not related to sustainable development, but one has to have an income to pay the bills… so that will also affect my time available to write.  I remain committed and am waiting for the passion to burn again.  Once I feel more at home here I’m sure I will be back. Right now I’m off to make yummy home-made muesli

Categories: Blog


smiley · 08/08/2014 at 8:22 pm

I felt like I was on holiday for the first 6 months when we got home. Mostly for the same reasons you mention I think…. Nice people, beautiful country, no roots. Been nearly a year now and we’re fully ensconced in our community and are blessed with family close by. So a lot of what you say resonates. The passion to work has returned and it’s very community based which seems more important to me now, especially being based in a small rural community. Of course the kids lives have me signing up to committees and fundraising, all of which I find enjoyable and satisfying. Hubby did some work and got paid with fire wood and home kill beef, and we offered to hand rear orphan lambs for our neighbour, which we are all looking forward to. You can imagine the contrast from where we have come from. So lucky to have such a variety of experiences. I’m enjoying reading about your journey and look forward learning more as you do your research and as you prepare to re-bed those roots of yours (I’m very impressed with my gardening puns). welcome back, enjoy x

    Rochelle · 10/08/2014 at 7:03 pm

    Hi 🙂 Thanks for reading my post about nothing and for taking the time to sharing your thoughts. It’s nice to know I have company in mine.
    It sounds like you have a great community around you, so important for getting people to care about each other and where they live. Good on you for immersing yourself in it. You are totally right, the contrast to where we have come from is stark and brings home all the more the pleasure in being around good people and a nice environment. Part of life’s experiences and lessons… “the unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates.

    P.S. There is a relevant article in today’s newsletter you might be interested in, “Can money buy happiness?”.

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