Sunday, 10th January, 2016.
Our last day of just sailing for five or six days; tomorrow morning we will be at Bay of Islands in New Zealand. We do not have a shore excursion booked but rather decided to just get off and explore. I am looking forward to that. The last time (and only other time) that I was in New Zealand we did not come this far north. It was in July 1998 for Airds High School’s Band Tour. And every time I think of the tour I instantly associate the memory with rebellious piercing behaviour (nup, can’t let it go Trace and Mel – hope you are both reading this bit – and Gida, I haven’t forgotten you either).
Ah, memories … like the corners of my mind …
I set myself some homework whilst I was cruising. I have decided that signs can always be read in two distinct yet opposing ways, rendering them unreliable when you are relying on them for some answers. I have decided to keep stock of the signs and see which side is heavier at the end.
I have almost finished reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. I spent most of yesterday reading, digesting, percolating, and today needed a break from it. I have highlighted it and made so many notes, setting myself mini-tasks to do as well as highlighting sections that I think would be great for professional learning for school (bad enough I set homework and tasks fir myself on holidays but to also be focusing on setting other people work – atrocious hehe). And Sara, I think you would enjoy reading this book; it’s one of those books that make us better thinkers and ultimately, even better people (like Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic).
The water is a divine blue today, almost purple. I have taken a photo of it against the pale blue sky but I don’t think the photos do it justice. I could do worse than my current workstation too. They change the day in the lifts every day. At first, you have a giggle and think it is cute. By Day Two, it is a necessity. Time is not the same on a cruise as time at home. Trace and I wanted tickets to one of the ice shows so we had to set the alarm this morning, with the change in time due to travel, we were robbed of sleep. But we got our tickets. Oh, and the alarm was set for 8.
I slept reasonably well last night. The motion of the ship swaying is soothing; however, yesterday morning I awoke after a restless sleep due to an insane dream. I have always wanted to surf. I am completely uncoordinated so this is a highly unlikely goal of mine. It is the freedom, and the being at one with the water that I crave. You know when the wave curls over and the surfers glide through the hole (pipe?), well my dream had our cruise liner going through that at an amazing speed (yep, was a gigantic wave) and we were at the front absolutely loving it and yahooing our way through. From both sides we were being inundated by buses, cars, and all sorts of other unlikely things, some forcing us to pull on the brakes and slow down very quickly; fortunately, we never hit anything. It was excitement actualised for me. Loved it. James was convinced it was a premonition for a tsunami that would wipe us out.
I think not.
I’m dodging around Brene. At the moment it has raised more questions than answers for me. The questions it is prompting centre around my motivation for becoming a foster carer, as well as pushing me to focus on the purpose of my life: what do I want to achieve and what do I want to spend my time doing.
Part of the questioning process is forcing me to think about whether I am hiding within the fostering, trying to belong to a world that I have never felt fully connected to (I have always regarded myself as different, a bit of a freak – I being the key word there). Am I more scared of being normal or of being abnormal? Am I defining my life and my successes by what I am not rather than by what I am? As a foster carer, will I be able to achieve all of my goals or am I restricting my ability to achieve all of my goals? Which goals are more important to me? Have I grieved my infertility (for want of a better word) journey? Is fostering a balm for that wound? As I said, more questions than answers.
But at least I am finding the courage to ask them.
Monday, 11th January, 2016.
When remembering the day and date, even from yesterday, requires real concentration.
I woke at 7.30 this morning to a phone call. Tracey asked me if I was awake (yep, I am now) and ordered me to go to my balcony.
By the time I unlocked and pulled open the door, what had been happening outside of her room was happening outside of mine.
The tender boats were being dropped and the pilot was being picked up. But most importantly, a pod of five dolphins was playing in the water.
The balconies of the boat were lined with people oohing and aahing.
The view here at Bay of Islands (I keep going to call it the Bay of Pigs) is phenomenal. I have never been this far north. It’s gorgeous. The horizon line marks the purple water we came in from and the water here, shallower, is back to blue/green. Hills face us on this side and rocky outcrops pepper the water, not quite icebergs.
Tracey said that in the inlet ahead of us, masked by the hills, there is another bay with houses cutely lined up as far as you can see land. I wasn’t awake when we came in. Dark clouds are rolling in from behind the hills and the sun is gallantly fighting them off, gallant but futile.
We do not have a shore excursion booked here so I am looking forward to a couple of hours of beauty and exploring. Off to breakfast …
The sun won. On our way back to the ship in the tender boat it became very obvious why New Zealand is known as the land of the long white cloud. Straight ahead of us, spanning the entire length of the horizon, like a curtain, was a long white cloud, protecting Paihai (pie-here) from the rest of the world. Paihai, place of the Waitangi Treaty, is beautiful, picturesque, gorgeous, worth visiting, should be on your bucket list. I would come here again. The Australian equivalent would be Airlie Beach in Queensland but the Maori are treated much better here than the Aboriginals in Australia. There is a true and consistent acknowledgement of Maori heritage and culture here, decades ahead of Australia. Or there appears to be.
Today was the first time Tracey has set foot on the soil of her homeland in thirty five years, and the first time Dave and the boys have set foot on foreign soil. So appropriate that Tracey’s introduction of her homeland to them is their first overseas journey. We had to mark the moment with a photo. They were all under very strict instructions to let me off first so that I could capture the first steps of the family moving forward together. Needless to say, two of the four (I’ll leave it up to those of you that know them to work out which two) “forgot” to follow my instructions. After some quick and firmly barked instructions the photographs were taken and the moment marked.
Tracey managed to coerce me into having a couple of formal photos taken on the ship last night by emphatically stating that when I die I will need a variety of photos in the obligatory powerpoint/film for my funeral. Yep, she did. And yep, it worked. Similarly, today’s photos will become iconic in those times for them too (I hope).
I seem to be getting back into connecting and attuning with crystals. Today I was drawn to Opalite (a man-made stone: opal dust in glass) at the markets here (real markets). This stone encourages one to explore within and all around to learn that even the most unimaginable life goals can be reached, they do not just have to be dreams and Opalite brings peace to all, it is a very beneficial stone to keep in areas where peace and serenity are needed. There are more, equally pertinent. I am going to start using crystals and stones again. I have decided.
Oh, and I got burned; sun definitely winning. Our shuttle bus driver informed us that this is the place that the impact of the ozone layer is felt most acutely. I had read on our information that the UV rate is 8. I probably should have looked into what that actually meant … oops, my bad. Thankfully I brought aloe vera gel.
Tonight after dinner, ice show and then comedian (adults only) – Gordon someone. Last show here before he disembarks and heads to Australia for a tour. Now I have forty five minutes of reading before I shower for dinner.