Self Discovery 

So, I have contacted the fostering agency and let them know that I am postponing the application/assessment process for six months to discover who I am. They have acknowledged this and informed me of the process if I decide to continue in six months. 

I had an amazing time away. I loved seeing different parts of New Zealand, and it reinforced for me how much more I love natural environments than city environments (NYC being the exception). 

We were having lunch one of the Sunday’s and there was a pod of dolphins playing behind the ship, swimming, chasing and diving. You can’t buy that sort of beauty. What incredible creatures my totem animal are. And I was blessed to see them like this, in their natural state, twice. Amazing. 

And the trip reinforced how much I love travelling. And how whole I feel as a traveller, explorer, searcher. I love the peace that I find within me. A calm that I don’t often experience in my real life, working life. I love having the contrast in my life. 

And I didn’t yearn for children. My fur family was at home, safe, being cared for by others. And that is enough. I loved coming home to them and missed them whilst I was away. 

I read Brene Brown. Two books. Daring Greatly has had a profound impact on me, and I am really practicing elements of her suggestions. 

During my IVF attempts, I often said that I could feel the process altering who I was, and believed that I would not be the same person I was when I started that journey. At times, I felt like this would be a loss, and at times, I think it was. 

However, today I see myself becoming more of who I have always had the potential to be. I think I am becoming more myself. Wholly myself. I’m not entirely sure who that is but I can feel subtle changes every day. 

I am living more consciously, more mindfully, more presently. I am thinking about things I would like to do and then expressing it, and following it up. I feel a sense of control is returning. 

It has taken a long time though. It’s been fifteen months since my last unsuccessful IVF attempt. That’s a long time to be drifting, and not be aware that you are drifting and not wholly living. But it was also necessary. 

I think sometimes we can all be prone to drift. To just stick to the same patterns and rituals, and not think about what we really want or how we really want our lives to look. 

Today, I feel like I am in the process of receiving a significant gift. I am moulding the life I want to be living. I have been given the opportunity to explore my life’s possibilities. I am taking stock and making plans. Today, I am enjoying this process of my life unfolding anew. 

Gratitude. 

And the cruise continues …

Today we are docked in Napier. Napier was felled by a earthquake in the nineteen thirties. As a result, the land rose by a couple of metres and extended into the sea by about the metres. When they rebuilt, offering nearby prisoners pardons if they helped, the town was built in the Art Deco style, maintained today in the main street. 
Interesting features include the beautiful colour of the water, pebble beach and the Six Sisters, a series of six old houses on the road facing the beachfront, named this way because six girls each received a house from their father. The houses are double storey cottages. Gorgeous. And the gardens. Amazing. Small and manicured but immensely welcoming. Part way down the main street bells are hosted in the garden and every half hour they play a range of children’s tunes. Beautiful. 

Tracey and I independently experienced a traveller beware moment as we walked from our shuttle bus. Mine happened first. I felt a prickle of danger and moved my phone from my free swinging hand to my handbag and pulled my handbag to my front. Thinking I was overreacting I didn’t say anything. 

Not two minutes later, Trace said to me that she didn’t trust a guy who was walking near us but she felt bad because she felt she might be misjudging him. I asked who. She pointed out the same guy. 

I shared my story and reminded her that her intuition is never wrong, especially when it comes to people of dubious integrity. 

Next time I’ll say something and trust mine too. 

Having said that, that was our first ick experience. We have met so many wonderful characters on this journey. New Zealand’s people are responsive to tourists and most have bent over backwards to ensure we have a great time. 

They epitomise what Australians were once renowned for. Before we became scared of everything slightly different. 

New Zealand Blog thus far

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 majesty!

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.