Category Archives: life

worst blogger in the world award

Goes to me right?

I thought so.

Here are some random facts to entertain you for the next month. *sigh* I will get better at this I promise.

  • I currently have 8 windows open on my laptop. Of those 8 windows, one is called All About Cannibalism, and one is called Ancient People, The People of Ireland. I will let you make your own judgement calls on this one.
  • It rains in Australia. A LOT. Like, a lot a lot. So much so that I actually forget I’m in Australia until that freaking bird starts up at 5am and reminds me, that no birds in New Zealand ever sounded like that, ever and none of them were rude enough to do that noise EVERY DAMN MORNING!!!!!! I’ve never hated a bird before in my life…UNTIL NOW!
  • I got a job working at Ollie’s cousin’s dessert cafe. It’s so much fun! And so full on, and at the end of the night, they feed me dessert! This does not bode well for my waistline, but it certainly bodes well for my tastebuds and my sanity and my mental health. You probably don’t understand this, unless you’re a dessert person in which case, I don’t need to tell you anything else.
  • Now that I’ve spoken about that bird, I am imagining I can hear it barking/grating its nails down the blackboard/screaming/burping in my ear. If I had to describe its noise, that would be it. You have no idea how much I wish it would die. We were looking up buying an air gun, that’s how bad it is! Alas…these are illegal in Australia, but slingshots are not!
  • Back to the weather! Right now, it’s raining so hard I’m  having trouble keeping my eyes open. It’s also massively windy. It’s like mother nature is having a really bad trip at her rave party and crying and throwing up everywhere. *rubs her back and holds her hair out of the way for her*
  • My writing is coming along, very ponderously. Slowly does it. That’s the way. But I have a feeling its about to start picking up again soon. I can’t tell you why…because my husband is very private about things and would prefer I didn’t tell the world he just got a JOB!
  • Whoops. How exciting though!!!! He starts on Monday! YAY!
  • Oh! And I cut off all my hair. New beginnings and all that. I feel very Marilyn Monroe some days. When I manage to take a non-derpy photo, I will share it with you.

Eventually

What am I doing?! Not a lot internet. Not a lot at all.  Nothing particularly interesting. It’s all been about settling in here, finding our feet, working out routines, trying to figure out how to be a full time writer and actually, you know…writing.

That’s been quite hard, because things have not been as exciting here as first imagined they’d be. Life is pretty much the same as ever, except the ground here is solid and unmoving which makes a lovely change.

My book is currently with my editor and instead of writing other things, I’ve been reading and procrastinating. I also got myself a part time job at Ollie’s cousins dessert restaurant, which is amazing, full on and a lot of very scary fun. It’s nice to do something different and see other faces.

Hopefully we’ll settle into a proper routine some time soon, because that’s my biggest problem really. No real routine. Eight months on, we’re still figuring it all out. I do have to say, Australian winters are amazing. It’s cold here, but cold in the sense that you need to put on a jersey. I’m not sure that this place understands what frost is. It has certainly never heard of snow. Thank god!

It does however, know what rain is. Rainy Australian days are the most beautiful days in the world. I love them so much.

Our lovely little house turns out to be not so lovely after all however. Too hot in summer, too cold now it’s winter. Our loft sucks for sleeping…it’s very disappointing on quite a few levels. I really, really miss having a proper bedroom. We’ll be moving again at the end of the year. I guess this knowledge sort of ends up making it feel very impermanent here. Like we’re just waiting until the real stuff starts.

I had a lot of hopes and dreams for our move here, and so far things just haven’t worked out that way. I keep being promised that they will – eventually, and I’m so tired of that word. Still, the eventually’s always do work out in the end. Eventually we were going to leave Christchurch – we did. Eventually we’d start doing things we wanted to – we are. Eventually, we’d travel – we did. Eventually we’d make a new start in a new country – we are.

Eventually, things will sort themselves out, and those eventually’s will turn into now’s.

Eventually. *sigh*

Ironman

The conversations your kids have with you when they get home from school are the best. I always thought once they became teenagers, they stopped talking. This is not true however. There are days when we barely see them, and then there are other days when they talk so much that you’re tired by the time they’re through.

My kids have a very strange relationship with their father. Well, let’s be fair now, they have a strange relationship with both of us. But sometimes it’s really fun to sit in another room quietly and listen to what they talk about with him.

The other day, Siobhan came home and Ollie was ironing. He bought a new iron recently and he’s very proud of it. I don’t do this weird and obscene chore. It seems like the most ridiculous thing in the world to me, and since all the things that need to be ironed are his shirts – ironing became his chore.  Anyway, he’s taken a real shine to his new iron, and irons everything. And I really mean everything. Siobhan had been out there having a really good detailed discussion with him when she went quiet for a minute and then said with a very perplexed and amused tone: “what are you doing?”

“Ironing.” he says.

“Why are you ironing the tea towels?”

“Because…”

“Are you ironing our UNDIES?!”

Yes, internet. My husband has started to iron underpants.  Only his own actually, which is rude. We are very amused by this and when I asked him why, he replied with “do you know how nice it is to put on a pair of freshly ironed underpants?”

Well no. No actually I don’t – because HE DOESN’T IRON MINE!

Fresh

DSC_2002This is my life right now.

I used to hate going grocery shopping, and to be fair, I still do. But the Adelaide Markets have made this less of a chore and far more of a pleasure.

I’m the first to admit that I get a little anxious in crowds. I don’t care for it really. I’d rather not have to be in places where there are a lot of people. I’m impatient and I always have a plan. I go out with a purpose and when you go to the supermarket, you are always held up by people with their trolleys who don’t seem to understand that some of us have better things to do with our time, than wait while they spend an hour choosing which toilet paper they like best. For your information, I already know which toilet paper I like best, and I get very cranky if people come home with the wrong kind (it never happens anymore).

But the markets here are just such a pleasure. There’s so much to see and do, and try. I’ve eaten so many strange things here that are probably very commonplace for most people, but which were virtually impossible to get in Christchurch – especially after the quakes.

I decided last week, that I wouldn’t make a list of what I want to get, and that I’d just go and get whatever was on special. I came home with a giant bright yellow melon (of which I’d never seen before), rock melon, avocados, red peppers, pineapples, onions, kale (my new found favourite green vegetable), pumpkin, potatoes and mushrooms. I’m just making up a lot of things as I go. We’ve been eating a lot of soups which I’ve been madly creating buy just throwing things into the pressure cooker and hoping for the best.

I think my favourite so far has been curried pumpkin and potato with coconut cream. I’m making it again tonight with red peppers thrown in too.

I know. It’s all very exciting! Aside from food shopping and dance, there’s not a lot else going on in my life!

Except writing. Oooh ooh oooooh! I’m so excited about my writing!

 

On bravery and editors.

Look! Two posts in one month! I know, you’re very spoiled. I hope that you’re paying attention to how much I love you all.

I realised what my real problem has been in terms of finishing my book. I got lost. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and couldn’t stop thinking about all the plot holes and the many things I wanted to say but hadn’t. That has been making finishing the book extremely hard. So instead of waste my time idling away days in the way I have been (playing computer games, sleeping in, rolling around like a slug watching tv and angsting over life, the universe and my place in it) I did something about it!

I took some serious research steps and starting thinking about what it is I really want. What I need to do and how I’m going to get there. I read and read many different blogs and sites and learned all about the different kinds of editors and what you’re supposed to do, and how to get published and where to start, and I contacted an editor.

A pretty big name editor. An editor who I’d been reading about for some months and who I’d decided was way out of my league. Why, I wondered, would someone with such big name authors under his belt want to work with little old me?

Anyway, I left a question on one of his posts, and he replied! So I emailed him and told him my story idea, and felt pleased with myself for being so brave. I never expected to hear back from him at all, but an hour or so later, there in my email….is a response! A positive response! A ‘please send me your manuscript’ response!

Oh my gosh! What? Totally taken aback I sat there making weird noises at Ollie, and eventually worked up the nerve to send off my manuscript. Two days later he got back to me and told me that he’d like to work with me, and I rolled around all over the place in shock and surprise and total excitement.

He had a lot of things to say, and I’ll be meeting with him early next month to discuss where to go and how to fix the very many things that have gone wrong in my novel and I am so excited! I was starting to doubt myself and to have someone who has worked with some very big names out there tell me my ideas are good and that he’d like to work with me is such a huge boost!

I’m super proud of myself for following through, even though I was certain that someone of his caliber wouldn’t take me on. This being brave business suits me, I think.

Good job Kelly!

I am really bad at this blogging thing Internet.

I think it’s just because my life is uncommonly boring at the moment, which is odd, since I have moved to a new country and one would imagine that my life is full of riveting things to tell you. I’m not sure what to say in response to that, except that…it kind of isn’t.

Same shit, different city really. The thing about having decided to write full time is, I don’t have any hilarious work place stories to share with you. Because I’m working from home.  So I’m going to talk to you about how that’s going.

Most of you know that I’m a huge procrastinator. I found this great post by this super interesting guy called David. He wrote about procrastination on the Thought Catalogue. He writes: “It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth.” – It’s a great read, I encourage you all to go on over there and read it.

Anyway, I have been using my neurotic self-defence behaviours to protect my sense of self-worth for quite some time now.

I am so close to having the first draft of my novel done. Like, seriously close. What happened is, way back when I decided to really give this a proper go, I worked like a demon on getting the ending written, and then hated every little bit of it. It was a total cop out. It was a forced ending to a story I wasn’t entirely sure how to finish, and it made me really frustrated and unhappy. But I was finished right? So it was all going pretty well.

That meant that I could realistically take myself back to the beginning of the novel and start to fix up a few typos and errors and all those boring bits that repeated themselves. But the whole way through, I’ve been unhappy with the ending. So I deleted the whole thing when I made my way back there, and am currently in the process of rewriting it.

It’s great, I’m liking it, and I hope you will too. It doesn’t feel forced any more, and it’s working itself out into a slow progression of proper endingness. I’m happy with it. I am enjoying writing it. So, why am I still procrastinating?

Good question.

I got back into it today, and I was checking out the last time I’d written anything on it. I’d been very impressed with myself for having finished a chapter and having written another good 1700 odd words. The date was 14 March and I sat here today, congratulating myself on having written so much only four days ago and then getting back into it again. I was quite surprised that those four days had felt so much longer than they really were.

And then I checked the date and realised that today is actually the 18th of April, not March and it’s been an entire MONTH since I last wrote anything! Ahh procrastination. Ahh the joys of working from home! Days all blend together and the next thing you know, a whole month has gone by and you’re still procrastinating over finishing your work. It’s really hard you know. I love to work to deadlines. As much as I always say that I don’t, I do. Because I have always completed my work by the due date – well, on the due date. Usually with only a few minutes to spare.

The problem is, I’m only responsible to myself right now, and I am the Queen of irresponsibility. For goodness sake, I had my first child when I was 19! I am far more likely to get up in the morning and decide to spend the day faffing around online, playing computer games and if you’re lucky, baking something less than extraordinary.

There’s also this dog…for the past two weeks, it’s barked incessantly from about 9am to well after sundown. Every damn day. And, now it’s the school holidays, so the kids are home. And, Ollie’s home all day everyday too. I have housework to do, and people to feed, and music to listen to and gardens to pretend to work in, and spiders to imagine are lurking in every crevice. Oh, you have no idea how exhausting it all is!

Yeah, see? Are you seeing my problem now?

I have a feeling that once I have this first book out of the way and thrust out into the world for people’s reading pleasure/horror, this whole writing thing will become a little easier. It’s just this first time, you know? My fragile self-worth is completely tied up in this first novel, and I’m scared to death that it’s not going to come out reading like all my hopes and dreams.

So it’s a lot easier to sit and procrastinate on it, and wander through life blissfully doing all manner of other things.  But I promise it’s coming. I’m about two and a half chapters away from having this end completed. It reads really well, I’m happy with it.  I’m giving myself a couple more months to go through the second and third edits before I start handing it out to beta readers and once I’ve gauged an opinion, I’ll be working towards finding an editor – I have three potential people here in Adelaide I’m considering right now, and then hopefully, hopefully it will be ready to release into the world.

Thanks for sticking with me. You guys are all awesome.

Much love
Kelly x

Django Unchained: a vignette.

I need to get better at writing here. So I’m trying something new. I read a quote by John Berendt the other day which struck a chord with me. He said: “Keep a diary, but don’t just list all the things you did during the day. Pick one incident and write it up as a brief vignette. Give it color, include quotes and dialogue, shape it like a story with a beginning, middle and end—as if it were a short story or an episode in a novel.”

It sounds like fun, so I figured I’d give it a try.

Sometimes I read the time as I imagine it to be. I thought the film started at 1.30, it actually started at 1.10. It was too late to make it by the time Ollie checked up on me to see if I was wrong, again. We both know I usually am. So we decide we’ll see something else instead.

Driving half way across the city in 35 degree heat, our conversation inspired by the judgemental stares that heavily tattooed women receive and Amina’s bare chested protest against the continuously misread patriarchal view of Islamic sharia. Topics as heated as the weather outside. I watch the train tracks stretching in each direction, dry lawns, browning trees and the bright contrast of rainbow coloured birds in an otherwise stark landscape. People run around in the sweltering mid-March heat and I consider how lucky I am to be married to a man whose views match mine.

We arrive with minutes to spare. He asked for tickets to Django Unchained, pronouncing the D. I look on in pretend horror as the guy serving us hands over our tickets and pronounces it correctly without missing a beat. “It’s Django!” I say as we walk away, “the D is silent.” He realises the joke a little into the film, as Jamie Foxx repeats the line.

The theatre has five other patrons. It’s my favourite kind of theatre experience. I haven’t seen a Tarantino film in years. I know what to expect. I think back to the first one I ever saw. Heavily pregnant with my first daughter, my father and I made a weekly date to see a film together. This night, I chose Pulp Fiction.

I was hooked. Tarantino is a genius. We laughed and were shocked and talked about it for a long time afterwards. The lights dim, the theatre is ours, we’re at the back and the armrests can be lifted. I lift mine and curl up beside my husband.

We’re not let down. The film is pure genius from start to finish. It ticks all my boxes. It’s funny, it’s dark, the losing side wins. I have to shield my eyes from the screen a handful of times and the music is perfect. Tarantino’s cameo is possibly the best one yet.

When we leave the theatre, the mall is cool. The doors open and hot air floods in. It’s a backwards experience for me. For a moment I’m confused, and then I remember I live in a new country now.

To This Day

phillip

 

When I was little, we moved into a house in a newly developed neighbourhood. It was just an average neighbourhood with some state built houses and some private built houses. I guess you would say that it was the lower side of the middle class range. Every house on our street was occupied by young families. It was just one street really. Built into the side of a hill which at the time was full of empty lots and provided ample space for all of us to explore and make huts and set up boundaries where only our groups were allowed. We ran wild in the streets until well after dark, Lord of the Flies style.

There were no shortages of kids to play with. I was one of the younger kids – my siblings both 6 and 9 years older than me were in a different stage of childhood than me – not that that stopped them from letting me tag along and be part of their groups.

There is a strong hierarchy in built into childhood. A ranking of how cool people are, of who is worth playing with, and who isn’t. A solid foundation of bullying that no one really takes any real notice of at the time it’s happening, because being mean is so fun for those who are the ones being mean. They don’t really stop to think about what their meanness does to their victims, not at that age. It’s all just a game.

I had a friend growing up called Phillip. He was one of the kids who wasn’t considered cool. In fact, he and his brother were probably the two kids most picked on in our neighbourhood. We’d have ‘wars’ against neighbouring kids. It was always really serious, and I never understood it. I remember being told off by my fellow allies when I’d cross enemy lines to play with someone new. “You can’t DO that Kelly!” “You’re on OUR side, you can’t just SWAP SIDES!”

“Why not?” I’d ask and always be greeted with “because that’s not how it works.”

But I always wanted to know WHY. Why wasn’t it the way it worked? Why couldn’t we all get along? Why were people so mean to others? I never really suffered anything other than exasperation at my constant defying of the rules. My siblings protected me.

Phillip was the oldest of two boys in his family. He was a year or two younger than I was. Every one called him Shit Lip – it rhymes with Phillip, see? The things they said about him were awful. They accused him of having dropped his little brother on his head, causing his little brother’s “slowness”. I never knew if that was true or not, but I liked Phillip.

When everyone else was gone, I would go to Phillip’s house and I remember knocking on his door and being scared of his father’s reaction. I never really understood why his father would storm to the door looking as if he was going to beat the shit out of whoever was knocking on it – until quite recently. Whenever he saw me, his face would soften and he would smile and ask me if I wanted to come inside.

Phillip’s mum made the yummiest cakes. They gave me juice and fed me sweets and Phillip and I played happily together for hours.

As we grew older, the taunting still happened. I don’t know what school he ended up going to, but it wasn’t mine. I don’t know if Phillip was a victim of bullying at school as well as when he got home, but I do know that we just sort of drifted away from each other and I never really thought much about him.

I remember those days I spent with him pretty fondly though. I remember the feeling of pleasure I would get whenever I defied the rules of our war games and played with the kids we weren’t supposed to play with. I remember how hard my mum worked to make sure I didn’t join in any teasing. I don’t actually remember this photo being taken. I don’t remember Phillip coming to our house much. I know he was pretty scared to leave his property at all because of the way the hoards of kids would taunt him. Calling him Shit Lip, telling him he was the reason for his brother’s slowness. They made up cruel poems about how it happened, and I listened to it all and wondered why.

About 10 years ago, Phillip committed suicide. He’d climbed high up into a tree and hung himself. High enough that the search team never saw him. His father had been going out with them every day to try to find him – this day he happened to look up.

Every time I think of Phillip, I think of how hard things were on his parents. His mother was such a sweet and quiet woman, I never saw much of her aside from when she came to give us cakes. His father always seemed like such an angry man, but I have absolutely no doubts that he was the way he was because of how the neighbourhood kids treated his boys. I remember being told of the arguments his parents had, and now I think I understand why that was. Of course they were fighting, how could they not be?

Those stories turned to his father too. How he was such a bastard, how badly he treated his family, about the yelling people would hear coming from their house. I think about how kind he was when I came to play, and how welcoming he was. How much he loved to see my face at his door and to see me playing with his son. I think about how he must have looked when he found his son hanging from a tree at the age of about 24. Of how helpless Phillip’s parents must have felt because of a bunch of mean kids who saw weakness in their son and exploited it. Of how much pain and humiliation Phillip went through in his short life.

I wonder what sort of man he’d be now, because he was a fucking sweet boy who never complained about how the other kids treated him. He never said a word to me about it. He was always willing to play my imaginary games and keep me company. We mostly did the things I wanted to do, and he played my games without ever complaining if they were too girly or boring. He let me into his life and became an important part of mine.

I always regretted the fact that we drifted apart. Going to different schools and having different things in your life will do that I guess. It hurt so bad when I found out he had died. To have gone through such callous and horrible bullying and to only find one way out is intolerably cruel.

This one is for you Phillip. For you, and for all the other countless people out there who were and are being bullied. There are always people who love you. People who want to be your friend. People who will look past the cruel things that other people are saying and see the real you. I’m sorry it wasn’t enough.

Thank you Shane Koyczan for being such an incredible voice for those kids who don’t have one of their own. x

it’s just a different style of living

I’ve been reading a lot lately. A LOT, a lot. As in pretty much everything I can get my hands on. Cook books, novels, short stories, blogs, biographies, poetry, websites, the backs of food cartons and even some instructions. I KNOW.

I think it’s because I’m having trouble actually focussing enough to sit down and write. I do a little bit, but nothing that’s actually thought provoking or creative. Just general chatty stuff and a lot of moaning. It’s really hot here in Adelaide. I don’t know why I didn’t expect that, but I really didn’t. I figured I was a heat rat. You know, the kind of person who did better in warm climates. I’d been living in Christchurch for 16 years. I spent my entire twenties and half of my thirties there. Before that, I’d been in Nelson, and a teenager. My life consisted of a lot of weekends spent swimming at the river or in the ocean, and basking for hours in the sun.

Christchurch was a completely different environment. It was mostly grey, and we were never close to a beach or any rivers that were worth swimming in. I had small children, I didn’t drive and I was coming to terms with how different my life was from what I’d imagined it would be, in a city that seemed grey and cold. I’ve never really found it easy to make friends, and because I couldn’t get around all that easily, it was pretty tough. So the idea of moving some place warm filled me with total joy!

Don’t get me wrong, it still does. I love the fact that there is so much sun here. That I can go to the beach and actually get IN the water because it’s warm enough to do that. But I still wasn’t really prepared for just how hot Australia is. My mum said something the other day, it seems simple enough, but I tend to get lost in my own whining and forget I’m an adult. She said “it’s just a different style of living”.

I don’t adjust all that well to change, but I was definitely ready for one. The past two years were strange, and interesting, some of it was awful, some of it was amazing, but it was time to move on and everything kept pointing towards the fact that that’s exactly what we needed to do. Australia didn’t seem like such a big lifestyle change. It really is though.

I had a lot of plans. I was going to start being a morning person for one. THAT hasn’t happened. The problem is, we don’t really have a bedroom here. The loft, which sits over the kitchen and living area, is all open, so it’s not particularly quiet or private. It is also so hot that Ollie and I have probably spent about 7 nights up there since we moved in. Our bedroom is mostly the lounge. This sofa bed lounge suite is most definitely one of the best things we thought about doing. I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have a bed to retreat to on these hot nights. It’s not very easy to get to sleep, so those extra hours in the morning are still as important to me as they ever have been. *sigh*

It’s taken a lot more time to settle in than I thought it would. And as much as I adore this little house, it just doesn’t feel like home. It belongs to someone else, there’s no easy way for us to hang pictures, and it’s hard to really make it feel like it’s ours – when it isn’t. The heat is oppressive too, so we can’t really have people around yet because you just sit in here sweating like you’ve just run a marathon! Never imagined I’d ever say this, but I am so looking forward to Autumn finally catching up with us and cooling down this place. I’m not used to sleeping in my own bed! That’s crazy talk to me! I’ve slept far more often on the sofa bed than I have in my own bed.

But in saying all of that. I love it here. I really do. Things are a lot more accessible in this city. It’s only a 10 minute bike ride to the city centre which I wasn’t sure of at first, but now I really love. And when they say that Adelaide is the 20 minute city, they’re not lying. Pretty  much anywhere you want to go is only a 20 minute drive away.

The food here is to die for too. It’s all so fresh and so easily accessible. I’ve tried foods here that I had never even heard of at home. I’m sure we had it, but I have no idea where you’d have found it. Here, you just go to the markets and it’s all there.

I feel bad that I complain so much about the weather. I am sure that our poor family members think I hate it here. It’s not that at all. I just got used to the cold I suppose, and we’ve been stuck in the same rut for so long that breaking some of the habits we’ve formed has been incredibly difficult.

I needed to figure out how to work through this exhausting heat, and that’s what I’ve been doing rather than any real writing. I’ve been working out a lot and trying to change some of the extremely bad and damaging habits I’d sunk into, with some really amazing results.

The last time I went to the doctors in NZ, I was overweight, had high cholestrol and blood pressure (something I’ve never had in my life – my blood pressure has always been extremely low), and I was pre-diabetic. Insulin resistant. It was actually pretty devastating to realise what kind of a state I’d let myself get into over the last couple of years. I gave up my blog..I turned away from a lot of things and people I cared about and never really realised just how depressed and stressed out I was.

Now that I’m away from all of that, I can look back and see why I did the things I did. Since we moved here, I’ve started to do more, I’ve changed my diet and I had a range of blood tests done a few weeks ago. When I went back for the results, everything…EVERYTHING came back normal. Normal blood pressure, good cholesterol levels, good sugars and I’m losing the weight I gained. In the course of two months, my health is back to normal. I literally cured myself from becoming diabetic!

I’m really proud of myself actually. I was pretty down about my health, and I fixed it, just by having the opportunity to think about what I’m doing to myself, instead of worrying about what was going to happen next.

I’m looking forward to being able to put more energy into writing now. Because if I can do that for my health in this hot little house, then I can do anything! *flexflex*

22 February 2013

It’s been two years since the 6.3 aftershock hit Christchurch, tearing my family’s world apart and almost claiming the life of my husband.

For the two weeks building up to this date, I have felt a little off. Not myself. The heat hasn’t helped, but I just couldn’t understand quite why I was always on the verge of tears and desperate for my own company and no one else’s. Nothing I did could shake the lump in my throat and the feeling that I was just about to cry, and then my dad called and said a few really thoughtful things which made me realise what was going on.

It’s strange to me that I still don’t really have a complete handle on my own moods. I know when I feel sad, or uneasy, or scared but I don’t know why. It all made sense and I just let it happen. Let myself feel those feelings and took deep breaths.

I had been missing Christchurch a lot in those few weeks. I felt like I should be there again. Like I wanted to be there, but I didn’t really. I spent the couple of days leading up to the 22nd thinking about what we should do. I wanted to do things that I knew Ollie would like. As awful and heartbreaking that day was for me, he’s the one who almost died. It should be a day where he got to do the things that he liked.

I wanted to share some photos with you. To show you how far we’ve come.

2011-03-11 13.57.01A couple of days after he was pulled from his building. I’ve never seen my boy look like this. He took it of himself – I can’t remember why. There was a reason. Just before we left Christchurch we met the fireman who helped save his life. It was a surreal and amazing day. To be able to hug the man who is the reason the person you’ve loved and spent the last 16 years of your life with is pretty incredible. He told us that Ollie was only moments away from losing his foot and they had to put everything into getting him free.

It was pretty amazing to listen to him tell his side of this story. He remembered so much that Ollie wasn’t able to.

2011-03-18-11.30.58At home in his hospital chair that helped support his broken pelvis. Game controller in hand. We had to put sheets over it because it was so hot he was sticking to it.

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A couple of months later, the company he worked for held a memorial at the building site. They had pulled it down by this stage, and we were the first ones in to see it. It was very difficult to stand in front of an empty space where his building once stood and to remember the ten people we lost. I think it was harder on me than it was on him, because it was the first time I had really seen for myself that all of this was real. I had the proof in front of me of course, every time I looked at Ollie, but you sort of blank it out, you don’t really consider the reality of what happened until you’re confronted with something like this.

It’s been a long couple of years following all of this, and it’s hard to believe just how far we’ve come. Now we’re living in Australia and life is completely different. People are different, the weather is different, the birdsong, the insects. It’s only one country over, but it just feels so very different here.

We’re moving on and settling in and coming to terms with a whole new life. We’re taking our time and enjoying ourselves together and just letting things happen as they’re supposed to. On the 22nd of February this year, we took to the city on our bikes.

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This is mine. I love it so much, you have no idea! I’ve only ridden it twice because of the heat, and it is still missing it’s basket as yet (although I have a feeling that will be delivered today! YAY!), but I just LOVE it. It’s so cute and easy to ride. I was stopped in the city by a guy who wanted to know all about it. As soon as people see it, they love it. It’s just the most adorable thing in the world.

Our day consisted of riding through the park opposite us in order to get to the city which is only about 8 minutes away where we had lunch at a cafe.

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Mine was a Thai noodle salad with coconut water, and Ollie had a mushroom pizza. It was SO good! And then we continued on through the city to the Art Gallery where we wandered for awhile looking at the exhibitions. Some of which I have to admit were extremely horrific and kind of terrifying. One was the carcass of two horses stitched together and hung from the roof, one was the statue of a dead man with a bird eating his penis – a rendition of the first sight Siddhartha had when he left his palace, and one was a very intricate and detailed model of Nazi war. Skeleton Jews hanging Nazi soliders, beheading the corpses, violence and death and in the centre Ronald McDonald figures in a playground. It was intense and interesting and the more you looked the more you saw. I wish I could have taken a photo of it. It was so disturbing but totally brilliant all at once.

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We carried on down to the river after this and saw birds there that looked suspiciously like Pukekos! On the way back – all uphill, my bike chain came off and a lovely woman stopped to help us get it back on. By the time we were cycling home, I was almost dead and the heat was stifling. We had a few hours relaxing and playing video games together, before we headed out for dessert at Eggless Dessert Cafe – Ollie’s cousin’s restaurant. It’s a gorgeous little place and all the desserts are to die for! Their menu changes each month, and we’re pretty sure we’re going to be some of those regular customers who end up in there once a month to try their new creations.

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This is such an awful photo! But I had to include it, because it was so much fun to take. I used my cellphone and no one was happy with the outcomes, so we ended up taking FOUR and were completely blinded by the time they were over, which explains the slightly stunned expression on our faces.

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Peachy plum and salted caramel crumble with my most favourite drink in all the world – Morrocan Mint tea! It’s to die for and it’s vegan! So very good.

A far cry from how we spent that day two years ago.

Kia Kaha Christchurch. For sixteen years you were my home. I miss you dreadfully sometimes.

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Ollie’s building site as it is today. It’s so beautiful and green and peaceful. Hard to believe what took place there only two years ago. Thanks to Greg who took the photo on his way home that day. We love you. xoxo