It’s the morning of christmas eve, 2015. A natural time for reflection. This time last year I was in a buddhist monastery just outside San Francisco. I spent the evening there reading, and sometimes repsonding to, the 200 plus emails I had received after my Mum died. It took eighteen months to actually look at them; these things take time.
My plane took off on christmas eve and landed on boxing day. I lost christmas entirely (and deliberately). And came home to our new house, and Andy, complete with smile on his face. Our first christmas in our home, suitably chilled and wonderfully relaxed.
This now is our second, and we’re much more settled, whatever that means. Andy’s parents are visiting for a couple of months and yesterday an itinerant sailor friend appeared for the festivities. In a few days, another good friend we met on our travels – from Chile – will rock up for New Year. Having spent so many years living out of bags and taking advantage of other peoples’ open door policies, it feels great to be able to return the offer. That was my only need for a house really: if we’re going to have a house, it has to have space for guests. Wonderfully, my Dad was the first to take advantage of this when he came to stay for five weeks earlier this year. Thanks to him, we now have a far better equipped kitchen than any I might have stocked!
Andy’s been working on the Spirit of New Zealand for almost two years now, and loves it. He really loves it. Sailing a tall ship and hanging out with teenagers, ten days on, ten days off. It’s one of the more tame? regular? structured? jobs he’s had, but also richer in so many ways. And feeds a fresh reservoir of stories to share every week! I’m still employed at Victoria University, in the Science and Society group, and I love that too. Our group is growing, we have fantastic students, and I have enormous freedom. So many academics complain about the workload (rightly) but we forget sometimes how good we have it.
I’ve also been enjoying changing shape lately. A few weeks ago I changed from elegant avocado to resembling something more like a cantaloupe. This week it’s definitely more watermelon shaped and I’m moving a bit slower. Hoping all goes well, this trajectory will lead us to becoming parents sometime in February. And a whole new adventure.
I’ve been pretty quiet about telling folk so word has got out mostly via family or people who physically see me. I find it strange how this information – unlike updates concerning most other changes in our lives – is something that the community at large (and at times really quite distant) feels a right to know, almost before we ourselves have come to terms with it. And through many years of not being pregnant, and actively enjoying being child-free (why do people not want to believe that – grrr), I always struggled a bit with the amount people talked about pregnancy and babies as though everyone was interested in them. (Although it turns out that quite a lot of people are.) So – if I haven’t told you but you wish I had, then the fault is all mine and my somewhat convoluted inside-head conversations – apologies.
Back to today, and christmas eve, a contemplative time. A day that Erika always loved and made special in our house. Smoked salmon, candles on the christmas tree, music…. presents! Lots of people out there will remember christmas eve at the Salmon household.
We’re really well. The future is about to burst newness upon us once again, which is exciting. Just as exciting (not more, not less) as every other change we’ve enjoyed in the past. And we still have our boat and lots of balls in the air, each holding a different dream of the future.
Wherever you are, sending you love from Aotearoa New Zealand.