Wednesday, September 30, 2009

new perspective

I started writing in a journal regularly last summer. I did so after heeding the advice of a songwriter who made the point that songs are inspired by observations, feelings, life...just write and when you look back on the details of your life, you may be able to pair a melody with some parts. So I bought a journal, taught myself how to sit still, and started writing.

This simple, newly formed habit has changed my life.

Really. When I write I am honest with myself, to myself. I write about my hopes, dreams, struggles and defeats, fears, doubts. I also write out prayers & lyrics. Although my incentive was to start working on writing music, I fell in love with the freedom & simplicity of just writing and even if a song never comes from the pages of this journal, I won't regret having started. I don't often write when I'm happy-go-lucky and 'all is well in Rachel's world', though I need to...I'm prompted to write more when I'm either really inspired by something, deeply moved, or when I'm feeling contemplative, indecisive, faithless, or stressed. It seems that writing, for me at least, sorts things out and often leaves me with a better grasp, and certainly more perspective on whatever situation I find myself penning.

Inspired by my friend Allies blog (link can be found to your right @ the top!), I've decided to start writing a few more posts that reflect upon what I'm feeling, learning, understanding, and how I'm growing & changing. Up until now I've mostly shared with you my experience moving to and living in New Zealand. While I will definitely continue posting all about life here and the adventures I find myself in, I really want to share some more personal, candid moments as well. I think as humans we long to be understood, and when we're bold and honest about our lives & can share it with others who are able to relate, there in lies the connection of the human spirit! This is why quotes become quotes, stories become stories, and heros become, share, inspire.

To kick off this new journal-like blog post is a quote posted by another friend that really resonated with me.

Happiness is inward and not outward; therefore it depends on who you are and not what you have.

So True.

I love you all,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sitting on a House and a Dog

So...for the past 2.5 weeks I've been dog/house-sitting. This is one of my most favorite things to do. There's something fun & exciting about living in someone else's house. It's like a mini-vacation except that you never leave your city. In fact, your house is just a few minutes away but because you're on your own 'vacation', you put that in the back of your mind and make a point not to go home unless it's absolutely necessary. These past couple of weeks have been filled with runs along the ocean with Wendy the dog, weekly walks to the nearest little town for groceries and movies, taking advantage of the amazing scenery for photo-opps, plugging in my ipod to the big stereo, turning it up loud & dancing, dragging a chair into the bathroom with my acoustic guitar because the sound is amazing in there, cooking, baking, and candlestick making. Just kidding about that last one. I also spent the time learning how to drive a manual car & I also learned how to make coffee. Yes...up until now I've just purchased the liquid magic, oh but now I would consider myself an ameteur Barista. You'll see...the machine I learned on is at the top of the totem pole, not just your average appliance.

It's been eventful, peaceful, relaxing, and fun. What's even better is that this is where I get to come everyday during the week to care for 3 cute-pie little boys. While it won't be nearly as quiet, it'll be adventurous, entertaining, and filled with jumping, crashing, loud boy things. So thankful I am for this home...

Here are a few pictures from my time here!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Eternal Ocean

"Can you imagine what it is to cross an ocean? 
For weeks you see nothing but the horizon, perfect and empty.  
You live in the grip of fear. 
Fear of storms, 
fear of sickness on board, 
fear of the immensity.
So you must drive that fear down deep into your belly.
Study your charts,
watch your compass,
pray for a fair wind, 
and hope.
At first, it's no more than a haze on the horizon.
So you watch.
You watch.
And there's a smudge,
a shadow on the far water.
For a day,
and another day,
the stain slowly spreads on the horizon.
by the third day you let yourself believe,
you dare to whisper the word.
a true adventure coming out of the vast unkown,
out into new life."

Quoted from the film 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age'

This portrayal of the ocean as an image of eternity is so beautifully written.  We live our lives not knowing what's next, not knowing what's on the horizon; yet we must take each step with faith, walk through our fears, and hold on to hope.  Life is our ocean.  Sail on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Buses & Such

Before moving to New Zealand I did quite a bit of research on the Country and each of it's larger cities.  Taking into consideration location, population, culture of the city, and my personal interests, the country's capital Wellington won hands down as home base.  Giving it just a little bit more of an edge was their public transportation system...I would be living without a car for an entire year!!  Here are a few facts from
  • More people use public transport in Wellington than anywhere else in New Zealand
  • About 26,000 people commute into the City every working day
  • 28% use public transport compared with:
    * 18% in Auckland 
    * 9% in Christchurch 
    * 10% in Australian and North American cities on average.
  • 11% of Wellingtonians walk to work

All a part of the adventure...I was excited to have to find my way around the city using the buses and my own two feet.

An adventure it has been!!  Figuring out which stop to get off at (thankfully the drivers will tell you if you ask!), which buses to transfer if needed, timetables, maps, and ticketing.  The system here runs like a well oiled machine, it's quite amazing.  I've only made one fumble so far in grabbing the right bus number but in the wrong direction.  I waited at the stop across the street from the one I needed, rode the bus ALL the way through the route, ALL the way back, THEN to where I needed to go in the first place!  I missed my transfer by a long shot, wasted an hour, and forked over $30 for a taxi.  I gave the bus driver a good chuckle & took away from it a lesson in direction!  Taking the bus has forced me to slow down, give myself plenty of time, and is  what I like to call 'conveniently inconvenient'.  Sure, if I had a car I would get to where I need to be quicker...but I'm not here to be anywhere quick.  Quite the opposite actually, I'm here to slow down, think, enjoy, discover. 

Once you get off the bus there's usually some sort of walking involved in getting you to your final destination.  Some bus stops are right outside where you need to be and these are always fun.  There's something special and celebratory about being able to hop off the bus and be where you need to be!!  Something we take for granted having our cars to zip around everywhere & DRIVE-THRU to get what we need!  Wellington is the City of Harbours...ohhhh, but it's also the city of WIND and HILLS.  Since more often than not the bus stops a good 5-10 minute walk from your destination, your pretty much guaranteed a good workout everyday for free.  No gym membership required.  This is what a day looks like walking through/to/from Wellington:  up stairs, up a hilly street, shortcut down a hillside through bush, downhill along a curvy road, flat...for just a second though, zig zag up a steep pedestrian road access, up stairs, up a hill, down a hill...BAM you're there!  Then when you're done...walk back.  If I don't return home with a nicer bum than when I left something went terribly wrong!!

You'd think that not having a car would give me less freedom, but it's really given me more.  I've been round and round the city which has made it quite easy to remember landmarks and find my way around.  I don't have to worry about traffic, gas, car insurance, locking my keys in the car, or getting the oil changed.  My heart appreciates all of the walking.  I can listen to music & podcasts while on the bus.  I'm learning to appreciate the importance of time & that it is not something to be wasted.

Next time you're in a city that uses public transport try it out!  Or, consider parking in the area you'll be spending your day and walk around to all of the places you need to go instead of driving to each parking lot.  Just a thought... :)