Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas!

What I learned in 2009!

“Life is Short - Live it

Love is Rare - Grab it

Anger is Big - Dump it

Fear is Aweful - Face it

Memories are Sweet - Cherish them” -

from a chalk board at Tree Crop Farm, Akaroa, NZ

Happy Christmas to all my friends. Its been such an amazing 2009 and I wanted to send thank you’s and photos of some of the highlights! Most of all I wanted to express my gratitude to all of you and to the universe!

January 16th was my last day at Royal Arch Masonic Home having worked there for 7 years. People were so generous with their words, gifts and celebrations. I feel so fortunate to have ended my career on such a positive note, still enjoying my job and good health. Yes, I might have to work again but not planning a “career” job!

Removing myself from my apartment in Kits was the next hurdle and thanks to sister Gillie who is the Packing Queen, my belongings left for a Courtenay storage unit. I then cleaned 23 years of hidden grunge and still managed to be on the plane for New Zealand on February 1st.

Starting on the South Island I explored by plane, bike, foot, bus, boat, car and train reaching as far south as Dunedin and to Cape Rienga, the NW tip of the North Island. I had a 3 month visa. It was an amazing country with fabulous hospitality, no scarey animals, snakes or people to worry about and it had a feeling of gentleness. I stayed mainly in the hostels that are abundant as well as being hosted by friends and friends of friends. There were so many wonderful people who made my experience so memorable and I shall always remember them and hope that I can offer the same sort of gracious welcome to others who might visit me in my home.

To survive in our troubled world we must learn the way

to love and care, protect and share

From Auckland I flew to Perth to meet up with my childhood friend Peter who I hadn’t seen since we were both 16. He was a wonderful host and I based myself in his home, strategically placed on the south shore of the Swan River, across from downtown and on one of Perth’s extensive bicycle paths. For a month I explored the SW corner of Australia on my bike, the fabulous beaches, caves and forests as well as taking the train to Kalgoorlie, an old frontier gold mining town which is once again thriving.

I returned to Canada for 10 days before heading off to England to see Mother and family and friends. The 6 weeks included a week visiting cousin Jane in the south of France and friend Marion who lives close by. I was treated so well and loved the contrast of cultures I was exploring. A highlight was seeing the Tour de France as it sped through a village in the Pyrenees.

England was as lovely as ever and I enjoyed having time to have a more relaxed visit than the usual rushed holiday of 2 or 3 weeks, though the time still seemed to whiz by. I managed to see most family and friends and enjoyed getting up to Yorkshire and down to Hampshire to see Margaret who was my flatmate in Cambridge 43 years ago. Now that realization makes it evident that I am not as young as I feel!

August 4th was the day I moved into my home - anticipated for the previous 6 years and 1,550 sq.ft. instead of the 600 I was used to, it’s a duplex(semi in other parts of the world) with garden to develop. I’m loving everything about it and enjoying being in a smaller community that feels to me more gentle and closer to nature. Certainly there is lots to do, great cycling, mountains to explore and lots of friendly people with similar interests. It is great to live close enough to Gillie and Murray to see them regularly and, other than that many people think we are twins and Gillie is more than 3 years older than me, all is well!

I’ve enjoyed having lots of friends visiting since I moved and it is exciting to show them my new home and new life. I hope others will come and explore my new space and see the joys of retired island life! There are daily flights into neighbouring Comox!

My friend Joyann gave me this great quote of Albert Einstein’s before I left on my trip

“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving”

Wishing you, me and the world a year of balance, movement, peace, gentleness and

grateful hearts and a year of good health, good fun and good friendships.

Special thanks to all my family and friends for giving me so much to be grateful for.