homesick

Lost my happy place. Seeking energy to find it!

I’ve lost my happy place.
The light outside is bright, but muffled through my eyes.
If I could be alone, I would just curl up & not worry,
But my ever present children make such thoughts pitiful & guilt fuelled.
I have dreams of crawling away (no strength to run), to no where in particular,
I feel like crying every moment of every day.
I bite my lip, blink back the tears, try to smile and respond,
But I’m trapped in a circle of fog.
If I could give myself a shake, like a dust covered rug –
I would beat out the dirt and hang myself in the sun to air.
But tired,  numb & lifeless, it’s easier to close my eyes on it all.

© Sarah Lee, Dec. 2013

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Linking up with lovely, poetic folk at –

Prose for Thought

Loving – Finding contentment in the moment, whilst aching for New Zealand

Loving the time my daughters are sharing together. I haven’t seen my oldest two so close for years and our youngest is loving the constant interaction of having her older sisters around.

Sisters close through time well spent together

Loving the natural flow of our days, where ‘fitness’ is a swim in the pool, a bike ride to the village or a run on the beach. There’s no classes to dash to, or planned events, simply time for the children to be together and fill their time naturally – which they do with wonderful ease. Though of course they are missing so much from their lives in Wellington, New Zealand too. Our eldest misses her dance classes, her school friends and neighbourhood friends, her choir and singing lesson. At the age of ten, her friends are her world. As much as this experience here is wonderful too, she is keenly aware of missing the continuity of her happy life that she enjoyed so much in vibrant Wellington. The other children miss their close neighbours and friends. I miss my support networks and the friendships that have built up over the seventeen years we’ve spent living in New Zealand.

Where we are, right now, is a beautiful place, but the energy required to make it feel like ‘home’ is HUGE. Yes the weather is incredible here in Santa Barbara – but really that isn’t enough to trade up life-long friendships for and our children’s happiness! I can live with wind – in fact it makes me feel alive (the horizontal rain in the wind isn’t something I miss – but ‘all-weather gear’ helps to battle that!). Yes, the financial rewards of staying and career opportunities for the man of the house are incredible – but again – family, above all else, is so much more important and no value can be placed on that.

Family

So, in the meantime, we are taking each day as it comes. The girls are making the most of this time together as sisters. There is learning happening – but the children don’t call it that, until I point out that the game they’ve invented using a bingo wheel is maths, the songs they have written are ‘creative writing’ and the designs they made on a fashion App is ‘visual art and design’. They play board games, argue on strategy, practice their English grammar with games like ‘Mad Libs‘. They ask for my camera to take photographs of the lizards in the garden, they ask to go to the Zoo, so they can learn more about snakes (my oldest), I walk in on them reading a book at leisure or watching a nature documentary (or Merlin – a favourite at the moment).

When weekends come round, and the man of the house is on deck, we visit museums and parks, and their minds glitter with new interest and questions. During the week we make the most of places in our locality, learning happens everywhere. In the evenings, after work, their Daddy asks them maths problems in the spa pool.

Our youngest is learning the way the others did at the age of three, fast and enthusiastically, moving from cutting and drawing, painting and sticking, to counting her toy trains and ponies, observing sizes and shapes, letters and numbers, full of questions about the world about her, the animals that share the earth and where we are ‘in Space’. She is the best, out of all of us, at living in the moment. She stops to notice the flowers and asks to ‘Pick for Mumma’.

Flowers for Mumma

She sits with me in the garden and watches nature. She sees the woodpecker on the tree and the butterfly gliding overhead.

Woodpecker

We are trying to make the most of the time we have here, trying not to dwell on the aches in our hearts. I spent the first decade of our lives in New Zealand homesick for England, before finally recognising that New Zealand is actually where my home is – however much I will always ache for certain parts of England and the people I love who live there. Right now, I have a feeling of home sickness for two countries! I really don’t know how long term trailing spouses with children do it. I have absolute admiration for families working in diplomatic posts of three year durations at a time in various overseas posts.

This experience, for me, with children, is not at all easy, but I know we will look back on this time, the photographs, the happy moments and forget the pain and we shall feel proud of ourselves for giving this a shot. I can’t say how much I feel proud to be a Kiwi by residency and have three New Zealand born children.

This photograph I bought, whilst in San Francisco, last week, holds a lot of meaning to me.

America's Cup

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Linking up this post with ‘Things I’m Loving’ hosted as ‘Catalina’s Cottage‘ this week

Missing our life in New Zealand

As beautiful as it is here in Santa Barbara, California, I’m missing so much of our home in New Zealand. People will say I’m ‘nuts’, since much of New Zealand is currently experiencing full on spring storms of destructive proportions, whilst the climate here is very easy to live with, but I love the ‘wild’ of our home in Wellington and need to have a fix of it – so am sharing some photographs of my home with this post.

Lyall Bay

I know I should ‘just get on with it’, ‘make the most of it’, ‘live in the moment’, ya de ya… but right now, I just want to have a moment to reflect on what I’m missing – and be happy knowing that this time living here is only temporary after all (so, yes, I should ‘make the most of it’!).

A larger reason for my melancholy is the ebb and flow of my children’s happiness – and right now, as much as they are fine in the house we are living right now, they – like me – are missing their friends and their home in New Zealand.

We’ve done with the darker evenings of winter and find our bodies ready for lighter evenings of spring, but the nights are drawing in fast here for ‘Fall’ – though it isn’t autumn like we know it. I cannot imagine not seeing the spring bloom of the Kowhai and hearing the trill of the Tui. Four seasons in one day, barely catching my breath in the spring winds.

The scent of the air, on Wellington’s south coast, and the roar of the waves in the bays, cutting through the rocks.

Island Bay

The crystal blue of the sky, that is a deeper hue of blue than anywhere else I have been.

The clarity of light and the amazing night skies.

The rich lush of the bush, with every hue of green, luminescent with vibrant life, from city to sea.

Wellington harbour from Te Papa, museum

The freedom to step out my front door and be running by the sea in moments, or through native bush in the town belt reserves. Sweeping vistas for miles around, distant mountains across the Strait, towering to the sky from the South Island’s majestic land mass. Fantails flitting around me as I run, matching my steps with every beat of their wings, searching for insects that my footsteps disturb, hoping for a snack, whilst I seek out a moment of time.

Rainbows aplenty on my southcoast runs

The cafes with views, the people that make the most amazing coffee and serve it with love. Friends that know us, no ‘getting to know you’, no explanations, just friendly acceptance, support and understanding.

Maranui cafe, Lyall Bay

It’s so tempting right now to jump on a plane back to Wellington, living on the edge in the beautiful shaky isles, where the weather always keeps you on your toes, never complacent, makes you feel so alive and appreciative of the sunshine between the showers.

Kite flying on Lyall Bay beach

Where the land is green and lush and the scenery is breathtaking. A place where the ground itself is forever moving, growing, changing, just like every cell in our own beings.

Kapiti coast