"Here we are again" is a phrase we've used a lot over the past year in relation to COVID lockdowns. I'm using it here for another reason. After writing my Caravan of Selves Blog posts up to June last year it seems a pity to wait another two years before I'm old enough (!) to write the next episode. So "here we are again" or at least here I am again!
A Blog is a funny thing. It is halfway between private journal entries and very public FaceBook posts. I've missed Blogging, because for me it is a place to keep track of the most important things I want to remember. FaceBook is good for instant moments and photos but (for me at least) not for longer reflections on deeper things.So I begin again by copying most of the Christmas letter I sent out at the end of 2020. I find Christmas letters a great way to remember the highlights of a year.
2020 will be a year to remember…
The Covid 19 pandemic has influenced almost everyone on the planet in some way. It would be wonderful if love, joy and peace would spread as globally as the virus. Perhaps that is still possible. When we choose to nurture love, joy and peace within our own hearts it permeates in ways seen and unseen.
We began the year with a wonderful cruise around NZ for seven days. The weather was perfect and the
cruise took us to some of the most beautiful places in our amazing country. Milford Sound, Akaroa and
the excellent Waitangi visitor centre were among our favourite places. Little did we know that all too
soon cruises would be off the agenda for some time. We look back with great gratitude.
|Welcomed onto the Marae at Waitangi|
Since that carefree beginning this year has been dominated by unexpectedly selling our house and moving into Evelyn Page retirement village!
The timeline and circumstances of this are quite remarkable. For 18 months or so we had been
researching possible options for when the time was right to make a move. So one Saturday in February we went to an open day at Evelyn Page village. One of the show apartments was a sunny north-facing apartment with double aspect and both bedrooms opening onto a balcony. We thought it would be an ideal layout if one like that was available when we were ready to move. On Wednesday that week one of Anthea’s supervisees (K) mentioned her son, Andy, and wife and two children were looking to buy in Orewa. They wanted a house pretty much like ours. We explained that we weren’t ready to move just yet – partly because we would need to find an office space for our work. However if the family wanted to look through our place we were happy for them to come as long as they knew it wasn’t yet on the market. On Thursday K texted Anthea to say she and her husband would like to offer us an office space in their home near the beach in Orewa, if/when we did sell ours! On Friday Andy with his wife and children came to look and immediately said they loved the house and would like to buy it if they could!
We were quite shocked but also aware that something amazing was happening. We made a quick return visit that day to the apartment we had seen a few days before to make sure we still thought it suited us. It did, so we put a hold on it. On Saturday we got an updated appraisal on our house from agents we had used a year before as part of our research. Then on Saturday evening we did all the price negotiating with Andy by text message!! We came to a very happy agreement. On Monday we did the paperwork for the sale of our house and the contract on the apartment.
|Our living area|
So within the space of a week we had sold our house, been offered an office space and put a contract on the apartment we are now living in! All along we had said “We’ll know when the time is right to move.”We certainly didn’t have any doubt!
All of that happened just before Covid really hit NZ. In a few weeks NZ went into five weeks of total lockdown. This is not a great time to be packing up a whole house, getting rid of at least half our furniture and many books, linens, crockery and other things we couldn’t bring to a small apartment! Of course we couldn’t have anyone come to help with heavy lifting! Op Shops were closed and no-one could come to view or pick up things for sale. It was tough! I found it very stressful physically and emotionally. But we made it. Ponsonby Baptist Church is linked with CORT (Community of Refuge Trust) which houses over 400 people. CORT took all our excess furniture. Women’s Refuge were able to take all our excess linens. These were both classed as essential services. It was wonderful to know that what we couldn’t keep was going to people in real need.
The settlement date for moving was 7th May. As the Covid situation continued we thought that date
would have to be extended. But amazingly moving house was possible when Lockdown went down to
Level 3. This happened ten days before settlement date! It’s almost a “too good to be true” story. But it
is definitely true and we have been living here now for seven months by the time most of you read this.
Of course there are adjustments and settling in to be done with such a move. But we have found both
residents and staff here to be very warm and welcoming. In fact we feel quite spoiled! A great advantage
is that we are literally “just down the road” from where we lived previously. The environment, shops and
services are all familiar. We are very happy and grateful.
The Election has been another major feature of this year. We are so blessed to live in New Zealand! Our
Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has become a world renowned figure in the way she has managed the
pandemic here. The landslide victory of the Labour Party in the election is, in part at least, due to this.
Throughout her whole 3 year term Jacinda has modelled, and called us, to be a culture of kindness, compassion and inclusiveness. There is much hope for “peace on earth and goodwill to all people” under such leadership. But it takes us all to make it happen. Jacinda repeatedly
called us “the team of five million”.
|Doing my bit in the "team of five million"!|
Family news includes the joy of new birth and the challenges of aging.
My niece Lydia and husband Phil are the proud parents of an adorable son, Oscar!
|Oscar Andrew Miller|
Anthea and I between us have five siblings (plus spouses) between the ages of 75 and 84! Supporting
where we can and observing the reality of various levels of need, makes us very grateful we have been
able to move here before we have significant health or disability needs.
Over the summer we plan a few days in Tauranga before Christmas to visit family members and four
days of retreat at the Tyburn Monastery on the outskirts of Auckland. Apart from that we will enjoy day
trips and “support local” – which is not difficult to do in this beautiful country!
None of us know what 2021 will bring but hopefully we will all be ready to enjoy each day with gratitude,
trust and love.