Living in NZ has been mostly great. We miss our family and friends, and great Middle Eastern food, but all three of us have found things we absolutely adore about living in NZ. Mark is doing challenging and interesting work, and living a short walk from work has been great for us spending time together as a family. Mark gets to see Inigo both in the morning, and in the evening – in Sydney he was usually asleep by the time Mark got home from work.
Mark has also found a new choir to sing with, an octet that has paid gigs, and they are flying him down to Wellington for a gig next month. Exciting stuff.
Inigo has two rocking schools. Freemans Bay School is a lovely city school with loads of green space, a kitchen garden, the freedom to go barefoot and climb trees, and the ability to just be him, without the pressure to conform to anybody elses idea of “normal”. The school is very child centered, and Squishy is loving the freedom and personal power he gets from taking responsibility and ownership of his learning process. It’s not perfect, but he is a much, much happier wee beastie when Monday morning rolls around each week than he ever was about going to school in Sydney.
And then there is One Day School. A place where kids get to explore a new topic each week, with the freedom to apply their own initiative and resources however they see fit. Where the kids are guided and encouraged to explore the topic through their own eyes and methods. I can’t speak highly enough about what this experience has meant for Squish. He was already a great thinker, but he is gaining so much confidence and passion for learning, that he is wanting to do homework so that he can have more time at school for his projects.
I have withdrawn from university again this semester because the exam period fell exactly in the middle of when Mark’s contract here ended, and the uncertainty about where we would be living was very damaging to my ability to focus on study. So I have thrown myself face first into the Auckland (and greater New Zealand) fibre scene.
I have joined Creative Fibre, and attended lots of different groups. I have learned bobbin lace, and loom weaving, and supported spindling, and how to use a hackle, a drum carder, and now I have even bought a double treadle spinning wheel. And last month I taught my first class – “Unravelling Ravelry”. Some of you may laugh at the thought of me teaching Ravelry (yes, you Emily!), but i have come a long way, and the process of putting together the class notes taught me a lot. The class went brilliantly, and I am happy to say that the owner of the yarn shop has asked me back to teach two new classes. Learn to Knit, and Continental Kntiing both coming up.
Our tenure in NZ ends in about six weeks, and we have not yet reached an agreement with Mark’s employers that will enable us to stay here long term.
The stress, of course, is huge. On the upside, Mark and I have weathered some pretty rough storms in the past, and we are very lucky that we are able to communicate effectively and present a united front. We’ll get through this, and will be thrilled at the outcome. If we have to come back to Sydney, we get to have Summer and Christmas with our loved ones, Squish will be able to go back to choir and piano lessons, I’ll get back on track with uni, and Mark’s job will carry on, and I’m sure he will find another choir.
And if we end up staying here, you can look forward to lots of pictures of our travels around this lovely country, and more fibery adventures, and the joy of packing up a three bedroom cluttered house to move into a tiny two bedroom apartment. Joy!
So, on RUOK day, how are YOU doing? If your glass is only half full, can I help you top it up a little?
Swimming again, in the cold. This time, in Auckland Harbour.
Location:Vincent Street,Auckland,New Zealand
We’ve had a lovely weekend with my dad, sad to see him go home.
Location:Vincent Street,Auckland,New Zealand
With dad, while Mark takes Squish on the sculpture trail. Bless him.
A weekend trip to the snow. Apparently that fancy ski gear is actually useful. Weather is awful.
Hard to believe people enjoy this.
Mark has taken Squish (both of them are properly attired) to play in the snow a bit. Hopefully Mark’s pictures will be a bit more cheerful
I’m in the car, in my jeans and slip on shoes, knitting.
Location:Tongariro National Park,New Zealand
This morning Squish and I traipsed off to New Lynn to the New Zealand Association for Gifted and Talented education, for him to have a another cognitive assessment, with a view to seeing if the one day school was appropriate for him. The appointment was for 10am, and took a few hours, so we had lunch (and a milkshake) with daddy in the city afterwards.
He’s been offered a place, and I’ve been strongly encouraged to take up the offer. Apparently, he scored above the 99th percentile for reasoning, which means that the way he thinks is highly original (we knew that!), and that he is unlikely to ever fit well in standard school (we were starting to understand that too).
On the up side, from next term he’ll have one day a week of inquiry based learning, in a small class environment (about 12 kids per class), where he will be encouraged to engage however he sees fit. And he’ll be with his academic peers – which is huge – rather than having to wait until he’s at university, I am really hoping he’ll find a bunch of kids that really get him. And don’t punch him for being “eccentric”.
And if you’re wondering why I used the word “eccentric”, read this lovely piece by Amy Gray.
We’ve been watching “How to Cook like Heston”, and this was his choice of what he wanted to cook. Not macaroni & cheese, or even fondue. No – he wanted this…
Mix well, pot, and chill
Port wine reduction (or jam if you can’t be arsed, and you live in a country where port is considered to be for winos only)
Yesterday, a rainbow arrived in the mail.
Squish had told the lovely Helen at our farewell party that he NEEDED a rainbow scarf, and she asked for specifications, and knit this gorgeous perfection. He loves it so much, thank you Helen!
She also included in the parcel a couple of items from home I’ve been missing. Chilli paste, and Sard Stick. You rock Helen.
And this was the backdrop for our shoot this morning
New Zealand does great rainbows.