I am not ready to retire, and I am enjoying my sabbatical. Today was a slice of delicious time. First, I did not have to hurry to get up and ready in the morning. I ambled over to St. Philips for communion service at a civilized 10 a.m.; then I joined the ladies on a garden tour in northwest Auckland after tea and muffins. Hazel, a wizard of organization, had arranged for us to meet one of her friends, see her garden, and receive a presentation from her husband who is a master furniture maker.
On the way there I sat next to Beverly, a Kiwi who married an American she met while he was sailing around the world. She lived in Indianapolis for 20 years. She took pleasure in telling me all about her interesting life. We arrived at Warren and Judith Howard’s home and enjoyed the presentation on the art of making furniture. I was bowled over by the quality of his work. It could easily grace an English Country Home (probably does) and Warren took such pride in his skills learned over a lifetime. He made every stick of furniture in their home and lucky us, we got to see it all. Judy meanwhile made lunch for us too.
Judy’s pride and joy was the garden. They designed it completely from scratch and it was magnificent. I loved the mix of natives, South African and Australian plants, with fruit trees, a veggie garden and a berry hut. They also had a flock of Suffolk sheep. I was in heaven. It reminded me so much of my Auntie Jeanette’s in Petaluma. (see video below)
When we got back to St. Heliers I dashed through the rain to my house, waited about an hour for the sun to come out and then headed into the village. I had a nice chat with the butcher while I bought chicken and bacon for tomorrow’s slow cooker recipe. I stopped to chat with a couple I had seen at St. Philips as we recognized each other and said hello. I looked admiringly at her carrots and remembered I needed some too (they grow the tastiest carrots here!). Then I moved on to the Blue Turtle Cafe to have a cappacino and read the newspaper. I fell into conversation with the woman at the table next to me with whom I shared the communal paper. Then I started out for home, saying hello to Wendy from the chamber of commerce (equivalent) and with a quick pat to Xena the library cat.
Two blocks from my house it began to really pour rain. So I dashed the final steps and turned on my space heater and my hot water jug for tea while I put away my groceries. Now it is sunny again, but I am home for the evening. I plan to heat up the chicken noodle soup I made a few days ago, and read some more classic Barry Crump: Bastards I Have Met.
Tomorrow will be a little more pressured. I got a call just as I was stepping out the door from Vincent at Synergine asking me to come into the office tomorrow morning. (One of these days they are going to have to get real and formally offer me a job!)
Eventually, I will join the workforce again and work 4 days a week. Part of the redesign is to not get sucked back into the lifestyle of “all about work”. My children always saved me from being a complete workaholic. My life may have looked balanced because I was also involved at church, had many friends, travelled, read many books, and so on. From my perspective, those activities were piled on to a very big commitment of energy to my job and the cumulative effect was a lot of stress.
So how do I begin again? That is my calling right now. My friend Sarah Clare has been very helpful in affirming that I have been called here and pointing out how I am already woven into God at work in Auckland. And as long as I maintain the balance and avoid getting so stressed that I cast my eyes down and forget to say hello to the Wendys and pet Xena, I have a shot at really enjoying life.