While those of us down here in the Southern Hemisphere are entering into winter, we are still experiencing some glorious sunny days. The Saturday before last was a particularly perfect day with the sun catching me at noon out on the deck with a book. Luke was likewise taking advantage of the warmer weather with sleeves rolled up and a wheelbarrow, as he began unloading our ten metres (that’s how they spell it here) of wood (as pictured below) for our wood burning stove. Two pages in, I heard him declining our neighbor’s invitation to go fishing. Realizing I didn’t have any wood to unload and my book could wait, I jumped up, grabbed some warmer clothes and headed out on the boat and into the open New Zealand Sea.
It was fantastic! John and Bridgette (our neighbors) were great guides and energizing conversationalists. John teaches during the week in a small mining town about an hour away and they come to Osborne on the weekends. Bridgette is a bit of a book worm, confessing that her best days are spent in bed with a hot water bottle and a book, jumping up only when John returns from school so she can make his dinner. They have four children, a baby granddaughter, Lily, whom they adore, and have traveled the world. I think we’ve found some friends for the months and years to come!
Bridgette is also a competitor. John kept teasing us as to who was reeling in the bigger and better fish and who was doing it faster. I know it isn’t polite to brag—it was really just a matter of being in the right place at the right time (thanks to John’s boat’s GPS) and some beginner’s luck—but I’ll go ahead and say a few good words on my behalf. I caught loads of fish. Big ones. Given my previous fishing experiences involved early morning wakeup calls, not talking for fear of scaring the fish, and maybe catching a little one after an hour or two, no wonder I was thrilled with how this went down—dropping your sinker to the bottom (about 20 metres), waiting a second, feeling the bite and then start reeling in a red cod or blue cod two times bigger than anything ever caught before.
My luck was not seamless though, as I also reeled in three sharks. They were tiny, called “dog fish”, and John promptly threw them back. John also caught a barracuda, which was not that tiny, that he had to jimmy rig off the line and throw back. I found it all rather exciting.
I didn’t have the camera with me, as Luke is the one who usually takes all the shots (he doesn’t call all the shots, mind you. And he is taking them because he likes it and I don’t). I did take all the pictures as posted here though, as he can’t really take ones like these. I am amiable and help out when necessary. Anyway, the camera wasn’t out with the fisherwomen and the skipper, so you will have to take my word for it that it was pretty much what I imagine we’ll experience in heaven. (Or as Luke tries to remind, the new earth.)
This side of earth and we are missing our loved ones (along with Chipotle and Back Alley Bakery, dryer sheets and affordable mascara). My sisters send pictures of the kids regularly and they are growing up so fast! The stories we hear of their observations and reactions tend to work their way into our daily conversations, adding humor and relief when we start missing everyone a little too much. My eldest niece, Avery, called last Monday afternoon and it was great fun. She filled me in on the ins and outs of 1st grade winding down and summer approaching and read “Three Billy Goats Fluff”. It was a funny, sweet rendition of the classic story and she didn’t miss a beat with the reading.
Work wise, Luke is locked in and writing. He has produced nearly 14,000 words and is looking to turn in his first submission later this week. His reward has been watching the NBA playoffs via the internet with an NBA league pass nightly come 8 o’clock. When writer’s block sets in during the day, he unloads his frustration with his axe through the wood or walks over to his workshop.
Another of our neighbors, Don, taught Luke how to change our brake pads earlier this month. While my husband has many a great qualities, mechanical maneuverings was not one of the gifts bestowed at birth. Needless to say, the process was a rite of passage and the completed project a true accomplishment. Hence the grin:
I am smiling too because this means our brakes work! I did begin my stick shift driving lessons this past month, as our car is a manual and I haven’t driven one in over ten years. I have been reticent to drive considering the wheel is on the other side of the road, you drive on the other side of the road, the roads are very small and windy, and the hills are very steep. I think it’s fair to say that Luke has been a better teacher than I have a student, but we are still smiling at each other and I did successfully drive us into church on Sunday.
Regarding the workshop, let’s just say it has proved to be Luke’s best discovery since first spotting me in the Back Alley Bakery. It has provided an avenue for working with his hands when working with the text grows tiresome. Luke plans to build some book cases and other things using only hand tools…mostly because any other kind is so expensive in NZ! That guitar you see in the corner was sitting up in the rafters. It needs some new strings, but will do the trick. Luke had been figuring out when and how he could get a guitar since he had to leave his at home, so this was certainly an added bonus to the shop. We are thankful. This place keeps on giving. I am looking forward to the day I find the bag of money…
In the meantime, I have been working part-time and filling up the other part-time with baking, reading, writing, walking and socializing (imagine that!). Over the last month, we have experienced a sense of balance that we have longed for and prayed for. Experiencing it is like a dream come true. I started a 3 month full-time project on Monday, but Luke and I are aligned in our goal of maintaining healthy boundaries and outlets even as the work load increases. We must at least keep space for accepting the next invitation, as I kind of like the way that last one played out.