i'm gonna fly,
defy space and gravity.
i'm gonna fly,
makin my own destiny.
it took me one year, one month and six days to skip town after high school finished. i didn't just leave town either. i left the country. the hemisphere, even. i wandered my way to a remote island, where the sun set hot into the ocean right out the front door of the one-room house i shared with my newfound family. i had 5 black brothers and sisters, and every meal came straight from the land or the sea, a product of my fijian mama's daily toil.
|yup. i lived here. fiji - 2004|
then there were the mayan ruins, the iguanas up in the tree - the biggest lizard i'd ever seen! - and the powdered white sand coating my feet as i drank in the turquoise ocean view.
|only a few months into the new zealand adventure. state highway 1 - 2006|
a few days later, it was a whirlwind getaway to a quiet island at the bottom of the world - who knew that it would steal my heart and change my life?
but first there was eastern europe - orphans and gypsies and hitchhiking at the border between bulgaria and macedonia, and waking up in istanbul after a night at the top of a triple-decker bunk bed, swaying to the sound of steel sliding over steel.
|the view from the hermitage. palace square, st. petersburg - 2006|
|painting nails in a gypsy village (wearing a five iron frenzy t-shirt, of course). bulgaria - 2006|
and then it was back to aotearoa. i still don't know how 6 months turned into six and a half years. all the years filled with forever-cherished faces, a bazillion teenagers that i can't imagine my heart without. the skate community. the usuals.
|one of many skate road trips... christchurch - 2010|
they were years punctuated with struggles and grief and loneliness and doubt. years graced with the miraculous provision of food and finance and whanau, and there always being enough.
enough grace, enough help, enough food on the table, enough strength to get through, enough beach to give me solitude, enough ocean to provide accompaniment to my prayers. enough.
|'my' stretch of new brighton beach, a two-minute walk from my home. christchurch - 2009|
quote from yad veshem halocaust memorial - jerusalem.
one year, one month and six days was the longest period of time i spent on home soil since high school ten years ago.
i returned from new zealand one year, one month and fourteen days ago. this is officially my longest stint in canada as an adult. weird. weird. weird.
only in the past few months have i started to feel 'at home' in edmonton. only in the past week, have i looked around my humble, beautiful apartment, and felt something that has eluded me for the past two years solid - turangawaewae. a place to stand. a place of my own.
and i am here; wholly here.
it has meant leaning on old friends, and laughing with new ones. saying goodbye, and sitting on a bench with my uninvited, but increasingly intimate friend - grief. here has meant cherished time with family, and looking into the eyes of my nephew, when he'd only been breathing this world's air for a matter of hours. here has meant time to breathe, to equalize, to do everyday-life-things, without the earth shaking beneath me.
|my new favourite cuddle buddy. edmonton - 2013|
here has meant learning to live in the moment, and taking each day as it comes.
when you've spent a decade doing all sorts of crazy things, living in one place, with a 'normal' job, with free time and enough money to actually 'do stuff', with no big faith risks or crazy schemes or destinations on the horizon, it is tempting to feel restless, or grasping for a plan or a 'next step.' i don't. i'm not. i'm just doing my thing. living in the moment, and just doing me.
last night, i spontaneously stopped in at my sisters house, and got to watch my nephew have his first bath, and laugh uncontrollably with my siblings at all the faces the little man makes.
this is being fully present, and it is sustenance for the soul.