I tend to stumble more than is normal in September. It happens every year. I get anxious, unsettled and confused. I get a sudden desire to leave, to travel, to change something significant in my life so I might be propelled forward in a direction I never knew existed. If I trace back my beautiful-hiccup of the last 5 year muddle of my life, any big decisions are made in September of that given year. September is my month for break ups and the hint of summer romances. The time in which my internet history will reflect a list of travel destinations. I cannot seem to articulate very well or even pinpoint the particular frustration of this city, but September evokes it within me.
So I find myself facing that wave again, questioning if my expectations for life, relationships, even cities are too big and or too unrealistic. I panicked today, the first day back at university after the semester break. Everything was just a bit too… city, a bit too predictable. My heart suddenly felt like it was a hundred sentences away in a travel guide or at-least a map of some foreign town. I felt anxious after one day back in the hustle of the city which had already exhausted me. So I did what any sensible soul would do, I turned on my heels and sought refuge in the nearest library. After a fair amount of books were selected and issued I headed home, where I am now sitting in the sun in an oversized-faded-paint-splattered shirt, bare legs with tea and a home made strawberry & macadamia tart, dreaming of places I would rather be. Mostly? I’m dreaming of the sea, of tanned legs and clear waters.
I am frustrated with the ordinary light of this city, but I must constantly remind myself that light comes in many shapes and forms and all the light we cannot see will shine soon enough. I am unaccustomed to this earth but find steadiness in the fact that October always comes after September and I dont tend to stumble as much in October.
Just a handful of thoughts written a few days after the first Sunday in September.
The golden orange light of a spring dawn is here.
How beautiful is Avondale? Okay I know its not the prettiest suburb, but it does have an evident and unique charm. I think today spring got sick of waiting for tomorrow’s dawn and decided that the last day of winter should also be the first day of spring. I have been diligently studying from the early hours of this morning but couldn’t resist flinging open all the windows and doors so that the sun should sweep in. For my study break I decided to go for a good hour wonder and mosey around the neighborhood in which I reside. I took one of my beautiful reusable, fresh produce bags with me in case I decided to pop into one of the many fruit and veg shops which call West Auckland home. The bags were lovingly gifted to me by an all around genuine and salt of the earth person, Daisy, who works for a neat little company called Honey wraps, ( blog post to come soon about using these neat bags at the Avondale markets).
I spent a good peaceful and ridiculously happy hour giddily walking around the streets, peering at people’s gardens and houses for inspiration. I ended up with a bag and armful of goodies before I even turned around for home. A bush of rosemary growing wild over the fence, a few lemons from a tree bursting with fruit, two grapefruits and two mandarins, thanks to the friendly neighbours. The thing I wasn’t expecting to find, and to be honest makes me a little sad, was about a dozen potatoes simply thrown out and laying on the street. Before any college kids could spot them and kick them to the kerb, I hurriedly rescued them and popped them into my bag. I know some of you might be thinking, ‘that’s taking it a bit far’ and I know some people might scoff and think its actually a bit gross, but I have every intention of taking them home, cleaning them up and then roasting some fluffy lemon and thyme potatoes. I don’t want to go into a long rant, but food wastage is a problem, perfectly good potatoes thrown out onto the street for who knows what reason, is just for want of a better word, stupid.
Any way, September marks the beginning of spring and of so many wonderful things. I am heading to the love of my life Wellington next week to start prepping and getting the lay of the land of my summer home. I don’t want to get too excited but I am currently in the thimbles of financing my summer plan of living in a Lotus Belle Tent, similar to a Yurt and attempting a sustainable lifestyle. So my spring cleaning this year will consist of the cleaning out, throwing out and gifting the majority of my belongings, as I will be trying to squeeze all my possessions into a 5 x 5 meter tent.
So farewell beautiful bitter mornings and hello to the golden orange light of the dawn spring so lovingly brings us.
We have had a glimpse of spring this last week in Auckland. It saw people take to the streets with white legs and faces turned upwards seeking the sun. Washing lines hung with sheets and linen suddenly became a regular appearance in my neighbourhood and windows and doors were suddenly pushed open wide with an expectancy that only the hint of spring can bring. Most people I know are summer people. People who wake up and rush to the beach each morning like their hair is full of sand and the ocean is the shower. Sun kissed people who love the type of light summer brings or the taste of salt in the air. Others are winter weather people. People who love the chill dawn breath and cold winter sky after sunset. Of-course, I am not forgetting Spring or Autumn but I find more often than not people tend to fall on either side of the scale.
Although I find great beauty in both, I am most definitely a winter person, well that was until recently when I discovered the unique in between. The small gap of transitioning between the seasons, when things overlap, intertwine and weave together just for a few weeks. Kindly mornings when autumn and winter seem to go hand in hand. Golden dusk nights where spring and summer share the same hammock.
So with a glimpse of spring in today’s winter, I decided to honour the in between with a mixed melody of breakfast and lunch, a winter oatmeal and a spring salad. I am not a practiced hand at salads, in fact up until recently I have thought of them as rather drab, but upon further research I have discovered how wrong I have been. The below ensemble consisted of black rice, lemon and pepper baby potatoes, a handful of lettuce and spinach leaves, a few stems of raw broccoli, chicken, roasted macadamias and a small handful of mandarins. I was a bit cheeky and squeezed a table spoon of lemon+mayonnaise dressing on top but apart from that wee hiccup, my first attempt at a healthy spring salad was lovely.
My oatmeal skill is credited mostly to my Mondays family, whom without I wouldn’t have bothered with the divine but simple combination of oats, almondmeal, almond and coconut flakes, a recycled-pre-loved flower, banana, honey and homemade almond + coconut milk.
One of the awesome things about university are the people, a fact that is true about most well intended establishments. This semester I am taking a really interesting paper called Social Entrepreneurship. This week our lecturer invited a lovely and slightly witty young lady called Adriana who although, young in appearance is wise beyond years and in wisdom. She gave a good hours talk about her neat little business called The Pallet Kingdom, laughed about her tragedies and ‘mistakes turned lessons learned’, and encouraged us to support and grow ideas around social enterprises.
The Pallet Kingdom is a humble and homemade social enterprise in the big city of Auckland. Adriana and her troop rescue unwanted and left to waste pallets and after a little bit of love and a lot of time and energy turn these pallets into beautiful pieces of furniture for houses, cafes, gardens and any little space that needs a bit of beauty. Adriana and her company have an awesome philosophy around business, sustainability and around taking trash and not only turning it into a treasure, but into a profit and more importantly a purpose.
Persistence in the ever constant face of diversity was at the forefront of her talk. Even after a newsworthy car crash through her house which demolished a client’s work and much needed tools, a sliced off thumb and an eviction notice, Adriana still preaches grit, passion and determination.
An hour of my Friday well spent. How awesome is it that we are constantly surrounded by creative, talented individuals whose dreams and possibilities are endless. Adriana created a conversation for us to be beginners, encouraging us that no one starts off being excellent and hard work is a season to be honoured. Furthermore, how lucky are we to live in a country in which education is so freely given and most people are open and willing to give it.
Made by Hand is a beautiful book, however it is not for the faint crafters. A step up from simple paper crafts this book is a collection of wonderful, bold and quaint creations. From screen printing to basket weaving, T-shirt rug lacing to sweet little fabric parsnips, colorful coiled bowls, olive oil soap and my personal favorite fabric origami butterflies.
The pages are filled with projects as opposed to afternoon activities, but that didn’t stop a friend and I from gathering a few pieces of lost fabric and trying to copy and create from dog ended pages. Fabric origami is by far the easiest of all the creations all you need is an iron, fabric, scissors, and a needle and thread. The two fabrics we used were off cuts from a beige linen and a beautiful home made screen print of tiny hill -houses that my incredibly talented friend had created and donated. The smaller the square of fabric the harder it was to get a good fold and the harder it became to sew. It helps a fair amount to have a practiced hand in artfulness, but all you really need is to be somewhat competent with a needle and thread, and if not have someone nearby who is. Have a little peak below and get your hands on this book it is truly a delightful find.
I have just spent the last hour and a half hanging out with the lovely Tess from Almighty, and an equally cool bunch of kids from Edendale primary school, watching and only slightly helping out as they made a cafe-worthy pumpkin and silver beet risotto. I was too embarrassed to admit it but I have never mastered the art of risotto, so was stoked to see the kids cook up a storm with apparent ease.
For those of you who love gardening, or love the idea of gardening, feel pretty darn sexy in an apron, love experimenting with food or think that it is of great importance that New Zealand kids feel at home in both the garden and the kitchen, then keep reading.
Almighty Juice is a proudly owned organic and general well-ness company. Alongside making some pretty beautiful products they are also supporting the Garden to Table program. A program that is focused on changing the way children approach and think about food.
Up until very recently I have been living a blissfully ignorant life when it comes to sustainability and the awareness that every single one of my actions has a much bigger consequence. Although I am still miles away from being able to call myself sustainable, I am well on the way to educating and slowly changing my lifestyle to a happier and healthier one for both me and the environment. A massive part of the journey to a sustainable lifestyle is to just simply get among it, network with people, have conversations, read, research and make mistakes, because any mistake you can make will not be worse then the one of simply not trying.
Everyone knows that great feeling of having a conversation with a like-minded person who just ‘gets it. It’s so incredibly encouraging to begin to walk alongside others who are journeying the same or a similar journey. Not only is the product behind Almighty beautiful, but the philosophy and ambition behind it is as-well, so thank you Tess for encouraging conversations, I still have miles to go but now at least it doesn’t feel like light years!
If anyone wants to lend a helping hand and get among some gardening and cooking with some pretty darn awesome kids, head along to the Almighty Juice website and flick the good souls behind the screen a message, they will be super excited to hear from you!
For some reason when one turns the grand age of twenty one, it’s kind of a big deal. In New Zealand culture young adults often celebrate by convincing their parents to hire out a venue or bar, invite friends, collogues and acquaintances alike and hope the bar tab doesn’t run out. This terrified me. I can count the number of close friends I have on one hand, how do people even know enough individuals to fill a room, let alone a venue?
It may be the fact that I am not the coolest kid on the block, and that I tend to lack any hesitation when pouring out my love, not realizing friendships take time,but it wasn’t until admitting my fear of holding a 21st to a friend, that I realized that there was another option, and that was simply to not. So for my 21st year of living on this beautiful planet, I decided to climb a mountain and celebrate my life surrounded by blue skies and white peaks. It was incredibly humbling to spend the day feeling tiny and important both at once.
However, last July I attended a 21-year celebration that made me think that if I could do it again, this is exactly how I would do it. A 21st, or any birthday celebration in-fact should, in my opinion, reflect the person who is being celebrated. I hiked all day on my birthday and was surrounded by nature and company that made me blissfully content. This person surrounded herself by the beautiful people in her life, insanely good food, and a wonderful creative spirit.
I often joke that I am studying to do exactly what this person does for a hobby. However I wanted to write this blog post and include these photos to encourage others that a 21st isn’t defined by what is expected but by what reflects you.
Photos credited to a miss Em Blackmore