June 22 - It was a small and quiet affair at Jan and Jenny's (our dear neighbors) home with food made by me and Jan and Jenny. We had nice champagne chosen by Adrian - it was a rose that matched the flowers and my dress. Jonathon, Jan and Jenny's son, helped with video and set up and driving us down in the rain so as not to mess our pretty shoes. Our marriage celebrant, Margaret Pallet-Frame wore black and her orange lipstick matched her orange fingernails - not sure about the toes. We had edited the ceremony to suit us - a bit or two about the children (all 5), about our past loves and our hopes for the future. It was all done in about 30 minutes which suited us both fine. Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson sang and we were quite pleased with the whole event. Being married was not important was how we both felt prior to the decision to take the next step. In fact, that piece of paper, the ceremony, the ritual, has given a depth and a richness to what was already incredibly powerful. We are happy and content.
August 1 - On the way home I wrote -
We are in the air now heading to LA from Houston having had an uneventful jaunt from Nashville to Houston. I am sad that we are getting further and further from family and friends as the moments pass. I look forward to our next visit and wonder if it might be sooner rather than later.
It is a wonderful and simple life we have in New Zealand. It is far away from our lifetime friends and our crazy and wonderful family, both Lamballes and Richardsons. The things we were able to do - play in the pool with Maddie, play golf with Timi, play golf with Harry, pick blueberries with Mama, dinner with the docs, a family reunion of sorts, wings and beer with all of our dearest. Three visits to the Melrose Pub for hot wings and cold beer, lots of mexican food, American hotdogs, cheese grits - we ate our fill! Every day was full of great times and we made great memories, Adrian's first ride in an American muscle car. That is another post in itself!
We are so grateful for all the folks who showed us such generous, true Southern hospitality, for the effort that people made to spend time with us whether it meant flying in to Nashville, driving up to Nashville for the day, changing plans to accommodate our crazy schedule. It was wonderful to see the people with whom we worked on a daily basis. It was as if we had not left 18 months ago. So sorry that Kim was not around when we were there - we will have to spend lots of time together when next we visit! It seemed like we were going to have lots of time there - three, almost four weeks seems like a long time - well let me tell you it is not! It flew by! We were so lucky that we were able to stay with my sister, housesit for some new friends with a wonderful dog Beau, and then end our stay at Mama and Daddy's. Perfect! We are hoping to find a house swap for next summer so if you or anyone you know wants to come to NZ, let us know!
What we hear on the news and read in the papers about America is depressing and embarrassing and discouraging. All places, like people, have their strengths and weaknesses unfortunately the media focuses on the weaknesses. We all make good and bad choices. We all judge when we are guilty of the same faults as those we are judging. Having been away for 18 months, I have seen with a perspective that I had not previously been afforded. There is great excess. It is a big country and we have gotten wrapped up in the stuff - cars, homes, the perceived success of ourselves and our children. We have lost sight of balance and modesty and humbleness, being frugal. We are a generous people and we are kind and basically very good. There are all sorts in all places and we get what we give, I reckon. It is a wonderful place with lots of choices, lots of really wonderful people, diversity and wide open spaces. I wish they could show on television across the world all the wonders we experienced while we were there. That is the America that I love.
We are lucky and maybe a bit crazy to have made the choices for change in our lives. To have packed a few suitcases and a bag of golf clubs and moved our family of four to another country across the world sight unseen - crazy! I am so glad we did. We have seen things and grown in ways that we never would have staying in our comfort zone of the home we had always known. I miss the day to day with friends and family and I am so grateful for technology that allows us to travel the miles by phone and internet at anytime. I missed the kiwi accent, the song of the Tui, the flowers always in bloom in this mild climate, our bed and my pillow. I have two homes now, how lucky am I!