Christmas in New Zealand

So Christmas has come and gone and I missed posting something about it because it turns out just like costal towns in Australia, the costal towns in New Zealand don’t always have the best Internet reception… So here it is a little late, but here all the same!

Christmas is a time to celebrate joy and love with those you love, and while for Dave and I it has steadily gotten harder for us to see all the people we love on Christmas Day, for the last 10years, while we have been together, I have been pretty blessed in that at Christmas. I have been able to see and spend time with my family, if not on Christmas Day then on the surrounding days. But this year it’s a little different, this year I am away for Christmas, still with family, but with different family than the last 10 Christmases… In fact different from the last 27 Christmases… This year it’s Christmas with the George’s… Well the extended Georges… Kind of, and its been really nice.

I have to admit there were lots of things I missed from home, the biggest ones being seeing my brothers, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles on Christmas morning… And carols by candlelight… I really struggled not being able to enjoy the carols of Dennis Walter and Sylvie or being able to laugh at David Hobson, while secretly enjoying they fact that someone has sung Holy City! But thanks to the marvel that is the mobile phone (after a wrong number to some poor random in New Zealand) I was able to speak to home, and then celebrate in a slightly different fashion.

It is an odd feeling being a random at Christmas, but it was actually a great day. Dave and I were warmly welcomed and included in a delicious summer Christmas feast. We also walked on the black sand of the Otaki beach and enjoyed the surprisingly good New Zealand weather.

It turns out that even with family that we don’t spend a whole lot of time with, Christmas is still the same! Love and joy are celebrated and embraced and shared and it is still wonderful! It’s a day, I know not for all, but at least for me, I get to experience heaven on earth in the love that Christ came to bring.  I can witness joy on the face of Dave’s grandma as she laughs at a corny Christmas joke. I get to be part of the excitement as Dave’s Dad creates the wonder of Santa with a $5 warehouse scavenger hunt. And I get to be thankful for all that I have… I am truly blessed.

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Homesick

So a week later I am back at The Peddler, this isn’t where I thought I would end up today, and I am not sure it is good for my waistline or emotional state, but nevertheless I am here.  And while I was trying to be fancy and just casually read a book as I sip on my tea and munch on my super late breakfast, my mind is running at one hundred miles an hour, and so what better way to process things by getting them out in the open.  So instead, I am now sitting here typing… Back at the peddler reflecting on the past week and all that has happened.

A little while ago I wrote about my mixed feelings about moving, about how it turns out I actually really don’t cope well with change and how I was torn between wanting to stay in the familiar and being excited about this new adventure.  Well now the move has happened… Quite smoothly I might add thanks to my overly organised colour coded packing spectacular.  But it all happened quite quickly, and while we are headed back to our old place tomorrow to clean it so that it is ready for whatever it’s next chapter holds, I have really been struggling with the whole thing.

I know it takes time, and I just need to give it that, time to adjust, time to get used to driving from different places, time to find some familiar things, but right now I just feel so out of place, so far away and a little isolated.  I should be enjoying setting up my new home, making it feel like us again, but I’m not… Not yet anyway! In my head I know it will get better, that I will adjust, that I will love it, but right now my heart is betraying me, and every time I drive through our old neighbour hood or even remotely near our old house, I get this overwhelming sense of ‘this is where I belong’ which then means when I am actually at my new home, my actual home, I feel dislodged and a little miserable.

There are moments when I get really excited about the new place, like on Monday when it was buzzing with the sounds of fun, and lots of people as Dave had a function there after work, or when I get to pick out new colours or features to display, when I get to plan my new home gym and what furniture I might like for the living area, but at the moment the longing to go back seems a little louder than the potential of the new place (especially when you through in a few unexpected joys like, unearthed electricity, a moving toilet and a missing phone line).  And the truth is I’m not sure there is an answer to how to fix this feeling… Other than time, and I am sure I am not the only person who has felt like this before… But I just needed to let it out… To say that at the moment, I just really miss where I was… But that this too shall pass!

We are in… kind of…

We are in… Well kind of… We have the keys and we have moved a few things, we have also changed a wet dog smell that seemed to permeate every inch if the house into a shampooed dog smell and now… Well hopefully a clean smell… But we are still working on it.  And if I am honest I am feeling relieved that I am starting to get excited about the move, there are definitely still reservations and nerves, but there are some bits that I just want to get stuck into.  I have big plans… Really big plans… There are so many possibilities… And I can at there very least put them all on my ever growing house wish list, because we have a house… And it’s really ours… I can walk around it and imagine new colours and furniture and rooms… And it’s exciting…

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Trying not to be a hoarder!

So this move is getting pretty close and over the past couple of weeks I have been trying my best not to be a hoarder.  It turns out that it’s harder than I thought.  I was really hoping this would be a great opportunity for me to let go, and in many ways it has been, but it has also made me realise how much stuff I have, which has no current purpose, yet I can’t bring myself to throw out. 

I know I have talked about my emotional attachment to inanimate objects on the blog before, but while packing my belongings into countless boxes I have realised how deep that attachment runs.  You know you have a problem when you are filling your third box of stuffed toys… Now to all of you out there who say just chuck it, you don’t need it…. I know, I know that I don’t need it, I probably never really needed it in the first place, but now I have it… And I can’t let it go.  It’s not like I haven’t thrown anything out, coz I have.  Although just as a side note, I have also decided that I am not into mindlessly contributing to landfill while we move house and cull our things, so when something does make it to the ‘I don’t want it anymore’ we have to actually think about where it goes from there… Is it donate worthy? Can it be recycled? It really should fit into either of those two categories, and when it doesn’t it makes me sad. Anyway, the point is I am stuck at a point where I know I have too much… And it probably can’t all come with me, but I am not sure how to let it go, or even where to start.  I have been trying my darnedest to be ruthless as I go through things I haven’t seen or used for years… But as soon as the memory floodgates open, it’s all over red rover!  Honestly how can you part with your favourite soft toys? Your surprisingly large collection of Eeyores? Or that set of book you spent years and years building and reading? How can you just toss out hilarious notes passed by friends?, posters and impressive work that still make you proud even though you made them in school? Or that super cute ballet costume you’ve just always kept? Well, you might be able to, but I am on struggle street.  

So while it’s not ideal, my solution at the moment is to have some maybe boxes… Things that we are taking, but I need to go through again… And probably again and again.  Just to give myself a few more chances to cull.  Hopefully, slowly but surely the volume will decrease and I will be left with just what I really can’t throw away! But for now… I still have a lot of stuff! Wish me luck… And detachment!

Home Sweet Home

So a little while ago now, Dave and I brought a house… ok so in terms of home ownership… it wasn’t that long ago, but it’s long enough that I have had some time to let it sink in.  And it turns out, that even after all this thinking time, I am still not really sure how I feel. It’s a mixture of things to be honest… maybe I am still making up my mind.

There are lots of things I am really excited about… I will get to do some little changes and really make it my own, I will be able to paint, decorate and put my veggie garden actually in the ground.  But mostly I am excited about the fact that it will be ours… and this is something that we have been thinking about, planning and saving for, for a long time.  I have even found my self showing pictures of the new place to anyone who’ll look, like a proud grandparent… I am really excited that it’s all happening… but now that it is I am also super nervous about moving.

It turns out that while I like the idea of change… when it comes to following through… i’m not so good. I would love to think of myself as someone who embraces new things, exciting adventures and tackles the next chapter of life head on… but it’s just not me… in reality I spend a lot of time second guessing my decisions, even when I know I have made the right choice, and becoming a home owner has been no different. I have been struggling to get my head around moving suburbs, finding a new supermarket, a new coffee shop and a comfy new walking track and getting over the fact that where I am now, really feels like the place to be.  The truth is it’s not really that far from where we are now, but it isn’t the same.  As my school would have made me say… “It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just different”. And it’s true… it is just different. It will take a while to feel comfy, to find my spots and get used to traveling from a different place (even though for most things it’ll take the same time). When we move, which is actually still a couple of month off anyway, it’ll just take some time to adjust…

I know that this time next year I will look at this blog, and think about how silly I was to be worrying, but I still need to let it out now.  I think I have really just discovered the truth of the saying that ‘you don’t know what you have, until you lose it’.  And as I start to reflect on where we live at the moment, with my current suburb comforts, filled with convenient commutes to my friends places, an awesome little cafe, green streets and a supermarket a familiar as my own house, I am reminded of how blessed we have been to have had this opportunity. To have been allowed to stay where we have in a neat little home, perfectly located.  It will be hard to say goodbye.

I have to remember though, that a lot of prayer went into our house hunting, and the way things fell into place when we purchased our new home is also a reminder that God listens and he provides, but even more importantly that he knows what is best.  So if we have trusted him to help make the decision, I have to keep trusting now that the decision is done.

So between now and when we move in May, I am sure this state of limbo will continue, being torn between comfortable and new… familiar and exciting… but I know that it will be good… and different… but still good.

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Sometimes means sometimes

I am currently on day four of trying to cross no. 11 “Go 1 week without a sometimes food” off this years list… and it’s actually been both easier and harder than I had imagined.  It was something that I had put on the list because I thought it was time to address another one of my bad food habits…. but what does it all mean… Well over the last couple of years there has been a push to shift the terminology around food to move from good foods and bad foods to everyday foods and sometimes foods…  in fact in the most recent update of the Australian Dietary Guidelines ‘sometimes foods’ are now referred to as ‘discretionary choices’… however the idea remains the same… it’s a pretty simple concept… you can eat what ever you want, but there some foods which you can have all the time and then others that are best left to occassionally… here enters my third bad food habit confession…

Em’s Bad Food Habit no. 3

I love sometimes foods, which is not that surprising to most… I love all the foods I shouldn’t and generally speaking the ‘sometimes food’ category has become and an everyday food.  Sure they might be different each day, but most days… oh who am I kidding… every day I have a sometimes food… in fact, if I am honest I probably have a few.  It might not be massive, it could be something simple like a couple of biscuits for afternoon tea, dessert after dinner, or some chocolate with a cuppa, but it’s always there… it’s not sometimes.  In fact most of the foods that I would associate with the word ‘treat’, aren’t really treats anymore, they have become staples.  It’s not special or exciting or sometimes even enjoyable when I have these foods because they are way too common.  If I am going to get better at this practicing what I preach business I need to make sometimes foods sometimes… not all the time.

So why can we only eat them sometimes? 

Well like all my other attempts at practicing what I preach there are a couple of reasons…

  1. I guess we should start with what exactly is a ‘sometimes food’… well according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines discretionary foods are those that are not directly necessary for a healthy body, that is they don’t contain enough nutrients that the body needs to justify their intake.  These foods are also often high in sugars, salt, saturated fat and at times alcohol and are best described as energy dense.  That is you get a lot of energy or kilojoules/calories, for not much else.

  2. ‘Sometimes foods’ or ‘Discretionary choices’ are put this in category for a reason.  The dietitians of the world aren’t food kill joys, we do actually want our and your diets to be the best choices for a long, happy and healthy life.  Having said that we know that these foods are things we are wired to like, its just the way it is… thats why they are ok sometimes… or with discretion… If we have them too often, we get too much of things we don’t need, or are detrimental to our health, and we are often displacing things we should be getting.  I know if given the choice I will always choice chocolate, whatever the other option is… but it doesn’t make it a good choice, in fact maybe I am choosing it instead of something I do need, like dairy, fruit or vegetables.

  3. They are easy to over consume, really easy… being so energy dense it doesn’t take a large volume to get lots of nutrients that our body just doesn’t need.  Foods high in fat and sugar are also high in calories and as I mentioned in my original dietitian rant ‘enough is enough’, the reality is if too many calories go in and not enough out, it causes weight gain, and excess weight leads to a whole other list of health concerns.  Also those high in saturated fat can also lead elevated cholesterol which increases risk of heart disease and stroke… not something that is conducive to a long, happy and healthy life.

When it really boils down to it… other than enjoyment they don’t offer enough of what we need to have then everyday, yes they are an important part of a healthy balanced diet, but they need to be a small part, not an everyday item.  They also can’t stop us from getting the things that we actually do need.

My goal…

Jelly SliceWell this week its to go without them all together,  which is probably a little extreme… and very unsustainable… in fact while I have found it quite easy to find alternative everyday snacks, I have been thinking about all the the sometimes foods I would prefer to be eating (I actually dreamt about gingerbread biscuits and chocolate last night)… this is why total deprivation and cold turkey tactics just don’t work, but that’s a whole different blog!  My longer term goal is to get some balance back, to make sure I get my fruit, veg and diary in by using healthier snacks rather than always picking things that I know just aren’t that good for me.  Again just like the salad goal… it’s pretty hard to measure, but here is a little list of alternative go to snacks that I can have instead of my regular sometimes go to.
– a piece of fruit or a small bowl of cut up fruit and salad
– a small tub of low fat yogurt
– some veggie sticks and low fat dip
– some air popped pop corn
– a handful of dried fruit
– a handful of nuts
– some low fat cheese on some vita weats

So I guess the rough plan is that more often I choose something from the list above or something similar… making sure I am more deliberate about getting both my pieces of fruit for the day, rather than substituting them for something best left for sometimes, practicing what I preach… sometimes means sometimes.