Being a stranger in a strange land, carrying a little bit of home in my pocket.

Do you ever feel like laying your head flat on the table and just bawling. Just close your eyes and lay the whole side of your face onto the table and cry. Not where people can see you. Not as an exhibition. Maybe, when you are alone in the kitchen cleaning up after the dinner that you spent hours preparing in between everything else.  Or when you are picking  the dinner from the gardens. Or out walking.  Usually we are tired when it happens. Last night it was when I was walking the dogs. I had a washing basket moment. I stood with my dogs watching the grass grow in this incredible dripping heat and just cried.  

I miss home. I miss being a kid or a daughter or someone’s sister.    I miss being the mother and the teacher. We  even miss when we were Not in charge and Not so bloody responsible. Not having to make the hard decisions and see them right through to the bitter end. The precarious progression of our days.

It is called being a grown up. But being a grown up in a land where no-one knows who you Were is hard.  All they see is a little woman in gumboots. I have no context.  No background.

It is hard to be a foreigner in a foreign land.  Many of you know this.  Many writers are in some kind of solitary. Many Webloggers. Maybe this is why we are drawn to each other. But when TonTon and I  stood and watched the grass grow I cried with a head shaking tired longing.  I just bawled until I was finished.

Then I started to sing. I know we know that is crazy. Who would sing to her grass. But no-one was around.  I think that secretly you might sing to your garden too. 

That is why you and I are friends. My voice was not the big soaring voice it used to be, a voice needs to be worked like a muscle, but as I sung, the dogs and I turned, and began to walk back to the kitchen.

I  think this is why I love the farm and the gardens. They all know me.  And a sheep has no need for background though they have heard all the stories. But the sheep and the dairy cow and the little hereford,  even my border collie, they remind me of home you see.

And this is why we love our cats and cows and bicycles. Our dogs and our plants. This is why we have our cameras and guitars, our paint brushes or pens. Our tools and boots.  Our ideals and oaths. Our stories.  Our little work.  Because we all need to hold on to who we WERE and practice that person when we are alone, or who we are NOW makes no sense. 

And we need to always carry a little bit of home with us in our secret pockets like a polishing stone. So when the washing basket moment hits we can reach into our secret pocket and grasp that stone from home. So we can find our forgotton voices and sing the songs from the sea.

Good morning. I wrote this last night before going to bed. Today is a new day and every new day we get another chance.  Thank goodness. So of course I feel better today. Strong and fit and ready to go. I look forward to taking you all home with me to New Zealand in December. Then I can show you a little of who I was. Who I am.

I still do not have a car, did I tell you?  My little cooking oil car is still at the garage far away. I am driving the rusty white truck but not too far as it is pretty rattly and wholly unreliable.

Have a lovely day.


On this day a year ago..  A bridge. Images of the underbelly of a bridge.

Even more exciting -there is a story:  Part One of a very funny story from the beach. Part two is tomorrow but if you have time you could read it today as well.  In fact I am going to read these again when I come in from the farm work. This story will cheer me up and remind me of where I came from.


145 Comments on “Being a stranger in a strange land, carrying a little bit of home in my pocket.

  1. Giving you a hug and a box of soft tissues. You need to take a wee bit of c time and re-charge that busy battery of yours. I miss home and people too and have all sorts of things to remind me of them in my office here. t

  2. I’m so beat down right now I can’t even cry loud. This has been an awful summer. Have you read A Country Year by Sue Hubbell? Wonderful book – she’s a beekeeper in MO – and her old truck’s name is Press On Regardless. How can you not love that :-).

    • no i have not read it but i have been reading about the terrible time you have been having. It is awful to see an animal die and worse when you do not know why.. hugs.. c

  3. Oh yes I can so identify with this. You always seem so strong and inviolable so I find it rather comforting (sorry) that you cry too. Thinking of you across the miles. Juliexxx

  4. It’s a double-edged sword….on the one hand, I miss the Familiar and the Family; on the other, I don’t run into my Past every time I turn a corner at the supermarket….I might not be as far from my roots (geographically) as you are, but the gulf is still wide and deep…
    Sit on the ground, and lay your head on Ton Ton’s back. Smell the end-of-summer sunshine in his fur, and have a good cry. He won’t tell on you. Some days, you have to go all the way down to the bottom of the well, so you can push off with both feet and rise back to the surface…
    Much love, C.

    • That is wonderfully expressed. We all have these feelings that is why it is so safe to have a go right here, and I am all better now, everything is back in its appropriate box in my head.. I am rising again!! thank you marie..c

  5. I’ve often wondered how you do the living abroad thing, it can be a pull and a tug (so many friends of mine are there or have been). Sometimes I think it’s the not needing to explain yourself, you just say the words and you are understood. – like when I chat to my brother, or my best mate we just “know”. And I wonder as the days get nearer and as you are writing and reviewing, home is more on your mind?
    Take care my fiend – I just had a couple of really stinky wobbly days, where everything was so overwhelming, I didn’t know where to start. I still don’t. All I know is that I ended up making myself laugh…..

    • Stinky wobbly days.. yes.. that is it exactly, maybe there is something in the air.. so i think start in one corner and work out from there.. chook steps.. c

    • I once asked a woman who was 104 what she thought about. Was she thinking about her memories. No, she said mostly i think about the things I got wrong.. it sounded such a sad way to be.. we are all such complicated creatures.. c

  6. Have a good cry it does the sole the world of good… a stress reliever, a battery re charger and a ground wetter which is good for you cattle feed…

  7. My favorite place to cry is on the floor of my closet. The dark, all alone closet. Always has been since I was a little girl. But I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER after a good cry! The garden is my happy place. I wonder if I could bring the tears forth there?
    Many thanks for being our friend too. We all benefit from your story and your ability to manupulate those 26 letters into words to express so well our understanding of our shared experiences.

    • Morning honey, this is the great thing about our virtual commenting lounge, we really are able to empathise with each other.. and say it out loud, so many of you today have the same experiences and that saves us all. have a lovely day.. c

  8. But Celie, we *do* know you and you have many friends here. You carry your context with you everywhere you go. It’s especially hard living the rural life, because daily contact with people can be so sporadic. This keeps our focus on ourselves and our own little worlds. Personally I enjoy this, as opposed to being surrounded by bustling people, but sometimes it can catch you out.

    That’s when I employ the “24 Hour rule”. If I’m whinging and feeling sorry for myself, I allow it for a 24 hour period–after that, it’s back pulling on the bootstraps, putting the smile on, on taking care of business (and it usually doesn’t take 24 hours ). I see that this works for you too.

    We all have days like this. Just remember, you’re not really a stranger here 🙂

    • I love your 24 hour rule and you are right it never takes that long. there is definitely something about working alone all day, it does catch up with you a bit, when you least expect it.. though i have chosen it to be this way, I also do not like loudness and busyness.. i actually really enjoy the quiet.. c

  9. Oh Lordy, yes. Having lived in 3 different countries since I left the US 20 years ago, I know exactly how that feels. While I have loved the adventure of it all and being mostly alone over here in Europe I recently made the difficult decision to return to Southern California after I retire at the end of the year. And mainly because I want the ease and comfort of being able to relax in a language and culture I totally understand, not to mention that I have children and sisters there. At some point in every gathering with my dear French friends, there is that moment when it is crystal clear once again that I will never *be* French no matter how long I live here simply because I don’t have their shared school and family experiences, their music, even their favorite TV ads…context.
    And when those bad days hit, I also sing after sobbing. Forge on, Ms. C!

    • Dear mary, a kindred spirit.. we will forge on, all of us .. I think that is a good idea to retire to your first home, even just for the ease of the language and those children.. c

  10. I completely understand your sentiments. My family have lived and farmed in the same place for over a hundred years – my grandparents were friends with some of the great grandparents of my childrens’ friends – so we are very rooted to this place. But my sister lives with her family in Australia and no matter how fast communication or travel gets, it is still an enormous gulf and it feels as though she is cast adrift from her heritage.

    • Good morning Anne, we are so lucky to have these instant and free ways to communicate but you are right they are only little string bridges, i hope you get to see your sister soon so you can sit down and have a proper laugh.. how amazing to live in an area with so much of your own family history, John is like that too, his great grandfather’s house is just across the creek.. c

  11. Just had me a wee washing basket moment this morning after my washing machine gave up the ghost – just the proverbial last straw that broke the camels back scenario – I’m over myself now but guess we all just need to let it go some times – it’s harder when my Pete is away so much of the time.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • That must be hard Mandy, having to meet every challenge alone can wear on a person. and these washing machines, what is going on. c

  12. Oh Celi, I have been wrestling all year with who I was and just who the hell am I now. For more than forty years I was a nurse, I was important in some ways and today people see someone else and I try to find the importance of who I am now. I am glad you can have moments that cleanse, that raw sorrow because then you can unload that grief, tear it away from you and move on in happiness. I am glad you have your stone to comfort you. Your sorrow strengthens you and express it you must it just as loud as the joy you live. You are a beacon to so many of us. Instead of worrying about something a short time ago..because I do tend to worry and agitate..and I thought of a post of yours I had just read and I said..out loud..I love problems, something to solve. That’s what Celi does and that is what I do! It treally helped. Maybe we can help a bit by telling you exactly what you are teaching us. You are still teaching and sometimes Celi, you are my stone that gets me through.

  13. Oh, Celi, hugs, wrap around you, clenching hugs. We all have our moments and that is OK because it makes us feel so much better afterward. I had mine the other day, after my youngest who is five hours away at his first year of college, snarled at me when I phoned him. He called later, apparently feeling bad about his behavior. But in between, I held my head between my hands and sobbed.

    Now, after two days of people and frogs crying, we should be good for awhile, right?

    • Yup we should be up to date. You and your son are both dealing with huge changes. Well done for giving him some space to call you back when he was settled down.. c

  14. I worry about you. Washing basket moments are all very well but the lock on your Box of Things to Keep Hidden, which you wrote about some months ago, seems to have been compromised more than it should. Maybe it’s our time of life when children have grown and we become adventurous and take on new challenges to fulfill us in a different way. I guess that new adventures come with a price. Take care and get that lock replaced!

    • Yes the Little Boxes in my head were leaking!! I have battened down the hatches.. all good now.. gosh you have a good memory! c

      • I remembered it because you put into words something which I couldn’t express.

  15. You have the unfortunate luck to have been born a human being.

    Being human means having all kinds of moods and feelings. Sometimes we equate these with a particular event. But most of the time, I’ll bet, everyone has them and understands how you feel.

    You situation has no right answer; if you had not moved here you would have missed out on all the life experiences here. And John.

    And we would never know about Daisy, Ton Ton, and Kupa. Not to mention the Shush sisters…

    So RE-welcome to the US: I am glad you’re here!

    • Thank you Ronnie. Missing your home is not the same as not wanting to be where you are.. We are all lucky enough to be able to have a good cry now and then.. you are such a wise woman.. c

  16. Here’s a hug Celi. I know how you feel and love that you can be so open and honest. I may have only changed states and not moved out of the country, but I share in your feelings. Moving to Florida where no one knew me, to moving again to another place where I share no history with anyone, they only see me as I present myself. It does make one feel alone. I’m glad we share this connection, through our posting and sharing. I’ve learned alot about you…you’re a special woman!

    • morning honey, with your latest major relocation you will understand so well. i hope you don’t feel too alone, lucky we all have each other in this busy and silent Weblog World. c

  17. Cecilia, having time to yourself is not at all the same thing as having time for yourself. Keep the former, if you must, but increase the latter. Art withers when left on the vine. It is the most delicate of wine grapes, meant for sunny days on southern shores. It is good, solitude. But to being known who one Was, means one must still Be her. You can and are. Show the woman beneath.

    She is here, in your words. Sunshine is wonderful. But art grows in the heavy rains. Your rain will mean your grass will start to grow anew. I will stand here, silently, and watch it.

    • Beautiful inspiration, Bill. I can not say it any better.
      I can however send a hug your way! Looking forward to seeing your home! Do you have any footage of some of your performances I would enjoy seeing them!

      • Jess, thank you for the hug. No there is no footage of the stage work, stage is nothing on film. there is probably some footage from the short film period around but not here, it is all in NZ of course.. Suffice to say my legs were longer and my hair was much curlier in those days and we had tons of fun.. c

  18. An excellent post. You really described that “bawling your eyes out” feeling that we can all identify with. I remember sitting on my porch one night and having a similar cry. Having a sweet dog there is the only creature that can provide comfort. Even if they aren’t touching you, their quiet, listening presence is more supportive than any human could ever be. Love to you from afar.

  19. Celi, while you draw breath and your brain works you cannot be separate from your life, who you have been as well as who you are now: you carry it with you in your memories and in your cells: you carry it in the way that you respond to a particular smell, which makes you think of a place and time. New Zealand life is both a story for you and an experience lived in your bones, just as Illinois life must be by now. Sending you love. — Sharyn

    • Thank you Sharyn, I was thinking of you when i mentioned the guitar, it seems such a part of who you are.. I must pop in soon and see what you are up to.. c

  20. Sometimes we all need one of those good cries. They are cathartic. And I love that you ended by singing. I think singing has a way of lifting your heart up a bit. Glad you’re feeling better today. And I’m glad to know what I know of you through this blog. 🙂

    • Kristy you are a lovely woman, i hope the kids have a good day at school and you have a great day doing whatever you can.. c

  21. Is this just a woman-thing–to let everything pile up and then go off and have a good, rousing cry that feels like it just cleans you out, and you can pick yourself up and go on? I don’t know, but I expect it is. Feeling for you, Celi. I’ve been there–not as a foreigner in a foreign land, not in the literal sense, at least, but an emotional one, in times of loss or change or just because. I wonder if you aren’t grieving for Mary’s Cat, too. I hope today is a better day!

    • You know Gerry, i was going to ask the same question, but forgot, is this just a woman thing? I have seen men cry and for some reason it is much more heart wrenching to see. Or is that me just assuming a stereotype.. good questions though. Today is already a better day.. c

    • By the look of all these wonderful comments you are Not At All Alone! It will pass.. this is the knowledge that keeps us sane.. c

  22. It feels best to cry alone, doesn’t it? Your writing resonates with me this morning.. Although I’ve never moved, the “stuff” that I do is important because it’s my creative outlet. I’m glad you’re feeling better today, I have no doubt you could be exhausted doing what you do.. xx and hugs Smidge

  23. Remembering Boarding School homesickness, and even a longing for home briefly when away abroad on holiday! Sad to think of you crying on your own …. when I’n sad and fed up with my life I escape to blogdom and The Farmy and others, and always come away feeling better. Hope today was better again, keep on singing – we hear you 🙂 Laura

  24. Big hug. I’ve lived in 4 countries and now the other coast (which I call my 5th country), revel in making them feel like home, the fresh beginnings, the adventure of change, yet when it’s a low time, a mood, a sideways hit from life, my bones ache for home. I am so excited to learn more about your first home in December.

    • I have read a little about your travels.. and you have it exactly right when you descibe it as a sideways hit from life.. you will love NZ.. promise! c

  25. i understand your feelings. although i was not a foreigner to our land, I was living in a state unfamiliar to me. i cried many times for my old home, until i finally went home

  26. You were not alone in your washing bucket cry last night 🙂 I had one too. Someone once told me that tears are anti-freeze for the heart. I think that’s true.
    It seems to come over me when I’m out running alone alone in the woods. Crying, or trying not to cry, when running ain’t easy…it makes breathing rather difficult. 🙂

    • It is the trying not to cry that makes your head ache doesn’t it, i can see that crying and running would be a wee bit uncomfortable! c

  27. Never forget that for people like us, it is always about the writing and you’re writing is always excellent. The experience is secondary to the telling. Seriously, you are the best writer that I read on the blogs. So, whether the experience brings a smile or a tear, as long as you can share it with that great talent of yours, you will be just fine. All joy. HF

    • Damn! I hate to be discussing writing and then make a mistake like you’re for your. Well, it just goes to show there is always room for improvement. At least for me! HF

      • At least you caught it or i would have had to mark your work and write See Me on the bottom! and thank you for for coming back to our little Comments Lounge we missed you.. c

  28. When my heart is heavy, and my mind is swirling, I busy my hands and then the mind and heart will almost always follow. Such a poignant post. Your writing is always true and kind. We are all strangers, sometimes even to ourselves.

    • This is true, we still have lots to learn and many to meet. I do my best cleaning when i am angry! When I am sad, not so much.. But in all honesty i seldom let sad get the better of me, we kind of have to learn to live with it.. c

  29. Celi, you are such a lovely soul! How honest and real you are…which is why we readers connect to you so easily. I have never transplanted any distance at all, let alone left my country and original home, and I admire the spirit of adventure, but recognize the loss and emotional impact. I know the feeling, though, of sadness and a good cry, then waking to a new day with renewal. Tears are sometimes just the release! And singing is one of my fall-back positions when I need the lift…I go for show tunes! 🙂 Giant hug, my friend. Debra

    • Thank you Debra, it is a wonderful thing to be where they know you and you are right, you do not have to be away to feel home sick sometimes and thank you for the hugs.. c

  30. I certainly understand those times! I have felt them often in the last couple of years. I know for me, it is beyond tired, but being weary. Weary of trying, and not accomplishing. Weary from distance in time and geography and understanding. But, like you, each morning starts a new day with (usually) some fresh hope. Just keep on keepin’ on, we’re pulling for ya! 🙂

    • Ted, Weary is a hard one, but every morning gives us another crack at overcoming it. I think it is sometimes a good idea to look and see what it is we are trying to accomplish and wonder at it.. you are pretty good at goal setting though.. , c

  31. Our time zone and schedule differences do not always allow me a timely comment, but here is a late one. In teaching and loving international students over the years, I have observed an odd phenomenon. It is sometimes easier to be in a country that is totally different—language, religion, climate—than one that has similarities.

    • Now that is a very interesting observation. I will think about that one. Thank you Alice and no matter what time i get your comments I always delight in them.. c

  32. Keep your little stone tucked safely away in your pocket and smell it and rub it on your face any time you need to feel home again. *Hugs*
    Of course, you have all of us: your ‘web’ family!
    I look forward to your stories while back home in December.

    • We will have a great time doing the travelling, I hope you will like what you see when we go there.. Local knowledge is a wonderful thing..c

  33. I sing to my garden as well. This was a beautiful read. You are a beautiful person.

  34. I sing to my garden and my trees.
    Thank you for this. I’m having one of those days, and I see I’m in good company. That helps. 🙂

  35. I live in a house that has been in our family for several generations. It is in a rural community where many of us are 5th generation. Even so, I have moments like yours. It seems like every 20 years I have a new batch of people who know me. At first this was because of work, I had 3 major jobs in my lifetime. Once it was because of the child and meeting the families of his friends. Each time a chapter closed it brought a new group of friends who had no idea who I was “before.” None of my present friends knows the person who trained and shod her own horses, and rode them thousands of miles on the trails, for example. I still have 2 ancient horses, and they remember. All the people friends see is an old woman who can barely walk. I’m starting to understand why old people often have a faraway look.

    • Jan, I took a lens that needs repairing to the old codger the other day, He is pretty handy and at 94 knows quite a bit about mechanisms. I said to him but who else would I take it to? You have the tools and the knowledge. He said But i don’t want to break it. When was the last time you broke something I said. Other than his leg he could not tell me, well i said. can you fix it? Of course I can, he said and smiled. Being old only makes you more useful to the people around you. I will guarantee you that there are many many people who see way past the old lady who can barely walk. The blog world is interesting though. The way you have always written i would never have picked you as older.. I would love to meet your two ancient horses, bet they have some stories. c

  36. I put your blog on FB today. Before I opened your blog this morning, with feelings of anticipated pleasure, I found myself thinking, the earth must have gratitude towards this woman, and the animal kingdom within her patch is gloriously loved. I think what you do unseen is celestial; yup i do, that word just popped out. Celestial will do rather nicely; hugs and love and terrific admiration.

    • Celestial is a wonderful word. I have always loved angels! Thank you so much for sharing the message. Thank you.. c

  37. In the shower – that’s my place for a good weep. For me it is often about how I ended up trapped in a life that doesn’t seem to fit… and that I don’t have the courage to change it. I wonder if it is full moon? 🙂
    I’ve heard many times, that New Zealanders are easy to recognise overseas, because we are the ones who carry a piece of home – usually around our necks! I know I do – a paua-shell necklace travels everywhere I do… maybe you could get yourself a piece of something when you are here in December? XXXOOO

    • I have worn my greenstone paunamu around my neck now for oh, it must be fifteen years now, maybe even twenty. You know I had not even thought of that, it is always warm and always there and i had forgotton i wore it.. well done janet.. I am shocked that my little stone is what i think of and there is this big hunk of south island greenstone around my neck.. (laughter!) I wonder how you are in a life that does not seem to fit, but you should take out the words Ended Up.. It is not ended yet.. Anything could happen, I love paua.. c

  38. You are so right. Whenever we have a moment, just think of tomorrow. Tomorrow is always a new day to do the things you couldn’t do yesterday.

  39. I had a laundry basket moment today at work – in the bathroom, sobbing on the toilet hoping no one came in when I was deep in the part where it’s impossible to be silent. I don’t think anyone noticed the red eyes and choked voice when I came back. I’ve not cried in months, I get angry usually, but today was just too much. You almost brought them back to me again here, remembering your basket post.

    I’m also an expat, but never really felt America was my home so I can’t think of what to put in my pocket.

    Ps I did some garden flower photos yesterday, I recall you wanted to see some a while back?

  40. Something that I admire so much about what you do here is that you share the downs as generously as you do the ups. I know exactly what you are talking about here. Sometimes, it can feel like you have to invent yourself every day when there are no touchstones to relate to.

    • Oh that makes perfect sense siobhan.. I also have no mother to follow, she died when she was 49, and me 27, and i think that has something to do with the touch stones.. c

    • You are kind to say so.. and i do agree, we create our context but what of the background, the colour in behind our image, where does that come from.. life is a funny thing and because you study history i am sure you know better than most of us about context and background.. sometimes i would love to sit with you on your lovely couch and just talk about the history of this country.. you teach me so much with your pages.. c

  41. Your authenticity is magical… the way you share brings us all together from our own spaces. I love the way we now all refer to “washing basket moments”, I did so as well in a recent post. I think we have them because we’ve doing ‘stuff’, and then the sadness, stress or whatever, catches up with us, as we’ve been too busy to feel. It’s better to recognise and dignify with a cry the ‘it’s all gone to sh!t’ moment, dust yourself off and move on, the huge danger is in ignoring it, that’s when it manifests in physical ailments/illnesses. Interestingly I recently commented re post about labels, “I’ve had other labels though. Cliff/Polly’s Grandaughter, Janice/Newlo’s Daughter, Little Spook (associated with being Newlo’s daughter)… and now Welshy’s Missus…” some of these are labels from the past, I’m proud of them and no matter where I go or what I do, they’re a part of me… I carry them in my heart and soul. I’d guess you’d have similar, and it is for those you sing your songs 🙂

    • This is a good point about our labels.. the sitting in the washing basket sure did bind us! it is good to be proud of our names and you are right about that, we have many different ones.. and we sing them c

  42. I think the older we get, the more we miss about where we’ve been and who we were. I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately, probably because my mother just turned 85 and that’s where I’ve been…visiting home…for the last week. I can’t imagine living in another country and the homesickness that entails. Still, it is good to cry every now and then. I think if don’t let ourselves cry it can be very bad for you, and then you won’t wake up tomorrow feeling like it’s a new day and you can move on to the next adventure because and you haven’t vented and allowed yourself some emotional release…a moment away from responsibility. If it’s any comfort, we’re all with you, cheering you on, looking forward to seeing who you are each day, and more of what made you who you are when you go home to New Zealand. 🙂 (p.s., am just starting to catch up after being out of town…so sorry about Mary’s Cat being MIA…that was enough to make me cry!) ~B

    • Your mother reaching 85 is a monumental achievement , congrats to you and to her.. I am not sure about crying.. generally i just feel wretched afterwards however it does clear the way for another day.. women are so tough.. mercy.. we just haul ourselves back up and carry on.. take care.. c

  43. Singing this to you Celi: WELCOME HOME by Dave Dobbin

    tonight I am feeling for you
    under the state of a strange land
    you have sacrificed much to be here
    ‘there but for grace…’ as I offer my hand
    welcome home, i bid you welcome, i bid you welcome
    welcome home from the bottom of my heart
    out here on the edge
    the empire is fading by the day
    and the world is so weary in war
    maybe we’ll find that new way

    so welcome home, see i made a space for you now
    welcome home from the bottom of our heart
    welcome home from the bottom of our hearts
    keep it coming now – keep it coming now
    you’ll find most of us here with our hearts wide open
    keep it coming now – keep on coming now
    keep it coming now – keep on coming now

    there’s a woman with her hands trembling – haere mai
    and she sings with a mountain’s memory – haere mai

    there’s a cloud the full length of these isles
    just playing chase with the sun
    and it’s black and it’s white and it’s wild
    all the colours are one

    so welcome home, i bid you welcome, I bid you welcome
    welcome home from the bottom of our hearts
    welcome home, see i made a space for you now
    welcome home from the bottom of our hearts
    from the bottom of our hearts

    From a Kiwi at home. We know about kiwis who nest elsewhere in the world….we don’t forget you:-)
    Great post. Kupa’s shedding tail mirrors your tear shedding. We have to pass through shedding to welcome new things. This too shall pass…..

    • You are brilliant. if i remember rightly you are in Porirua, I shall be in Welly in december.. maybe you can pop into the city for a coffee! Us kiwis love our coffee! bring the kids, any kids will do.. i don’t mind! I am copying this out for my study wall.. you are a star! kia ora pepe .. c

      • We’ve been singing this all term at the local community singing group and there are parts of the song that resonate so deeply within me. Yep Porirua is my city – well remembered! I’ll watch for your dates to be around in December :-))

  44. Heat and fatigue on top of the day-to-day challenges are too much. You amaze us with your strength. Here’s a hug and a smile for you……

  45. Sometimes I cry, C. I cry for who I was and who I miss, I cry for losing those who have passed on that I will never see again…anyway right here and now. I have such a longing to be someone’s daughter again…and that someone to be my Momma and my Daddy…I miss my Grandparents for I spent many, many, many hours with them. I was one of those lucky kids that had my family right here with me.

    I cry..silent and miserable. I live not far from where I grew up….just 20 minutes up the road so to speak. They are all gone, my family’s 160 acre orchard and farm turned into a subdivision, my grandparents 80 acres nothing but houses…everything is gone. Not even a place to go to to get memories.

    I understand.


    • That must be terrible to see the old farm turned to concrete.. Women are the strangest and most fragile of creatures, we need to be a daughter and a mother and a keeper of treasures but we can be all these only for the shortest of times.. we pack down our memories to keep them, to pass them on, to make them safe.. we have been lucky kids and that makes us lucky adults in that we can roll with the punches.. you have had a few too many this year.. too many punches.. be very gentle with yourself.. I would love to make you a cup of tea and talk about the orchard and your grandmere. love love.. c

    • Thank you.. i shall read it.. did you see yesterdays post, i was hoping you might be able to identify a frog for me! c

      • I think it’s a female bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), but it’s hard for me to tell from that angle. Also, there’s the possibility that there’s a look-alike in IL that I don’t know about.

  46. There’s not much for me to say, Celi, that hasn’t already been said and far more eloquently than I ever could. I believe that a good cry is just as necessary as a good laugh. The important thing is to recognize it for what it is and to move on. Many years ago — and I do mean many — I saw Gloria Steinem, I think it was, on a talk show. She mentioned that there were times when she felt low, as we all do at times. She didn’t, however, waste time trying to figure out why, just like she never tried to figure out why she was in a good mood. She accepted it as a natural state and didn’t make matters worse by stressing over things that may — or may not — be the cause. I’ve never forgotten that interview and realize that sometimes I’m feeling down because I am. Period. Like you, it will pass quickly and I’ll be fine, though rarely with a song. I have a dog and parrot to consider and Animal Cruelty will surely respond should I start singing.
    I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    • I hear you.. best you don’t sing then, i need a trip to the city.. Lucy and i have some catching up to do! That should sort me out! c

  47. The short answer to your question is: “Yes.”
    Coincidentally, at the moment I am carless too. (Bob had a crash in the rain, he’s OK!)
    I didn’t move so far as you, but 2,700 miles might just as well be a million, and sometimes it catches up to me and I feel what you just described.
    ~ Lynda

    • I have just heard that after EIGHT days without a car, it is fixed so i shall drive up to the city tomorrow and get it, if all goes well, I hope you get a car back soon too and that bob is ok.. crashes are scary.. and 2,700 miles is a long way!! c

  48. I’ve had a few of those moments in the past couple of weeks. I stop, look around, and ask myself what in the hell am I doing in Florida? And then I do like you did, have a cry, get some rest, and things look much better the next morning.

  49. It sounds like you are really ready for to go home to New Zealand. You must be so excited about getting back there in December. I’ll look forward to those posts as you might even show me places i remember xx

  50. It is the context that we miss. I do understand the smooth stone in the pocket and the dam bursting.
    And the singing. My mother said that people sang songs because their brains wanted to remember happier times the song reminded them of.
    There are other reason.The body is defensive – singing regulates breathing and stabilizes chemical. There’s a predictable pattern, and certain notes are pleasing. The beat and flow mimics the rush of blood and the heart.
    Music can be the smooth stone that was neglected to be carried along. Soothes the savage beast of the soul?
    Sing, and commune with the farmy and animals and you’ll manage until time to fly home.
    (And thanks for picking up the froggie guy – he was frozen and needed some help – and there you were!)

  51. Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. 🙂 Sending you a hug to tuck into your secret pocket for the next time you need one.

  52. Wish we could have a glass of dry, cold Marlborough white together at the moment! A refugee at 9, in a country it did not want me at 13, a land in which I settled tho’ it was strange at the time! Oh, yep, I relate!! May I > a big hug?!! And you know it is 100% OK, and the wonderful Xmas trip ahead is, perchance, needed? Celi, darlingHeart, you are lucky, perchance – in ‘my time’ you bloody f’ing well put up with your feelings!! All well: looking forwards to you in Kiwiland 😀 !

  53. Oh I know that feeling, I know just what it’s like. How marvellous that you could just let it all out, and nothing was required of you but to be real. I remember how I’ve carried a piece of pounamu (greenstone) with me in my pocket whenever I’ve been far from home, and have secretly held on to it. And then you wrote those exquisite words about a secret pocket. I guess sometimes you must get very tired from all that hard work every day, and then your skin grows thin and things break through that were held in. I always find it a relief after those moments. Hope you have done too.

  54. I live now in the land of birth -I haven’t always but I was never more that a short hop away so I cannot imagine what it feels like to live so far away from your roots. I think we have an inbuilt map in our heads which helps us navigate life when we are in our own countries but that map changes when we move and we have to learn different ways through and try to understand different nuances. I am sorry to hear about your wobbly day and thank you for sharing it – I just want to say take care and that I am glad to hear you are taking a trip to NZ later in the year. x

  55. Celi, I always save your blog to last to read so that I can savour it, which means I’m always last to comment, and everyone has said everything that needs to be said.
    Reading all the comments made we wonder if there’s something going on in the planet, that so many of us yearn for home and our roots. i haven’t felt so homesick for years as I have for the last few days. Thank you for your lovely honesty, ad I hope you don’t feel you have to be cheerful when you don’t feel like it. You are such an inspiration to so many people. X

  56. “And we need to always carry a little bit of home with us in our secret pockets like a polishing stone.” That speaks to me. I think about my external home which was ‘given to’ me and also the internal home I have created myself. Both nourishing at different times and in different ways. Great piece, Celia.

  57. You are one outstandingly brave woman Celi. It takes a strong person to expose ones self the way you did in this post. Needless to say when I was reading it tears were hitting the keyboard. They say tears are cathartic. Perhaps in end that is what makes us strong. We wipe them away and get on with our life. Homesickness is just that. Going home will be part of the cure. I can’t image any one meeting you for the first time, and in a few minutes of conversation not appreciating and understanding you. A million hugs. Virginia

    • thank you virginia, they say tearsare cathartic but really they just make me feel wretched.. and then better later.. after the singing.. c

  58. Hi Cecilia. Sending you a big kiwi hug from NZ. I know what you mean. I spent time in the UK and coming home… even for a short time was like taking a breath of fresh air. Living overseas, makes you appreciate NZ all the more, but at the same time, being a kiwi helps make the adventure more exciting. Cheers Sarah : o )

  59. Another person who knows exactly how you feel. Tears are cathartic and in a way good for you. It doesn’t happen very often to me anymore, but it does happen. All sorts of unexpected events can trigger an episode. Sometimes all it takes is reading a blog. Like yours today.

    a huge warm hug for you…..

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