The Great New Zealand Barbeque

All us expats live with two homes. Lucky us. Unlucky us.
barbeque corn

We can meet and eat and laugh and drink with some of the most important people in our entire lives at the great New Zealand barbie, set in an urban vegetable garden with wine and laughter and still worry about the ones we love and  have left in the frozen gardens on the other side of the world.

We eat the family scalloped potatoes, grill sausages and steak and lamb. We can eat the gluten free salads, and vegan dishes and vegetarian bakes and omnivorious feeds,  eating all from the same table like we have for years but still wonder how the cows are at home, and is Tima warm, and is Boo OK at Nannys and are the kittens doing well  and wonder why we have not heard Queenie’s results.

Caramalising onions on one side of the world while someone else feeds my pigs on the other.



The glory of all your family gathering like a gentle storm.

As the water freezes at home.

We are all a collection of divided and dividing cells. Wanting to be here but still there. Wishing and missing. Succeeding and failing. Wanting to both hide from the new people and greet them as wonderful additions to our ever-burgeoning families.

Big breath miss c., says Sheila our Big Fat Pig, from all the way over there.

Good morning.

I hope you all have a lovely day!

Your friend in travel,




59 Comments on “The Great New Zealand Barbeque

  1. Home sickness can be a wicked thing. You must be loving all the fresh summer fruit and veg. John and Jake have the Farmy in hand. Laura

    • The food is wonderful, especially the fruit.. and I have begun t make the sauces for the cooking I will be doing on the weekend so the house is scented with roasting tomato and garlic.. c

    • Morning Viv. Yes,we do have the best time, with lots of relaxing time to catch your breath as well, the wedding weekend is coming right up then it will get even more jolly!.. c

  2. ‘Wanting to be here, but still there’ Yes, you have perfectly described the agony and the ecstasy of being an ‘expat’. No matter which place we find ourself, we are thinking of the other place somewhere in the back of our minds. And yet we know we have chosen the right life. xx

    • Yes, you are right, and thank goodness we have all chosen the right lives to live. How lucky we are to have that choice. c

  3. I do not yearn for the dark, wet northern skies, but I miss family and old friends, the easy company of people who have known me forever. I sat at the foot of my table of 10 this Christmas and wished that some of the faces were from my tribe… And while you are having clean bright sunshine and family feasts in the garden, we are, AT LAST, having rain, sheets and sheets of the stuff, blowing horizontally in 87kmph gusts, house-shaking thunder and scary bright pink lightning. Hurray!

  4. Listen to Sheila and enjoy every second of the warmth and the people. Soon enough you’ll be missing them while enjoying your “other” life.

  5. Ah, yes, you’ve hit it right on the head, or rather, the heart. After 20 years of living abroad in Hungary, Switzerland and France and missing my family here in the US, I’ve returned ‘home’ but now I often long to be back among the friends and acquired family I left behind in Europe.

    No easy solution, for certain.


    • Morning Mary, America is VERY different from Europe.. aren’t we lucky that technology allows us such instant access to those we long have you been back in the States?.. c

  6. Yes, we know this feeling. It breaks us two … but we do mend. Family does that.

    Love. Much love. xx

  7. Yep you got that right my friend! if only they would hurry up and invent the ‘beam me up Scotty’ gadget from Star Trek – after all they have managed some of the other gadgets (cell phone etc.) Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment and where you are in the present – too soon the present will be history!

  8. I’m only a half-expat nomad, but I SO understand the divide you’re feeling. On my more resilient days I just think of it as topping up on love in one home before moving into the next phase of the adventure where more love–different love–awaits! (Or sometimes I jusr cry in the bath or in my Champagne!) Life is complicated, wonderful… And I’m a big believer in the gratitude that contrast re-instills. X

    • Well said Whitney.. these contrasts do underline gratitude.. and yes .. i much prefer to cry into champagne!.. c

  9. It is nice to see that lovely garden and houses perched on the hillside. It is still cold and snowy on this side of the world. Enjoy the warmth and food.

    • Wellington is more known for its wind, and the sunshine is bright and joyful.. when i take you down country i think we will get that solid summer heat.. like you i long for it! c

  10. That made me cry! I can feel that you are missing the Farmy and we also need to see and to know that all is ok. I am sure it is because you have left it in capable hands but even so those hands are not YOUR hands and that is the difference.
    Another big breath Miss C!

  11. Celi, your gift of words always amazes me. We expats are connected to a tether that pulls us here and there. Are you up for a third book about expats? In the meantime have fun with your family and enjoy the days you have with them. Oh how I wish the “beam me up Scotty “was real. Hugs

    • Are you home and unpacked with your Mums treasure placed carefully, what a sad trip you had. And what an interesting thought about an expats book.. SO many stories there!.. c

  12. You have told us many a time to live in the moment dear. To look at our surroundings and take in what is there in that moment. I now give you the same advice. John and your helper (forgive me I can’t remember his name) care for your animals and they are doing their best to live up to your standards of care. Say a quick prayer for them and insert yourself back into the fold of your family because your time is fleeting with them.

    Hugs and please enjoy the light~ The light looks brighter there!

  13. I can imagine it’s a bit overwhelming to leave the farmy and all of its peace and then re-acclimate yourself back into an entirely different world. Drink a few more glasses of wine, everything is fine at the farmy! A little time away will only have them loving you even more. xoxo

  14. Oh tell me about conflicting feelings – they never go away but we learn to appreciate the happy ones and deal with the sad ones. It’s all a bit surreal isn’t it?!

  15. Oh my dear dear Celi, you have said it all! You really have. How I understand you-split-in-two…do you think there could be a book for expats too?

  16. Celi, do you find that you are slightly shaken by being among so many people? On the farmy, it’s often only you and the animals. Quiet is the main sound and the animals seldom talk much.
    Just as you begin to settle in there among family and friends, you’ll be headed home to animals and your dear hubby. Not long now.

    • That is a very good point. How well you know me. I do find it the intenseness of these kinds of occassions very affecting. I often have to take a turn in the front yard to regather my wits. c

  17. Such a heart-rending piece, poetic and lovely and say, all in one.

    Love the shots, though, of family and all that greenery. And the mostly flat-roofed houses are especially interesting to me packed onto that hillside.

  18. Robert’s gone back to E yesterday evening and I feel broken in two as well. Big, huge hugs from half of me over here and the other half over there in E.

  19. Hard when you have a foot in each world as well as pieces of your heart and soul. Imagine a world where all you loved lived in a perfect spot for all, I can just imagine the squabbles lol Some families live for generations beside one another and never go anywhere. that is good when raising young and growing old but the in between time must be ours 🙂 Enjoy your time over there you will soon be back to reality.

  20. It is an agony to be separated from home when conditions aren’t the best at home and your helpless to do a thing about it. You cannot control the weather, you’ve put the best folks in charge of the critters, and it won’t be long and you’ll be on those giant flying vessels back to your home. Sheila is a wise girl… she knows a thing or two ya know, especially about you. Big breath is right. She has probably taken a few big breaths of her own in your absence.

  21. Celi .. Love these photos. But you must relax and enjoy your NZ adventure. You will be home with your wonderful farm life before you know it! Take care and smell those roses x

  22. I’m not the ex-pat but my daughter is, and all my grandchildren, oh and my great-grandchild, keep forgetting I have one of them ….living in your frozen land, so I understand the divided heart. It must be strange and a little disconcerting to suddenly be living in amongst that medium-density suburbia after the quiet and expanse of your prairie. Wonderful “running down the hill” gardens.

  23. Homesickness and feeling torn between one place and another is not a nice feeling. As a British expat living in Australia, I get those feelings from time to time but I know I made the right decision. You have pointed out to us in the past, to live for the moment you are in. Time with your family in the place of your birth is precious and doesn’t come too often, let yourself go and enjoy being with family. The farmy is in good hands and they will all be there to welcome you back home (your other home) when the time comes. In the meantime, live for the moment…..

  24. As I read through, I was taking deep breaths for you Celi. In the midst of it all, wonderful as it is – evidenced by your evocative words & pics – try to find that quiet time & space that you take with you regardless of which home or where you are at, and simply be in it 🙂

  25. Celi: hope those blue skies are still holding: beautiful hillside home photos!! Honestly, reading all the comments [and I DO!] an ‘expats’ book would be wonderful – methinks over half of us would qualify!!!!! In my case how an Estonian/Swedish/Baltic German kid had to assimilate into a then very Anglo-Saxon environment . . . think of all the stories we could tell!!!!! Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy meanwhile!!!!!!!

  26. Celi, you evoke the two worlds so beautifully. They are such contrasting worlds too, especially at this time of year when the polarity os so apparent. May you breathe into the best of each, and carry that best with you always.

  27. No one is having a more varied and intensive life than you are, Cecilia. You have experienced many lives already and you’re still young. Amazing, really. And you have given your whole self to each and every moment. I feel I have the right to say this, not because Ive known you all your life. No. But Because of the experiences on the farmy you have shared. I am thinking of course, of Kupa, and I think of Daisy, and Mama, and Marmalaide, just to mention a few

    • I think we all live many lives and i am so grateful that mine is so full.. and I need to say that having you along for the ride makes my life even fuller.. hope it is not too cold this week?

  28. To even see people in your lovely photos is unusual and seem to portray your mood to me. I feel like I am listening in, over hearing bits of conversation and laughter but only from a distance. I think the winter we are having in the midwest is very mild so far, nothing like last year, and I am sure you will find things well taken care of when you return. Enjoy your time and the photos are lovely.

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