My JOY Bucket List
- Whale watching
- Visiting the Milford Sound in New Zealand
- Yoga teacher training
- Watching the aurora from Lake Tekapo
- Doing a writing retreat
- Doing a photography course
- Planning a Summer holiday
- Writing a book
What can I do in the next five minutes which will make me feel better, be nourishing or healing or give me joy? For example, I can have a bath or wash my face, walk around the block or by the ocean, have a green tea or hot water with lemon, rest or sleep. I can also ring or email my nurse or specialist to discuss any pain or dis-comfort, book a massage and book a support session to talk through any difficulties I am having. Sometimes we focus on a day instead of the moments right now.
Life often gives us rock and roll. It could be a cancer diagnosis or it could be earthquakes. This week, many in New Zealand have been to hell and back. First, was a giant 7.8 two-minute earthquake just after midnight on Monday morning.
I woke just before the quake and jumped to the floor by my bed. On my hands and knees, I held on the floor as my house lurched around me. It felt like the house would come down and my fight or flight responses went into overdrive.
My electricity went out and as I sat on the couch in the dark with my laptop, portable Wi-Fi and cell phone, I had to decide what to do next. After-shocks followed and I went out and met some of my neighbours, all in pyjamas and slippers. We all bonded together and knew we were a community. I definitely was rattled.
I decided to go back to bed and try and sleep. Shortly after, my friend rang me. Petone, my suburb, was being evacuated due to tsunami risk. One of the benefits of living close to the beach is also a detriment in beach laden New Zealand. Almost all of us live on or close to fault lines or in tsunami zones.
I knew I needed to leave but wasn’t sure where to go. My neighbour said up the valley and when I drove 10 minutes away, I stopped and texted my sister and sister in law. Go to my sister in law, Nicky’s, was the answer and off I drove to a hot drink and comfortable bed. There I patted a lovely dog and got into bed with a hot wheat bag. I was freezing after all the shocks and panic.
At 7am I woke to find that unfortunately there had been two deaths due to the quakes and the large earthquake had been focused at the top of the South Island near Kaikoura. As well as feeling for the affected communities, we were all full of shock and lack of sleep.
Now the practical decisions had to be made. It was a work day and what was I meant to do? Now that it was daylight, I needed to see what damage had been done to my house. And thirdly, I was meant to do a speech to a local Rotary group that evening. I needed to find out if it was on and what I would do.
Most of all, I was so tired and just wanted to go home and sleep. When I got home, nothing was damaged. Miraculously things had fallen over but nothing was broken.
I found that my electricity was out and was so for 12 hours. I had no snack food in my house (it all required cooking), I was cold and I didn’t even have a radio. I went to the local supermarket and bought some food and water. We couldn’t drink the tap water due to the quake.
I waited for the power to come on and read that no one from Wellington should go into the city for work. I went to sleep and on waking realised, that I was too exhausted to do a speech so sent my apologies to the Rotary group.
On the Tuesday, on returning to work, we couldn’t go into our work place as it was damaged. We are in the process of moving to a new building so we went to work at the new building. However I hadn’t had a chance to pack before we moved buildings. In addition, we are going through a restructure and this week, my group manager left and we have new teams. We also have moved to hot desking with lockers and no personal desks.
That same day, Wellington experienced a storm and my suburb Petone flooded. I managed to get home in time before the trains and buses stopped due to flooding and aftershocks. It was just one thing after another.
We then had another storm on Wednesday/Thursday which had locals saying “we are waiting for locusts”. What more could happen? Of course, I didn’t have enough safety gear. On Wednesday, I headed out and bought a portable gas stove, more torches, battery packs for my cell phone and a radio. I am set if further quakes occur.
Despite being on my own during all the quakes and flooding, I did okay. I felt vulnerable at times having to make decisions on my own, often in the dark. I did get quite a few texts and calls which really helped.
I surprised myself too. All I wanted was to get back into the office and get back to normal. It reminded me of my cancer diagnoses as I wanted to get back into the office and create normality. I love working in an office and it feels quite safe and secure for me. When life outside work is shattered, I liked sitting at my desk.
There were over 2000 aftershocks in the 48 hours after the big earthquake. After going through a week of quakes, evacuation, flooding, storms, moving buildings/restructure at work, and more, routine and normal are very important.
These are the things that gave me safety, peace and warmth in the upheaval.
Wishing everyone peace on their journey.
I had one of the best experiences this week, ever! I was invited to talk about my book on TVNZ’s Breakfast on Thursday. I got myself organised and flew up to Auckland for the 6.40am interview.
TVNZ is so incredible. They’ve just had renovations and the building looked futuristic and fabulous at the same time. Once there, I was met by Carla who helped me get the interview. Then went down to hair and make up. I was transformed into TV-ready and then walked into the studio.
I met Hilary and Jack and was seated next to Hilary Barry who was to interview me. The studio was quite quiet as there were lots of things going on – news, weather, camera men and they were talking remotely to Brody, another reporter.
Hilary talked to me quietly and was so kind and reassuring. She asked me a few questions and then we were ready to start. I was struck by her pretty she was and our outfits matched. Phew.
The interview went for around 4 minutes and was over in a flash. It was all such a lovely and interesting experience. I felt really happy and was super-happy that I wasn’t really nervous. Here is the video.
Then I went off to have coffee with Carla at the TVNZ cafe. A muffin with my friend Italia, and then met a friend Pat. I gave Pat 20 gift wrapped books to be donated to Auckland Hospital. Then back to the airport.
It really was such a wonderful day and will be remembered for some time. Most importantly, I hope there were a few people doing chemo watching, who might have been helped by a few things I said.
Thanks to TVNZ, Hilary and Carla for making this happen.
I’ve always wanted to go to Fiordland. Even though it’s in New Zealand, it seems like a long way away and a big journey. So when a friend from Canada arrived in New Zealand, off we went.
There are no words to describe Fiordland so I’ll let my photos speak. However, I will say that it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. And I had one of life’s perfect days in Milford Sound. New Zealand is truly a slice of paradise. I also did a night sky tour at Lake Tekapo and here are a few images and a video mvi_5612.
What I’ve learned about travel is that you gain join from the planning, experiencing and the remembering. Travel is such a great way to remember that life is amazing and full of beauty and wonder.
Where are the other slices of paradise in the world? For me, they are:
– Assisi and Venice, Italy
– Rio and Salvador, Brazil
– Paris, France
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