Saturday night. Feeling decidedly Autumnal out there. Grey moody skies with gusty winds and the lush green summer shrouds are all quivering off the trees in the leafy green suburb where we live.
Half-way through school holidays and the kids are all home so we had a roast dinner and I made fresh bread which was a huge hit. Life’s decidedly fucking boring and mundane right now and I absolutely Love it.
Saturday night dinner with the kids
We are recently returned from a trip to Southeast Asia that was less than idyllic as I did an incredible “scene from the exorcist” impression after contracting a serious bacterial or perhaps amoebic infection through dirty ice in a huge cup of sugar cane juice in a market on a border town in Laos called Huay Xai. Not. Fun.
We were also smacked square in the face with serious environmental and human rights issues that just left me feeling spoiled and helpless. Air quality was so bad you couldn’t see 10 metres into the distance and everything was an eerie sepia yellow tone no matter the time of day. Fucking confronting.
I Loved our trip. Despite being sick as fuck and painfully confronted. We also had to leave our planned itinerary so I could lay writhing in pain in a hotel room in Bangkok for a week. The views were great and there were a few times I was even able to venture out of the room and into the winding streets and alleyways for a sneak peak.
The people we saw, met and interacted with were fantastic. Calm, humble, funny. Southeast Asia has a vibe that is completely devoid of the “me first” urgency and hubris of Western countries – but at the same time we noticed that man can the Thais’ hustle. There’s a sense of community everywhere you go, everyone seems to have some kind of job to do no matter how apparently high or low (societally), and whatever it is they’re doing – you can be sure they’ll do that job incredibly well. As for jumping up and down and demanding special treatment? Well that gets you nowhere in this part of the world.
Bangkok is an amazingly poorly planned and yet somehow exquisitely functional city. There’s abject poverty squished up against 5 star luxury. One minute you are at a Sheraton and the next you’ve turned a corner into perfectly ordered alleyway of organised chaos. Little street vendor stalls parked up and wash basins and bikes and all manner of kitchen appliances and accessories were stacked along walls and tucked in corners. There was a cheerful and chatty old lady taking a sponge bath who was conversing contentedly with a friend who had a toddler perched in front of her on a rickety old bike. Moments like that, are why I travel. Being honoured with the luck to happen across such beautiful moments. We were absolutely inconsequential in a city of well over 10 million permanent residents. We just meandered through the streets, malls, train stations and restaurants people watching and relishing the anonymity.
Home now, in our cushy, warm, beautiful, rented villa in Auckland. This week I bought a cute little city car to ferry my kids around and get to and from the farm in. My hand was forced as our old faithful Hybrid Lexus was stolen from right outside my son’s bedroom window at his father’s house. The house is inside a gated compound, and they just left the gate ajar one evening as people were coming and going and some opportunistic thieves went right on in and helped themselves to the car. Crazy. Insurance will cover a decent part of the 2020 BMW i3 I now zip around the city in.
That car cost us $42K in NZ coin. I thought that was a bargain tbh. The average office worker, after a university education in Thailand makes around 600฿ a day or around 250,000฿ per year. That’s about $28.50NZD a day or 12K per annum in our currency. So, I am driving my kids to school and myself to work in something that costs nearly 4 years worth of wages in Thailand.
I didn’t need a trip to Thailand and Laos to know that I am drowning in privilege. I didn’t need it, but I appreciate it and I am desperate to bring my kids there. We are planning four weeks in the region at the end of this year, just us and the teenagers. We’ve already arranged to meet up with a few of our contacts from this most recent trip, and I we feel like the most recent trip will be fresh enough in our minds that we will find be able to find our stride pretty quickly.
So that’s it. Nothing really much to report or going on. Feeling pensive and profoundly blessed to be lucky enough to have a brilliantly boring week here at the foot of Maungawhau in Tamaki Makaurau.
Blessed but ready to close this chapter.
Aotearoa has had 30 years of the very best I had to give and I really can’t say it’s heading in a direction I care to witness any longer. Tall poppy shaming and shenenigans, bullies and bullshit artists, well, those shady fuckers seem to have far more influence and free reign than the enlightened, kind and collaborative people I am blessed to know lately. It’s boring. And tedious.
So we will get our businesses and lives arranged in such a way that we can leave this island nation with the kids who are keen to join us on our next chapter. I’m well ready to get gone at this point. Every time I read the news, or hear about the latest patronizing patriarchal performance one of my esteemed goddess friends is suffering through, well it reminds me it’s time to move on.
Selfish as that may be. I can’t handle the trajectory my once beloved home is on.
In the meantime, I am looking very forward to the time I get to spend with good friends, and the many adventures we have planned here down under in the Antipodes and Asia Pacific regions. Every time I travel I learn something. And there’s still so very much I want to (and need to) learn.