friendships

And The Love Kickstarts Again

And The Love Kickstarts Again

There was a guy, and I say “was” because something in my gut said that this connection wasn’t what I wanted to have in my life.

We started hanging out, you know how it goes. Then it was the little things I started to notice, like the conversation being one sided. He didn’t really ask a lot of questions about me, while I felt I asked a million about his life before Huaraz and what brought him here. Then after awhile, he only really messaged when he needed help, or feeling stressed. I became “that” friend.

What used to be a feeling of excitement when I saw him slowly faded to a point that my body had a physical reaction to avoid him. He’s not a bad person at all, far from it. Whatever I saw in him is a projection of whatever I was felt was lacking in my life. It was a sensation strong enough to manifest in my body, not through illness but the need to speak my truth.

Whatever This Is, Just Go With The Flow

Whatever This Is, Just Go With The Flow

When I was 22, I had a grand plan for my life. How many of us really knew who we were and what we wanted in our early twenties? Here’s the thing, it really is OK not to know, just as much as it is to change your mind when that plan no longer fits the person that you become. Now at 35 and living in Huaraz, Peru, that young woman’s body hasn’t changed much physically, but she’s learned that the magic often lies in trusting the unknown.

There was a lot of anxiety before coming here, and somewhat of an expectation that this journey to South America would help to give me clarity and direction for my life. It’s been almost two months since I set foot on this continent, and I learned quickly to strip away all my grand expectations of whatever this part of my life needs to be.

When You Lead From The Soul, You Find Purpose

When You Lead From The Soul, You Find Purpose

Loneliness comes not only from the disconnect with others, but most importantly with ourselves. The more I chose to listen and fulfil my needs first, the less external validation I sought. Before I left New Zealand, my friend Nyre and I had been experiencing a similar shift in our way of thinking and living. Since we met three years ago, she had been a positive influence in my life – especially with her bubbly personality and infectious smile. Then I learned that before this shift, deep down there was a need to fit in, to please others. Somewhere along the way her soul had a growing longing, craving to feel whole again. Feeding her soul became a priority, not only for herself, but also for her family.

Why No F****s Given In Your Thirties Is Soul Enriching

Why No F****s Given In Your Thirties Is Soul Enriching

Before midnight, I made made a truce with this stage of my life. I’m here now, so I may as well enjoy the ride, right? I’m learning to see life as my biggest adventure - the continuous road trip. I have no intentions of trying to change the past, so today, the first day of the new year, I will forgive, release and let go everything that brought me here. I will love the hell out of my flaws, and cherish the lessons.

Home is a space that grounds you - to feel loved and rest. It’s up to me to create that anywhere I go.

Making My Someday Be Today - Lessons In Letting Go

Making My Someday Be Today - Lessons In Letting Go

It’s after 2am Thursday morning, I just got up to go to the bathroom. As I was heading back to bed, Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Learn’ pops into my head. I’m jolted awake and suddenly felt the need to write. Maybe it was because I hugged a lot of people last night - some people I’ve known for years, some just a few weeks. You usually only get to hug that many people on big occasions - like weddings, funerals or family reunions. I know because I’ve been to many of at two of those three.

Last night was our last show as a dance studio - and everything hereafter will just feel like a formality. The part of me who lived so much of my life as the teacher, mentor, friend, counsellor to those kids will begin to shift that energy into the next chapter of my life. Today it finally felt real, and the chain reaction of my decision to seek that energy is something that makes me both apprehensive and excited all in the same breathe.

Understanding The Value of Your Teachers

Understanding The Value of Your Teachers

I look so goofy in this photo - full teeth, all out, no holding back kind of smile. The kind of euphoria dancers feel when they know something life changing just happened. My body couldn’t handle both workshops - cramps creeped in on my arches, then my ankles, calves...yeah you get the picture. I was in a room full of teenagers and this was one of those nights where my bones really felt their age.

My Dog Doesn't Want To Eat You Or Your Dog

My Dog Doesn't Want To Eat You Or Your Dog

My dog JC is a three year old Lab from Waiotahi. When I walk her, she has a strut that means business and a grin the size of a decent sized burger. It’s not uncommon for other dog owners with smaller dogs to cross the street or watch her with a suspicious glare as we share the pavement. Because of her size, most assume she is also a male (she’s almost 40kg).

Photographs

Photographs

Looking through my old photo albums - some even had the developed film in the back pocket of the cover. Reminiscing at photos of my 16-year-old self: From high school photos, a school trip to France, to my Asian travels as an adult - a snapshot of life full of adventure. Like the time I was captain of the girls first XI cricket team (we only had one team by the way). Old friends from high school. The school ball I wore a twenty dollar dress and looked like a thirty year old. Ashes of my adolescence, memories I think of fondly.

Road Trip Adventures In
The Coromandel

Google maps said the trip should have taken about 4.5 hours to get to Hahei, but due to the torrential downpour and stops we made exploring random roadside attractions, it felt more like I spent a whole day driving. My friend Jemma did well to stay awake considering she drove from Fielding the night before - she climbed on the top bunk bed just before 2am. I made sure my usual 5am alarm on my phone, not that I needed it these days.

The Photo That Almost Didn't Happen

The Photo That Almost Didn't Happen

“Just trust me,” that’s what my friend John said as I gave him that look. The background was the face of a woman in mustard yellow and pale pink lips. He framed the shot then showed it to me. Damn, the face that stared back at me was such a bad-ass. That was our joke for the rest of the day.

She was bold and confident, and the best part was that she was me.

Then I Hit Delete

Then I Hit Delete

I thought about it, then I hit delete. For almost a week I haven’t had the Facebook or Messenger app on my phone, and it’s been the best decision ever. Sure, it makes it inconvenient when you need to check messages on the go, but apart from that I haven’t really missed it.

# 68 The Value of Everything

# 68 The Value of Everything

There’s a lot I’m questioning about myself and I’m not totally sure where it’s going yet. I’m convinced though that it’s long overdue and definitely a good thing. Losing my voice was a blessing in disguise - it allowed me to call a truce with myself. To be grateful that I’m still here. To start over.

# 66 The Cultural Divide

# 66 The Cultural Divide

What I have to remember in all this is to keep living my truth. Taking on other people’s expectations of me, that’s a heavy burden to carry and impossible to live up to. I don’t want to live the rest of my days scared of disappointing people, because let’s face it, it’s going to happen anyway. When we label others, how we see them is biased while that person is in that bubble.

Peel away the labels and let go of the judgement. Take away the regrets but keep the lessons. Yeah, I think that’s a good place to start.

# 63 Fried Chicken and Waffles

# 63 Fried Chicken and Waffles

Quirky is like this cute way to say that you’re weird. I know because I am weird. Not the stabby-stabby kind, but well you know, yolo.

I launched my book yesterday, which felt awesome. There was a pretty decent turn-out, at least 40 people, maybe more. Most were friends and family, and there were a few who came after they saw my article in Eastern Bay Life. When I started writing the book, I didn’t really think about what it would feel like when it was finally published - deep down did I think I wouldn’t finish it? Maybe.

# 58 Three Ladies And A Baby

They say friendships change when you have a baby. Shelley, Susan and I have been friends since high school. For most of our adult lives we’ve lived in different towns. Then two years ago Shelley had her daughter, Katelyn.

We would see each other on occasion, that in itself was no easy feat as it seemed like our schedules always clashed. When you add kids into the mix, you have to make a conscious effort to evolve your friendship.

One day, after realising that we had not seen each other in over a year, we made a plan to do a road trip together - with a toddler in town.

As we sit here in our PJs and eating chocolate biscuits - Susan and Shelley sipping on a glass of wine, me with a glass of milk, it’s a long way from our party days. Not that we mind. The reason for this trip is to reconnect, not to revert back to our youth.

We booked a cabin at a campground in Waihi Beach, not wanting to risk pitching a tent in case it rained. As three women, sure, but not such a good idea with a two year old.

By 9.30pm, we had crashed out. I fell asleep to the sound of Shelley reading Katelyn a story and making farm animal noises.

Campground culture is interesting. With daylight savings almost over, it’s 6am and still in complete darkness. I have been sitting outside in semi-darkness for over 30 minutes because I couldn’t remember which light switch turned on the outside light (not wanting to risk the wrath of grumpy room-mates.)

The communal bathroom light turned off on me - obviously signalling that I had been sitting there for too long. The rest of the campground was lit well enough to explore without a flashlight.

From outside our cabin, the majority of guests filled the cabins, camper vans and freedom camper conversions. A scattering of tents could possibly be a nod to the cooler nights of Autumn. I wish brought my slippers.

Is that a sign of adulting, or am I just getting old? Just old.

The moon overhead reminds me of a half eaten M&M you might find stuck between the sofa cushions. The initial find is euphoric, then you realise it’s been there for months accumulating fart particles. If it was a full moon I wouldn’t need the harsh glow of a man-made contraption.

Everyone is still asleep - except for the cicadas who seem to be on a 24-hour rotation. I heard Katelyn cry briefly, probably from a nightmare. She settled once Shelley comforted her, she’s good like that.

Our friendship is changing - and what remains is the mutual intention to grow in life, even if we’re not always in other’s orbit.
— fivefootronna

I have been awake for over an hour now. The stars have faded, giving way to the sunrise. I wish I walked to the beach, but it was dark earlier and I didn’t want to go alone.

Maybe I don’t like sleep at the moment because I love getting lost in my thoughts and I can express myself in my writing (I feel lighter for it). Though I do find my dreams allow me access to my subconscious, where a more honest and less filtered version of me lives.

I’ll just nap in the car.

If Susan gets her way we’ll get pancakes for brunch. If Shelley gets her way, Katelyn will want to sleep until 9am. Most of what makes us happy are the simpler things in life - so why most of us choose to be so complicated?

Like us, friendships are made to evolve - we choose our happiness based on our priorities, life choices and who bats for us in our team.

The three of us all lead very different lives now, and in that car, this weekend, it feels like we’re learning more about each other. We’re not as youthful as we used to be. Our friendship is changing - and what remains is the mutual intention to grow in life, even if we’re not always in other’s orbit.

# 56 The Redwoods Treewalk

I’ve had a fear of heights ever since I can remember. That queasy feeling of vertigo would grip me even when I was barely off the ground. It didn’t stop me from climbing the Eiffel Tower, or enjoying the incredible views in the temples surrounding Angkor Wat. For those that know me will know that doing the Redwoods Treewalk is no mean feat!

My friend and I have only recently reconnected - first meeting through musical theatre over ten years ago. He moved back into the area last year, and we’ve been slowly catching up since. Sam is one of the few people in my life that knew me before I got married. With him I can be unfiltered and my true self.

We began our adventure with food, stopping for dinner at Nandos. It was relatively quiet for a Saturday evening and we didn’t have to wait long for our food. We were missing another fellow foodie though, John. Due to his jetlag was still awake at 2am, so naturally we bombarded him with food photos. Sam and John had spent a month exploring the South Island together, and John only flew back to America earlier this week. They’re one of the few couples I don’t mind third wheeling with.

Sam didn’t know about my fear of heights until we were midway through crossing the first platform. He was behind me and I could feel that familiar jelly sensation in my legs. Not wanting to alarm him, I continued to move forward but had slowed down enough for him to notice. The rocking motion of his footsteps and narrowness of the platform quickened my breath. Once we reached the safety of the first viewing platform, I asked him to take the lead. As the light continued to fade, it became easier to walk each bridge and I began to relax.

You may be wondering why we didn’t do the walk in daylight. The view would certainly be far reaching and breathtaking, however we would have missed out on the outdoor lanterns and forest lighting by award winning designer David Trubridge. The bespoke lanterns were up to 2.5 metres tall. My favourite was the one wrapped around one of the giant trunks.

Only having our phones, we couldn’t capture the beauty of the lanterns in the low lighting. I remember being in the middle of a platform, and we came to a clearing in the forest - I found myself looking up at the Milky Way. All the noise in my head quietened and the night air was still. In the darkness, I smiled. Even if I was high above the forest floor, I never felt more grounded.

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
— John Lennon

I have decided that every month I want to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone. Maybe, like the Treewalk, it challenges long held beliefs of my limitations and fears, or it can be as simple as meeting new people outside my usual social circle. As I write the last chapters of the book, I asked myself how I want my life to change. Change happens through action, and if it’s a small step forward every month, then I’m sure it can lead to a bigger leap in the future.

For my birthday I want to go back to Singapore and maybe even write my last chapter there. My friend Anita is heading there for hers, and it’s only three days before mine. All I know is that I want to celebrate my birthday in a pretty dress, dance and laugh the night away. Or maybe camp out and wake up to a beautiful sunrise. I’ll just wing it.

I’ve spent a lot of the past year in retrospective reflection, which has helped me to survive. Maybe even thrive. It allowed me the permission to embrace a level of vulnerability that I could handle - which has been a focus for my writing. I learned to ask for help. To listen to motherly advice. I’m also learning that it’s not selfish to fill your own cup. In fact, it’s a necessity.

Resilience comes not from an easy journey, but from the stumbling blocks. In the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

# 52 Home

My friends Sam, John and I at The Gourmet Picnic in Mount Maunganui. Great food, awesome company - a snapshot of new beginnings. 

My friends Sam, John and I at The Gourmet Picnic in Mount Maunganui. Great food, awesome company - a snapshot of new beginnings. 

What I hope to become at end of this phase is a simpler version of myself. A kinder human, both to others, and less critical of my shortcomings.
— fivefootronna

The house went unconditional a few days ago. Now that it’s almost over, waiting for the settlement is like eating straight from the the Nutella jar. A new jar, you eat it with reckless abandon, but when It’s almost empty, you savour each spoonful. In each scrape, you are hopeful there will be one more, just more one. Pretty soon the house will be gone too.

He was first to go. Next was the house. The last will be my married name. Once the divorce is finalised with a scrawl, who will I be? How much of the old me will remain? It seems with my eagerness to move on, it’s only now that life has finally caught up and I can slowly close that chapter of my story.

Often I talk to people about what this journey has meant for me, and I feel it has been very much about the human connection. In my loneliness I sought to connect, to understand the humanity behind life decisions, to love and lose, and how much control we believe we have over the outcome of those actions. By listening to understand and not just to respond, I have let many people in my life that I otherwise would have just walked past in the street.

Once the house went on the market, I handed my set of keys to our real estate agent. I haven’t been back to the property since. Of course there are details to tidy up, and I will have to return one last time to clean out the last of my ‘things’ from the garage.

It feels cold to call my previous home a ‘property’ - maybe because I haven’t lived there in almost a year and a lot of the emotions that made it a home has since been lost. What once felt like a messy and jaded part of my day-to-day has since evolved into clarity and speckled wisdom. A home is the emotional connection to a place or a situation, and those feelings shapes our memories, happy or otherwise. That house is a snapshot of a part of my life that was both ends of the spectrum, and for me to reminisce just the happy would leave half of the story untold.

In reality, my big reset has reached the point of no return. They say that once you have acquired knowledge, it changes you, even if you choose not to act on it. The more I write, the better I have become organising my thoughts. The more conversations I have, the more expressive I allow myself to be, and slowly peels away filters and forced social graces.

What I hope to become at end of this phase is a simpler version of myself. A kinder human, both to others, and less critical of my shortcomings. Also to be hopeful that the path I choose to travel is now the better one. Clarity comes in the stillness, in the insomnia and the patience. The lesson is that the Universe is always listening. Answers come swift or a complicated maze of emotional baggage, going round and round at the airport carousel.

Home is within us all, and the big reset starts with me. If I want my future to be happy and fulfilling, then I have to decide that for myself, and live it!

# 50 It's All About The Nuts

Happy New Year! My first blog for 2017...yes, this one is about nuts.

Waffle cones, whipped cream and nuts in the sunshine. According to my friend Lana, the nuts do it for her, and I tend to agree. We must have been quite the sight - she in her blue ‘Stepford’ wife dress (from her lunch with her Mum), and me in my black staple of jeans and singlet. Only in New Zealand is it totally normal to see someone wearing all black in summer.

We walked back towards the park where we knew there was shade under the trees, eating our ice creams quickly, hoping not to make a sticky mess.

Lana and I met at a mix and mingle a few months back. When I walked into the bar, I knew there weren’t any men there that interested me. I decided to make the most of the trip over (it was an hour’s drive), and began talking to two women there. In the end we found plenty in common and I made two friends that night.

It was her 36th birthday, and I made the trip over to see her. This was the first time we had seen each other since the mix and mingle, even though we kept in touch through texts. She has travelled extensively, owns a camper van, and recently moved back in with her mother last year. Like I said, we had plenty in common.

Physically, we are polar opposites. She is fair, blonde, blue eyed with great legs. I’m Asian, well-done on the toast scale and legs built for doing squats at the gym. Friends don’t let friends skip leg day. Sometimes I feel the donkey is a kindred spirit animal - strong legs and a big ass. Lana may seem reserved, but she has a quick wit and a dry sense of humour.

We made sure to sit away from the playground in the park. Families with young children were making the most of the sunshine, perhaps trying to use up the last of the beach-day enthusiasm before heading home for dinner. We sat under a nearby tree and found the shade a nice escape from the searing heat.

Professionally, Lana has worked in various industries. She had been in the Air Force, marketing, a teacher and now, well she builds bus panels. Or at least that’s what I think she does. An ideal day out for her would be a trip to Bunnings, as she’s helping her Mum to renovate her kitchen. If a guy bought her tools for Valentine’s Day instead of flowers, she would be in heaven. I like that she’s happy in her own skin and unapologetically out of the norm.

I told her my story from the beginning - I guess it can be overwhelming for someone who is coming in a few chapters along. So much emotion has already been chewed up and spat out. I don’t often go back there anymore, that woman only exists in name. I don’t want new people in my life to define me by that story - pretty soon I’m sure it will be just be a passing memory.

“Do you regret the last ten years?” She asked. No, how could I? So many amazing people came into my life because of that relationship. I wouldn’t want to let go of those memories just because it ended. On the flip side, it purged people I wanted to get rid of a long time ago - so that’s a bonus.

As the sun began to set we decided to escape the chill and grab a drink. Which meant putting our shoes back on. And putting on some make up. Could more ice cream be part of this scenario? I was hopeful.

I got home about midnight - my face hurting from laughing too much. It’s good to laugh and make time for friends. I spent so much time alone last year that this year is my year for connections. Genuine connections.

Here’s to a new story, a more loving heart and living my truth...unapologetically.

# 48 Cheese, Teddy & Tamarillo Chutney

# 48 Cheese, Teddy & Tamarillo Chutney

“Let them past, they’re pretty much naked.” No dear, we leave the nudity to the nudists camp up the road.

# 47 The Friendzone

I was a late bloomer when it came to men, so it isn’t surprising that my only long term relationship began at 22. At 19 I met a man who was my first real infatuation, and though I felt rejected at the time, meeting him did help shape me into the woman I am today.

His name was Peter, a student teacher from America, and we met at my old high school. Before you get the wrong idea, I had already finished high school the year before, and that day I was visiting the art teacher. He had a great smile, tall, blue eyes, and as I show the art teacher my portfolio, he just listened. I mean, if I knew what my type was at that age, he would have ticked a few boxes.

Looking back at the 19 year old woman that I was, she was happy, yet also deeply insecure. I never saw myself as physically attractive, and no guys ever asked me out in high school. Being single didn’t bother me because I didn’t really know what people did in relationships - how can you spend that much time with each other and not get sick of one another? What could I offer that other people couldn’t give them?

Peter and I hung out a few times, but we never moved past that. This all happened before unlimited texts, and we both worked during the day, so we would talk at night. Deep down even though I knew he didn’t really feel the same way, I couldn’t accept that I was well and truly in the friendzone. It didn’t help he was actually a nice guy.

One day he rang, really excited. He got a job in Auckland. In Auckland, a city four hours away. Gutted didn’t begin to describe how I felt, and how hard it was to be happy for him. Nothing says a guy isn’t that into you by moving to another city. By the way, he took that job because it helped him to get his PR, and I understood that, but still, at the time, gutted.

On his last night in Whakatane, he was out with a friend and I was out with mine. I knew he was into one of my friends, because he often talked about her, and nothing plays into a woman’s insecurities than a guy you’re into telling you how much he’s into your friend. It came to a head at the end of the night, feeling confused, rejected and a bit drunk, I asked one of my girlfriends to drive me home. He caught me as I was walking to the car, but I didn’t want to talk to him. I was angry. At him? Maybe, but mainly at myself for being into a guy that didn’t want me. As I sat in the car while my friend drove away, he stared at me, with those damn gorgeous eyes, confused about how the night ended.

We tried to have a conversation about it a few weeks later after he moved to Auckland. He understood, though he didn’t really say much. We last saw each other for dinner, my birthday was coming up and he was in town and wanted to catch up. He didn’t say anything about that conversation, though he probably felt bad for me that he didn’t see me that way.

For my birthday, he gave me a book. Sounds odd I know, but like I said in the first paragraph, knowing him helped to figure a few things out. He gave me an inspirational quote book for young women trying to find their place in the world. One of the quotes that stood out to me went something like this…(This is a similar quote on Google).


The worst thing is catching feelings for someone who’s not officially yours and you tend to get mad at everything they do, forgetting it’s not your place to even feel that way.

The truth is, we were never together, and it was unfair to be angry at him for not feeling the same way. He was just not that into me. I read through that book in one night, laughing, crying and most of all, feeling grateful that I had a friend who cared enough about me, and the future men who would come into my life.

We’ve messaged maybe twice when he pops up on social media. I know he’s married with kids, and he’s happy. Sometimes I still think about him, though not the same way I did at 19. One day we’ll cross paths again, that I’m sure, and over coffee I will be sure to thank him for a life changing gift, my self worth.