Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gracious openings lie (William Wordsworth)

Last week was a tough week - not only for the stress of flying over 11,000 km to get to NZ (some of it in the company of mad aussies going to Auckland for the Wallabies/Irish clash) and then back - but it was also the second anniversary of dad's passing on September 21, 2009.

Two years is a blip in a historical context - not even a fraction of a blip, but two years without a parent to advise you, console you, encourage you, admonish you, counsel you is a long time. At least it has been for me.

The parent-child relationship is a special one and very different to other relationships. Jacky and I share worries, successes and failures and we lean and support on each other as other couples do.

Never-the-less - I miss the opportunity to have a conversation with my parents, to share a worry, or celebrate a minor success, to lean on someone who has known me all my life. And it's actually more selfish than that - just knowing he was there was all I really needed. Now for two years he's not been there and that particular need has gone unfulfilled. I believe it's called a void.

I realise that I needed to get away from my old self and old life in NZ after he passed away in 2009. I needed to shed a skin. Now I realise that I am getting myself ready to shed another skin and I am preparing myself for a new life back in NZ with Jacky.

As I wrote in the previous post I loved watching Rob Brydon in The Trip. During the trip he quotes from Wordsworth's poem White Doe of Rylstone when they visit Bolton Abbey. It's a poem about grief that seems eerily applicable to me:

Action is transitory--a step, a blow,
The motion of a muscle--this way or that--
'Tis done; and in the after-vacancy
We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed:
Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark,
And has the nature of infinity.
Yet through that darkness (infinite though it seem
And irremoveable) gracious openings lie,
By which the soul--with patient steps of thought
Now toiling, waked now on wings of prayer--
May pass in hope, and, though from mortal bonds
Yet undelivered, rise with sure ascent
Even to the fountain-head of peace divine."

Love and peace indeed - Warren

My soul slides away but don't look back in anger (Oasis)

We have returned safely from the frozen tundra like conditions in Nu Zild and once again we have embraced the warmth of sand land. It was so nice to emerge from Dubai airport at 5am yesterday morning to 39 degrees.

It was a really epic journey from Waipukarau to Napier airport (an hour's drive and grateful thanks to Sallie); a bumpy hour flight to Auckland; a 3.5 hour flight to Melbourne; a bumpy 13.5 hour flight to Dubai; a short taxi ride from Dubai airport to where our car was parked at the Park Regis Hotel for the week away; and finally a 1.5 hour drive back to Al Ain. I shaved and showered and got to school before 9am. Pretty good really.

I lasted to about 1.30pm and then made my way home for a sleep. It turned into a 13 hour catch up because I can't sleep on the plane and it was often so cold at night in Waipukarau that my sleep patterns were fitful there as well.

The whole epic journey was worth it to see the girls alone but we also caught up with Ross/Lynda/Hayden at Auckland Airport and in Waipukarau - Tim and Pam (lovely meal Pam - thanks) and Sallie, talked to the boys, met Jade's new special friend Cameron, played with Bazil and I even managed some retail explorations to CD emporiums like JB HiFi.

The photos were taken at Jade's flat in Palmerston North on a lovely sunny spring afternoon. Our only regret was that Keegan and Adam weren't there for a group pose.

Anyway enough of my own travelogue. I watched a great movie called The Trip during the flight home to the UAE (although it may be a TV show - not sure). It's a mockumentary (I think) starring Steven Coogan and Rob Brydon. I especially love Rob Brydon's humour and his man in a box routine is a scream. The film has the flimsy plot of a northern excursion to sample food for a magazine article. Steve's girlfriend doesn't want to go so he reluctantly invites Rob along. Their dinner conversation is hilarious and the vocal impressions of Michael Caine et al are brilliant. Catch it if you can. The other bit that had me in hysterics was the 'we rise at daybreak' routine.

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play (John Fogerty)

I love the classic Abbott and Costello routine - who's on first, what's on second. I include it here as a birthday present for Patrick Cameron (30 August), Michael Budd (11 September), Pat Smith (Jacky's mum, 16 September), Greg Knowles (18 September) and Jacky's sister Michelle Ma Belle (24 September). I hope had/will have great celebration days!

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, September 11, 2011

She's a slice of heaven (Dave Dobbyn and Herbs)

We had a real kiwiana weekend in Dubai: I was keen to get an All Black jersey for supporting the team while the rugby world cup was on back in Aotearoa so we went to Go Sport in the Dubai Mall (it was also haircut weekend - that's why we were in the mall). They had a good range of shirts and so we got one each.

Yes - Jacky got one too. I can picture the kuds with their mouths open wide in shock coz they've never (ever) seen their mother in a football shirt let alone a Nu Zild All Black one. But it's true (and she wears it well - much better than me - Sonny Bill I ain't).

We did our usual perambulations around the mall (a new Virgin Megastore has opened so you know where I spent my time) and for lunch we stopped off at the BurgerFuel section of the food court.

It was great to get a taste of home (100% NZ beef) and talk to the staff there (some of whom are kiwis).

They have a prime location in the food court overlooking the skating rink three levels below!

The other kiwi highlight was, of course, watching the opening of the rugby world cup in my hometown of Auckland. The All Blacks added the cherry on top by playing well and beating Tonga in the opening game.

Jacky and I have a flying visit to NZ coming up this week for some family business (flying out on Friday 16th Sept). We are away from Al Ain for a week so I'm sure we'll catch the footie fever even more when we are there and maybe we can get the real deal BurgerFuel at a place in the Hawke's Bay or Palmerston North, inshallah.

 Love and peace - Wozza

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I can't live without the rain that's falling on my head (Status Quo)

We had some dramatic weather last week! Shock horror. Normally it is groundhog day in the desert - which means very hot, very dry (very low humidity) and hazy skies.

We have noticed a temperature change over the last week though. We are now able to go out walking at night without sweat poring off us for one thing.

Shortly after lunch one day last week I peaked outside and noticed some drops of rain. We've experienced about three days since November last year where we have a few spots and then nothing. But last week there was a loudish peal of thunder and then the wind dramatically picked up. Within five minutes we had torrential rain and 40 kph wind.

Given that this extreme weather (for here) is so rare there are no provisions made for it. Surface flooding and uprooted trees were the order of the day. Our bedroom windows couldn't cope with the degree of rain either so we had leakage onto the floor which Jacky attended to (she's a trooper).

I read in the news the next day that this was localised to Al Ain but it was only in the Al Jimi area of the town (where we are now) that had the worst of it.

Jacky and I watched the local kids for a while - they all came out of their houses (that were surely getting leaks) and came into the street to play in the puddles. Because it was seista time they were still in their pjs.

They had great fun splashing around and then getting their bikes out to ride in the water. The pictures of the kids were taken from our spare room and the rest were from our bedroom or the balcony looking onto Khaled Ibn Al Waleed St.

Love and peace - Wozza