Category: Musings

Far from home

When anyone in a café, bookshop, second hand kitchen store (places I have been frequenting this week) asks me where I am from and I tell them New Zealand, they all seem to say “Oh that’s so far away”. Yes it is. New Zealand is far from everywhere, and moving away means knowing that you won’t be popping home for weekends. When I lived in Italy and was just doing nannying jobs I was very aware of the cost and distance separating me from my friends and family. But that was a few years ago and I had no sense of permanence. Everything was temporary and I knew that it wasn’t long before I would be moving on again.

photo2 (2)

Now I feel differently. I know that we are here for a good few years. And although that is an exciting thought, it also makes me feel far from everyone. Two of the most amazing people I know just got engaged, I want to have a drink with them at the Love Shack. It is one of my most special friend’s birthday today, I want to have a long dinner around her table with bottles of her favourite chardonnay. Then in a few weeks there is the marriage of one of my kindest and calmest friends to her long time boyfriend, I hate that I am not going to be there to celebrate with them.

But this is what it is to live in a world where there is opportunity, to experince living in a new city. We have skype, emails, facebook, instagram, snapchat, to keep in touch. I even posted some letters, cards and post cards this week.

Soon I will have work, be busy, have friends I have collected around me. And for now, we have a beautiful apartment that is feeling more and more like a home.

photo1 (5)


Local Bookshop Found!

I have had a lot of time to read since I have been in this city. In between apartment hunting I have perched in cool looking cafes with a coffee and a book hoping someone will come and befriend me. No luck just yet, but I am ever the optimist. At least I have devoured some good ones this week- Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham was an epic tale spanning three generations of American immigrants. Not quite as good as Middlesex, but a captivating and tragic tale. Plus I have read Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel, A Pale View of the Hills and the very creepy The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

So it is with great excitement that I have found my new favourite bookshop. The Booksmith on Haight Street immediately wooed me with their range of books and beautiful space. They have write ups on favourite books so you have all the people who work there’s opinion on what to read. Someone called Amy liked a whole lot of books that I also like, so I have bought Captial on her recommendation.


Bookshops are so important in any community, whether they sell a selection of dog eared second hand books, or beautiful new waiting to be discovered books. People thought that with the rise of bookshops like Borders, smaller independents would suffer. Then with the ease and discounted price offered by the Book Depository and Amazon, then kindles, we wondered- how could a small local store ever compete when they have to charge so much more and people have to leave their homes to look and buy? Perhaps it is for that very reason independent bookstores are doing better than ever. People want to feel like they belong in a community, buy their fruit and vegetables from the local farmer’s market. They don’t want to be anonymous in a huge mall. There is something nice about chatting with the person who makes your coffee in the morning, something even nicer about someone being able to recommend a book they know you will love.

photo1 (1)

I have some amazing talented friends who are starting up their own thing and being their own boss. Anna has become a freelance photographer. Within a year she is turning away bookings because she is in such high demand. Olivia has started designing beautiful rugs and is now being stocked in small local shops in Sydney, Wellington and Auckland. Millie sells flowers out of a converted truck at Cox’s Bay and sells out all the time. These incredible people are a sure sign that we like supporting local. Why should bookshops be any different? My friend Kimberley and I have a long standing dream to open up our own bookstore one day selling beautiful books, coffee and community. It may be a cliche, but I think we can make it happen.

First Impressions

First impressions of a city are soon forgotten.

Today I will walk down a street and not know what will be at the end of it. I won’t know where to take care over a broken concrete paver and where there will be an unexpected clearing with a treelined park. Slowly, slowly, this will change and I will stop noticing the big things and begin noticing the small things.

I am feeling somewhat daunted with the thought of finding a home, a job, friends in this new land. But at the same time, that is exactly what makes it exciting. Finding your new local morning coffee, bookshop, favourite running route, bar to drink a beer, the best place to eat dinner at night.

So, first impressions?  This city smells of flowering jasmine, Mexican food, coffee, urine, grass (both kinds) and sea breezes depending on where you walk. There is so much green and so many colourful houses. And wires. Everywhere. Crisscrossing and breaking up the blue of the sky. From my exploring so far, I think I will be happy to call this place home.