December 31st, 2013
Well, now is the time of year that people reflect on the past year and think about all the promise that the New Year holds for them. So let me join the ranks.
At the stroke of midnight last New Year’s Eve we were in the underground cellar of a mental institution with Michelle and Greg, Steve’s sister and her husband. It wasn’t that we’d finally been committed, although I wasn’t feeling far from it. Somehow we’d survived the impending end of earth as we know it (thanks for the heads up dear Mayans), we were just enjoying a night of ghost tours and good company in a now defunct Beechworth Mental Hospital. Looking back it seems especially fitting that’s where we ended and started the year.
2012 was wrapping up in a frenzy of half-finished projects on Kate after working and living and travelling separately for most of the year. We’d been living out of suitcases and sleeping in strange beds and collectively taken close to 30 flights in 12 months. We were not feeling particularly settled.
When we returned to Fiji and Kate in 2013 we entered a cloud of fibreglass dust and paint fumes, one that we, frustratingly, wouldn’t see our way out of for another five months. I spent days on the verge of tears and Steve, ever patient and cool-headed, was starting look like he was coming unhinged too. Perhaps we should have heeded the old adage of what you do on New Years is what you’ll do for the rest of the year.
But together we made it through the work list and the troubles and escaped to a past paradise, The Kingdom of Tonga. With the wind in our faces and the boat riding well we took our four day passage as the balm it always is, and arrived at day break at one of our favourite anchorages in the South Pacific with wide smiles and clear heads. Tonga was what we’d hoped for, good sailing, lots of whales and empty anchorages. And what’s more we made some dear friends that, after five and a half months, we were sad to leave.
But duty calls and so here we are, back on the hard in Fiji, keeping an eye on the weather as we sit out another tropical cyclone season. Steve is away working, as he likes to say “keeping me in the manor I am accustoming to”, or as I like to say making this incredible life possible. I have been keeping myself busy with boat projects-oh no, we didn’t finish that work list last time!
Since we bought Kate in 2008 it is the first time we’ve spent the holidays apart and the only Christmas that I have been alone, it almost went by uncelebrated. I realized this year that what I love most about this time of year, what really makes it feel festive for me, is spending time with friends and family, cooking and eating and sharing with those that I love. Without those people around me and the hot sun shining (I will forever be a northern hemisphere girl even if I never spend another winter there) it just didn’t feel like Christmas. I guess the Grinch was right.
So, another year gone and another New Year’s Eve approaches. This year, heeding that old adage, I am going make myself a nice dinner and pop a bottle of French bubbly that was given to me. With Kate in her new colours and varnish sparkling below, and me in a pretty dress I will raise a glass in hopes that 2014 will see us continue on the adventure that is taking us slowly around the world, with a few of life’s luxuries, enough of the necessities and the love for the life we’ve built together.
All the best for the New Year, I hope this finds you in good health, surrounded by the ones you love and enjoying a festive drink in celebration.