Monday, November 17, 2008

Photograph by Genaro Molino of The Los Angeles Times
Gratitude from New Zealand: The Tea Fires

Nelson, North Island
New Zealand

Monday, November 17th, 2008

I've waited two weeks to write my first blog of our travels here in New Zealand...A part of me has just been reveling in feeling that this has been the first actually relaxing time we've had on a trip in a long time (especially compared to the trials and tribulations of Morocco) and now that I've caught up on news from home I have another reason to postpone stories of trekking and stuffing our bellies with locally-made edam and camembert.

We've recently learned about the Santa Barbara Tea Fire that has destroyed countless homes and I've felt humbled by the thought that several of our friends have had to evacuate themselves and their pets and most beloved possessions in a matter of minutes. One friend's family home was saved while another's was burnt to the ground right after she managed to evacuate herself and her dog.

It's hard to write about spotting Killer Whales and trekking through rainforest when I know that so many people have been in chaos this week. I am so incredibly grateful that Steve and I are safe and that our home and our cats are safe and in the good company of our girlfriend, Meredith.

This whole year up until this trip to New Zealand has felt heavy, like a time of transition and purging for myself and many of those whom I know and love. I have been looking forward to this trip for many months after a difficult year. For me personally, I've sold my condo in a short sale right in the midst of the Housing Crisis, my computer crashed, I sold the majority of my stocks in the spring, my car died on a road trip and I had to abandon it, my stepmum's cancer returned more aggressive than before, the Gap Fire consumed the hills above Goleta, and Steve and I lost several young friends to strange deaths over the summer.

And just as I thought that the year was coming to a peaceful end, the Tea Fire has taken Santa Barbara by complete surprise and ravaged the lives of many people whom we know. Many friends and family members have had similar ups and downs this year. My higher self has to believe that there's something happening on a cosmic level in the world, a purging and transition to a new world.

So instead of writing this first blog about New Zealand, I'd like to just reflect on a few things that I am grateful for from this year and celebrate the light during occasionally dark times:

The Top Seven Blessings That I Am Grateful For:

1) That I am in good health and sitting between two people whom I love dearly in a beautiful place on a warm sunny day: My Mamacita and Baby Love, Steve.

2) That our kitty kats are safe at home along with the pets of those we know.

3) That my uncle had a beautiful wedding with his fiancee, Teri, and that my cousin and her husband are happily pregnant back in Indiana (along with two good friends in Santa Barbara)!

4) That I have the incredible gift of music in my life....playing with Robby, Doug, Joel, and Billy in King Bee for eight years now!...and now have the opportunity to involved again with the very healing African Dance and Drumming Community through my good friends, Lisa and Budhi.

5) That I can afford to travel to such a beautiful place and continue to be transformed and rejuvenated by these travels with my Mother and now, with Baby Love.

6) That I'll be able to visit with my Dad and Wicked Stepmum and some of my family for a White Christmas in Indiana this year.

7) That when I return home, I'll be returning to one of the most magical, beautiful, and special places I know of and to a community of friends and "family" whom I treasure deeply in....Santa Barbara, California.

For those of you jonesing for some travel tales and sick of the touchy-feely sentiments, stay tuned, I will be writing again soon.

All my love and gratitude to each of you. I hope that you are all safe, happy, and healthy and, that if you are experiencing your own 'dark' times, that you're able to celebrate the light that you do see in your lives.

much love,

P.S. On a more political note (please stop reading here if you come from a red state) I have to add that I am also supremely happy that the popular winner of the presidential election was the victor of the presidential race.