Friday, October 31, 2008

Weather Forecast for tomorrow, egads!



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Guess I'll be running in the rain... so will everyone else!

I ate bananas and soy chai tea today. Nothing too heavy or dairy. Of course I didn't wake up until 1:17PM, so didn't have a lot of sustenance required for the day's activities. I'm feeling nervous also and still sick. I plan to get through. That will be enough.

The next post will be from a marathoner! :) Cheers!


I'm fighting off a stuffy nose, head cold and sore throat just to make things more complicated for Sunday's jog around the city... which starts at 6:30AM. As if that were not early enough, I will be catching a ferry to the start line at about 4:30AM. I think I'm going to need more than caffeine to keep me going. Any advice?

Tomorrow I plan to lollygag around the city, drinking coffee and smoothies (no fiber or fat) and whatnot. Relaxing I hope.

I'm sort of itching to hop a plane to SE Asia. It's cheaper if I leave before December. I'm getting a little bit stir crazy and ready to drop everything and go. I have to be out of my place on the 20th anyway, so I'll be homeless wherever I may be.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Election thoughts

I dream of a world where: 
we're colorblind to race,
money and status are not the main points,
consumerism is downplayed,
we help and love all our neighbours, friend or foe.

We, the people of United States have an opportunity to remind the world why we're a great nation- a country of idealistic, progressive, adaptable people who make changes when necessary. Let us show our roots, our true colours in this election. We're a country of immigrants, a melting pot. Our ancestors came to this land for a better life, to live freely. It is time to stand up for those ideals. Embrace acceptance, liberty and world cooperation. Let us show the world that America is still capable of being a world leader, a setter of examples. 

I hope you share a vote with me for Barack with me on November 4th

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alone again in New Zealand and other revelations

My mom and Jim left this morning on the bus to Wellington. We arrived at the station early and had a little coffee before they set off. The sun was shining gloriously, so they should've had a beautiful tour of the country on their way south. I was a little jealous, since I have a love affair with the peaceful bus rides in New Zealand. 

I stood on the side of Hobson Street waving as they pulled away. It's funny when people leave. It's the thought that I'm in a foreign country and they're going back to the US. Not that I actually want to go back to the States at this point. But it's a funny feeling.

This past Friday at work, I gave written confirmation of my final date at the University. I've been wavering on what to do, wondering if I should stay and try my hand at teaching, but it feels right to move on. I'm going to sit the optometry board exams, which will give me the freedom to practice anywhere in Australia or New Zealand. 

Between my last day at work and the board exams, I'll have some time to kill. I realised that if I were a teacher, I'd be owed about 21 months off from work for all the years I worked straight through, so I'm not going to feel one bit guilty about taking 3-6 months off or more. Plus I have frugal gene and money saved, so I'm safe in my decision.

I plan to stay in New Zealand for a while (won't actually get booted out of the country until January 5th) and travel around, camping and whatnot. Then take a flight up to Bangkok and do some exploring up there before I return to take the boards. This, of course, could change.

I may be living out of my car and my tent for a while. ;) 

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Some people tell me it doesn’t matter who the US selects for the next president. While it’s a choice to feign indifference, the fact is whatever the US does affects the rest of the world. So your vote matters. I’m not saying who to vote for (though I have not kept my vote a secret), I’m just saying think about the implications of your choices. Vote with your conscience. Vote with your heart. Just vote.

Friday, October 24, 2008


"If you're really listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so it can hold ever-more wonders."

- Andrew Harvey, "The Return of the Mother"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kathy's solo travels

I sent my mom off yesterday, up north to the Bay of Islands, on my favorite mode of transportation, the intercity bus service. She had a lovely Maori driver for the first leg of the trip, then switched buses for the remainder of the ride up to Paihia. I received a text from her just before 6PM yesterday saying that she'd arrived and checked into her room, a hostel that I'd chosen off the internet, run by Jan and Bob, who my mom said were about 10 years younger than her.

She roomed with a 27 year old Israeli woman. The two of them have been hanging out. Even went to the karaoke bar last night and met some locals and shared whiskey. She sounded like she was having a ball. And will be back in Auckland tomorrow night.

Jim arrives Sunday morning- another of those lovely 5:15AM arrivals. We still have a few last minute travel arrangements to make for them, but it is all finally starting to shape up.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The LAST week.

It's a sunshine-filled day here in New Zealand, as I round out my last week supervising students in the clinic. I've got mixed feelings about the year coming to a close. I love the students more than I ever would've thought. Learning about them as people, discussing optometry and life philosophy, laughing until we get "sshhhed" in the clinic are the highlights of my days. I hope I've contributed to their clinical thinking and self-confidence. I figure that's what I'm best at uncovering in people.

My mom is here and we've been busy, wandering the streets of Auckland on foot mostly, taking in Diwali festival (Indian New Years) yesterday and artists' and farmers' markets on Saturday. She's become confident in the car on the wrong side of the road, tooling around town.

With less than two weeks to my first marathon, I'm still on track. I managed a 14.5 mile jog on Sunday afternoon along the waterfront, mostly enjoyable with some dance-running intermixed with the regular old drag-yourself-along running.

I can't report any significant unfolding of events to point to the next path I'll take, but I'm feeling content with not knowing where I'll be. And I'll be happy with whatever arises.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much, obey little,
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.

--From LEAVES OF GRASS by Walt Whitman

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quotes from Utne Reader's Independent Press Award Winners

"The export of democracy by force is a fool's errand." -Democracy

"A focus on race and identitiy distracts us from a greater social injustice: economic stratification."
- The Chronicle

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Visitor time!

My mom made it in safe and sound yesterday, arriving at 4:55AM, 20 minutes ahead of schedule. I got to the airport early, but not quick enough to beat her through security (only took 30 minutes), as she was already freezing on the curb when I drove up. New Zealand offered it's typical welcome: a day of intermittent pouring rain and chilly air. Good thing today it's improved considerably, so I don't think she'll be quite as tempted to hop the first flight home.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Have you registered?

Click here to register to vote.

I've already mailed my absentee ballot in. In case anyone has forgotten to register to vote, it's really simple. Just click on the above link and it will walk you through the process.

From Narcissus and Goldmund

"Oh, how incomprehensible everything was, and actually sad, although it was also beautiful. One knew nothing. One lived and ran about the earth and rode through forests, and certain things looked so challenging and promising and nostalgic: a star in the evening, a blue harebell, a reed-green pond, the eye of a person or of a cow. And sometimes it seemed that something never seen yet long desired was about to happen, that a veil would drop from it all; but then it passed, nothing happened, the riddle remained unsolved, the secret spell unbroken, and in the end one grew old and looked cunning like Father Anselm or wise like Abbot Daniel, and still one knew t
nothing perhaps, was still waiting and listening." -Hermann Hesse

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It used to be I couldn't understand why someone would give up everything they worked for to move to a new country and start over, unless they were in a war-ravaged place or somewhere there's no upward mobility. In countries with a poor economy or overpopulation, it's so hard to get out. But why would someone leave a place like the United States?

A while back, I asked myself what I'd do if the economy crashed and I lost everything? I decided I'd be fine. I'd get another job. I'd make money. I'd live. It wouldn't be the end of things. It would actually be sort of the beginning again. I think that's what's in the immigrant's mind.

So here I am in New Zealand, nearing the end of my year's contract. I feel like I'm about to jump on a twisty slide and I can't see the landing spot. I have to let go and see where I end up. It's a little frightening, but better than sitting at the top forever, waiting. 

I've thought of staying at the university, but I don't make a very good teacher. I'm not detailed enough and I'd rather laugh than be stern. This department operates so differently from me that I fit in better with the students than the staff, which is probably not the point. None of my professional strengths are being used here, which also makes it challenging to stay.

I've wanted to do something that makes more of an impact on the world. I've looked into research, in areas like macular degeneration or otherwise, but nothing is certain. 
What I do know is that I can't come back to the States, not now, perhaps never. It feels a bit like when I went away to university for the first time. I'm flying freely, uncaged from my old life. Anything is possible.