Archive for August, 2006

tables are heavy

We have moved to our new house.  It felt more homely and friendly than the other apartment as soon as we got there. It has wooden floorboards, and door handles made of white glass, I think they are really old.  It has a lot of windows and the walls are a creamy colour.  It has rained all morning and I have done work all morning on our new old table.  This table is huge, and heavy and looks like it belongs in a manor.  It was only $25 dollars off ‘craigslist’ and belonged to a guy who is moving back to London.  When I called him on our cellphone we both were startled to hear each others accents, he was nice and gave us a toaster for free, and a food processor for $5.  I asked him how heavy the table was over the phone and he said quite heavy, and I said “oh we are tough” and he said “yeah you kiwi girls are”.  I am not tough actually, my arms are embarrassingly small and thin.  I would like to be tough, especially when faced with carrying a freaking huge table a few kilometers, Mark wished I was tough too because we had to stop and rest for a few minutes every thirty steps.  I thought my forearms would break from the weight on them.  When I was about to give up and hurl a rock at the twentieth huge SUV rolling past with an empty trailer when an angel turned up with two sons and helped us carry it four blocks. He said “many hands make light work, or that is what my grandma used to say” I love him.  He gave us his card and we are going to buy him a present.  He is an architect and I chatted to him about housing a bit as I held my dead arms under the table and carried what felt like nothing.

So we are all moved in. Hey, Frenchie- your postcard turned up in time to welcome us into our new, new house, so it was good timing.  That’s all, except it is also interesting how the weather can go from sweltering to cold in a week.


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The library a few blocks away from us lets you rent out Dvd’s for free. I got out the fourth season of the Gilmore Girls which has 22 episodes on it, and each one is 45 minutes long. I also got out Grizzly about a man who plays with bears and makes a documentary, all the while not knowing that the end of the documentary will be him being eaten. Disturbing yet interesting. I am a bit nervous about watching it but there is always the off switch… perhapsit is the ultimate horrible reality television. We are going to watch it tonight because we have already watched the first Dvd of firefly.

I have been trying to do some work. I went to the Cambridge library yesterday and did about three hours, but today I just don’t know where to go study, or what to do. I can’t get into the Harvard library until September 5 when school starts, you need a swipe card which is very snobbery. very snobbery to not let public in. Oh well. I might just go home and close the windows and read some of the articles I carried along with me in my suitcase.

Wow I was nervous about bringing a drink bottle into this library and a man over there is cracking open what looks like a whole huge back of lollies. Did he not SEE the cockroach, mice library bugs sign…

Last night we went out to WELCOME TO HARVARD LAW SCHOOL LLM STUDENTS AND FAMILIES! It was snacks and drinks and pudding. There are students from every country and we talked to quite a few people. A man from Kenya who thought it was totally awesome Mark had a wife here. I made one friend who was really cool. She is from Canada (I think french speaking because her accent was hard, although for some strange reason my ears were blocked the whole night) and does neuro science but wants to do public health. We talked for ages about how funny the clubs were, and about lambs and getting a real job. She is here for a week to be whanau support for her Boyf and goes back on Sunday. Oh well. I said bye! wish you were staying here! I also volunteered to babysit for two couples, one is from Poland, the other from Korea so we’ll see what happens there. Crazy desperate friendly lady also tries to befriend children…

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finding places

This afternoon I dawdled alone down Massachusettes Ave, toward the east of Cambridge.  Because Mark wasn’t there I stopped and looked all around art shops, and craft stores, not that I don’t look in when he is, but it is easier when you are by yourself to not feel like you are taking up someone elses time with your browsing.  I walked past people just hanging out on the street in the sun, drinking, asking for change.  I wandered around the supermarket, a new one called ‘Starmarket’ which has normal non-organic type food, and rows and rows of junk food, as well as normal old food.  I can spend hours in supermarkets here, they are just so interesting, and because it takes me so long to find anything.  I like this supermarket because it sells Krispy Kreme donuts.  This are really bad for you and come in all flavours, today I had chocolate and sugary glazed.  I am eating these all up at the moment because when I get a little unsettled, like when you move to another country weight seems to fly off my bones, and donuts are a fun and fantastic way to reverse this trend.  I felt pretty happy walking home with all my stuff in my bags, including cheese which I never seem to be able to find.  I stopped in at a cafe and had a Chai Latte which was pretty average but the atmosphere was so nice, and relaxed and I felt like I was blending in, getting favourite things and maybe like I could start to claim stuff in this city.  I think that is what home is about a bit, getting familiar and having favourites. I’ll go back again to that cafe I think.  I read a newspaper about politics, and thought about dropping into the ‘zine’ library to find out about what groups they have around here that work on race and women’s issues.  I finished my steamy milk and went back onto my walk home.  My sister is having some bad luck at the moment so I went into a little shop called ‘good luck’ to find her something funny and sweet to mail to her.  I really like this little shop, there were antique things and stuff from Japan, beautiful pottery quite cheap so I might go back when we are in our new house.  I didn’t buy her anything (I will though!) and instead chatted to the lady who owned the shop and bought two beautiful old, like a hundred years old, post cards that are really gorgeous.  I will photo them once we have internet…

It was a really good afternoon, and I still have a night of watching episodes of ‘firefly’ on our laptop to look forward to!

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Today we have been in Boston, well Cambridge for one whole week.  It feels like we have done so much since last Saturday, and also like it has been a big blur.  I have so much to write about and think about, but I am trying to take it easy! 

Over here I have seen a lot of people looking through rubbish bins for empty water bottles you can recycle and get five cents for.  There are people shaking cups and asking for money on most of the street corners.  They sometimes have signs or call out why they are on the street.  It seems like an easy trip to have nothing here. 

A few people sell a magazine called the ‘spare change times’ or something.  I bought a copy and it has articles all about I guess the people not getting by here.  A few people on the street have written their stories and there are book reviews, international political pieces and a list of places you can go to get food, go to church, conferences on housing and things.  I have seen a conference I’d like to go to on October 16 about strategies for overcoming homelessness.  I’ll have to find out exactly where it is.  they have a blog site to (the newspaper) I think it is sparechangenews.blogspot.com.  I will check that out.  It really puts my anxiety over how noisy our house is into perspective.  It is easy to forget our privilege, but then also I guess you have to keep realistic, it was something we could change, so I did. 

I have seen a few clubs I want to join – the harvard neighbours club, womens club, and spouses/partners club.  I’d also like to work for a local foodbank I saw asking for volunteers, and maybe get a job for a few hours a week as well.  I have to remember I am only here for a short time, I want to find out as much as I can about living here, and how things work.  Especially about exclusion in this society. 

I am pretty interested in the way that the colonial history here is framed.  There is a lot of information on the revolution and war against England way back.  That independence day overshadows any other history I have been able to find out so far.  In a way it is portrayed as the most important liberation of the US.  I am really interested in the ongoing legacy of slavery and colonisation of indigenous people here. 

I seem to cling to email at the moment.  Checking my emails is like the highlight of my day, well it is pretty up there.  hearing from people at home…

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All my bags are packed…


I am sitting on the floor in our empty room next to the heater because it is FREEZING and because we moved most of our stuff out early this morning.  There are still piles of things to be put in boxes in the lounge and our four suitcases are lined up in the hall, bulging with a lot too much stuff.  I am going to edit them once I have finished clearing away all the little bits and pieces on the shelves into keep and rubbish piles. 

The first time I ever moved house was when I was nine.  We moved from Paeroa to Hamilton and I swear the world was ending!  I was (am?) pretty dramatic, maybe it is nicer to say sensitive. I have moved so many times since then, I’ve lived in seven houses during my time in Wellington! I like to think I have got a bit better at adjusting than that first time!  A while ago I was going to draw an emotional map of Wellington, marking all the important places, but I decided not to.  This will be my third new city move, and my first ever new country! 

I still don’t think it has sunk in that we are leaving the country.  I am still la-dee-daa cleaning the house, packing stuff away…gardening… When I am in my ultra efficient organiser mood I take on more tasks, I become an acomplishing machine.  I had to stop myself from buying a metre of pretty muslin yesterday to make a shift dress for the hot weather.  I had visions of cutting it out and sewing it up quickly, I don’t know what on seen as my sewing maching is in Paeroa.  I did garden yesterday.  I pulled out my gooseberry bush and put some of our pot plants into the vege garden. 


I think tonite it might sink in?  maybe?  When I go to go to sleep in my bed and it isn’t here…

Better get back to cleaning and packing, although I have no boxes – we went to four supermarkets and at each one a guy out the back said “sorry we don’t have much at the moment” and then “you could take some of these?” while holding up banana boxes that are virtually bottomless because they have a huge hole in the bottom. 

It will be exciting to do all this with Mark, I remember a few years ago (?) can it be that long? We were thinking of just having a year apart, where Mark would go and I would stay here and finish my thesis. We couldn’t figure out how to work it so I could go. I can’t believe we considered it!  I tell you what.  If we were still doing that plan I would be in a serious state.  That would be some drama! 



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Five is not many.  It is a handful, it is enough to handle, it is the number of things we can most easily remember, it is how many times I will sleep before living on a plane, and in airports for a few days.  Five sleeps to go!

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It is one thirty in the morning.  I feel awake and can’t sleep, I wonder if I had too much fun at dinner and now my brain still wants to talk. Maybe it is because I am itchy with things that look suspiciously like flea bites.  Emma thought I might have something that sounded like pox.  I remember going to the farm and being covered in bites and Nana thinking we had hives.  Hives, pox, they are all just fleas to me… I just hope that one on my lip goes away soon!  I met a whole bunch of lovely friends at
Istanbul, a restaurant we used to go to at University when we were poorer and could only buy entrees or share mains.  Tonight everyone marvelled at how good the food was, even if the prices had hiked a bit, and a strange solo belly dancer flitted around the tables accosted by men who’d drunk too much.  I don’t think she should have been doing that by herself, it seemed lonely, there should have been a group of women or none at all…
My office is nearly packed up, and I presented my whole thesis on power point to my supervisors who were sufficiently relaxed about it.  I expected them to be shocked, to look with concern and realise that there was something very wrong and unintelligent about all the work I had done.  They didn’t and I got grilled hapuka and salad for lunch from the fish and chip shop across the road and we talked about papers I could write and how I should be free and the end of my thesis to decide what I want to do.  My boss has been really supportive, I appreciate it and feel pretty lucky because things have worked out so well for me.   In the US of A I will sleep under the most precious present.  It is a present that made me cry when I opened it.  Katherine made it.  It is a huge quilt, with an enchanted forest kind of theme.  There are tall trees, and leaf patterns, stars, and in the very middle is the picture of me and Mark from our wedding invitation.  She has printed pictures onto fabric.  It reminds me of a map, or a story.  It is beautiful. 


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