Sunday, December 10, 2006
On the road
I have covered a lot of ground since my last email. I had an amazing time home in New Zealand, the highlight of which was of course the wedding of my sister and her lovely new husband Tom. The whole thing was perfect, they planned three days of events, with a pre-wedding BBQ the night before, and a brunch the day after. This gave me lots of time to catch up with family and friends, some of whom I hadn´t seen for years. They also had a lovely ceremony, short but heartfelt and moving. The speeches were great, especially my father´s which was a lovely tribute to his fabulous daughter and to his wife, my amazing mother. The food and the wine were excellent and then the DJ hit just the right notes to get everyone up on the dance floor, even my 80 year old grandmother (who made the point, however, that what we were doing was not really dancing, just jigging about). The rest of the week was taken up with my four private yoga lessons, with the wonderful Jude of Yoga Academy in Auckland. Jude seemed to come to a pretty good understanding of my life, my needs and my tendencies pretty quickly, so she was able to shape the sessions to focus on areas where I need more work (i.e. relaxing and letting go) rather than the areas that I had asked her for direction. It was a great lesson in getting what you need, not necessarily what you think you want. I felt lucky to have found such a wise and kind teacher. Other than the yoga I had special times with lots of friends, including Mary and Wendie who came up from Wellington. I had a couple of wonderful times with Mary, including the opening of an exhibition of paintings by her father, John Parker (I love his paintings, see the link on this blog), a stroll through the bookshops in Mt Eden and a fabulous afternoon on the deck with her aunt, uncle and cousin. Wendie and I spent one fabulous day out at Piha, picnicing and walking along the beach. We also managed to fit in one great run, around the One Tree Hill Domain, on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon. No other run is quite as enjoyable as a run with Wendie, who has been my running partner pretty much from the very beginning of my newly found love of running. Running outside is a pleasure that I miss terribly in Afghanistan and I enjoyed every minute of it. I also had a great time with my own uncles, aunts and cousins and of course my lovely Grandma. I enjoyed lazy conversations in cafes and bars with great friends, including some very special old friends. Overall the holiday was everything I could want - I even had a day Christmas shopping with my mum and sisters, and I was there for Theresa and Tom´s house warming BBQ, which helps to make up for missing their engagement party. I have lots of great photos, which I will post in a couple of days. But for the moment I am in a remote part of Afghanistan using the internet connection at the army base, and I can´t download any photos. After a slow journey back to Afghanistan (with delays due to failures in the ground to air radio system throughout the country) I finally got back to Herat on Thursday, only to turn around and leave again on road mission early Friday morning. I´ve been here for two days and I have two more days to go. Today is International Human Rights Day, so I was here to run a big awareness raising event with children. This morning we had 200 local children take part in the event, and I will have to put some photos up as soon as I get back to Herat. The kids were great, we asked them to imagine that a new country had been discovered and they were responsible for developing a charter of rights and responsibilities for this country. They had lots of great ideas, including repeated references to the right to physical exercise and sport, a right that I can wholeheartedly support, especially for the girls here! Anyway, a very kind chap from the Spanish Cooperation Agency who lives and works here in the Spanish PRT base has given me his computer for a while, but I really should finish up. I´ll post some photos and tell some more stories when I get back to Herat.