Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hanoi Hello

Well what can one say about the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It's big and dirty and full of life. A kaleidoscope of vendors and food cooked on the pavement and more use of car horns than even Jeremy Clarkson would approve of. It is a huge cultural change from New Zealand and Australia and I am still processing what I am seeing . There is poverty and pollution but also time. People are friendly , even if they are trying to rip you off they do it with a smile. The biggest adventure is crossing the road. The only rule of traffic in Hanoi seems to be use your horn with abandon at all times and in all places. Although red lights and one way streets exist - it is only in theory.To cross the road one steps out slowly into the flow of cars, motorbike xe oms and bicycles and walks slowly across the road. You walk slowly to allow the drivers time to see you and take avoiding action. So far it has worked well.

Although it's vibrant I'm keen to get out of the city and into the countryside. Tomorrow is an early start and then a boat trip around Halong Bay with some Kayaking thrown in and after that it should get more chilled for a week or two in rural areas and on beaches. So internet access may be limited but I will do what I Can. No photos this time - the promise of wireless internet turned out to be a 15 year old PC with the Letters almost worn off the keyboard.

But you know what its 28 degrees and so much better than working ......

Be well wherever you are .

blessings m

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Westward Bound

Heading to Singapore today and then Vietnam tomorrow. Had a great week in Sydney catching up with people. There are new photos on the flickr site - click on the title above to go straight there. Not sure what the internet access will be like as I travel but will update as much as possible. In the meantime as a friend reminded me the other day, 'the journey is the destination.' And onward I go.


Monday, October 22, 2007

As it is in Heaven / New Zealand

sometimes so is it on earth. If anyone I've met embodies the hospitality of the gospels it is Mike and Rose Riddell. A sojourn with them is always a blessed time when one feels loved and affirmed, and empowered to dream dreams and live the creative life. Tonight we had a truly incarnational meal - them,me and the Dr of Higgins.

It was incarnational - food and conversation being the very stuff of life itself and we shared stories of sorrow and laughter , shared dreams and talked about what the life more abundant that Jesus promised us might look like. One thing Mike said was that he thought I was becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I think he is right and even in the few short weeks here I have felt comfortable with the life choices I've made and confirmed in giving up the job and finding time to dream it all up again. There is an old aboriginal proverb that says "He who stops dreaming is truly lost." I think i was on the way to being lost in the job I was doing and had almost stopped dreaming but now it is back and I'm feeling good.

We talked also about celebrity and how ordinary lives get lost and devalued. Every day I'm learning a little to live the Buechner Quote above - because all moments are key moments and life itself is Grace.

We also realised that though it was Gareth who introduced me to Mike 4 years ago, that it was my organising of a bus to greenbelt 10 years ago which had allowed Gareth to first meet Mike. We were all part of the fabric of each other.

Sitting by the Riddells swimming pool with a glass of whiskey was like a little taste of eternity. Receiving Grace and being empowered to go out and share that Grace with others. A glimpse of who I want to be and a little taste of heaven here in Middle earth. Tomorrow its on to Australia to catch up with old friends and family. In the meantime let me leave you with the words of New Zealand poet James K Baxter.

Miracles are needed
Miracles of nourishment
Miracles of sharing
Miracles of healing
But as we may suppose that
the age of miracles is past,
though sudden miracles
surround us like blackberries
in the bushes in autumn !


This week I've enjoyed the miracle of friendship , hospitality and Grace and I thank God that I'm alive.



Friday, October 19, 2007

The Judge,her lover , the Dr and the journalist.

Hallo from New Zealand. I do apologize for the lack of blogging but it thats pesky real world getting in the way. Suffice to say Paris was wonderful , Nashville was sublime and New Zealand is currently everything one could wish for. We have spent most of the last week at a beach house on the Coromandel with Judge Riddell , her lover and the Good Dr.

The weather was irrelvant as we indulged in good wine, food and conversation , interspersed with long walks on deserted beaches. Much was discussed , many world issues resolved and a taste of heaven was enjoyed by all. And urged on by my geeky friends ( you know who you are ) I have opened a flickr account so that you can see what I've been up to so click on the title above or follow the link below to see the photographic evidence of the trip so far.

blessings m