How did she do it?

I have now spent two weeks with my nieces and while I am enjoying every minute of it, I am also completely and utterly exhausted. It makes me wonder. When Kristen and I were Tilda and Annie’s age the year was 1982. My mom was a mere 23 years old. She took care of us, had an at-home day care business, and managed to look so stylish (in a throwback Jane Fonda/ Farrah Fawcett kind of way). Our team of caretakers varies from 2-7 people on any given day and I still need a nap to keep up with Annie. There are only two possibilities here. Either my mom has super powers, or we were incredibly angelic babies. I’ll leave with with one final picture of make-up covered two-year-old Kristen to let you decide that one for yourselves.

Back in the Wop Wops

Wop Wops (n.)– boonies, rural area, countryside

My brother-in-law is the greatest. He accumulated 18 hours in the car this week with two infants so that I could spend a few days visiting friends at Proctor. We are assimilating him to our relaxed Proctor-in-the summer ways. We are staying at Annie, Matt, Sasha, and Braeden’s apartment which came pre-furnished with baby gear and toys. Today I got to see 7 out of the 9 babies that were born at Proctor this year while we were away and the parents that belong to them. Hanging out here on campus and seeing everyone made me realize just how much I miss living here. Today we also hung out with Sash and Brae (a.k.a “the big girls”) and visited a friend’s property that is also a potential wedding-site. We hiked up a big hill/ mountain to the outdoor chapel and played in the lake. Camp Dani has officially begun.

Goodbye Tea

Tea (n.) – Dinner

I know this post is a bit out of order, but I just downloaded the pictures off of my camera and onto my computer and found shots from my last night in New Zealand. OK, well I guess its not really my last night since I’ll be back in 11 weeks, but by then all of our friends from Solscape will be gone. Looking at these pictures makes me really miss everyone. We were so lucky to have such a great group of people to live with for the past few months. Can you be homesick when you live in a house truck?
I’d like to say that my transition back to the states is going smoothly, but honestly, its been a bit tougher than I thought it would be. I miss riding my bike to the organic grocers and working in the garden. I am overwhelmed by driving on the highway and walking through Target. And most of all I miss this face…

My Girls

I left New Zealand at noon on June 16th. After 30-something hours of traveling I arrived safely in D.C. at 11pm June 16th. Time travel is exhausting. Well worth it though, today Annie woke me up. She couldn’t quite figure out why I wasn’t stuck inside the computer like normal. She kept alternating between saying “dee” (Dani) and giving me big hugs. Despite being a bit overwhelmed by the traffic and large amounts of fast food, its nice to be home.

We’re Getting Married!

Pushbikes for 10k over a gravel road,
Te Toto gorge is so beautiful it gave you vertigo.
Hike down the trail, breakers in front and far below.
The Tasman Sea to our right.
Windblown tree and that would be a good spot to camp.
“So do you think we should get married?”
“I mean, Dani, will you marry me?”
“Ask me again”
“Yes, yes, yes”
Lay back in the grass in your arms.
Two clouds in the sky, a double helix, no an ibex horn.
Three layers of clouds moving in opposite directions.
Can’t stop smiling.
We’re getting married!
“Sheep, you are all invited”

Permaculture Hui

Hui: (n – Maori) meeting, gathering

Sorry for the lack in posts lately. This week has been pretty busy between moving out of Liz’s house back into the house truck and getting ready for our big trips. I’ll take a few minutes to update you about the Permaculture Hui last week.

Permaculture in New Zealand holds a national hui once a year. This year it was held on a marae (kind of a Maori church) in Te Toko. We had mixed expectations because a lot of NZ events seem to be organized very last minute, but since David Holmgren was going to be there we decided to head over. It was also a good chance for me to see the east coast and to meet some of the friends Nelson met when he first arrived in NZ. We drove across the center of the country with Phil, Sequoia, and Bern and another Raglan-ite Simon. Our route took us straight through Rotorua, very stinky town full of hot springs, and an even stinkier town full of paper mills.

When we arrived we found that the weekend was going to be run using open-space technology. Nelson and I are still unsure about why this technique is called a “technology”, but the concept is interesting, if unorganized. There was a very loose schedule when we arrived, but a few hours later here is what the schedule looked like after everyone had put their two cents in.
We got to hear David Holmgren and Hakai Tane speak. And got to hang out with tons of friends. It seems like everyone we knew in NZ was there. Here is David doing a site survey and Nelson with Poihaere.

After the Hui we stayed in Whakatane for a few days with Peter and Louise, who have a gorgeous house, very sustainable house, and were also hosting our friends Tanja and Florian from Wanganui. Their kids kept us entertained.

Here are some pics of their house. They raise three kids using less than 1 kilowatt hour per day with an outdoor composting toilet and an outdoor bath. They are my idols.

All Thanks to Lord Morton

Today is the third anniversary of our first kiss. Maybe someday if you’re lucky, I’ll retell the whole romantic story of the start of our relationship. Three years after that fateful day at the country club we find ourselves half a world away working for change. Let’s hope the next thirty are as wonderful as the first three.