When its time to leave people are always a bit sad, but I have been leaving from so many places recently that I understand these leaving events as both leaving and going. Perhaps, somewhere new even if you are going back to a place you know. You will be returning with new impressions, perspective and ideas. These months abroad since my June 3rd departure from the States have been packed in full of views and visions of the places I’ve been, people I’ve met and places I’ll be going. However the stars have begun to align and ideas have synchronized. Well, not completely, I am not claiming or suggesting enlightenment, but whats going on with the “Pale Blue Dot” is making much more sense then ever before. Amidst all the synthesis and understand have been some very eventful final days in Wanganui.
I associate the word final with finals, which generally means a huge test on a heap of information you hope has turned itself into knowledge and understanding. But this final week has just been full of projects and events with friends as well as the community. The pizza oven was fired at the make your own pizza party. Sausages were sizzled with the local school, and rural schools came down for a field trip visit to the little house that could. It reminded me of the days teaching skiing to little kids as the yard was buzzing with energy and questions about anything and everything they laid their eyes upon. That day ended with a bike ride round Wanganui to visit some friends at the Quaker Village and harvest bamboo for garden stakes. I also got to look down on Wanganui from the hills and really see the place I have been living in.

It has been a very welcoming to say the least. Playing softball on saturdays with the local club has been an absolute hoot, and a great reminder that its all about fun and sharing that fun. So we went down to Castcliff Intermediate to share some of the fun we have when we cook on our solar cooker. The children were super keen on our solar powered radio devices. If their shadow went across the panel the music stopped. Magically however, the sun powered our tunes. The shiny satellite looking thing we call a solar cooker was also an area of attention as it turned out sizzling sausages. One student seemed to connect the dots while they were cranking the radio. They figured out with some help that they got their energy from food, which did in fact not come from a box, but was grown by the sun. So, we are powered by the sun; a novel idea and a new and very important revelation for a 10 year old. How about that tree? The sun! Yes, the sun powers the tree and when we use the tree we are using sun power. Nelson mentioned our wood fired pizza oven. Is that solar powered too? Well, yes, it is, indirectly it is solar powered.

So we had a little party. More like a big pizza eating event. Almost completely solar powered, well probably completely solar powered. Woodfired, with all organic ingredients, veggies from the garden, and cheeses(solar powered), dough(from grain(solar powered). You see the point perhaps that the sun does some great things, all of which are free. We just need to spend a little time thinking about how to take advantage of all the sun’s magical powers. Most of which is “understood.” But I can tell you a fresh pizza is delicious and thats enough for my hungry belly. All the tasty ingredients were connected to the sun. Our lovely wood fire and setting sun provided some beautiful solar powered atmosphere. All the while some guests were asking me if I was excited to return home to the states. I answered a little uneasy, but very psyched about sharing everything I’ve come to understand about our solar powered Pale Blue Dot.
This past morning some rural students came for an end of school year field trip to wrap up some of their studies on energy. The quiet sunny day was suddenly buzzing with young students and inquisitive minds. We got to share our solar cooking devices, the gardens, the chickens and the house. It blew me away how in tune some of the students were. I asked the what the chickens like to eat. The answer I got was grass and green things, but then they poop and fertilize the grass. All I added was that I get to then eat the eggs from the chickens. They seemed to get a little chuckle out of that. After we had shared about the little blue house and their solar cooked lunches were consumed some students shared with me their science projects. Not your regular science projects. They had studied up on alternative forms of energy and had heaps to share. This became I a moment full of good energy. Young kids very psyched on how their maths and sciences connect to their solar cooked lunches!

Tomorrow I will be on my way, wrapping up my time here in Wanganui and at 10 Arawa Pl. I am sad to leave this little place, an amazing case study on suburban sustainability, but I am happy to be able to share it will people, especially kids. After many hours of travel I will find myself amongst the cold NewEngland winter. People here in warm sunny New Zealand appear confused about my level of excitement for the snow winter. It’s no bother to me, I’ll have heaps of time to share pictures and new perspectives from the places I’ve been. I will be leaving here and returning home with hopes and ambitions to bring a little of my travels home.

Thanks for reading,
the 20 Something


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