This week, and last week, as the shortest day approached and then the coldest day in years made us all realise how spoilt we had been by a mild winter, I found myself reflecting on how perspective changes everything.

Flu is hitting hard here in New Zealand, but only I suspect because for the last two winters we have been pretty much virus free. Mask wearing and Covid care has meant in fact, that life expectancy in New Zealand has increased by 8 months since Covid rocked the world; as flu takes a grip I am guessing that the trend will be reversed.

A few weeks ago, Covid related travel restrictions were lifted and so, we decided to travel ‘home’ to catch up with our family in the UK. Our niece’s wedding has been postponed twice due to Covid but, all being well, it will go ahead in a few weeks, and we will be there to celebrate with her and the rest of the family. I can’t wait to see my mum, reconnect with my sister, and share the same space with my brother. I’d love it if my other brother who is in Australia could be part of the reconnecting, but as Australia is just a stones throw away I will perhaps find time to connect with him on this side of the globe some time soon. I feel so far away from them all. It is a mere 12,696km from NZ to UK. The moon on the other hand  is 384,399km from Earth…and yet a satellite has just been sent to orbit the moon by Rocket lab…it makes my journey seem one tiny step.

Having decided to go, we bought tickets, we planned our trip and everything seemed in order. However, out of the blue, one leg of our return trip was cancelled and we found that we would be stranded in Tokyo…having to find the resources to pay for two days unexpectedly, beyond our annual leave allowance, and beyond our budget. So… to cut a long story short, but nevertheless, to share the impact, we found ourselves with a one way ticket ‘home’, and return flights suddenly double the price and half the availability.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians find themselves under attack. Forced from their homes, terrified, separated from loved ones, seeking refuge in factory basements, the idea of a holiday impossible to imagine. Afghans have been hit by a massive earthquake on top of the already present humanitarian crisis in their country and for many of them, they will never see loved ones again. Last weekend a van travelling in south Island crashed into a truck killing 7 out of the 9 family members on board. This week a shooting in Denmark and another in Chicago. These are the stories that hit the headlines, these are the stories that make you stop and be thankful and grateful for what you have. How is it possible that I was feeling resentful and bitter about having to pay double for a flight. A holiday. A luxury.

As I take my dogs for their morning walk I acknowledge my turangawaewae, the land beneath my feet that holds meaning for me; a place where I feel grounded, empowered and connected, a place where I can breathe the clean cold air and be grateful that I am lucky enough to be able to have a holiday.

Now, some weeks later, enjoying a British heat wave, enjoying time with family and friends, the extra costs almost forgotten, perspective is everything.

The coldest day of the year in New Zealand – July 2022


The hottest day on record in the UK -July 2022

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