Wednesday, 21 July 2010

It's in the blood

I've had a number of people say to me recently that they felt more at home elsewhere in the world than in NZ. Generally they felt most comfortable in a country from which their ancesters had come.

It's the same for me. I felt far more calm, comfortable and at home in France, especially Paris, than I ever have anywhere in NZ or any other country I have visited. Many of my ancesters are of French descent. The Libeau family were original settlers of Akaroa, Banks Peninsula, South Island of New Zealand 1840. They were enterprising, gardeners and many other things. My grandmother was proud of her ancestry. Even my grandfather was equally related to the same family (with several generations in between I must add), all on my mother's side. (see entry cradle of my Family June 2011).

Now I'm preparing to go home to France. I hope one day I can return to Akaroa for a holiday. Auckland doesn't interest me except that Laura lives here. I'm disappointed by NZ: the tall poppy syndrome, the small-mindednesss, the violence and drunkeness and sports obsession, the unfounded arrogance that makes so many NZers think it's Godzone or more beautiful than anywhere else. Somehow I have survived but never thrived in NZ and I don't know why.

NZ certainly has much going for it but I've had a whiff of an alternative and for me France has so much more depth, nuance and richness than what we have developed here in NZ. Plus, I think I need very different experiences to grow more into the person I want to discover in myself. If you want something different to happen in your life you have to change what you do.

I want a lot - I must change a lot even if it's uncomfortable and financially risky. I've never had a plan in my life before, I've lived like a piece of flotsam or jetsom, tossed about on a sea of random and often harsh or tragic circumstance. Trying so hard to change things but never doing more than surviving. Why is life this way, I would ask myself? I try so hard and am so focussed, why isn't it working for me?

Answer- because it's not right for you! Your future is elsewhere. Hindsight reveals so much, doesn't it? I can see why my efforts never bore fruit- that wasn't why I am here. The path of least resistence seems to be best now but it still requires a lot of effort and passion and it's still difficult to recognise.

Making an opportunity for myself in France has been a long, hard road. There have been false starts, misery and hurt, anxiety and despair. What if I had not persisted? To change my life seemed ambitious but to NOT do this was unbearable. I could no longer live the life I had.

My daughter told me, once I was back from my trip to France, "Mum you were dying before you went. You were miserable and getting sick and started to look old. Once you were in France you looked so happy and ...younger". And when you look at my photos from that trip I do look remarkably comfortable and even radiant.

Maybe we are so busy rushing around we don't notice what really works and what doesn't. What opportunities have we missed by being so run-into-the-ground?

The not-so-supercity has made many of us re-evaluate what life means to us.Do you know where you fit into the world?

Photos of Paris (Versailles) and Akaroa


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