Sunday, March 21, 2010

Little Miracles

Some people go their whole lives without having an adventure. -- overheard during last week at my former job

Anything can happen. Anything has happened. There was never a Plan B. No backup, no hedged bets, no second guessing. Just the dream and the path we saw leading to it. One basket holding all our eggs.

The weeks leading up to our eventual settling of the holistic health practice we purchased were nothing short of sublime, a 9-to-1 ratio of beauty to terror. On several occasions it seemed the whole thing might fall through and we would find ourselves without visas, without jobs, without even the ability to legally work, and with only a few short weeks until we left these shores.

We decided we would do the best we could to live well. We visited friends, made new ones, and discovered those new and regular haunts that brought peace and gave shape and rhythm to our days. Several times a week we would take Hawk to the playground at Waitangi Park. Our friend Francisco, a travel photographer, runs the cafe there and proved a source of steady encouragement who never failed to lift our spirits. Situated on the water where Mount Victoria meets Oriental Bay (some of the choicest real estate in Australasia), with a clear view of the green hillside neighborhoods of Kelburn and Karori, the park became our sanctuary. Here, in this spot, we were in New Zealand.

Other aspects of the city played their part, too. The yellow GO Wellington buses bear numerous suggestions for city activities, and if I never GO SMASH A SIX OUT OF THE BASIN, I sure don't mind being encouraged to GO FILM A TRILOGY or GO WIN AN OSCAR. The civic pride is plainly evident here and in the New Zealand Post's Writers and Readers Week, which (among more formal programming) saw the public display--at bus stops, on walls, atop the swing-set of our park--of the finest magnetic poetry generated at installations throughout the city.

We experienced firsthand the kindness of strangers. Just outside the KiwiBank, a gentleman insisted on giving us $30. Unaware of him until that moment, I imagine he overheard our chatterings regarding the annoyingly late arrival of a critical wire transfer. I'd never experienced such open generosity. Sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch.

Here the common understanding says that between strangers there are only two degrees of separation, not the usual six. This already seems true in my experience, both socially and through our business, though it doesn't hurt having friends in the tourism and hospitality industries. In any case, our roster of local connections has grown rapidly, and for that we're very grateful.

There is a freedom that comes with adventure. Two weeks into our new jobs, we're keenly aware of the responsibilities, as well--to those who work in the collective, to our clients and the broader community, to ourselves. As Jenifer likes to say, now that we've gone through the drama, "We've already done the stupid and impossible, so . . ." And then she laughs. Anything is possible.

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Blogger Eric D. Lehman said...

Life without risk is Disneyland. - Douglas Coupland, Generation X

Keep risking, my friend.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Ryan Rasmussen said...

Ah, great quote! But, wait, what does that make mainstream America?

10:54 PM  
Blogger Jack M. said...

Hey, who is that handsome fellow with the stolen piece of boat?

- Jack

4:25 AM  
Blogger Ryan Rasmussen said...

My understanding, Jack, is that a rare and often misunderstood strain of Kiwi has an uncommonly strong penchant for collecting shiny metal things. It's hard to explain, really, but I'm glad I was there to document the creature in his natural habitat. For science.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Jack M. said...

It's more rusty than shiny, truth be told... :(

- Jack

5:13 PM  

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