I’ve been absolutely terrified of every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do. (Georgia O’keeffe)
If you get tired, learn to rest, not quit. (Banksy)
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. (Marie Curie)
Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love. (Zooey Deschanel)
I chose to walk to Osaka EXPOCITY (a newly built amusement park/shopping mall featuring Japan’s largest ferris wheel) today. My GPS said it would take 1 hour and 19 minutes. When I told my Japanese friends, they were mortified. But “WHY” they questioned. You see, Japan has the world’s best transportation system. Their trains are so unbelievably convenient that it doesn’t make sense to travel another way. However, seeing as I’m a New Zealander (as well as a world citizen) I did what Kiwis do best and just tackled the journey.
As I walked and walked I thought and thought. Some good, some bad, some unnecessary. I thought about how I am quickly running out of money and how I should probably start budgeting and I thought about my family and how I wish they were going with me – in saying that, I was very very lucky to join my ex-colleague and her super-adorable kids.
As I neared EXPOCITY, I started seeing groups and groups of young girls and attractive young couples. Now I must say, Osaka has some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I think it’s because they make a big effort to look pretty. Which I personally don’t think is a bad thing! Their outfits are always on point and their hair and make-up lovely. But sometimes I forget this. I see them and their perfect straight hair and super slender figures and I feel too big. Today, when I finally arrived at EXPOCITY, for the first time ever, I did a thing. I looked down at my legs which I’m often criticising and I said out loud, like a crazy lady, I said, thank you. Thank you for being fit and healthy and thank you for carrying me. Then I had one hell of a day!
Food: natural granola, honeydew melon, dried mandarin and walnuts with almond milk for breakfast, frozen raspberry and condensed milk after my walk, soba lunch, almond-milk latte, fresh gelato – I had adzuki (red beans) and milk with matcha (green tea) and last, a simple dinner of wholewheat crisp-bread, raw walnuts, watermelon and goat’s cheese.
Last, about EXPOCITY: I would say take a lot of money. Everything costs. I loved the Ferris Wheel. A shop-assistant told me the night view is even better so I’m hoping to do that before I leave. It’s definitely a good place for young children… and of course, very busy so better to go at 10am when they open and have an early lunch shortly after before the queues get too crazy.
Yesterday I had an idea. One that both frightens me and makes me excited. I thought, why don’t I compile a picture book of my time here? Wouldn’t that be the very best way of closing a chapter? No pun intended. Okay, pun totally intended. What do you think? With anecdotes and recipes and maybe one or two poems (because I hear poems don’t really sell). Not that money is a focus for me whatsoever. I swear to God, all I want to do is create. I have dreamt of publishing a book ever since I was a little widdle head-scarf wearing school girl. Won’t you please help? Any ideas, any contacts, any advice, anything at all because I really don’t know one thing about doing this. Will you buy it? Is it a good idea? What do you want to see in it? Who should I contact? How do I do this?
Eagerly awaiting your comments and messages,
Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have. (Lemony Snicket)
Turns out waking up early is even better for me than I originally thought. This morning was an adventure I’ll never forget. So I embarked for my usual 5.30am walk only to be stopped halfway by an ojichan (old citizen). He asked where I was from, what I was doing here etc and long story short, he took me to his garden where he showed me his eggplants, watermelons, broccoli, figs, persimmons and other fruits and vegetables before ripping out a big cabbage head for me to take home. Next, he introduced me to his wife who also gifted me fresh produce: capsicum, parsley and cucumber. Since it was still early by the time I got home, I whipped up a quick batch of blueberry muffins to return to the old couple as a thank you before heading to work. When I got there…well, I’m sure you can imagine their smiles and feel their warmth.
With SO many saliva inducing eateries continously poppng up in our neck of the woods, I find myself (and by that I mean my jean buttons are starting to get uncomfortably tight) in desparate need of a walk, or two. In fact, the glorious summer weather happening here in Chrischurch lately has me believing that even Mother Nature herself is ever so gracefully (in the form of blue skies and sunshine) nudging us to dust the cobwebs off our poor, neglected nikes and get our lycra coated butts outside. Without further adieu, the following is a brief list of some of Christchurch’s most terrific walking tracks to get you started.
Hagley Park: Call me Captain Obvious but I feel it’d be plain rude not to give Hagley Park a mention! Not only is our glorious Mother of all Parks drop-dead-gorgeous during any season/time of day but in addition, Hagley park is also conveniently fitted with exercise stations, picnic benches, drinking fountains, toilets and even BBQs (exercise leads to hunger) to further enhance our HP (Hagley Park not Harry Potter) experience. With plenty of parking and such easy access, you have zero excuses.
The track at Halswell Quarry is super foresty and super narrow. This means two things. One: the track is naturally beautiful – flled with trolls and whispering trees (with a little imagination) and two: you need to be strategic in choosing a walking buddy. This is because the track is too narrow to walk side by side your friend. So, it is important you pick someone with a nice behind, one that your eyes won’t get sick of following, or altenatively, someone who you don’t mind gazing at your toosh or someone you want to show your toned glutes to – okay, I think you get the picture. In addition to impressive scenic views (forest and butt), Halswell Quarry has some terrific viewpoints fitted with picnic benches where you can sit, relax and enjoy a potato chip or 10 – which I realise defeats the purpose of a walk but hey, life’s all about balance right?
Godley Head: This track is definitely the most romantic of the lot. In fact, five minutes in, you’ll spot a solo picnic bench overlooking the sea -so serene, lovely and 100% First Date material. In addition, the entire track overlooks magnifient views of the sea and the rocky shoreline. If it’s your lucky day, you may even spot a cheeky seal, dolphin or whale! My favourite features of this track include having the luxury to cool down post-walk by dipping my toes in the ocean and the quirky holiday homes nearby.
Bridal Path: The villan of all Christchurch tracks; do this one if you want to pass out. The word ‘steep’ needs to be hugely intensified in order to remotely describe the feeling (pain) which Bridal Path will induce. Let’s just say if Bridal Path were a weekday, it would be a Monday without a doubt. This means both walking up and down this track is hard (and dangerous – I may have slid on the shingle on the way down and grazed my knee a lottle). Either I’m extremely unfit or Bridal Path is a b**** – I vouch for the latter. Also, make sure to catch up over a cuppa either before or after your walk as you’re bound to be too out of breath for chit chat mid track. Nevertheless, the view at the top is truly breath-taking – Christchurch, you’re one heck of a beaut.
Rapaki: Although not as steep/intense as Bridal Path, Rapaki makes for a good work-out. If you’re reading this thinking “as if” or “too easy” then feel free to run/bike this track. As with Bridal Path, the view at the top (once you gradually make it – emphasis on gradually) is truly breathtaking – you know, in both senses of the word.