Letters to a Friend: One Year On

One year ago, Katharine and I took time out from real life: Kath spent three months in Wanaka with her family, and I travelled to Hong Kong, France and Spain over two months, with mine. We exchanged letters, posted here under ‘Letters to a Friend’. We promised each other we’d retain the sense of peace and clear direction we garnered from our time away.

A year on we rekindle our letters to examine what remains from last year’s discoveries. Katharine is in Bali for a two-week holiday and I’m…I’m at home, sweet home.

Thursday 9th July, 2015: Auckland, New Zealand (Caroline to Katharine)

Dearest Kath,

Your letter made me smile no end. Right now I’m picturing you with your determined smile, paddling your surfboard, hoping for zen. You may have given up surfing, but I noticed you found a different groove on your paddle-board near the Ulawatu temple—perhaps even more perfect? There’s something about you and nature, friend. Be it snow or sunshine the freedom and beauty of nature continues to gift you happiness.

It isn't too hard to see, we're in heaven (thanks Bryan Adams).  Manupirua Hot Springs, Lake Rotoiti. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2015

It isn’t too hard to see, we’re in heaven (thanks Bryan Adams). Manupirua Hot Springs, Lake Rotoiti. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2015

Our family holiday to Rotoiti was short but wonderful. The lake felt ancient and magical and I wish I knew more of its history. Maori legend has it that a great warrior discovered the lakes when he was out foraging for treats for his pregnant wife (good man) and his dog returned from the forest with a wet coat and sicking up fish. I bet if he could, he’d have warmed up in the Manupirua Hot Springs, accessible only by boat. Six hot mineral pools, sourced from geo-thermal springs are set into Lake Rotoiti’s edge. We lounged, framed by pohutakawa, and watched our children play on the narrow strip of beach below. I could not have dreamed up a place more beautiful.

Today I re-read our letters from 2014 for the first time. What an incredible time we both had. And how different this year has been from the last. I know the challenges you have faced with your work, and have witnessed your growth as a managing director—your success with both these things, I believe, was born out of your time away.

A horse with a name: Rangi. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2015

A horse with a name: Rangi. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2015

And me? Last year’s trip gave me the space to decide ‘what next’ and to grow the courage to do it. ‘What next’ was writing. I’m proud of what I have achieved with lovewordsmusic.com and even more, I’m proud of the book I am writing. Some said I didn’t have the right qualifications or experience to get into the MCW program at Auckland University, but I knew it was the program for me. I got in. I’m loving it. We are so deep in the craft of writing I’ll need a shovel to dig my way out.

My writing journey is thanks, in part, to you. If I hadn’t sat next to you at Fashion Week in 2000…if we hadn’t been two single girls trying to piece together the world for most of the first decade of 2000s…if you hadn’t invited me to your writing group in 2012…if, if, if! So, thanks babe.

As for promising myself to slow down? Didn’t happen. If I slow down how the hell would I get this book written / enjoy my family / socialize / go to Pilates and walk with LJ / catch up with you on a Wednesday and all the other amazing wonderful things in life?

Perhaps I’ll try to slow down again next year.


Caroline xx  

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