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.


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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’d 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. 


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Book Review: My Beautiful Friend by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, translation by Ann Goldstein, Europa, 2012, NY.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, translation by Ann Goldstein, Europa, 2012, NY.

The world is a profound and unchartered place when you’re a young teenager. Relationships are difficult to navigate and you move like a changing and persistent breeze underneath your own front door, trying to find a way – any way – into the hallways of who you are and of friendship. Somehow, Elena Ferrante has captured this elusive breeze and painted a picture of Elena and Lila’s friendship that is so real you’d swear you were inside Elena’s mind. Ferrante allows Elena to hold nothing back, not even the darkness of her self-doubt and jealousy. At times I felt I was leaning against the wall, glass against ear, cheeks blushing with the closeness of it all.  Continue reading

Letters to a Friend: The End of (this) Road

30.09.14: Wanaka, New Zealand (Katharine to Caroline)

Dear Caroline,

It’s been great to hear your voice again over the last few days. I’m so looking forward to our Wednesdays recounting adventures, alongside the laughter of our children and a glass of pinot. We’re homeward bound, and yes I am happy we’ve had such a wonderful adventure. As Hanz sums it up: “We’ve had a summer holiday and we’ve skied!”

Working out the work-life balance has seen me find a calm place where I’ve been noticeably more engaged. It’s an unfamiliar pace of life yet one that is without an anxious panic and increased heart rate. I sleep eight hours a night and feel less rushed; there are no lists to complete. Ironically as I reluctantly prepare for our journey home life here has also become more cemented; Coco has found her groove at day-care and tells me with tears she’ll miss her friends, my heart skips a beat. We’ve started to meet people, who I know if we lived here, I could easily become friends with, and we’ve established routines.

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Letters to a Friend: Mama I’m Coming Home

Thursday 18th September, 2014: Pt Chevalier, Auckland, New Zealand (Caroline to Katharine)

The green, green grass of home

The green, green grass of home

Dear Friend,

I’m home. Just to say it feels good. But here’s the thing: both Jez and I feel completely weighed down by things. We have so much stuff. After living out of two suitcases between four of us for two months, every bulging bookcase, every box of toys and every pile of fluffy towels feels heavy and, well, excessive. Everywhere I look there are things to put away, to mend, to take to the hospice shop, to get the tradey back to fix. How can even our most precious things – our paintings, our mementos, even books – feel so heavy?

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Letters to a Friend: Lassoing Time Through Sliding Doors

Monday 25th August, 2014: Mas Gatell, Altafulla, Spain (Caroline to Katharine)

Rocking 80s jacket

Still smiling, despite the jacket

Dearest Kath,

How frightened I was when I heard about the heli-skiing accident. It was the strangest thing – for a brief moment, before I’d received your email, I experienced what I can only describe as a tear in the fabric of reality, when it was just as possible it was you in that helicopter, as not. How close you came; so close that the man who died was a fellow Aucklander from just two suburbs away. So sad. I’m so thankful you’re ok. Do these close calls, these sliding door moments, define us? If we’re lucky they pour a resolute glaze over life and have us swinging from the chandeliers shouting “I’m alive!”

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