Saying Our Farewell To our Zen Temple Retreat In The Hokianga, New Zealand
We have arrived in New Zealand to pack our personal belongings and vacate our house in the Hokianga.
The house is now sold, and the family who has bought it has also purchased all the furniture and our barely used car, so our packing included only my art, studio and personal items.
If you were to look at the house, it seems so pretty and uncluttered, but it is amazing how much stuff we had to throw away, donate or pack.
We have had to sort through fifteen years of tax papers, journals, books, mementos, clothing, magazines, souvenirs, bicycles and cycling equipment, art, etc.
We have spent our days packing, which was not made any easier by the strange and stormy summer we have had in NZ this year.
The frequent storms made for a hot and very humid summer, and we left all the windows and doors open day and night, to invite the cool breeze in.
Finally, the heat wave eased off and we again enjoyed the mild NZ weather that we were so used to.
Every day, when we took our lunch outside to sit in front of the Harbor, Jules told me:
“This is it! It is one of the last times you will ever see the Hokianga from here…”
One of the house’s potential buyers referred to it as a “Temple.”
She told us that we have built a temple on the hills overlooking the Hokianga.
Perhaps she was right, as we have heard similar comments from many people who have come to us through the years.
Even the estimator from the moving company, who came to estimate the cost of shipping our personal belongings back to the USA, looked around and sighed.
Then he said:
“This is a VERY SPECIAL PLACE…. how long have you lived here?”
It wasn’t easy, but we’ve done it!
It was an emotional process, and I have to admit that we ate way too much ice cream, but we did it.
In less than two weeks, we packed up our fifteen years of living here and arranged for the international shipping of our personal items back to the USA.
We have done our last bout of maintenance, gardening and mowing of the lawns, so it will look good for the new buyers.
The movers did a great job of carefully wrapping my art studio and carrying it all down to the big truck that blocked our whole road for a few hours.
Luckily, our little street does not get much traffic.
After the movers left, we cleaned and scrubbed the house and the studio until they were shiny and looked good enough to welcome the new owners.
I hope that the new family will love it as much as we did.
I can envision their kids swimming in the pond again, like the kids in the village used to do many years ago.
It was not uncommon for me to meet people who told me that they used to swim in our pond when they were kids, or eat the honey that was made in the cabin which stood where my Studio now stands.
A house actually belongs to the village in which it stands, much more than it belongs to the people who own it.
In just a few days, we will meet the new owners to go over the details of operating things on the property, before we hand them the keys to the house, studio and car, and fly down to Auckland.
I have invited them to eat with us our last grilled Paella in front of the Hokianga, on the day they will come.
To celebrate this new chapter in our lives, we have booked a trip to Indonesia to dive in two small islands in Northern Sulawesi.
Regrettably, I had to pack my diving and snorkeling gear and ship it in the container back to the USA, because I did not want to carry my diving equipment with us all over Japan, which is our next destination after Indonesia.
Before our trip to Indonesia, we will spend a few short days in Auckland, saying goodbye to all the places and activities we love and enjoy.
New Zealand has been an integral part of our lives for the last fifteen years.
We have laughed here and grown so much here.
We have shed blood, sweat and tears, and I can honestly say that New Zealand will ALWAYS be a part of me…. it will remain in my veins and in my heart FOREVER….