Nelson, New Zealand
I'm enjoying a nice day off today, while Matt is at work (the reverse will occur tomorrow...), and in spite of the gray and rainy weather, I went into town with Nickola this morning to take a wander around Nelson's Saturday Market, and enjoyed myself thoroughly. It felt like home, a combination of Portland's Saturday Market combined with a big farmer's market, produce and food vendors mixed in with artisans selling pottery, greenstone necklaces, Manuka honey, and handmade clothes. The carpark full of stalls, hopping with people on a warm and rainy Saturday, was definitely a taste of home.
(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
I bought some fresh carrots and tomatoes, a cucumber and some free-range eggs, and scouted out all the beautiful potential gifts and souvenirs and had several fun conversations with vendors, and sampled some delicious honey and homemade peanut butter. I also took a little walk through the town centre, and snapped a few photos so you all could get a glimpse of this great little city:
Nelson's Christchurch Cathedral, at the end of Trafalgar Street
Our place of work, on Halifax Street.
Trafalgar Street on a rainy market day.
Work has been busy and chaotic this week, with the start of the sale and some long hours, but we are both still thoroughly enjoying it. Matt and I haven't seen much of each other this week, with different shifts and him not home till 8:30 or 9 PM most nights. Luckily those hours are over now, and we are back to relatively sane days. This job keeps us on our toes, we are never bored, and there are all manner of things to be done, so it stays interesting. We've met people from all over the world, and yesterday served a customer from Eugene, Oregon! We have many customers from Christchurch, who evacuated to Nelson after the earthquake and are now preparing to go home and are looking for sleeping bags, camp stoves, water purification tablets, etc. I have also helped several customers who live locally but are putting together survival kits in case an earthquake or other disaster hits Nelson. The earthquake, and the sheer number of aftershocks (around a dozen a day for Christchurch, even now), in addition to the huge tragedy in Japan, has put everyone here on edge, and people are wanting to be prepared, which I suppose is a good thing.
Having settled into work and home here in Nelson, with the days flying by very quickly and little chance for exploration, I am feeling a bit of a sense of loss and nostalgia, remembering our bygone summer days on idyllic beaches, wandering around without work or rent to worry about, surfing and freedom camping and soaking up summer. Those days seem so long ago now, and I feel almost homesick for my dark tan (which has long since faded, although I'm still far more tan than I have ever been in Oregon), living in just a bikini and jandals, and the brilliantly hot sunshine on me as I wrote letters sitting on Ahu Ahu beach in Taranaki. And for our paradisaical weeks in the Far North, swimming in the warm ocean every day, sleeping under brilliant stars and feeling like we had found heaven in the middle of nowhere. Slowly it is dawning on me-- the reality that our time left in this country is limited, and as ready and excited as I am to come home, it's a little heartbreaking to think that we will never get those days or experiences back. I'm so glad we have the memories and the photos to keep them alive for us.
Nostalgia aside, I am enjoying many aspects of being settled, like cooking! Here is one of my latest exploits in the kitchen- a chickpea and spinach stir-fry served on couscous.