It is now a year since I rode my bike up the driveway in Whangarei. It is a year since I last rode a bike laden with everything I deemed necessary to live my life. Turns out that it isn’t much when you need to carry it. But when you only move house every six months like I do now…I’m building up a pile of crap.
It’s been a year of simple pleasures. On Saturday I spent much of the morning indulging in one of my favourites – reading the Saturday newspaper. On the road, I always had the time to read the paper, but I rarely had the chance to get hold of an English newspaper. Now it seems that getting the paper is easy, but I hardly ever have the time. Saturday wasn’t that much different actually – it was just that I had a cold and couldn’t go diving, so I was stuck indoors, and that gave me the time to read the paper.
Today was another simple pleasure. Even though it was the first day of winter, I was able to get up to a stunningly beautiful, if cold, morning and go mountain biking. Cold yes, but not so cold as to require leg-warmers or trousers on the bike. Admittedly I did wear shoes. You can get away with sandals and socks in random Eastern countries, people look at you funny anyway. Here it sticks out a bit more.
In the last month, I’ve seen my parents twice, and my younger brother. In the next two months, I should see my parents again, my sister, and my older brother and his family. That’s another simple pleasure I can get from living here. I’ve also been able to spend time with friends, and make new friends. Not just the sort of transient friends you meet on the road, but people you see regularly over a long period of time. And I’m enjoying that.
I’ve been able to take up a new interest, diving. That’s taking up far more of my resources (time and $$) than I ever dreamed it would have 12 months ago.
I’ve been able to unpack most of my stuff, and have a range of clothes. Not just on the bike/off the bike, but work, casual, sporting, somewhere in between – and variety in each category.
I’ve been in a position to cook good meals, whatever I feel like eating, not just a lump of fat on top of plain rice (plov). At first my kitchen wasn’t much better than the little petrol stove, but now I have a kitchen so big that we don’t even use half the cupboards, because we don’t have enough stuff to put in them.