How Moving my Life to New Zealand for 3 years Changed Me

I came to change New Zealand. After 3 years, New Zealand changed me. Cliche I know, but this ended up being the truth.

This post has been written over the past 18 months. My thoughts, my observations, and my feelings have obviously morphed along the way, but let’s just start at the beginning.

With 50lbs of luggage, a working knowledge of left hand driving, and one solid contact, I packed up what I owned and moved my life to New Zealand. I kissed my parents, hugged my niece, wished my siblings well, and flew. In my luggage was an optimistic, slightly naive, monstrously unrealistic idea that I was going to get a job, in my field, in the first few months. With…one…solid…contact. Yeah. Right. Continue reading “How Moving my Life to New Zealand for 3 years Changed Me”

Happy Birthdays are for Others

September 14th. It was a Monday when I was born. This day is becoming more and more of a day that I just let pass by me. Sure I like birthday parties, having others around me, celebrations, music, cake, laughing at almost nothing, staying up late, and enjoying other people’s company. Of course I love that. Still, I don’t like to make a big deal of something for myself. That’s just not how I do things.

When my 28th birthday was coming up, all I could think about was where I thought I’d be, how old I was getting, what I haven’t done, blah blah blah. But then I realised just what I HAVE DONE. How very much has happened to me. The people I have been blessed to have conversations with, laugh with, know about. I have listened to stories of pain, and joy…sat with people in their darkest, and their brightest. I have felt the weight of a culture nearly forgotten and a people fighting to staying alive. I have learned to be a better professional and a much better human.

Continue reading “Happy Birthdays are for Others”

The Fear of The Oxbow Lake

What if I come back and I am just another guy? What if I return and I am just a reminder of a time that existed three years ago, but is now irrelevant and forgotten? What happens when I can’t fit into a puzzle I am no longer a piece to?

For someone fairly confident about the decision to come back to his home country, I am still only human. I think one would expect questions like the ones listed above to careen through my mind at blistering speeds. Questions that cause damage to my calm and to my surety. As if there wasn’t enough to think about before leaving, I can throw on a heaping pile of insecurity about the place I called home for most of my life.

Continue reading “The Fear of The Oxbow Lake”

Josh Garrels: His life, his music, his Influence

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Josh Garrels needs to be known for not being known.

Humble, genuine, gifted. Josh Garrels has become known for these qualities through his attitude towards music, life, and God. Musical at the very young age of 3, Garrels started getting more serious about his music at 13. Starting a band, Garrels gradually honed his craft on the guitar and writing music. By the age of 22, Garrels was making lo-fi recordings in rooms and pumping out music on his schedule. Unimpressed by recording companies and the bureaucracy behind the music business, Garrels chose to self-record, mix, and produce his music without a record label or industry management. Keeping true to this style, every album he has released has been from the sweat of his brow. In Love & War & The Sea In Between, he and his wife hand labeled and sent out all copies of their music. His grassroots approach is radical. It’s not supposed to work, but it does. His fans love and appreciate his diversion from the traditional craft and they support it.

Continue reading “Josh Garrels: His life, his music, his Influence”

The Conveyer Belt of Life

Chicago beckons me back with the lake on her right, and the giants on her left. She’s my kind of town and my kind of home. Chicago, I’m coming.

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I’m going home tomorrow for the first time in over a year and a half. Until now, the longest I had been away from home was five months. I feel that I have been doing well in New Zealand. I am always asked one of three questions when people here find out I’m American, and sometimes I get all three.

  1. So what brought you to NEW ZEALAND of all places?!? (Said exactly how you think it’s said.)
  2. Wasn’t there any work in Chicago?
  3. So you have any family here? You moved here on your own?!? Why?!

Those are all fun questions to answer, and I never tire from answering them…

Continue reading “The Conveyer Belt of Life”