Our good friend Amba is studying at nearby Canterbury University; her field of study is anthropology with a focus on entheogenology. She’s always up to something interesting in her classes and earlier this month, for one of her courses, she was assigned a photo essay project. Her task was to find new migrants as her subjects (me & Bruce) and her question two-fold:
How would people of a new land pictorially communicate themselves to their homeland? How would they represent themselves and, based on what you know about them, how would you represent them?
Interesting question. How do Bruce & I see ourselves as new migrants in New Zealand? If we were sending a postcard back to our people in the States, what images of ourselves would we choose to send them? And how does Amba view us now that she’s known us for almost a year? What do we represent to her?
We had fun with this project. Bruce & I independently took some shots of ourselves and then we took some photos of us together at the new Wainui property.
A note on Bruce’s photo – the item hanging in the upper right-hand side is a Merkaba, a symbol in sacred geometry which supposedly allows one’s spirit/body to connect with higher vibrations/light. Bruce has been reading/investigating/playing with these structures and hopes to make a large one for Kiwiburn. The item in his hand is the keyring containing the keys to our Wainui house. The symbol on the keyring is almost identical to the symbol on his pounamu necklace! The ball of light is, well, energy, aura, magic….. whatever you want to call it!
When it was time for Amba to photograph us, she has us cruise around Cathedral Square – the center of town and a community gathering place. Bruce & I ended up joining in on a juggling catch game with a guy we had recently met at a festival – to Amba, this captured our integration with local community life – we were participants, involved, we were not just spectators. Then we went up to the Port Hills and she photographed us looking out yonder over the hills towards our Wainui property – this captured our connection with the land and to New Zealand.
I hope you enjoy the photos. And as for what I’d write on the back on my postcard, here’s what I’d say:
“Peacefulness, playfulness, wholesomeness, serenity. I have reached what I have set out for.
My garden represents all these things for me. Having natural space. Growing things. Watching the cycles of life through the growing of food. Dormancy, birth, growth, death. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. Seed, germination, fruiting, harvest.
I feel at home here in New Zealand. Some days I awake and am amazed that I now live almost half way around the world from family and friends from the old country, so to speak. For this is the new world, at least my new world, and I have found and formed family and friends here. Many are migrants just like myself. Many are generational New Zealanders.
Being here, right now, in this time/space continuum allows me to create a new reality for myself. Besides my garden, I am focusing on my spirituality. I’ve returned to yoga after a bit of a break. New Zealand beckons one to be outdoors and we now have the opportunity to spend more time walking, gardening, tramping, BBQ’ing, and enjoying the natural beauty that New Zealand offers.
The photos I’ve selected were taken in my garden: tulips in full bloom, veggies in growth, hula hoops to remind me that it’s important to play, buddha to help me center, pounamu necklace to anchor me to New Zealand.
I am happy. I am at peace. I am able to be one with the moment.”