Rather than write lots of responses to tweets and posts asking what I’m doing in the States for much of October and November, I thought I’d just do a blog about it. I’m very excited to catch up with family and friends I’ve known before, and my trip is about that, this time. I hope to come again, in the next year or so, and make it about meeting all my Outlander friends – what a trip that will be too! THEN, I will be completely open to meandering around that vast continent and seeing/staying with whoever is available. Watch this space.
Meanwhile, THIS trip is about these things:
I have NEVER been in the same place and the same time with my girl cousins/sister since this photo was taken in 1963/4:
My father (far right) lived in New Zealand, and we four blonde children are on the right, me being the eldest girl. Dad’s youngest brother is second from left at back, and his oldest child is in the front row beside me. She and her family are now in Australia. Dad’s middle brother has lived in America for most of his life, and his family are far left. His daughter is on her mother’s knee. We are all meeting in Philadelphia, and going to ‘hang out’ for a couple of weeks. A particular thrill will be to meet and stay with my Uncle and Aunt, who are still hale and well, for a couple of days.
We are very much looking forward to getting to know one another, and meeting up in various family gatherings, and seeing some of the places my cousins live. New York, Baltimore, Pennsylvania are all on the agenda.
Then my sis and cousin fly home, and I go south to meet up with very good friend in Jacksonville, Florida. I lived here in the South for four years from 1996 – 2000, working for a small Christian publishing house. My focus was living in Christian community and discovering life in an ‘organic’ rather than organised, neighbourhood of Christians who met in their own homes. We saw a lot of each other. I absolutely loved it, and paintings I have done since, reflect that experience. (Without going further into a discussion about what took me there, I will say that I still meet in a similar way back here in Auckland.)
I’m looking forward to meeting with the older man in the painting on the left, with his glasses on his forehead. Some of the people in these pics are still around. I intend to catch up with them, to see the publishing house, to help out if needed, and basically hang out with my good friend with whom I’ll be staying. She’s like a sister to me. So the second part of my trip is tied up in those relationships. I intend – as well – to see some of the dear Outlander fans who were so gracious to me when I was over a couple of years ago. They live near where I am staying, so it will be like walking next door.
THAT’s what my trip is about, this time. Not so much the scenery but the deeper connections I’ve already got. I hope to blog some of it here, and I hope it’s interesting enough for others to read.
I can see another trip some time soon in the future, which is about seeing more of America from my kiwi eyes, and then I will blog that journey and write a book about it. THEN it will be a case of the more the merrier, when it comes to Outlander friends with whom I can meet up. I hope – if you’re one of my regular corresponders on FB or TW – that will be YOU.