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I’m leaving wordpress and starting a new blog at blogger. thank you for your faithful readship however. here is my new blog:


I Am: Community is an oxymoron seen on a housing development in Australia. But it certainly is a good way to describe some of my efforts in ‘doing community’ as a part-timer.

Being part-time in a society which is mostly working full-time means it can actually be quite a lonely experience. Especially when many of the projects I’ve come up with are my own, and not so much someone elses.

Therefore I’ve found the last few months a tad isolating, even though I’m trying to engage with community more.

The joining a rugby team thing was one such example, of trying to connect, and in fact isolating myself more. This was because I was out two nights a week, plus doing extra trainings by myself and then out a big chunk on Saturdays and I found I was missing out on being around for events at the church, I was only getting to eat with Jo on a Monday night, because of Maori classes on Wednesday nights, and our community takeaways dinner on Fridays. And because I was playing for a club which isn’t in Mangere, I wasn’t really connecting with locals anyway. So I’ve scratched that endeavour, despite it being really enjoyable.

Another thing, has been this community garden. It’s been really cool to see the transformation from lawn to luscious vege patch, but because my neighbor is often out working, I’ve done a lot of it alone. Again, my efforts to connect get overtaken by my fixation on a task, which means I push on alone. While the task has been completed, the intended goal of the task has kind of been forgotten.

I’m finding I need to reach out to others who are also trying to do part-time stuff and if I’m less task orientated and more keen to connect with others, even if it means my tasks don’t get done as quickly, I’ll enjoy the process a lot more, rather than blithely digging holes to build a garden that no one really knows about.

I guess this is just a learning hump which comes with this lifestyle choice.

The Constant Gardener is certainly how I feel at the moment. Whoever thought starting a garden would be so hard. It’s pretty much been my full-time occupation over the last two weeks.

We started with a jungle of weeds, and a patch of thick Kikuyu grassed land.

I started with the front of our little flat. After a day’s battle with long grass, a few ugly flowering weeds and a wheelbarrow with a flat tyre, we now have a little patio of sorts and an extra bonus of a rose bush.

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The patch of grass on our back lawn has now been turned into a garden with the help of my Samoan neighbor and a lot of the kids around the street who are on school holidays. We’ve planted a chilli bush, a raspberry tree, a rosemary plant, coriander, echinacea, basel, silver-beat, broccoli, rocket, spring onions, radishes and broad beans.

It wasn’t easy-going. The rotary hoe we hired seemed to have a mind of it’s own and I feared for my friend’s feet and anyone nearby as it careered in any direction it chose. I also missed the return time but thankfully the hireage company didn’t charge us for the late return.

It’s only early days, and the jungle of weeds defecating it’s vile roots along our back fence is still there.

But it’s pretty cool seeing the fledgling plants all lined up in their little rows. So far the CDs on polls are keeping away birds (and potentially evil spirits) and it goes to show there’s some use for those bargain bin buys from the 90s.

Who knows if it’ll be a success, but hopefully a few more people around the area get in on it and the harvest reaps more than just good food, but some friendships. For now, I’ll be trying to weed out the remnant Kikuyu roots and working out a way to organically keep snail away.

Any suggesting would be much appreciated.

I’m sure there’s a song about it ain’t being easy trying to do something new … so here’s a few of my recent failures.

1. I knew Jo wanted a hair straightener so whilst watching tv in the morning ( since I don’t have a job to rush off to every morning) I saw the InStyler on sale for only $14.95!

So I rang up and ordered one. However when the wonderful new product arrived in the mail, I realised it was in fact $250, which I would need to pay off in five installments of $50 over five months. My intial payment was simply to cover the postage. Thankfully this item can be returned. But the first lesson of the simple life is : do not let your spare time be monopolised by telecomercials.

2. Some friends of mine told me about all the amazing things they have found on the curbs around the streets of London. And so feeling industrious I decided to drive around the streets of Epsom and Mt Eden and see if I too could find a breadmaker, sewing machine or funky coffee table, rather than buying one. One fruitless hour later, which included a quick rummage through a big skip resulted in my finding only one daggy couch, which I left on the grass verge. Maybe Londoners are more generous with their ‘junk’.

3. Living simply also means eating simply. But on this one particular day I thought I would just sneak into McDonalds to grab a small fries. Nek minute… I came out with a Bacon Cheeseburger Combo and a terrible guilty feeling for destroying my body, and also contributing to this awful multi-nationals’ profits. Woe is me, my primal urges are too great sometimes!

4. Trying to sell a car. Well we put our sleek, cheap to run Pulsar on trade me hoping for a quick deal. But after an hour of calls from car dealers wanting to buy it, I realised that our sedan was probably too good to give up, and we withdrew the sale and put our other 7 seater on trade me instead.However we’ve had no bites as yet so I’m not sure what the lesson is here but perhaps being a bit more decisive would help.

Those are just a few of my stumbling attempts and failures at trying to do things a bit more ‘simply’. I’m sure there’s plenty more to come.