Reading again and a serendipitous gift (the best kind)

Copies of Joey and the Jet boat are travelling with me just in case I find the right person for them.  I was thinking a young child rather than the Swiss primary school teacher who shared her collection of German children’s books with me and I was able to add Joey and the Jet boat to her collection of English children’s books.  That is the kind of gift-giving I like: a children’s book lover who was familiar with the Queenstown setting of the book.

a page from Zwei Mäuse auf dem Mond.  The two mice are climbing a ladder up to the moon
the two mice are on their way to the Moon from Zwei Mäuse auf dem Mond by Lucia Scuderi

Now I am back to reading children’s books.  Simple language and illustrations tell stories about pirates, happy bears and adventurous mice going to the moon.  The reading is slow but provides a safe space for me to sound out the words.  I enjoy decoding the words into the story, taking in the little lessons behind each tale and learning to read German.

I must be a read-write learner because listening and speaking German is so difficult.  People speak too fast and I only end up with the last two words of their sentence to decipher.  The sounds are difficult to speak and I am constantly sounding out my vowels – a, e, i, o, u, just like when I was learning Māori at school.  German is consistent with Maori vowel sounds but German has extra vowel sounds to clarify the pronunciation ä, ö and ü.

It is a very phonetic language and if I hold my mouth the right way I can sound out my words, but the grammar offers different challenges.  I did not know there were so many variations of a verb and the German language enjoys joiningwordstogether to make one big word.

Mark Twain describes it beautifully in his 1880 essay titled “The Awful German Language”

Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless, and so slippery and elusive to the grasp. One is washed about in it, hither and thither, in the most helpless way; and when at last he thinks he has captured a rule which offers firm ground … He runs his eye down and finds that there are more exceptions to the rule than instances of it

on my book shelf is “Dear World, how are you?”

This is an amazing story of a small boy’s quest “to write to somebody in every country in the world, to learn about the world, help people understand each other and make the world a better place”

I first saw “Dear World, How are you? in the Nelson library (libraries are good places to visit when you’re new to an area.  They are abundant on local information).  Displayed with the new books, the byline read “The true story of a little boy on a big quest” – how could I resist? Continue reading “on my book shelf is “Dear World, how are you?””

top of the stairs are Fine Arts in Oamaru

the historic precinct in Oamaru is home to some fine old buildings which are now a home to Home Gallery Fine Art

The building was made of Oamaru stone.  It was impressive on the corner of Harbour and Wansbeck St.
this picture shows the stairs and the barrel at the top of the Home Gallery Fine Arts.The stairs were well trodden in the 134-year-old building.  The 25 steps indicated the generous height of each level.  A smooth handrail confirmed that many people had ventured up these stairs.

The room at the top of the stairs was empty and capacious except for the desk.  In the middle of the space was the grain elevator from the years when Wool and Grain were stored in this warehouse.  The wooden structure of the building was obvious and expansive.  The tall arched windows looked out to the bay. Continue reading “top of the stairs are Fine Arts in Oamaru”

I leave the South Island … for now

Farewell Te Wai Pounamu, it is with sadness that I leave

Yesterday morning I left.  I had followed the Picton detour signs, a reminder of an earthquakes capability, and was on the 0215 ferry to Wellington and then homeward(?) bound to Auckland.  I have spent most of 2016 with you and have grown to love who you are. Continue reading “I leave the South Island … for now”

the Awe of Lake Alta (part 2)

Lake Alta (The Remarkables, Queenstown) inspired awe within – here are the visuals

You can read part 1 of Awe and Lake Alta here.  Pictures were taken by either Craig or me.

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Looking west, on the way up The Remarkables. Left to right is Lake Wakatipu, Frankton, Queenstown Airport and the Shotover River meets the Kawarau River

Continue reading “the Awe of Lake Alta (part 2)”

the Awe of Lake Alta (part 1)

Queenstown is a fantastic place with some amazing scenery which can leave you in a state of awe

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It came to me as I was walking up the ski road – the “wow” moment, the “yes! this is why I packed up my stuff and left Auckland”.  I am doing the right thing, peace and contentment surround me. Continue reading “the Awe of Lake Alta (part 1)”