Tuesday, August 30, 2016

a story of life

Well after 5 years and almost 4 months the last of my stuff made it's way from Pukepoto to Kaitaia. I now have my captain's chair in my room, and additionally I now have a new (to me) cabinet that has a drop down cupboard door that acts as a desk. So now when I'm working from home I'm no longer either sitting on my bed or the sofa with my laptop on one of those bed trays that one of Phyllis' sons made for a school project around 50 years ago! Not that I have any plans to relinquish the tray, it's still going to be very handy, but ergonomically it isn't a cunning plan for lengthy use.

It was a bit strange really to bring away that last bit of my stuff, I lived there for four years and a month - so less time than I've been here, yet somehow it feels like it was way longer. Probably as so many big changes went on in my life there. I went from being on a visitor visa, to a student one, to a working towards full registration one, to permanent residency. I bumped into someone I used to see quite often in the years I was living at Pukepoto in the Post Office yesterday, he was posting off new passports for visa stickers to be added and we commiserated over the hold and amount of funds the Immigration has (had for me now!) over our lives. Marking the passage of time by what visa I have held seems perfectly normal. Not that the last five years have been 'samey', I got my citizenship and Kiwi passport whilst living here after all!

I put this photo of the chair and 'desk' on Facebook earlier, quickly downloaded off the camera, with no edits. When I came to put it on here I was about to crop it down, then really took note as to what was around the edges; my 'Triennial mug' on the shelf behind the glass door which has been used for pens etc for probably as many years now as it was used as a mug; my rather faded Guatemalan patchwork bedspread bought in Flores the one time I got to go to visit one of our overseas projects when I worked for an international development charity; my old purple dressing gown which apart from being wonderfully warm and snuggley is a reminder of the importance of being able to wear what you choose (long story...); and the first patchwork quilt I ever made... my first ever patchwork project is the photo too - the cushion cover on the chair was made from a Liberty patchwork kit I got when I was about 11 or 12, it got completed about 10yrs later! So a snapshot not only of the present, but of many chunks of my past, and the journey that led to me being here with them, and once I'd thought about them that way I couldn't bring myself to crop them out.

All too often details round the edges get cut off to improve the aesthetics of a picture, but they can provide a supporting narrative which is easily lost. What to cut out and what to keep.... the decluttering dilemma in a nutshell! As a (very part time) genealogist the idea of keeping things for posterity that tells the story of a people has a huge pull, and very much shaped my hoarding years. But I've learned to let go of 'stuff'; photos of everyday life can tell a lot of a story, without having to keep boxes and boxes of stuff to prove it happened, although I'll certainly be hanging on to my multi-stickered passport for a few years yet! So I'm going to try to remember that when editing photos, sometimes historical value is more important than art! Now if only I could manage to combine the two more effectively...

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