Well it's been a year since our last post and I feel like I am in the confessional! I took some time on the long, wet, week-end to take stock of the last year, perplexed at where the time has gone, so decided to track back. We've been a little busy having clocked up over 33000 kilometres with trips away from home since June last year. Time to take a walk down memory lane......
We had the privilege of presenting at the Handicapable Conference held in Mont-Dore, New Caledonia. An amazing delegation from Tahiti also presented at the week long celebration of disability along with many gifted and talented New Caledonians. Whenever we had time in between our commitments, guitars, music and dancing "just happened". The week was filled with arts, craft, performance, learning and sharing, with the last day bringing the children of a local primary school to the conference for a day of sports activities and a celebration of gifts and talents from an incredibly diverse group of performing artists. We travelled with two friends - Allycia's "Best Buddy" Effie (tour guide extraordinaire) and teacher and performer, Florence. Her energy and passion for the performing arts and facilitating opportunities for people living with disability is infectious. We were grateful for her French speaking background, given our rather limited capacity for the language. Our lack in this area didn't stop Allycia - her love of life and delight in meeting new people ensured we were able to overcome language ridden boundaries and celebrate the cross cultural triumphs and challenges that living with a disability brings. One of the things I have loved most about our life since Allycia arrived, is the lack of façade we encounter when we come together with others in not only our local community, but our global community. Living with intellectual disability from our perspective means that what you see is what you get - one word for this - refreshing.
Following the busy Semaine Handicapable, we took time out at the Isle of Pines and did some true holiday making stuff! We were able to experience new sights, foods and of course meet new people. The most spectacular was the Atoll de Nokanhui - difficult to capture the beauty of this amazing "strip" in the middle of the ocean but we grabbed a couple of shots as mementos.
My big milestone of the year was the official celebration of the thesis being done and dusted. I had some of the most loved people in my life share the ceremony with me. The sharing of this moment once again reminded me of how much richer life is when shared with those we love, admire and trust. It was also a time to reflect with much gratitude the many, many hands that contributed to the work in the PhD. We were incredibly fortunate to have as our guest speaker conductor, Simone Young - a truly remarkable and accomplished woman whose philosophy, built upon the Gustav Mahler quote carried on her website - "Tradition is the handing on of the flame, not the worship of the ashes" was inspiring. My friend, my confidante, my sister, Julie took some great pics that will be treasured for a very long time.
Veronica and Allycia share some thoughts, ideas and happenings - we'd love to hear some of yours......