Monday, June 27, 2016

Midwinter Christmas

If you are fortunate enough to follow me on snapchat (@lcmklansek) then you have recently been made aware of my love for all things Christmas. 

June 25th is 6 months until Christmas, and In New Zealand it is winter. My northern hemisphere genetics think Christmas is in winter. Therefore June cannot occur in winter. Being cold in June and being warm on Christmas are two concepts my scope of comprehension has not yet fully grasped. So, because of my unrestrained excitement, I celebrated a Mid-winter Christmas in June. 

Fortunately I have always had people in my life who are willing to indulge me in my enthusiastic pursuits of nonsense. Also, apparently Mid-winter Christmas is kind of a thing in NZ, so my joy was accepted in to the arms of understanding individuals. Two such individuals not only accepted my jubilation but agreed to join me in my making of merriment.

Together we gathered with a weird amount of food, a bottle of champagne, and embarrassing stories from our distant and not-so distant pasts. The entire affair is one to be remembered, not only because of the leftovers I’ll be eating for the rest of this week, but also for the love which filled up my soul. 

I can’t help but be reminded of this past Christmas spent with kind and wonderful people in Japan. At a time when I could have felt very alone they filled up my soul- and together we pursued over-the-top Christmas cheer.  (See Meltykissmas) 

So I hope you all had a Merry Mid-winter/summer Christmas (depending on your whereabouts). And I hope you appreciate the people who not only let you be overly excited, but encourage your pursuits of merriment. 

Also I played Soccer, Here is some evidence that I play soccer: 

This is me taking a penalty kick
This is me channeling my inner beaver after doing a throw-in
This is me being a defender

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

An Outpost of Progress

"And now, dull as they were to the subtle influences of surroundings, they felt themselves very much alone, when suddenly left unassisted to face the wilderness; a wilderness rendered more strange, more incomprehensible by the mysterious glimpses of the vigorous life it contained. They were two perfectly insignificant and incapable individuals, whose existence is only rendered possible through the high organisation of civilised crowds.

Few men realise that their life, the very essence of their character, their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their belief in the safety of their surroundings. The courage, the composure the confidence; the emotions and principals; every great and every insignificant thought belongs not to the individual but to the crowd: to the crowd that believes blindly in the irresistible force of its institutions an of its morals, in the power of its police and of its opinion.

But the contact with pure unmitigated savagery, with primitive nature and primitive man brings sudden and profound trouble in to the heart. To the sentiment of being alone of one's kind, to the clear perception of the loneliness of one's thoughts, of one's sensations- to the negation of the habitual, which is safe, there is added the affirmation of the unusual, which is dangerous; a suggestion of things vague, uncontrollable, and repulsive, whose discomposing intrusion excites the imagination and tries the civilised nerves of the foolish and wise alike."

-Joseph Conrad (author of Heart of Darkness)
an excerpt from An Outpost of Progress

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Please Leave

I'm begging you. Please leave. Get up and go. Take only what you need and quickly make your way out.

Before you know it you'll have a reason to stay. Before you realise what's happened you'll let someone talk you out of making a swift exit. Soon the fear will set in and every rational consideration will slowly morph in to something ugly- an excuse.

I've convinced myself to stay many times. Sometimes for my benefit, mostly at my detriment. I've stayed away from people, phone calls, emails, experiences, and ideas. I did it because it's easy to let fear determine your actions, and it's hard to recognise the differences between fear and rationality. Frequently the two are intermingled and in order to make a wise choice you have to spend time detangling the web. Sometimes the web is too tightly wound and you have to take a risk with only your conviction to propel you forward.

Your fears aren't alone, everyone else's will contribute to doubt too. Their fears, as well as your own may be founded in rational thought, but here is where you must realise the difference. Good decisions are based on an assessment of your goals, the possible outcomes, the risks and benefits, your ability to do what needs to be done, and the conviction of your soul. Notice how fears (yours or others') are not included in the list. So get out. Get away from your excuse to stay in your miserable mind set. Re-evaluate who you really want to be, how you want to live your life, and who you want to impact.

Leave your fear of change and unpredictability behind and never return to it. Don't mistake me, bring your reason, your discernment, and your wise counsel with you, but forget your fear. Your sympathetic nervous system knows when to utilise fight or flight, leave fear to the professional.

 fear might keep you from making a sandwich on the top of a mountain
or eating banana chips on the side of one. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Weather patterns

For the people I've left at home, now is the time to finally go outside and remember  the feeling of warm sunlight after your lengthy hibernation.
For those of us in the southern hemisphere it is time to feel the warmth dissipate and the days become shorter as we gradually lean further from the sun. In Nelson the air becomes crisper, the mountains become clearer, the sunsets more beautiful, and watching summer fade away doesn't seem so bad.

Salads are replaced with [international versions of] soup,* shorts are more frequently supplemented with long pants, and pilsners are traded for porters and stouts.** Less backpackers are willing to brave sleeping in tents and suddenly conversations turn from "Where are you going next?" to "When are you going home?"

Nostalgia rides in with the cold fronts and the atmosphere feels entirely different. People change in accordance with the seasons. They can be cold as their travels end or warming up to the idea of a sweet winter in a new place. There is less new influence and you start to appreciate the people who remain constant. In Nelson I'm finding friendship in unexpected places and feeling like part of a community.

Look it's a team of soccer (football) players:
After our first game, we tied 1-1 and I seem to be so happy I can't open my eyes 

It's weird how you can feel at home in a place where everyone was a stranger only 4 months ago. I wrote the bulk of this post over a month ago and just realised it had been sitting un-posted in the queue. The words ring even truer now than they did when I wrote them from inside a hostel.

*I make excellent coconut curry. Just FYI.
**Or dark Wheat beers, like Wheat and Greet by Founders Brewery. Banana, Chocolate, and the feeling of warmth hitting your soul, it's the perfect beer for sitting around a bonfire. Sold?