One chapter ends, another starts

17 November 2010
Yesterday ended a very important chapter in my life. It was my last day as co-ordinator of our neighbourhood centre. True to form, it was a busy day with a frugal home workshop in the morning, a combined BBQ lunch with us at the neighbouhood centre and the staff and students of our Flexischool to mark their end of year, talking to a homeless man new to us and telling him we will help him hang on even though he wants to give up, and a final flurry of paper work and emails. I will go in for a short time to help the new co-ordinator familiarise herself and then I'll concentrate more on the book.

Four and a half years ago I wandered in there and asked if I could help in some way. I did not know then that being there, spending my time with people I otherwise would never have met, giving of myself with an open heart, when it made me feel enriched and optimistic and when it made me sad and defeated, through all those high points, and the lows, and the many days of sheer hard work, that just being there would make me a different person. Whatever I gave to that place, I got back much more. I will miss it.

When I came home and removed my centre coordinator badge for the last time there was no time to be sad or reflective because Kerry and Sunny arrived. It was the first time we'd seen Sunny since she had her holiday back home in Korea visiting her family. She is now 22 weeks pregnant, she is looking absolutely splendid and it was wonderful to see them both very happy and excited about becoming parents for the first time. Sunny gave me some Korean cook books that she bought while she was home, happily they're all in English. I'm absolutely thrilled to have them and I'm looking forward to learning more about her culture. My first dish, naturally, will be kimchee which is spicy fermented cabbage eaten daily by most Koreans. Thanks Sunny, I love the books! Next time you come here, we'll have kimchee together.

I'll be revisiting the topic of washing dishes by hand tomorrow. I was surprised at how many of you are washing by hand so I thought you might be interested if we delved more deeply into the soap versus detergent debate.

And finally, I'd like to welcome my good friend Sharon back to the blog and to the Down to Earth forum. She had us worried there on a few occasions but she is one tough cookie and she managed to pull through no matter what was thrown her way. Welcome back, Sharon, and my thanks to your lovely husband Claude who stood in your stead and helped me behind the scenes while you were so ill.