One chapter ends, another starts

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.


  1. Hi Rhonda, Welcome to the first day of your new chapter in lefe,I know they will miss you muchly but new things will occur to make your days there just a wonderful fulfilling memory,i know what a big job you had and your book will now fill you up for some time and of course the expectation and arrival of he gorgeous baby.Those cook books look very yummy..Just to add i am a hand washer upper,never had a dishwasher and never thought of getting one..guess there are a lot of us out there.. do enjoy loading and unloading my sons when I visit it seems to be the chore everyone hated for some reason lol.Anway enjoy your new adventure.Carole

  2. Best wishes for the new chapter in your life Rhonda. As hard as it is sometimes to move from the familiar - it's exciting too. All those possibilities and new adventures. Can't wait to see your new book.

  3. Hi Rhonda, that is such a true saying one door closes another opens. or as you said one chapter ends another one starts. There will be so many other things to do with your time. Do you have a recipe for the dish washing soap you had a photo of it on your blog. I don't use or make soap as I wouldn't use caustic soda on my body ! have a great day. Sherrie

  4. Hi Rhonda

    I'm sure they will miss you at the centre.

    Your upcoming book sounds fantastic - not to mention the birth next year of your grandchild - both of which are going to take a vast amount of your time. Sometimes, it is not easy to move on, but it is however, necessary, in order to experience all the things which life has in store. I applaud your energy, enthusiasm and diversity of interests. You are an inspiration to us all.

    So glad that Sharon is feeling better too :-)


  5. I have taken leave of old things many times in my life Rhonda, and the thing i have learnt most of all is to not let anything fill that space for a little while. I do not know how many times I have stopped something with a sense of relief and moving on (much as I missed whatever I was doing ) and suddenly filled it with something else before I had time to must be human nature to keep your mind active.

    Enjoy the quiet time that goes with a change , and breathe and appreciate the moment for a while first . These moments are rare and precious and should be appreciated for what they are....peace.

  6. Like to see that Sunny is as far as I am in our pregnancy. Hope it will go alright with the three of them!

    And how lovely she brought you those cooking books. I think there are many non-fat or low-fat recipes to try. Good luck with that!

    Love from Holland

  7. You must just be so thrilled at the future. Now you'll have lots of time to get those baby items ready :)

  8. Hi Rhonda!
    This post has made me so emotional, lol! Your work at the community centre has been such a part of your blog that I feel I will miss it very much, too.
    It is an exciting time, though, you're right...I wish you luck with your new endavours and this new chapter in life :)
    ~Melanie in Canada

  9. I think you'll enjoy the "space" in your new chapter. I agree with Kimmy, by the way. I think there's real wisdom there.

    What beautiful hours you must have enjoyed with your son and his companion! Korean cooking will be one of the paragraphs in your "new chapter", I see!

  10. I'm sure that you will take many significant memories with you from your times at the neighborhood centre. I find that it can be difficult to walk away from an important part of my life, even when I know it is time.

    Working around your home and gardens will easily keep you occupied, not to mention finishing your book and then promoting it. And then a grand baby too!

    I pray you are richly blessed in this new place in your life.

  11. Transitions are often full of mixed emotions, aren't they? You seem to have a positive attitude about yours! Congrats on a job well-done and well-loved.

  12. Good morning Rhonda, I've been wondering when you "officially" finished and returned to "ordinary" volunteering. I hope this helps you with the balance you are looking for.

    Great looking cook books from Sunni! My best wishes to her.

  13. This is my first time commenting. I love your blog. My husband and I are newly married, new to simple living, traditional foods, etc... Your blog is so inspiring and helpful. It's really nice to hear from someone who's been there, done that.

    I'm excited to see your Korean cookbooks! We've been living in South Korea (we're from the US) for over a year now. I had no idea what the food would be like when we got here, but it's really grown on me. So much of their food is fermented, cooked in broth, and traditionally prepared, that it's been a real joy to begin learning about traditional foods here. I love kimchi. Maybe I need to find some Korean cookbooks in English, too...

    Anyway, your blog is really great and I hope to try out soapmaking as soon as we head back home in a few months. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into all that you do here. It's so helpful.

    - Catie


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