In 2012 I retired again and we are traveling in Europe. In 2009 Ron and I retired and we volunteered at Quaker Meeting House in Wellington, New Zealand for a year.

Monday, March 29, 2010

March - leaving Wellington

I want to do a quick post about March before we head off to our final 3 weeks in New Zealand down on the South Island.

I remember that we started off our sojourn in Wellington being amazed at the variety of musical offerings, and our last month has been similar to the first.

We have been to an Organ Recital in the Town Hall, a noon concert of Klezmer music, both traditional and modern, and two different chamber music concerts. The most striking concert was a group from Argentina, mostly university students, playing a variety of indigenous South American instruments, most of which they had made themselves. There were pan pipes, 2 meter long horns, a conch shell horn, stringed instruments made from hunting bows, various percussion instruments, and a huge variety of whistles. The pottery figures on the table in the photo are actually all whistles. It was very magical.

The City Gallery had a sound sculpture exhibit by Janet Cardiff called the 40-part Motet, based on Thomas Tallis's Spem in allium nunquam habui from 1573. She recorded forty voices from the Salisbury Cathedral Choir singing the work. The display room has forty speakers in eight groups of five in a large circle facing inward. You can stand in the center and hear all the voices or walk around to individual speakers and hear one voice. The music runs on a continuous loop lasting about 14 minutes. It was very engaging.

There were still various lectures to go to about Pompeii, about fossils and bird evolution on New Zealand, and about climate change. Ron went to a weekend workshop in at the Quaker Settlement in Whanganui on Death and Dying. We saw an interesting NZ documentary about a sort of back-to-the-land family and their five children, called This Way of Life. Interesting people, lovely scenery, and great horses.

We had a four day visit from a colleague of Ron's at Montgomery College, his wife and 18 year old daughter. It was fun to show yet another group around town, and we really enjoyed getting to know them better. This is not a picture of them but just showing the continued weekend fun downtown in the City, even though school year has started.

We had 63 guest nights and three conferences during the month. We also seemed to get a lot of American guests who were from Maryland and North Carolina who knew people we know.

Finally we have been feted (including a birthday dinner for Ron) and farewelled many times. Farewelling is, by the way, a common and apparently proper Kiwi verb. I read it in the newspaper frequently. So a number of different people, both individually and as a Meeting, have made us feel very appreciated and loved. We will miss many people. It has been a very good year.