Because it’s the end of summer. Abruptly cut short by a snow storm. Fortunately the storm has passed and the sun is shining, for this afternoon at least. Perhaps winter really will be on hold for a while longer. But my garden is frost-bitten and the air is too sharp for an outdoor stroll without winter gear. Which pretty well signals the end of summer (oh plus the foot of snow covering my garden, lawn and deck).
And what a summer it was. Our first extended period away from New Zealand. Our first transcultural journey as a couple. We feel… strange. Settled, yet not fully at ease. Homesick, yet still overwhelmed by wonderlust. Anticipating a full on winter, yet terrified as to how our New Zealand bodies will cope. Mm, I have never been in temperatures much below zero. Never seen snow outside my house. Mm, I am aware it drops to 50˚C below zero. And that we may not see real sunlight for weeks at a time come December.
And when we think of all of this, we feel overwhelmed. We phone home. We have a cry. We put off buying things here to make it easier to dash back to New Zealand if things get too tough.
And then we get over it and remember. We came here fully by choice. We turned down career opportunities in New Zealand and left behind plenty of wonderful friends and family for a reason we’re still not totally sure of.. But we are sure that we are here absolutely on our own terms. And acknowledging that is empowering. Thus we know that the healthiest approach is to make a decision. To immerse ourselves in life here. To befriend positive, uplifting people who will journey with us and teach us the ways of the North. To accept that running home is not an option. At least for now. And to take joy in tiny things.
Since deciding this, I have indeed found daily joys. The smell of coffee as Jesse grinds beans for the Italian Press each morning. The pleasure of cycling through the snow from the gym; the crisp air a nice relief on a sweaty face. Planning the weekend’s breakfast date. Pausing at the photos in the hallway to reflect on our vacations, our wedding, our dinner parties with friends. Stretching out a lazy evening with a good book, void of the obligation to study. Taking lunch in the toasty warm coffee room at work. Sitting down to a cup of tea with Jesse after days apart in different communities, bursting with stories.
The sound of pumpkin seeds popping on the hot pan. The blessing of fresh corn cobs from a good friend. The mix of sweet and salty, crispy and soft, as I sit down with a good book, to enjoy the corn salad that signifies the end of a memorable summer.
dash of butter
2 ears of corn, shucked
fine grain sea salt
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup each coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
big squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
spring onion, chopped
In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut and seeds until well toasted. Transfer to a bowl. Melt the butter in the same skillet. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute. Add corn, sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt and stir well, you want all the corn to be coated. Cook for just a minute, until the corn loses its raw edge. Stir in the thyme, coconut and seeds. Drizzle with citrus juice and sprinkle over spring onion.
Enjoy the final taste of summer.