The Campground Family Loves…

The school holidays are over! This marks the end of the busiest 6 weeks of our year (although there’s still plenty of busy to come). We were very lucky to have a Campground Aunt and Campground Uncle hanging out with us for a good chunk of the holidays, as well as a Campground Babysitter and a gymnastics holiday program to fill some childcare gaps and make it all a bit more bearable for the Campground Kid. But, still, with an average of 250 people in The Campground every night for the last month, it has been tiring. And busy. And just really tiring.  

And busy tiring work means lazy blogging.

So today, a list of things we’re currently loving in our house:

  • Our new e-bike (more on that later…) and driving our car less often
  • Watching TV (Shimmer and Shine for the Campground Kid, The Good Place and Sex Education for Campground Mama and Papa)
  • Subway sandwiches 
  • Making alterations to the Campground Kid’s playhouse and our backyard to make it more fun and functional
  • Summer fruit (nectarines! cherries! plums!)
  • Reading (so much reading!)
  • Raspberry-Lime Frujus
  • Snack plate/platter dinners
  • Movie nights (soon to get even better now that Studio Ghibli is on Netflix)
  • Second-hand shopping (recent finds include cotton Moana PJs for the Campground Kid, bikes for both me and the Campground Kid, and some amazingly good value tramping boots for Campground Papa)
  • The drawings of Marc Johns

    An on-theme selection

Did I mention that I’m tired? Oh, I did? Well, still true. And now, I’d better go and put some stickers on the Campground Kid’s school books, pack some togs for her, and maybe eat a whole lot of chocolate.


Somehow, the school holidays are over, and The Campground Kid goes back her second year of school on Monday. Which, of course, means that I spent half my Saturday night covering books. We managed to avoid it for her first half-year, so this is the first time I’ve brought out the duraseal in probably 20 years. That fact is a little unbelievable to me (how did I get so old? how is my kid five-and-a-half? what even is time?), and is also why I’d entirely forgotten how annoying and hard covering exercise books is.

I used to pride myself on my book covering skills. I was creative (printing pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio and Alanis Morissette to collage my books or covering them like brown paper packages), and had a knack for getting them neat. Twenty years later, I could remember the basics, and one of my recent tasks involved applying A4 sized stickers (which involves similar bubbling and creasing issues), so I thought that me and my library-card-smoother had this in the bag. If we came rolling into school on Monday in total chaos, at least we were going to do it with well-covered books.

Well… let’s just say, I overestimated my talents. The fronts are better than the backs, but all of The Campground Kid’s books have creases. At least one of them is off centre to the point that it’s only just covered. I didn’t buy enough of the mermaid creatures + ice creams, so two of the six are covered with old Richard Scarry book pages (I like those ones better, but I suspect the five-and-a-half year old may not feel the same way). They’ll do the job, and at the end of the process, I’m just glad that the worst one (which I was considering buying a replacement for it’s such a mess) is a random book that somehow ended up in the school pile not the home pile, and doesn’t need to be seen by anyone else.

The book covering itself is not really noteworthy (but when you spend over an hour of your Saturday night doing a dumb job, sometimes you just want to share it). But I like to read too much into everything, and my hour of sticking and durasealing and trying to smooth/undo the worst parts was a reminder for me that when you don’t do something regularly, whatever skills you had can easily be lost. I’m not going to cover books more than I absolutely have to in order to retain skills, OF COURSE, but the idea applies more broadly: a “talent” for something quickly becomes meaningless if you don’t do it and work at it.

Growing up, I had a “natural talent” for quite a few things. And it was fairly easy to avoid most of the rest. But over the years I’ve realised that this avoidance strategy wasn’t the best plan. Because some things just need to be done. And some things you just want to do. And even if you don’t do the best job, it’s okay. Like, it’s REALLY okay. No one is going to care if the books aren’t crease free. No one is going to care if your house is a mess at the end of your busiest six weeks of the year. No one is going to care if you fill a whole sketch book with mediocre sketches. No one is going to care if your dough doesn’t rise sometimes. No one is going to care if you don’t blog for ages (AGES!) and then your first blog back is a bit of a jumble (right?!)

Forget about talent. Do the things you have to do. Do the things you want to do. Do things badly. Do things slowly. Come back to things you haven’t tried in ages. Put your energy into doing things instead of worrying about school and kid friendships and how you haven’t given your kid a proper holiday because you have to work too much. Practice and get better at things if you want to. Keep on doing them badly if you want to. Give them a go occasionally or do them often.

Just don’t stress about doing things badly to the point that you don’t do them at all.

Good enough is good enough.

It’s going to be okay.

Your kid’s going to be okay.

(And it’s going to be bloody great to get back into a routine!)

A new campground

I haven’t been writing much (well, at all) lately. My blog is abandoned, my NaNoWriMo novel from 2017 remains just over 50,000 words worth of unedited scenes, my journals are empty.

I hope the pendulum will swing back to writing at some stage, but honestly, the past few months have just been busy. We’ve been busy job-applying, organising, packing, moving, and now learning a new job. We’re still The Campground Family, but quite a different sort of a campground. It’s in a bigger town, a town we adore and have always wanted to return to. It’s right on an amazing walkway, and right on the beach. In the summer, it’s going to be wildly busy. We feel so lucky to be here.

And in the two-and-a-half weeks since we moved, I’ve found a new(ish) creative outlet.

You see, the view from our (salt-covered) lounge windows is this:


And it takes us just a couple of minutes to get to this:


And it’s on the west coast, so the sunsets are amazing:


And they’re different every night:


And The Campground Kid just loves running on the beach:


And we love watching her and taking photos and enjoying being in this amazing place.

(And also organising a new house and learning a new job is intense, and taking photos is pretty easy to fit within the little snippets of free time that we find).

I miss writing. I miss having more time for me. I miss quite a few things, really. But I have a feeling that this wonderful place will play a part in pulling together the many various threads of my life so far into something like no other.

And even though it’s tiring and difficult at times, that feeling makes it all seem worthwhile.

(PS: if you like the pictures, feel free to follow along at

On stories and writing

In mid-October, I was preparing for a trip to Austin, Texas. I was anxious. I was anxious about leaving The Campground Kid for the first time, anxious about the logistics of a week-long international trip, anxious about meeting a group of people who I had been chatting to online for the last two years but had never actually met.

And as I prepared and packed and worried, I had a sudden flash. The flash said “this is a valuable story, and I want to tell it!” And that little flash quickly turned into “I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I am going to write the story of this amazing group.”

This lightning bolt of an idea surprised me, because I have never really seen myself as much of a writer. Sure, I’ve had blogs on and off for all my adult years. I’ve kept journals. Whenever I’ve needed to process something, I’ve written it. But in my mind, these things didn’t make me a writer. My older sister was the “writing one”, which meant I couldn’t be. At least that’s how I subconsciously saw it.

Then, a little over four years ago, when I found myself in Brunei with no job, desperate for a baby, depressed, that smart older sister suggest I write my story. Not for publishing, not for any purpose, just for me. So I did.

Well, I started.

I plotted a story out with post its on the wall. I wrote scenes. I set up my office. I very briefly joined a writing group (which never really got off the ground). I wrote every few days, until I ended up with 30,000 words.

And then, my computer was stolen. I hadn’t backed my writing up anywhere online. I cried.

And then, I got pregnant.

And then, although I salvaged about 10,000 words from various places, the infertility story no longer felt alive in my mind. My writing fire fizzled down to a little ember which occasionally whispered “you should write”, but never grew to a flame.

When this story idea appeared, I tried to talk myself out of writing again. “I have a job now, there’s not enough time!” “It’s not like you’ll finish, what’s the point?” “But people will feel weird about it!” “You can’t finish. So there’s no point starting.”

But the story kept on pushing through the doubts, so I opened a template and started to plan.

And then I told the group, and they mostly thought it was more great than weird.

And the characters developed and grew and came alive.

And my mind just kept coming back to the story.

I went on the trip that I had been preparing for, the trip that had sparked the idea, and it was more wonderful than I could ever have imagined.  I was overwhelmed and amazed at the love that brought 70 mamas from all over the world to celebrate and love one of our own. I was tired and excited and jetlagged and thoughtful.

So when I arrived home on 1 November, physically and emotionally exhausted, I started to write.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but to be honest I wasn’t too hopeful. I have a busy job and a busy 3 year old and 50,000 is a lot of words.

I tried to write every day. Campground Papa made it easy to carve out the time by being exceptionally helpful and onto it. The story and the characters made it (mostly) not too hard to find the words. The broken quote mark key on my computer made it pretty annoying at times, but it seemed to go okay. I wasn’t tracking along to make the target, but I figured that any words were better than no words, and even though I wouldn’t make it, I’d have a good start.

On 27 November, I had 37,000 words written.

On 28 November, Campground Papa took The Campground Kid to her swimming lesson, cooked dinner, and let me write. I put my headphones on and wrote 6,000 words.

On 29 November, I wrote in the car to and from Hamilton. And in the evening, I put my headphones on again and listened to Christmas carols and Carole King. A prompt from a wonderful friend kept me going, and I wrote 6,000 more.

With 49,000 words, there was no way I wasn’t finishing. So, on the final day, I wrote the final scene. And, with a few hours to spare:

No automatic alt text available.

It’s a funny thing, because it was both harder and easier than I expected. It seemed easy enough to find time and words, but I also felt pretty exhausted for most of the month.  With my inner editor firmly turned off (as in, so turned off that on one day I wrote “disbelievement” and didn’t even catch it until a few days later), it was easy to get words on the page. But turning it off also meant I didn’t do a lot of the nitty-gritty scene connection and checking for consistency that will be needed to make these words into a story.

But, at the end of the day (well, the end of the month), with the support of a great partner and the help of a great pair of head phones, I wrote 50,000 words of a novel in 30 iced-coffee-fuelled days, and I’m proud of that.


One year at The Campground

I have a whole list of drafts in various states of completion. But they all seem just a little bit too hard right now.  The owners of The Campground are away at the moment, which means we’re working every day.  I’ve lost my voice, which makes both working and parenting more difficult. I’m sooooo tiiiiiiiired.

But this week marks ONE YEAR in The Campground, so I can’t let it go by without a blog. And that can only mean one thing…. It’s time for a lazy photo blog.

And so, I present: A year in The Campground (in photos)

October 2016: The Campground Kid “mowing the lawns” and enjoying our new home.

November 2016: Abseiling 100m into the Lost World with Waitomo Adventures.

December 2016: The road between Kawhia and Waitomo on a beautiful summer day.

January 2017: The view from the Waitomo lookout while out on an evening walk.

February 2017: A walk in the Ruakuri reserve. A snack on top of the rocks.

March 2017: Watching the sheep shearing at the Waitomo Caves Sports Day.

April 2017: Stomping in the mud during a very rainy autumn.

May 2017: A holiday in Taupō. Beautiful sun over the lake.

June 2017: A walk in the Waitomo hills. A view to Mt Pirongia.

July 2017: Another holiday. Toddler’s first snow.

August: A sunset. The end of our first winter in five years.

September 2017: A walk to Opapaka Pā. A view over Waitomo.

It’s been a BIG YEAR. In and around these photos there have been ups and downs. Some things have been surprisingly easy. Other things have been very very hard. But one year in, we’ve made it through together, and we don’t regret the decision to come here for a second.

Someone’s gotta do it.

I do not love cleaning. I do not even like cleaning, really. I quite like the results of cleaning, but if I’m honest, I shirk as much cleaning as I can, and I don’t think about it any more than I have to.

Well, it turns out that as a campground manager, I have to think about cleaning rather a lot. I have to roster daily cleaning staff, make sure all cleaning staff have what they need, set up for cleaning, wash laundry, schedule long term cleaning tasks, hire new cleaning staff, pay cleaning staff, order cleaning products, monitor the condition of rooms, and more.

Some days, I even have to do the cleaning, and let me tell you – it’s hard work!  Yesterday, I cleaned for an hour, and by the end of it I was glowing a sweaty mess. Cleaning as work is, in my opinion, much harder than cleaning at home. On the surface, you’re doing the same tasks. But cleaning as work is different. It’s time limited, physically difficult, and requires nit-picking and attention to detail. That hair on the sheet that you can ignore or don’t even see when you make your own bed? That’s a complaint at an accommodation business. Those streaks left after wiping your kitchen bench? Nope, not good enough when it’s your job. Plus, it’s repetitive, usually poorly paid, and often only offers inconsistent and/or short hours. To be honest, it’s not much of a proposition. But, even if it’s not much of a proposition:

Someone’s gotta do it.

Stock photo cleaner has had enough of your shit.

Cleaning’s one of those jobs that’s often invisible. Unless it’s done poorly, many people don’t think about it at all. But today I want to encourage you to think about it.

Ignoring all the cleaning work in the world is a pretty privileged position, so let’s take a look at a pretty privileged example – a family holiday – and consider just how many cleaners are involved to make it run smoothly (or… well… cleanly):

  • Maybe we start our holiday by taking a bus or a train to the airport (well, we would if we didn’t live in New Zealand). That bus or train has to be cleaned regularly.
  • We get to the airport (cleaned by a team of cleaners) and check in.
  • After a short wait, we head to the plane (which has just been cleaned) and take our seats.
  • We eat food from factories and kitchens that have to be cleaned, and read books printed in factories that hire cleaners (who am I kidding, we’re parents, we don’t get to read books…)/distract our kid with toys made in factories (which also need cleaning).
  • The plane lands, and we head through another cleaned airport, to another cleaned mode of transportation, which takes us to our accommodation.
  • We arrive early, but we’re lucky enough that our room has been cleaned already, and we can check in. As we walk to our room, we pass cleaning trolleys in the hallway, but don’t see any cleaners – they’re hard at work. When we get to our room, we don’t really notice how clean the room is – but we’d certainly notice if it wasn’t.
  • Oops, we realise we forgot something, and we pop to the mall to grab a replacement. We leave just as the mall closes and see the cleaning teams ready to start work.
  • We go to a restaurant for dinner. The restaurant may not hire specific cleaning staff, but a huge part of the work there is keeping everything clean.
  • After dinner, we have a swim at the hotel pool, which is cleaned every day.
  • The next day, we are checking out, but first we have breakfast at the hotel. We are glad that the milk in our coffee comes from a factory with very high cleanliness standards. To achieve this, they have specialised cleaners as well as general factory staff who clean as part of their work. The farm where our eggs come from also needs regular cleaning. Depending on the scale, they may not have specialist cleaners, but…

Someone’s gotta do it. 

That’s less than a day out in the world, and already our little hypothetical family has used the services of at LEAST 13 different cleaners. Even if we stay home, pretty much all of our food and almost everything we use can only get to us with the help of cleaners. We don’t specifically hire a cleaner (I kinda wish we did), but we definitely get the benefit of their work.

In short, we need cleaners! But they’re not the only ones out there doing important and invisible work. There are also refuse collectors, gardeners, janitors, groundskeepers, drivers… Not to mention the HUGE amount of care work that is required to allow people to work outside the home; childcare, elderly care, disability care… This is all the work that many people only notice when it’s not done or not done well.This is the invisible and underappreciated work that makes society function.

Sort it out yourself, or appreciate those who do!

Being invisible doesn’t mean it’s less important, quite the opposite.  These invisible jobs are like medications: they’re a lifesaver for some of us, many of us don’t think about them much, some people actively look down on them, but without them our society would be way less healthy.

And yet, the hard working people in these roles face unfair stereotypes and huge amounts of judgement. They are told they should be ashamed of their work. They are told that they should “better themselves”. When they need government support because their employers don’t pay them a living wage, they’re told they are a drain on society. When they complain about their dismal pay, they are told that it’s their choice to be there and they can find something else if they don’t like it. When they draw attention to poor working conditions, they are ignored and told “what do you expect if you’re just a [cleaner]?”

And all these (rude and privileged) positions against cleaners (etc.) effectively ignore an important point: someone’s gotta do it. 

So, my challenge to you today is to notice the cleaners. Make eye contact. Thank them for their hard work. If you don’t see any cleaners, appreciate the unseen cleaners who allowed you to live your life and do your job. Or thank a childcare worker or a gardener or a security guard. If you are a cleaner, thank yourself, and be proud of what you do.

Maybe you already do those things? That’s great! But I think you could do more (I certainly could). There are a lot of rude comments and unfair stereotypes. We have to be twice as nice and appreciative to cancel them out.

Someone’s gotta do it. Lots of us don’t want to do it. So we’ve gotta appreciate those who do!


Taking our kid camping, and other goals

We have been The Campground Family for nearly a year, and I have a confession to make: The Campground Kid has never ever been camping.

She’s never stayed in a tent or a caravan. She’s never known the joys of campsite cooking. She’s never slept outside. She’s never woken up in a tent-oven. She’s never pushed the huge puddles that build up in the roof of a canvas tent after rain.

She HAS helped set up a tent, and she HAS slept in a sleeping bag. But STILL… What kind of Campground Parents are we?!

This is something that NEEDS to happen. And SOON.

So our goal for this summer? Go camping.

We have all the equipment. We could go camping for free pretty much at our house, pretty much any day of the week.  We’re coming into Spring now (HOW?!?) and Summer is just around the corner. This is not a difficult goal for us, but with this first goal in mind, I started thinking about goals in general.

The Campground Kid in a tent last summer. The closest she’s come to camping!

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been feeling drifty and planless. There are reasons, but one of those reasons it just that we haven’t made a plan. So, inspired by a great list of at home date ideas by a friend, we decided to sit down and extend this one easy goal into a list of 100 life goals.

We started our list yesterday, and as we hoped, it was a great chance to talk and a fun thing to do together. (Can you tell we don’t get out much?) We’re up to 30 goals on the list now, ranging from tiny (have a freak shake) to medium (travel to the Great Barrier Reef) to huge (buy and run our own business).

Even The Campground Kid got in on the action. And her additions were surprisingly appropriate: See a volcano; Ride a rollercoaster.

But a list of goals is nothing but a kinda fun distraction if you just create it and do nothing about it. Which is a thing I tend to do. So along with the list of goals, I’m taking some life advice from a dude on reddit (OF ALL PLACES) and committing to no more “zero days”. That means that every. single. day. I’m going to take some action towards one of these goals.

Some days, I’m sure, are going to be very-nearly-but-not-quite-zero days. Some days are going to be I-really-really-don’t-want-to-but-I-will-not-do-zero days. Some days will probably be I’m-stretching-it-to-call-this-non-zero days. But I’m hoping that building up my number of non-zero days will lead to more really-truly-not-even-close-to-zero days.

Two days into the #nonzeroday challenge, it’s good (OF COURSE it is. EVERYTHING is good two days in!) It’s not exactly life-changing just yet (after all, this is what I’ve done so far, as well as working working working):

Day 1: start a list of goals
Day 2: write a blog post

But I think that, with time and consistency, it could be.  (Don’t burst my bubble!)

We might have to wait a bit to get to the camping one, though. We’ve had a shit ton of rain this week, there are new ponds and lakes popping up all around us, and there’s more rain in the forecast. Thanks New Zealand Spring!


Cooperation, Control, Confidence

Three weeks ago, I was sitting on a plane to our first (campground management) conference. I was seated across the aisle from The Campground Kid and Campground Papa, which meant I could read for the whole fight (and when I say read, I’m talking my OWN book, not reading the whole entire safety card to a very curious kid). Three years ago, that was normal. Now it’s like heaven.

I finished the book I was reading, and flicked through my Kindle looking at unread books. I opened a couple, and eventually decided to go back to a book I’d started a while ago, but had lost steam with – No Contest: The Case Against Competition by Alfie Kohn. I don’t know why I lost steam however many months ago, because this time I started highlighting as soon as I started reading, and pretty much never stopped.

The basic premise of the book is that co-operation is better for us than competition. Better for our self-esteem, better for our productivity, better for our happiness. It’s a radical thesis in our current society, but I found the arguments compelling. My mind was instantly whirring with ideas on what could be improved through a shift in mindset from competition to co-operation (pretty much EVERYTHING, except Game of Thrones and Suits) and how I could achieve that shift.

“Pious admonitions about not getting carried away in competition, however well-meaning, are just exercises in self deception. If we are serious about eliminating ugliness, we will have to eliminate the competitive structure that breeds the ugliness.”

(Alfie Kohn, No Contest: The Case Against Competition)

The book stayed at the back of my mind all through the conference, but I was distracted by the logistics of conference + pre-schooler + new experience (an equation that only balanced because of a very generous Campground Uncle who came along to hang out with The Campground Kid for a good chunk of the week). I hadn’t even had the chance to really let the book’s ideas sink in before something else started my mind whirring.

Taking a break from the conference to hang with The Campground Kid

The whole conference got my mind whirring, actually. The talks were about balancing, about how our business needs to be positioned for the future, and what potential threats lie on the horizon.

But the real star of the week for me was the conference’s keynote speaker. Mike Ashby runs The Breakthrough, and is one of NZ’s top speakers and advisors to small businesses. If I had to summarise, I’d say that the key message was “if you’re not running [X], [X] is running you.” (through his talk [X] was mostly “your business”, but it was easy to extrapolate and generalise to other [X]s that were more relevant to me.) This advice obviously relies on a level of control and choice that mostly applies to those with a fair whack of privilege, but was appropriate for the audience (me included), and helped me to realise just how much my life is “running me” at the moment.

We are all pulled in many directions, free-time is a luxury that we don’t get enough of, and self-care has been sorely lacking for the grown-ups, which flows down to the poor Campground Kid. SO MUCH has changed in the last year (a year ago, we were just starting to pack up to move back to New Zealand), and all the change has started piling up on us. We don’t really have a solid medium/longterm plan for various reasons, and the short term plan is pretty much just to get through each week. Long story short, The Campground Family is stuck in reactive-mode right now, and this talk reminded me that we don’t necessarily have to be.

After some discussion of how and why we should work towards a better balance, the topic turned to making the choices to regain control. Most importantly, how this necessarily involves making change, and how all change involves loss. With the amount of change I’ve opted for in my life, you may think that I love change. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong. But still, making change is scary. Scary and hard, and (for me) anxiety-inducing.

Ashby summed it up perfectly with one quote:

“The past is desirable because it has been drained of fear.”

And that quote wedged itself firmly in my mind.

When the talk was over, it was straight into pinning tulle to a dress for the 1950s themed gala dinner. Then it was goodnight for The Campground Kid, who had a” kid party” while we went to our “grownup party”. Then it was winning an amazing spot prize, eating an amazing dinner, and dancing with new friends. Then it was waking up with a hangover, packing up, and flying home. But through it all, my mind kept coming back to this idea of time draining fear. It’s obvious, perhaps, but it stuck with me.

The day after the conference, I received a copy of the invoice from the hotel. I hadn’t checked it in detail, and when I looked through, I noticed a couple of charges that weren’t ours. I called the hotel, and queried them, and they said it was all sorted. I checked the next invoice – another mistake – and called again. It all got sorted and I got an apology.

This is totally basic adulting, I know. But it’s basic adulting that used to make me hella nervous. It got worse in Brunei because it was often hard to make my accent understood over the phone. If there was an email/online option where I could sort it out without a phone call, I always always used to take it.

But part of being a campground manager is talking on the phone quite frequently, both making and fielding similar queries.

And it turns out that doing it over and over again really HAS stripped it of fear. I sometimes even choose to call when there’s a way I could avoid it.

This is not huge in the grand scheme of things, but it was a timely example that proved and reinforced the maxim for me.

And if I can now make phone calls confidently and easily, maybe I can make some other changes my life needs right now too…

Maybe I can quit (or at least reduce) competitive thinking?

Maybe I can make some new habits or lose some old ones?

Maybe I can make some different choices to regain some balance and control?

Maybe I can even figure out how to wash my kid’s hair without the people in the next room thinking I’m torturing her…?!

(Or maybe now I’m just getting too bold!)

Winter Holiday

When you work in a campground, you have to take your holidays in the winter. It’s fun, because you get to take your nearly-three-year-old to see snow for the first time.

And because you get to be with family when that nearly-three-year-old becomes a three-year-old (Happy Birthday, Campground Kid!)

And because you get to stay in a big ol’ farm house and see all the animals and stay cosy around the fire playing card games, and chatting.  And you get to go for walks in your gumboots and jump in muddy puddles.

And New Zealand still looks pretty beautiful in the winter.

Orewa Beach

Mahia Beach

But then you go and lose your voice halfway through the trip, and spend a week of your holiday being sick and miserable.

(No pictures allowed of me moping around in my PJs)

And then you get rained on allll the time, even at the three-year-old’s special and planned-in-advance outing.

But at least you can still balance bike along a wet beach.

And at least you can still say that, all things considered, it was a very rad holiday.

(And also, I’m glad to be home again and well again!)





Seasons (revisited)

A week ago, it was the shortest day of the year. We have had frosts almost every morning this week. The other morning I forgot to set the heat pump timer, and The Campground Kid and I had to snuggle under a blanket for the first half hour we were up because it was so blimmin’ cold. It is most definitely winter. Our first winter since 2012.

And I love it.

I don’t love trying to convince The Campground Kid to wear enough layers to stay not-freezing. I don’t love it being dark at 5:30pm and at 6:30am.  I probably don’t get outside enough some days. But I love it.

View of snowy mountains from an amazing chilly bush walk.

I love the crisp mornings and the sunny cool afternoons. I love cuddling up in the warm with the rain outside. I love soup and hot drinks and roasting everything. I love scarves and boots and woolly jumpers. I love walking through the cool bush and seeing my breath against the cold air.

I have missed winter.

Nearly three years ago, I wrote about Brunei’s seasons (or lack thereof.)  And I thought that once I was actually confronted with another winter, I would change my tune.  But NOPE. Even here in winter, I love seasons.

Living on a tropical island is so often touted as paradise. But it definitely wasn’t my paradise. My paradise has variety. It has changes that mark the passing of time. It has the cold that helps us to appreciate the warm.  It has a warm hot-tub against a freezing night and a dark sky full of stars. It has cold noses and woolly hats on frosty mornings, followed by a hot cup of coffee and woolly slippers.

(It also has good insulation and a heat pump. The winters of my student-flatting days? I definitely don’t miss those!)

Frosty mornings.