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The Year That Nourished

It is still fresh in my mind - the tingling and heightened sense of what it means to enjoy what life can offer. This does not necessarily mean partaking the sensations of untried fruit or stepping into a corner of the Earth that was previously inaccessible to us, but much more. It leaves in me an inner gulp and something that remains to nurture and encourage me, a planted seed that allows me to rely upon for potential and continuing growth and a contented source of not just memory but spewing happiness.

It all begins with perhaps one may view as ordinary events, but which to me are a source of my gratitude to unexpected events. Out of the blue one afternoon, someone took the trouble, all by himself, to organise a wholesome cake to celebrate on my actual birthday in front of whole group of people. And he even sang and led a song. Earlier at lunchtime,another surprise gathering was organised at my fav on-site work cafe and this function drew attendance from people I appreciate the friendship with from different parts of my workplace.

One rainy night in the middle of the southern winter, a mate in a neighbouring suburb cooked for me, even if he had just settled into his new residence. I watched him prepare the fresh ingredients and we sat chatting in the juncture of an important phase of his life. I could see and feel the deep love he has for his young daughter and the excited determination in his heart on the positive adventures ahead for this young father and his very lucky little girl. That, I realised at that very moment, is what life is truly all about.

To be able to receive or make a phone call, an instant text message or an encouraging email of inspiration or motivation from and to someone far away is not to be taken for granted. I relish in the understanding that an individual - friend or relative - cares enough to add this task on top of the so many things in this very busy modern life. To be able to spend time and chat with people we know from long ago - and to be able to do it in my beloved New Zealand - was icing on top of the cake. To be visited by some, especially in my remote corner of this global existence, is to be double blessed - and then to share with them our daily routine, inner sanctum and how we can interact further. Once I had sat in Wollongong musing on how I can contribute more to the lives of others - and not just through donations and limited involvement - and then there came a proposal.

To survive and prosper in a challenging work environment, especially with my passionate stance for my profession, requires the nourishment of some special individuals behind the scene. I look back with fondness, and forward with eagerness, on a select few individuals who have made earning a living more than that, and make it an enriching journey. They are all people with an innate sense and ability to calm me when others create a storm; invoke a smile in my heart when they do not have to do so; work in quiet and unassuming ways to let me focus on what is truly important and who add to the detachment of a positive attitude. And when I go to talk to them, I come back revitalised, instead of being drained.

Sit down meals laced with comforting company and a sense of camaraderie are important to me, ranging from curry club lunches through Sunday night home-cooked meals to one-on-one opportunities with mates and loved ones. They may form part of a continuing series of routine events, but together and cumulatively they form part of a tapestry of love and friendship. Not just getting together. One of my dear neighbours, Roma, always puts my cleaned-out garbage bin in front of my side garden gate every Friday morning. Roma does it without any expectation or reward, and exemplifies the things that have nourished me in the past year.

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