Back on track!
Don’t you hate it when life gets in the way of your passions? Okay, hate is a strong word, and not one I use often. Let’s say, disgruntled. I’ve been disgruntled as of late, not being able to join you in the blogosphere. Work (lots of it), sports (lots of if), family responsibilities (school, piano lessons, judo, homework, planning parties, going to parent-teacher conferences, supporting and encouraging deeper learning at home), reading, researching have all been keeping me busy. Extraordinarily busy for a calm island life.
Meanwhile, New Caledonia has lost a third person to the dengue fever epidemic, has crept up to a death toll of 4 so far this year in alcohol-related car crashes, has sent a child molester to jail for 15 years, and is talking about building a tunnel under a mountain so we can get to the airport more easily (and fewer people have to die on the way).
I try to read the newspaper every day so I can keep up with the local news, and on Sunday, I read everything I missed. Sunday is usually my saddest day in New Caledonia. If you want to be happy, you really shouldn’t read the news. Given that bad news sells and good news doesn’t, if you are the slightest bit sensitive or compassionate, the news isn’t something you should read regularly (or even in one fell swoop) here, or probably anywhere.
Is it worse here than anywhere else? Probably not. Or at least I tell myself that. We have crime and 40% more sugar in our drinks. We have oodles and oodles of horrifying examples of widespread short-term thinking in the government, businesses and schools. We have weekly reports of child abuse and rape within families. We live in a place where drunken parents burn their children with cigarettes and show up at hospitals with their children’s injuries grossly exacerbated by neglect.
On the positive side, we live in an extraordinarily beautiful place. The air is exceptionally clean (until they install the coal-burning tower in the nickel treatment plant just down the street – which will make New Caledonia the most CO2 emitting country per capita in the world after Qatar). The lagoon is filled with hundreds of species of fish and coral and the water is pristine (especially once you leave Noumeá). The sun shines most of the time and our children do things like sail and windsurf for fun on the school holidays. The quarantine has opened again and people can bring their pets in for the first time in years. Internet problems are getting resolved and the local music conservatory has announced an exciting season ahead.
So yes, work and life have kept me busy this month, and I haven’t been able to keep you as updated on life in New Caledonia as I would have liked. But the news hasn’t been all that positive either and I haven’t had the energy to spin it in a way that would make you want to read it. As I said to a friend just yesterday, when things get like this, “It’s time for me to go swim with the turtles again.” Which is, happily, something one can just go and do!
So … I’m back. Work and life not withstanding, we’ll back on track over the next few weeks with a series of posts on outings, things to do, another dire tale of roaches, an update on our dengue fever epidemic and more. If you have a subject you would like to know more about, shoot me an email or leave a comment under “Leave a reply” below. I’d really love to hear from you (and especially if you have good New Caledonia news!).