A 6 month old thought.

Happy Birthday Syd.


My tomorrow is amazing.

Martha’s will serve diners atop rosemary pine needles aligned swathing each in cocoons of cinnamon and nutmeg

Bred (bread) nesting atop four legs

Grounded in this woman’s womb of developing flavours

And tempts the taste buds’ dally o’er allsorts place settings.

Hushed lovers’ dialogue whispers to conceal an excited bundle’s joyous gesticulations towards kitchen doors Swinging of Great Expectations.

With cutlery’s function the sole constant,

The delicacies vary as à la carte submits to my winds of whim.

Man’s nakedness not hindering my navigation of His Eden’s designs my journeys rest at the brim of robust lips.

Lips praying their hope for Good graces at South Africa’s Cape

As penguins leap from the mistaken pohutukawa confluence of seas

Speaking to nourish the depleted Tigris and Euphrates streams

Feeding lush blankets of the Crescent’s fertile banks.

My eyes gaze North, following Freedom’s Star

Coming to rest on the rigged back of the crocodile Nile

Flowing between geometrical arrangements of clay hardened with the sun’s labour.

History’s scales will tip to a single grain of amber,

The sap’s sweet preservation held in the

Bonita ugly Sun rays of the fibrous mutation: Ecuador’s banana.

Fingers dance on looms weaving alpaca’s hide into cloaks of protection,

My path leads across the Incan trail,

The blood of Chile’s plum stains the stones of Cusco

Cornerstones of civilizations pristine as Grecian waters.

My lens will capture the exact moment my mother’s passionate desire rushes to meet these calm blues

Creating a capillary network of double-decker buses choking the ankles of Big Ben’s toll.

Boarding a rickshaw my feet alit in the streets of Mumbai

And recall a child peddling his trike aspiring to be the astronauts’ blemish on the Great Chinese backbone

Each vertebrate erect to assure my balance at Niagara’s fall.

Your palates will be curious at spiralling cupcake domes of Saint Petersburg’s church

Their conical framework marking the burnt tar esses of an El Camino Autobahn track

Racing to the stillness of an oasis mirage.

I will be disoriented in the Gobi as I stumble across the Sahara,

My lover’s pressure arouses to obscure the Babel of Iraqi dates

Our ears attune to the mourning dove’s coo ensconcing green olive’s peace in Gaza.

A polar drifting on home from its Antarctic berg leads leaden tracing of each impression.

My pencil borrows the subsiding ripples for the nook’s walls,

Holding memories in masons of preserves

Fig, formed as the wise cicada mates to the patter of showers cleansing juniper’s lavender Port-

Land second lining to jazz notes’ rise from the succulent peaches’ broil.







Cornflour, Maize Meal and Polenta

For our final day of lecture we are having a shared kai (a potluck). I was debating whether to bring jambalaya (my favourite) or hot water cornbread to share a piece of my home. Since I was short on time, I decided for hot water cornbread easy right? Well not if you can’t find cornmeal (of any sort). What I learned, cornflour is what I’d call cornstarch, polenta is very coarse and maize meal is probably the closest thing but couldn’t find it. After 5 stores, I settled with the polenta and buttermilk to quickly whip up a late night batch…flatmates loved it, hope class says the same tomorrow.

And Asia is an extension of Europe?

Spring has tried to show her face this week!

The little things: sunshine and blue skies makes drying clothes so much easier :-).

I am also in search of a wetsuit for kite surfing next weekend.

This week began at Every Nation Church where it was Youth Heritage Day. All youth 12 and under ran the service. The theme was “Kingdom” and included dancing and even a Bible-in-5-minutes skit. This was spot on and stressed the Book as a grand narrative of redemption (keep grand narratives in mind). Luti and I returned later for Breakthrough church’s BCre8ve (clever, eh?) production “Return to Eden.” A very talented cast put on this play. Through the story of Joshua, a Pacific Island boy with a disrupted home and school life, they sadly (well courageously too) shed light on domestic/family violence and suicide prevalent in New Zealand.

Their message was that their community has the energies to disrupt a recurring cycle, therefore must not wait for an external influence to begin transformation.

For the critical nerds, I went to a lecture on Building an automated prediction tool to identify (at birth) children at risk of being maltreated trying to describe an algorithm predicting risk of maltreatment at birth. The following Q&A session centred around the purpose of this ‘tool,’ ethical concerns with cross-linking of data from social services such as CYF (Child, Youth and Family) and WINZ (work and income NZ). Surprised to learn that in a country that once-seemed pretty egalitarian 33% of all children are on some sort of benefit.

With the U.S. government shutdown, this incurred a whole new critique of backwards America this week (thank you guys!). Our Congress should NOT be paid if their inaction has caused the furlough.

Still on Luskin’s listserv, I am excited/envious of the lectures and seminars!

For class…

For my Foundations in Maori Health course I had an essay due on the lingering health impact of colonisation. I was frustrated to continue writing on this topic but tried from the perspective that colonisation has transformed and includes events occurring and perpetuated within a country’s borders as well. (aside: I will consciously need to think on spelling)

I’ve approached this access and right to health much more methodically and am pleasantly pleased with where I am at super-productive feeling (two claps). The lessons I’m picking up from human rights are, for one, there is little written on primary care (an ambivalent position to be in), but much around access to essential medicines (i.e. ARVs to treat HIV in “developing” countries—excuse the arbitrary binary) and migrant populations. Also, community agency and participation are necessary for sustained action.

For Epi I’ve received some pretty positive feedback on my bipolar study proposal this week but still uncertain on the sample size calculations (monotone professor does not help my engagement either).

Back to the title, who was your geography teacher? This was the debate of Saturday afternoon with my flatmates and me, inspired by a simple question about a Eurasian character in Alix’s book. As our debate was getting fairly heated we put it to the Facebook poll (of course, our generation’s reliable source). Lisa summed up the overall results: as far as the location of Russia on the continent of Europe or on the continent of Asia, non-European heritage says Asia (some Eurasia) and most European heritage say Europe. My response: I apologize but continents aren’t divided based on culture and maps are biased and out of proportion, i.e. why is the peninsula of Europe at the center or let’s put the Southern hemisphere at the top. I didn’t want to get into a conversation of privilege, or equal area map projections, or maps based on population, so just left it for my music.

Scandal, Shonda Rhimes is great!

Now off to South Auckland Poets Collective Show BE and Happy Birthday to two women I’ve known since diapers Tiffany and Jessica.

Just finished Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo.

One Room Power Outage

As a preface, just because I feel like writing and our Internet is acting funny (nothing new), this is from last week.

Can power go out in one room? Yes. You check the heater, modem and lights and nothing turns on. Even flip the circuit breaker, a few times and nothing lights up. And this is how Alix and me determined power had gone out in Lisa’s room…weird. Well, then we check and see that the extension cord wasn’t plugged into the wall, which explains the modem and heater. As for the lights, well Warehouse bulbs have to be replaced often. And this is how we began our Friday evening before headed out to the cinema (saw In the House, a French film). We were supposed to be participating in the Italian Film Festival but none of those looked good at all.

So this week was one of class, class, more class and assignments. Lets start with Thursday, the 19th. In my paper, ‘Foundations of Māori Health,’ amongst other things along the lines of colonization and health, we were discussing privilege and advantage amid a social matrix. To illustrate differing levels of privilege and perceptions even amongst our class, the guest lecturer, Dr. Belinda Borrell asked us to respond to twenty statements. If we agreed could with a statement, +1, if not, 0. The statements were modified from Peggy McIntosh’s Un-packing the Invisible Knapsack. My Critical Race Studies class at UCLA had discussed this paper last fall. Here are a few: “I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group,” “I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed,” and “I can choose Band-Aids in ‘flesh’ colour and have them more or less match my skin.” The last one is my favourite (reminded me of Step-by-Step dance recitals and flesh-coloured tights that had us all looking pale). I took two approaches: 1. Answer as if home in the States and 2. Answer as if New Zealand. Out of the twenty, I still didn’t get more than 2 points.

 Dr. Borrell then had us stand up according to our “scores” and applause was given…awkward turtle:

  • 0-7—all ‘coloured’ (for lack of a better term right now, just go with it for now)
  • 8-14
  • 14-20—White, Pakeha, NZ European (however choose to identify and others resembling this group)

This was a good exercise, as we couldn’t deny the implications but there wasn’t enough of a dismount, a discussion to follow or discuss our intersecting identities (see Kimberlé Crenshaw). So I don’t believe the session reached it’s full potential.

We then had the opportunity to be “agents of change” as policymakers. My group was to formulate policy around fluoridation of the water supply in the Waikato/Hamilton region (in June 2013, voted to stop adding fluoride to water; now its up for referendum) using a kaupapa Māori and social justice lens. As we discussed “to treat” or “not to treat,” it became evident that just because following guidelines, i.e. ethical approval, this does not mean that a person/group truly believes in the guideline’s intent, more-so viewed as a task, a box to tick to get to their own priorities.

Sunday the 21st went to Every Nation church with Luti and the Glenfield night markets with Ethar (where we got full off of tasters and apple fritters) and Oracle (USA) was still down to Team Emirates (New Zealand) in the Auld Cup (held in San Francisco for most Americans with zero clue what America’s Cup is).

Book update: finished The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

A song that’s been playing on my mind’s radio: from Children’s Church “If you read your Bible and pray everyday you’ll grow, grow, grow.” Peace for now.

Banoffee Pie and “Finding yourself in New Zealand”

“So you haven’t found yourself in New Zealand?” I was asked this question yesterday when on my writing ‘break.’ It was about 3p.m. Wise Cicada, a café about five blocks tops from my flat. I’d been there since 10a.m. (I’ve found I am far more productive in atypical work environments) after a whole tree of figs, a delicious mix of salads and a raw choc bar (on the house for my hard work), a student I’d met last semester asks me this in response to why I am ready to go back to the States. I didn’t need to “find myself,” I knew where Camille was before coming here (between Texas football, Louisiana pine needles, Georgia Avenue’s Sankofa and West L.A. sunshine if we want to be locational) but the point I wanted to make was I was pretty grounded before boarding at SFO. Now being here has reminded me of aspects of me that desired greater acknowledgment, but they were definitely already in place such as increasing my Bible study, appreciating the closeness of my family and commitment to my community (it’s cool to learn from others but just strengthens ties to self). I’ve had time to read books just because (check out the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, new favourite as of last week) and space to think/process/reflect. Finding you in a new place remains a foreign concept to me. Also, New Zealand’s outdoor aspects make the place.

As far as my studies are going, it is mid semester break which means we should be catching up on assignments (I am slightly doing this). I find the ‘project’ is more of my Public Health Certificate. After a three week break, I returned to the poetry group with the students (they had exams and breaks, etc.). I have become aware of some internal conflicts with participatory learning/research (beginning to dislike this word), particularly how to notice my judgments and processes when interacting with the students. From my Kaupapa Maori Research paper, this article made it all click. Furthermore, tell the story that’s told.

Now for Banoffee Pie…in a right-brained circuitous type of way. It’s odd for September 11th to come and go by mention of America’s Cup (New Zealand’s investment and history) (we, Team Oracle are behind Team New Zealand 4-0 as of this morning) which most Americans know nothing about as it coincides with football starting up. Each fortnight I go to a Group Dynamics course on facilitation and tonight was my session to co-facilitate. My initial idea of dominance was a little ambitious and politely shot down by my partner. I honestly wasn’t overly excited about his idea on “Wellness: Mind, Body and Spirit” either. Wait, let me retract, I agreed with the topic but the presentation was a bit dry. The group reception was all positive, very much aligned with the organization’s culture, valuing voice, etc… (this is why I wanted to do a different topic, something unique, a bit out of the comfort zone). Sometimes I find the group a semblance of a feel-good therapy session, where participants are leery of stepping on someone’s toes with critique or opposition such that this desire for harmony and conformity hinders the development of our processes and facilitation skills. This cautiousness I (could be just me though) have found in many circles here and I find myself silently encouraging people to have an opinion on anything!

Banoffee Pie is a dessert of banana, cream and toffee. Dietrich and I had had a couple banana caramel biscuit (cookie) attempts at Circus Circus (i.e. not banoffee pie). So I hadn’t yet experienced what he’d been raving about. After my Group Dynamics session, Rewa gave me a ride home and came bearing treats: a slice of Banoffee Pie from Fraser’s and I must admit it was pretty nice.

But wait there’s more:

  • Week’s meditation – Matthew 10 and the Book of Esther
  • Matakana Markets with Alix (dukkah and macadamia butter get some) and lunch with her dad and godfather
  • Jobs, the movie –Steve Jobs was not a likeable person at all but he did have a passion and press for creativity
  • Blue Jasmine, the movie – great until the last 5 seconds (terrible ending)
  • Americanah, the book – credits to the above author
  • Made:
  1. Black bean and quinoa burgers
  2. Pine nuts + Lemon + Olive oil + Parsley = Pesto
  3. Beetroot chutney (this root veg will be coming back with me)
  4. Raisin and molasses bread (great with the macadamia butter) for breakfast (added Turkish raisins and chia seeds)
  5. Channelling Peanut Butter and Co. with cayenne and chili-spiced peanut butter (don’t knock it till you try it)


  • Matarangi – winding coastline Bruce’s Lookout
  • Beach (hammerhead shark)
  • Great pottery
  • Lost Springs, Coromandel Geo-Thermal Hot Pools (Whitianga) – Crater Lake at 41C (1 hour is plenty of time)
  • Deut. 32:47 For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life.

I’m still here.

This weekend was pretty full on. On Friday, I started out with my marathon training and felt pretty good about pacing, etc.; I was a nerd and went to a lecture on identity at University but then went to Tali’s for a get-together for her husband visiting from the States. Also, it was pouring down raining (which it tends to do) and in my attempts to shield it coming sideways, I walked into a pole with my umbrella; needless to say, my now crooked umbrella isn’t effective anymore. I’ll think about getting another one, but maybe Spring will come to stay so I won’t need one. I got home fairly late from Freeman’s Bay, but just in time to wake up for ‘baiting’ with the University Tramping (Hiking) Club. Baiting, not bathing, is a biosecurity/conservation effort to decrease the count of possum, weasels, stoats and rats. This particular session was in the Waitakere Ranges. Going off my slim, New Zealand tramping knowledge, I assumed been once, second time should be just the same….I had no clue what I’d signed up for. We carpooled out to Ark in the Park (arriving semi-late to annoy at French volunteer coordinator) where we divided into pairs and selected a baiting line to follow. After brushing and spraying our boots with Triton (I’m a skeptic but it’s supposed to hinder the spread of kauri dieback disease), we were given instructions: look for pink tape as markers that you are on the correct line, a double wrapped tree = trap, replace cinnamon poison, traps should be 50m apart. Peter and I had D4 (which means absolutely nothing to you) which consisted of 14 stations and 4 more on an extension track…piece of cake. Our teams then carpooled up to the dam; had about 45 min walk (read “mudslide”) to the AUTC hut; then more to our lines. At station #1, me and Peter knocked off the baiting station (off to a great start!). We then had to whack and climb and crawl and fall to the others. It looked like Jurassic Park foliage but way thicker as in we aren’t on any trail anymore. Finding the pink markers overall was a simple enough measure but getting to them was another story. At one point we reached a patch of ferns, with no discernible path but for a tiny opening beneath. We thought surely we aren’t meant to go there, shooooot, we looked up under the tunnel and sure enough a pink flag was there. What was meant to take an hour, took two. To get back to the city, I hopped a ride with Joe, who I found out was a physician (little reminders that I am in the right place). As he’d been in healthcare for 30 years (family practice for 15, now renal/dialysis for 15), he gave me a timeline on the transition in health climate/directions.

Dropped in Newmarket (at 4:40p gah! All day, ended up missing Epic and Swan Lake by the Royal NZ Ballet) I decided to visit my favourite lady at Wise Cicada for apricots before going home to that oh so welcome shower. I’m certain I was a sight to see carrying a mud-caked boats and sweats through the shopping district. Great evening though, finished reading The Rehearsal (an ambitious of a book…well, it wasn’t terrible just not my favourite), finished epidemiology assignment #2 and brainstormed for assignment #3 (bipolar disorder, FFT and adherence).

Sunday I woke to run to the market for eggs (only to find out that La Cignale doesn’t open it’s stands “officially” till 9a). Well, since I’m the weekend regular, sold me them at 8:30 just in time so I could get home before it rained (again) and to meet Dietrich for church at Edge. Walking in Dietrich has an epiphany, “this is a hipster church” (duh!). But the message was timely. The message came from Psalms 40. As I’d been reading (okay attempting to read) Leviticus earlier this week, the portion that resonated with me was the mentioning of burnt offering and sin offerings. Reflecting on my own thoughts (learned this in my Group Dynamics Course) as I attended to the Burnt, meal, peace, sin, trespass offerings of the Book, I remembered how taxing I found just reading on these. Imagine having to keep these. To sum it up, Jesus Christ makes it super easy. I’m not required to keep these laws. The least I can do is meet Him not even 10% of the way. As a storyline, the speaker mentioned his wife’s return to New Zealand after 40 years to reconnect with her family (cliché roots). Always around these conversations, I think, that’s all fine and dandy, hooray for you, but I’d like to be able to do the same. Since returning from my family reunion with the older generation’s bios in tow, I made use of the 14-day Ancestry.com trial and poured through census records to go a little further than my great-grandparents. So this has had me excited, just to put a name, location, draft cards something, is progress. After brunch at Toru in Ponsonby, I went home and baked some muffins for the week’s breakfast. A batch of “whatever’s in the cupboard” and even incorporated some of the apple-mint chutney I’d made last week. So the little experiment was a success.

Since I’d told a friend I’d go to a BodyPump class with her, I started on a run across the city to meet her at the gym. Wouldn’t you know it, not even in the Domain yet and of course it rains (downpour). Well as long as it’s not in my eyes I’m good (HU cap always ready). On the ride home we had a discussion about Christ (I have more and more of these in New Zealand than I’ve ever had at home). After class, we enjoyed coconut buns and scaled trees to shake down grapefruit and lemons.

Health and human rights literature review is the weeks’ mission. It wasn’t supposed to take all day though to get the references in RefWorks (got to remember to do this as I go!).

Carrington off to Tech this week, Devin back to Hampton (Senior whoa!) and Syd at Trinity H.S. miss these guys and anticipating missing football season as well. Fly high Gaius. Be blessed all and Peace for now.

Oh and padre here are your chickens (greet me whenever I walk to uni).

Morning Birds
Morning Birds