We are “down the lake” as people in Nelson seem to say… possibly only people with a connection to THE lake, as in Lake Rotoiti and St Arnaud. It’s an alpine village, in that it is at a higher altitude and there are mountains all around and that it how it styles itself. There are 100s of batches that you just can’t see all tucked in among the trees. Usually during our volunteer period the village is a busy place but not so at the moment thanks to Covid and an almost total lack of foreign tourists, though it’s often hard to define foreign here as so many New Zealanders were born overseas.
It’s so quiet. A total news vacuum. AND it’s raining on and off, so what do we do? Well there is the nearly 2km walk to and from the Department of Conservation office, once to drop the car off in the morning and then to pick it up again in the afternoon. We have read a lot, and visited the two local book swop places. We’ve done the permanent orienteering course- that took two days, been out for coffee (supporting the local community) spent a lot of time watching eels, put the hammock up (Helena), knitting, learnt three new board games (one with strangers), drawing, biking, geocaching, cooking and of course the associated dishes… we are making an animation of the growth of a toadstool… and we’re getting lots of vitamin nature.
What do I think we are learning? Possibly how to slow down and how to occupy ourselves in ways that are personally meaningful… surely that’s perfect. In case you want measurable Helena is getting better at map reading.