My Garden ~ a Kiwi's take on life

Life is a lot like a garden


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Can There be Compromise on a Reality Show?

Compromise

 

Last night, life sank to new low. High evening temperature and humidity rendered us inert, too lethargic to think. TV remote in hand, Himself flicked through the viewing options until even that became too much of a chore and stopped at Channel 3. We were even too sluggish to turn to Netflix. And there we stayed, staring at the reality show, Married at First Sight Australia.

I do understand in this day and age why people might turn to Tinder and other dating apps in the hope of meeting a soul mate. But words fail me as to why people might enter such an unreal TV show.  “I’m looking for love,” we were told. Really. On this show? We heard participants say what they expected of a partner. Does falling in love involve ticking a checklist now? Couple mismatches seem designed to generate drama and TV show ratings if the meaningless dialogue and vulgar on-screen behaviour are anything to go by. It seems all so scripted and edited.

One camera shot showed a couple grocery shopping with her perched on the front of a supermarket trolley being wheeled by him. Get real. Did they not hear the store’s public safety announcements about safe trolley use? Buckle up. Use that child seat restraint. For goodness sake, set a safety example to the other kids in the store. The tedious dialogue and vulgar behaviour is so edited that misunderstandings happen. Stupefied, we watched on, forgetting that the Off-button was our best viewing option.

But MAFS participants acting out and acting up probably want their own 15-minutes of media fame or Instagram likes.  Himself could not get it that men would want to sit and endlessly talk about emotions or whatever. Their days seem tedious, lacking everyday things to do. Not a man-cave in sight. There are cute mid-shots of a MAFS husband cooking a romantic meal which his MAFS wife eats with one eye surreptitiously fixed on a text from a guy who stated at the commitment ceremony, that he wanted to leave his marriage. A melodramatic moment. Will they have an affair?  Who will get hurt? Meanwhile, who is doing the household chores? Who cleans the toilet?  This is real.  This is the nitty gritty small stuff of daily married life. No wonder MAFS couples want to unmarry after first sight.

Seriously, after fifty years of marriage, Himself and I know it is hard to give and take. There are no quick answers. Just do not not let the sun set on an argument. Words spoken at our own wedding service still ring true and included this timeless advice:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs.

‘We’ comes before ‘I’ in wedding. It is all about ‘Us’. Each couple must find their own way to work together, to listen with an open mind, receptive to what their partner is telling them, to be willing to meet them half-way. As one MAFS wife said, “marriage is about compromise.”


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My Garden ~ Talofa! We were captivated by fa’a Samoa

Last week was our special time together. We chose to quietly celebrate 40 years of married life in the islands of Samoa. Last week we found Paradise.  No cellphone, no book, no television or radio. No grandkids. Just us. Island time. Siesta time. Conversations as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Himself and I became willing captives in this beyond-our-Kiwi-lifestyle, traditional way of life of the friendly Samoan people.

Like Rupert Brooke the poet who visited Samoa, we were enchanted as we lay “on a mat” and looked “out on the white sand under the high palms and gentle sea, and the black line of a reef a mile out…”. We too met “the loveliest people in the world, moving and dancing like Gods and godesses. It is sheer beauty, so pure it is difficult to breathe in it.” Of course we took in the sights and familiarised ourselves with Samoan culture and history. We listened to the stories about legendary hotelier Aggie Grey and Robert Louis Stevenson who was known as Tusitala the soryteller.  Film-makers have been inspired by the spectacular lagoons with their palm-fringed beaches. I must read James Michener again and see the movie Return to Paradise filmed at Matatau on Upolu Island. I didn’t need a book.The stories were there before me.

We trawled the local food and craft markets. Naturally, I was interested in what village people grew in their gardens and plantations. In our travels, I marvelled at how hard people in the villages work to live on meagre means. They fish in the lagoons and beyond the reef. They cultivate taro, breadfruit, papaya, plantains and other vegetables and fruits as food staples year-round for their large aiga (families). Their pride is reflected in their immaculately kept villages. There’s more in these islands: volcanic lava fields; the rainforests; fresh water streams and waterfalls; nature’s riot of colour repeated on the houses, churches and fale. A pod of whales cavorted on cue in the sea during one ferry trip. The turtles in Savaii were captivating.

Back at the resort into the night, there was Samoan dancing and singing and fresh game fish on the menu. It was all so leisurely. After a day in the tropical heat, a tall glass of gin, tonic and fresh lime poured over ice seemed just right.  I wondered vaguely (ever so momentarily)  how I would ever manage to go back to work and do all the physical gardening activities at home. Getting to know another country is exciting. Our time in Samoa was too short. We didn’t see it all but we will go back. This was our special time.

I even had to remind myself to take any photos at all such was the entranced state we found ourselves in.