So, she said, do you have a question? and had me cut the cards. I don’t really believe in this stuff and I wasn’t really sure what I was doing there so I was having a hard time not making a face at her.

I’m going to New Zealand in a couple of weeks, I said, somewhat reservedly. I am curious about what that will be like.

She arranged the cards in the shape of a Celtic cross (I’m Scottish and Cornish and Irish, she said, so that’s a tribal thing for me) and I couldn’t really understand what she was saying as she pointed to each one. Something about knowing. Something about logic. Something about a tower and all hell breaking loose in the subconscious. Wellington, she said, will be very good for you, very good for your writing. You’re going to learn to write there, learn to find the center of your writing. But it will be challenging. The first seven months especially. How long will you be there? Can you stay longer than a year? Because after seven months it will be much better and easier for you.

Do you have Scorpio in your chart? she asked. I don’t know what that means, I said, but I’m a Pisces.

Water sign, she said. Water flows, water finds a way. Water goes around or under or over or through the obstacles in its path. You will need to find the flow, find the way.

Hmm, I thought, remembering how easy it was to switch from wanting to go to London to wanting to go to New Zealand. I mentioned how my plans had changed and she sat straight up in her chair. And New Zealand, she said with a big smile, was like a colony of England and you write in English and it all makes sense. I raised my eyebrows a little: it didn’t make much sense to me, actually.

This is the courage card, she said, turning back to the deck, flipping it over and setting it down. You will need all your courage. But! You are completely equipped! You are there, in that space. Courage is going to be very important for you, so make sure you use it all you can.

I leaned back in my chair. A couple of months ago, I said, I custom ordered a necklace. It’s, like, a classic flash tattoo image of a swallow, flying with a banner and a flower. You can get anything you want on the banner, a name or whatever. I asked them to put COURAGE on mine. I am going to wear it on the plane the day I leave.


See? she said. See?


  1. I’m not decided on that stuff either, but I still got the chills at the end of this entry.

  2. This is all very exciting! Best of luck and adventure to you and have a safe trip!

  3. Chiara, I already think you = amazing (and you know you always, always have a willing road-trip partner and flophouse for when you want to come down and check the mollusks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Put it on your calendar for 2008 now!) …

    … however, I’m actually writing to complement you on your fine taste in accessories. I will now have to spend money there. They need to pay you a finder’s fee!

  4. All a bit spooky – even for Mr Rational Explanation here! Have fun on your pre-NZ travels, eat lots of great food in NY and then have another portion for me!

  5. Spooky, in a good way. I lurk here quite often Chiara, and I’m really looking forward to reading all about New Zealand. I really admire you for having the courage (again with the courage!) to do this bold thing.You are a great writer, I hope that the newness of it all fuels…you? It? Your writing, I mean. Peace out…

  6. Chiara – you’re going to have such a wonderful time and I know you’ll find more than enough courage. And when it comes time to leave New Zealand you’ll find that you’re going to be having all of these feelings about yet another place you’ve grown to love and call home and you’ll wonder how you’re going to tear yourself away from it!

    And if you ever want to visit Australia (which will only be a quick jump away!) please get in contact and I’ll be happy to play tour guide in my little corner of it in a completely non-stalkerish kind of way.

    All the best!
    Melanie. xxx

  7. Hi Chiara,
    I really liked that style of writing. Also, she is totally right about Wellington being awesome! I have heard about finding the first while in a place really hard, quite a few people have said that to me about moving to Boston – I think people feel they have to let you know that so you can be prepared. One woman I spoke to said I’d hate it in the US for the first two years! Jeepers, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for loving! I think it was reverse psychology because I have decided to love it quicker.