The reality is that I’m catching up on the #31WriteNow challenge with five posts to write in one sitting. I’ve been thinking, and note taking, but ultimately overwhelmed with the time and mental energy of being at the Pacific Arts Association International Symposium, away from home, living in shared dwellings and talking long hours with very inspiring people!


I’ve been in Vancouver one week now; I was highly stressed at the beginning of the week, coming down from an adrenalin-fuelled epic fundraising effort and then mid-week, I crashed.

One of my worst nightmares is getting uncontrollably unwell in a foreign country and on Tuesday night, I thought my brain was exploding. The most throbbing bass beat of pain was vibrating all my senses. The opening ceremony of the Pacific Arts Symposium 11th International Symposium took place at the Museum of Anthropology, a beautiful building set in a breath-taking setting. Speech after speech, performance of culture after performance of culture, polite clapping and hobnobbing. I understand the risks of offering complimentary wine and beer, and maybe I’m nostalgic for a more hospitable era, but asking guests to purchase wine at a reception still feels unwelcoming to me.

I struggled through two glasses of overpriced and vile Pinot Blanc and my head started to pound. Enduring the rest of the evening was painful, literally. I lay in bed that night wondering about brain tumours and aneurisms, being air-lifted back to New Zealand and making my family bankrupt! I’m so fortunate to have been looked after by my dear friends who are all mothers; they looked after my every need. I knew things could be worse so I tried to channel all the healing, positive energy I could and managed to sleep. The following day would be my presentation at the conference, the culmination of months of feverish funds and awareness raising, promotion and social media harassment – I needed to bring ‘A’ game.

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