Mum and Dad left Holland back in ’58 for a more promising life in a little far-flung country known as the ‘land of the long white cloud.’ Dad was the youngest of 13 brothers and sisters, so I can only imagine the huge puddle of tears left on the dock as family waved the ship goodbye from the safe haven of the Port of Rotterdam.
My Dad didn’t have any trouble finding his sea legs. After all, his Dad had spent his life as a fisherman, trawling the freezing cold waters of the North Sea on a boat not built with any home comforts in mind. But, Mum was, and still is a dedicated land lover. Spending days staring out at nothing but the endless blue of the ocean waters, was not the romantic life she had once dreamed of.
Thankfully the demands of a young baby, my older sister, mercifully distracted Mum from the boredom and the perils of being at sea.
Docking in New Zealand with only a couple of suitcases and a few hundred dollars tucked away in a tanned leather travel wallet, a new life for the young family beckoned. Despite desperately missing loved ones, good coffee and salt liquorice, Mum and Dad slowly came to grips with the Queen’s English and the Kiwi way of doing things.
Eventually, they chose to settle in Hawke’s Bay, a small province then known as the fruit-bowl of New Zealand. Within a few years, three little ones, including me, joined my big sister, Jacoba, around the dinner table.
As the youngest child apparently I was an oxymoron. A precious mistake. Regardless, we were all showered with a bewildering mix of Dutch-Kiwi love.
Growing up in an immigrant family and hearing all the stories of “back home” it was impossible to escape the overwhelming curiosity about the world that lay beyond our sheep lined shores.
Back then, New Zealand had a tiny population of 3 million, and a staggering woolen sheep community topping 60+ million. By the time I left high school (college), I had seen enough green grass to last me a lifetime. I craved more.
Fast-forward a few years.
Leaving behind a career in small town advertising and marketing, I packed my bags for the dazzling bright lights of Australia’s va-va-voom city, Sydney.
After a few months of doing a bit of this and that, I landed a fabulous job in an ad agency. Just as our department was about to get an upgrade from using clunky old fashioned word processors to computers, a friend suggested I try for a Flight Attendant position with Qantas.
Raymond from the movie Rain Man, had a few years earlier shared with the cinema paying public, that Qantas was the world’s safest airline. With that proclamation there was nothing for me to worry about.
Lo and behold I got in. After weeks of training, and learning a thousand and one different hairstyles to survive long haul flights I was ready to walk the aisles.
Qantas flew me to places I could only ever dream of visiting. Getting a contract to live and fly out of Italy for a couple of years, was in a word, bliss.
Eventually, the lure of serving chicken or beef at 30,000 feet lost its pluck. Even the glamor of occasionally being able to work in First Class wasn’t enough to keep me in my kangaroo covered uniform.
Thankfully my marketing brain still worked and through tenacity, and I guess being in the right place at the right time, I scored amazing jobs in entertainment marketing.
Specializing in live shows I got to work for the most incredible inspiring, hard-nosed, determined and creative people. The pinnacle was working for UK based entertainment entrepreneur, Harvey Goldsmith and for the creative genius of Cirque du Soleil.
From Sydney, Milano, Roma, USA & Las Vegas, London, Amsterdam….I’m now home reconnecting with my family in little old’ Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. This is where my life begun. And, this is where the rest of my life as a writer is just beginning.
Like a great wine, love begins in the vines.
Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage.
Author of new Contemporary Romance E-Book Love in the Vines
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