Spain Holiday NZ. Since we've lived and holidayed in both countries and around the world, it was a natural progression to call our website Spain holiday NZ.  Murray is a native New Zealander with Scottish heritage, Jackie is Malaysian-Chinese; we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in 2015.

We currently live in Auckland New Zealand, where Murray is an IT architect, and Jackie, started off as a computer analyst programmer in the 80's and 90's .  Now she is a one (non-dominant) handed, self-taught, budding artist, cook, writer, potter, photographer.

The Journey:

We met and married in NZ in 1985, and then moved to Sydney Australia. Midway through 1989 we embarked on the big adventure and moved to London for an initial two years, perhaps up to five if all went well. 

The UK is the perfect location for global travel, so we took advantage of it at every opportunity.  The fun train came off its rails June 1995 when Jackie inexplicably fell ill – brain haemorrhage and stroke: fit and well one second, significantly disabled the next, through no fault of her own (the ArterioVenous Malformation was congenital). 

The banner picture was taken in 1993, Hurghada, Egypt; whereas the one here was taken in Rarotonga 2015

The recovery path over the following years were very challenging, and, we didn’t leave the UK until 2005 but that was to Spain, not back to the Southern Hemisphere.  Five years in the Spanish sun, and what we accomplished, amplified her rehabilitation: it could not have been achieved in London.  We returned to NZ in 2010 on a break to see family and then an opportunity presented itself - so we stayed.  And we’re still here.

What we use to enjoy:

Before Jackie's stroke, travel to exotic destinations, any/every kind of food, winter skiing, cinema, DIY and anything else creative. 

What we enjoy now:

After the stroke; a little slower in the big travel and not much in the skiing although we still venture to the mountains during winter for the crisp air and environment; regardless of Jackie's impaired function at this point in time we’re still in the game.

The Future:

Jackie was in her prime in 1995,  full of life with the world at her feet.  Then suddenly, she was hit by a stroke and her hopes and dreams were obliterated. Emergency surgery, then radiosurgery six months later but no picture of the what came next was a rather bleak outlook.  She couldn't walk, talk, read, write or remember: she was in a wheelchair, and her right side was paralysed. The stroke, through no fault of her own (the AVM haemorrhagic stroke) was congenital, though it is not hereditary. Stroke, paralysed, Re-learning life and triumphantly - that pretty much described Jackie..

Perhaps, the analogy is like being born again; though caught up in the body of a person in her 30's.  Jackie had to go through the motions of initially standing using a standing-frame; a very hesitant shuffling walk, pronouncing words without slurring, and writing with her non-dominant hand... from scratch. Re- Learning alphabets, numbers, English, her memory was in pieces...  More than 20 years ago, in another century even.  And yet, it sometimes seemed like yesterday.

Prior to having the stroke, Jackie was already on a self-discovery journey in Australia before the advent of our overseas experience adventure in Europe.  Off and on, she had had very bad migraines: taking Panadol, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, whichever was available, on a weekly occurrence.  After the stroke, the headaches and migraines disappeared completely.

Very early on in the stroke recovery, we investigated and tried all manner of alternative therapies, as well as conventional ones. Jackie did not want to be on pills.  To date, nearly 21 years on, I'm glad to say that she has kept true to her promise - she's not taken any drugs/pills since the stroke, not even for headaches: there are very good alternative ways to get rid of aches and pains of everyday life; aromatherapy is one such modality, amongst others.

She's had benefit from acupressure, electro-acupuncture, chiropractic manipulations and osteopathy, applied kinesiology, naturopathy, aromatherapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal decoctions, Sound Signature Analysis (now known as Sound Therapy) , and Bodytalk.

Of the last two therapies, it's interesting to note that when she stuttered and mumbled to say the first words, it was in a monotone. Sound Therapy states that: ''...if you have a healthy mind and body, it shows. Your voice will be strong and colourful, charismatic and compelling. All the body systems that you use for digestion, breathing, elimination, repair, and fighting diseases have their own ‘bandwidth’ of sound...''. 

That epiphany was realised a few years ago.  Jackie was missing a lot of ''notes and tones'' in her voice since the stroke, and was making sounds in a very minor key.  Over the years, her voice quality has changed and improved. It was quite early on that we found a practitioner for Sound Therapy, run by Elaine Thompson in Weston-Super-Mare, UK.

Years later when living in Spain, Jackie found Bodytalk when researching modalities for friend.  The BodyTalk techniques provide insights to the areas of your body that need attention. What might seem like an obvious problem to you is not necessarily the one your body wants to address first.

This is the beauty of BodyTalk. It respects the body's own needs and determines your body's priorities for healing. Then with the use of a variety of non-invasive techniques, BodyTalkers refocus your body's natural healing response to establish better communication within the body.

It is a system that allows the body’s energy systems to be re-synchronized so they can operate as nature intended.  Since we were living in Spain, Jackie wanted a self-help program which could be administered by her for her.  The top-level ''cortices'' Bodytalk method balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain and enhances general brain function which generally helps the health of the entire body. 

There is also a one-day seminar called BodyTalk Access which is designed to be used by anyone.  There are five simple techniques that can bring about a significant improvement in health and once learned in the one-day Access class, they can be implemented in less than 10 minutes.

A Bodytalk session with a practitioner goes more in-depth to identify and release blockages, and provide some new clarity and subtle changes in overall functioning. Jackie had such a session with Marcio Ribiero in Singapore in 2010.  See more information on Bodytalk

Everything adds up one day, or it can diminish with time.  Fill your life with positive thoughts, be around people who light up the room.  BE the person who lights up the room!

Our future now sees improvements in stroke rehab for Jackie, to regain lost function, boost her confidence and get more out of life.  And perhaps larger and more ambitious art creations. It is a cumulative effect, nurture yourself from the inside, the events on the outside will follow.  Practice, perseverance, patience, and a whole lot of laughs along the way.  A stroke is not the end as many think; it's just an interruption in life's busy road.  A series of moments, make the most of life's opportunity.

Re-discovering NZ after 25 years in the global wilderness has been an eye-opener; many aspects of life here have changed significantly since 1985, as it has taken to the world stage like never before thanks to industry and trade, tourism and huge exposure.  But it still retains the Kiwi charm, natural wonders, and you can still catch a fish for dinner.  And a reminder that a NZ meat pie was and still is the best fast-food.  So for now, it’s our place in the sun.