My heart belongs to Rio.
For those that aren't in the know, Rio, is the nick-name for Wairio in Southland.
It's so true that home is where the heart is.
Although these days Invercargill is home, it will never really be ''home''.
It's hard to explain but rural life gives you a sense of connection that you can sometimes take for granted.
Surprisingly, I didn't notice how strong those connections were until they were gone.
There is not a lot to life, that is more important than family and friends.
Most of my friends I consider my family.
Out at Rio there isn't anyone I didn't know or didn't know of.
It's a place where everyone looks out for each other, fends for each other and in times of hardship (like losing the famous Western banner which would never happen!) are brought together.
That's what country living is all about, don't you think?
It's playing Saturday sport and knowing everyone in your team and on the sideline.
Every sport or hobbie has its own little community.
Heading away to Wanaka for the weekend to the national rodeo finals we caught up with friends that we met a few years back.
To me it highlighted the rodeo community family.
Everyone knows everyone, or again knows someone who knows someone - New Zealand and its infamous two degrees of separation hey.
If growing up in the wops has taught me one thing it is that the friends you meet whether it be riding a horse, playing footy or yarning in the pub are the friends you will have for life.
That's country living at its finest.
- The Southland Times